“Love you, mean it, Bye,” the director shouted at the end of the day.
Cinderella musical rehearsals had just finished. It was now time to hang out on the corner and watch friends gossip about friends who gossip about friends. The cliques were already formed by the time we exited the school building.
“Wait for me!” It was a common phrase of mine, almost a catchphrase. Throughout the year’ I found that they would wait hours for others but less than a second for me. But, I never thought much of it because I assumed that they couldn’t hear me. They are my friends, so why would I think otherwise?
As I ran to catch up with them, I saw another group. Although they are also friends of mine, they did not really like the people I was initially with. Luckily for me, I was one of those who knew to stay away from the drama off the stage, not start it. They like me, I thought, and we’re all going to the same corner so I might as well walk with them. But, upon reaching them, I realized that there was nowhere for me to stand. An inch of room here or a centimeter of space there was in no way going to fit me. I looked beyond us to see where the group I was initially searching for got to. There wasn’t room for me with them either. My head dropped in disappointment but immediately shot back up with glee when I realized how much space there would be on the corner.
However, to my surprise, when I looked up, I realized I was all alone. I looked around to find the people I was with. I saw that they continued on with their conversations as though I was never there. They didn’t even realize I was gone. Was I even there at all? I looked forward to the people I was trying to get to. Would they even notice me?
As that thought crossed my mind, the world got very big. And even though I always get on myself for being too big, I suddenly felt like an ant. An ant that just had water poured on it, drowning. I love staring at the evening sky, that beautiful blue created after the purples and oranges of the sunset but before the deepness and darkness of the night. I would usually feel this blue fill me up like ice cold water, stimulating dendrites, causing a transduction of my neurotransmitters and giving me a feel of euphoria, as well as enveloping me like a warm blanket, regressing myself to preschool, where I’d take naps with ease, without a care or fear in the world. I could get lost in the peace that the sky gave me. However, tonight the sky was cough syrup: overwhelming and trying to suppress whatever was coming up while my blanket became an electric chair: cold, chilling me down to my bones, and bringing to the surface fears and regrets I thought I had overcome. I thought that this was over. I had passed the boss level. I had already conquered this.
Boy, was I wrong.
My head started spinning. I was screaming, freaking out. I was hoping and praying and wishing that I could swim to the surface, past the ‘what ifs’ and ‘you deserve its.’ I was yearning to reach self-acceptance and maybe even love. But, when I almost reached the surface, I felt a slimy grip yank me back down. Its long, thin tentacles wrapped around my leg and up to my thigh. I knew this sensation. I had felt it before. It was the exact thing I was swimming away from. The monster under my bed. The last time, it got up to my stomach before I could push it off. But even then, its spikes were still lodged into my stomach, degrading everything that came into the space it declared as its home. However, at the moment, it had a new destination. A new place it had not toured before. The only place I had left. The sole property I could call mine. My chamber of secrets. The pulsing red muscle that controlled my humanity and individuality.
And I could do nothing to stop it.
Razor sharp nails punctured my arteries, slipping into my bloodstream. I hoped it would get lost in my atriums and ventricles and never make it to my soul, hidden deep within. But it was determined to not harm me physically, but to rip my sanity to shreds. Once it had arrived at the entrance to my being, it mercilessly busted through the gates I spent years building up. It disintegrated all that was solid, enslaved the strongest, and tortured the weakest. It raped my sense of self, leaving it shaken and doubting.
A gust of wind brought me back to reality. I looked around. We were on the corner. How did I get here, I wondered to myself. A blinding light flashed and I slightly winced in pain. Once everything got into focus, I saw bright, shiny, happiness. Vivid colors bounced around everyone as they laughed and enjoyed just being with each other. I looked at myself and realized I did not fit. I did not fit. I did not fit. I finally understood why I was feeling the way I was. The cycle had completed. The circle came to a close. And once again, I was all alone. As the realization sunk in, my cleanup crew came in to clean up the psychological mess I got myself into. They power sprayed every nook and cranny. I decided to drain it out drip by drip so no one noticed. So I wouldn’t deal with it. So I wouldn’t grow. So I could let the gaping hole of loneliness that was killing me from the inside out dilate and make me hurt even more.
“Hey, are you okay?”
My plan failed.