When I was nineteen years old, I think I felt a lot. I think I felt things for the world that would never be felt back.
There’s a certain pain and heartbreak in baring your sleeves to a person, hoping they understand, maybe just listen to fallen words as opposed to catching each syllable and making it their own. That tense feeling of an impending scream that rises from your toes and through your chest, feeling it in your wrists as it scratches its way up and out into that void that never existed for you in the first place.
I think that when I was eighteen I didn’t know what to feel, how to think about the things that hurt. Maybe writing them down would help. Maybe shouting into the softness of a pillow would do the trick zero times out of ten. I don’t think I ever even knew who I was. To feel things for yourself that you’ve never felt for yourself before is terrifying. The way I stripped myself of beauty and love at that time felt like I wanted to tell myself something. Something that was so important, but never quite made contact with the vessels of a little girl’s heart.
When do we stop. When is it okay to say that we’re tired even when we haven’t done anything at all?
Perhaps when I was seventeen, I felt that I had the answers to that question, the way I was so prepared to stop might be more inspiring than not. I wanted to stop feeling hate for somebody that hadn’t even seen the world, I wanted to love a girl that would never love me back. Even on a good day, she would say I wasn’t good, not enough to be seen nor heard by those that asked for my voice. Back then, I never had any answers, the hills of my worn heart were never destined to feel sunlight peeking through the horizons of its jagged edges.
Sixteen years old and I was tired of a life that refused to feel like living. Hormones, melodrama, and teenage angst were excuses fed to me by a poisoned society. I thought I could breathe through the tubes of promises always broken, promises that weren’t ever even made for me. I think that when I was sixteen I didn’t feel like there was a seventeen, or even a sixteen and a half. The child inside of me wondered of a future not held in high esteem, though the woman that became woman too quickly meandered down a path of remembered sorrows.
Three years prior and I was thirteen and already well-versed in a secret language called anxiety. I think I wanted people to know. Not sure if they already knew despite the loudness in me turning silent. Despite a child in eighth grade seeming more like an old man who went through a war called Vietnam. Shaking, scarred. It was true, every day I went home and entered a zone of war between two people that never remained in a stalemate. The shards of broken hearts rained down on me like some sort of blitzkrieg and while I saw the sharp pieces coming, I never did have time to jump out of the way. It took a single summer to turn a girl in seventh grade into a woman in eighth grade. Quiet and forgotten.
And so, when I was nineteen years old, I still had trouble understanding that it wasn’t my job to pick up every shattered piece of debris. I had a house full of resentment, and at every turn the hate grew stronger and the weight of love felt lighter, nonexistent. The dark hallways of what was supposed to be a home became graveyards for the humans that became demons. Every blink of an eye became a nightmare while every dream that could’ve been dreamt became darker with every second. The philosophies of a heart beating slower than the doubt of a brain that ran rampant with the quickly formed ideas of despair.
And so, one day the nineteen year old will turn twenty, and she’ll never believe that she can be twenty-one, or even twenty and a half.