Falling Together

I let out a melancholy suspiration on a melancholy day. I crumpled up the failed Trigonometry test, hoping it would provide me with some empty catharsis. It didn’t. I only felt the same confused, discontented feeling that had been buzzing through me all afternoon. It was all the more frustrating that I couldn’t derive it. So I asked myself a question I think all teenage girls should ask themselves more:
Why am I feeling this way?
As usual, a rush of explanations coursed through my brain and, as usual, none of them seemed to be the right answer.
I’m embarrassed about screwing up at auditions for the school play. I’m murderous about my math deficiencies. I’m positively enraged that I can’t be happy, but I’m happy that I at least know who I am. I can’t stop thinking about him. No, that’s not true. He has left the realm of thought and recall and become an integral pat of my daydreams. This upsets me. It makes me smile. I hate it. I love it.
My life is a confliction. I could feel myself big sucked back into the vicious torrent of negative thinking—that torture chamber that I bogged in and out of nearly all of last year, that place which I had been able to steer clear of for almost eight months. Ever since that fateful day when after what I deem a complete mental breakdown, I fell apart. And by falling apart, I found I had actually fallen together.
I haven’t told anyone this. Not as the real, horrifying experience it was. I like to spin the darkest moment of my life into comedy bits for my friends because, oddly enough, it helps me get through it. But here’s the real story. Here’s the story of how temporary insanity changed my life.
It all started coming undone when I exited the student parking lot in my black Nissan Maxima on what had turned out to be a particularly miserable day in my lazy suburban paradise. I drove home almost 10 miles over the speed limit, hardly realizing that I was in tears and practically hyperventilating. I can’t tell you the cause. There were probably too many. Or none at all. You could blame it on biology or divine intervention or demonic possession. But whatever had crept its way into my nervous system was causing indescribably erratic behavior. When I got to my house, I couldn’t stop pacing—Pacing and clasping my hands into fists. So I threw on some sweats and started to run.
I burst through my front door and ran towards the nearest bike trail. I ran as fast as I literally could without thinking or feeling, just RUNNING. I was (and am) horribly out of shape, so sprinting made it feel like I was inhaling flames. As an ex-member of the FHS track team, the feeling was familiar. But for the first time in my life, I liked the pain. I needed the pain. I felt like if I ripped myself apart, maybe I could be put back together again—only better, unflawed. So I ran into the stinging pain, faster, farther, making it more excruciating, dizzying, numbing, until I collapsed on the side of the bike trail.
Then I felt again. I felt all the pieces of myself shatter onto the leaf-strewn ground. All of the conflicting emotions panged and throbbed in every one of the pieces: anger, fear, sorrow, embarrassment, regret, regret, regret…
Suddenly, I was breathing. Taking in air in short, hiccupping breaths like I had just been rescued from drowning. My lungs screamed for more, and some deep-rooted, animalistic defense mechanism influenced me to clasp my arms around my legs and hold my head between my knees. I was small, safe, inching back together fragment by fragment.
At that point, I was taking in enough oxygen to regain my speaking facilities. Half-consciously, I took to repeating variations of the phrase, “what the Hell am I doing?” I stayed that way for a while, coughing and wiping away tears, until finally I stood feeling whole, but empty.
When returned home, I sat on the floor of the living room dumbly for several minutes trying to latch on to something real. I decided, absently, that I needed comedy. So I turned on Comedy Central. My favorite show happened to be on, and it had me laughing so hard I was breathless and crying again. But these tears were different. They made me feel in control. Laughing like that gave me some other-worldly power. It gave me my new found perspective and drive. I was so numb after falling apart that day that I think almost anything I experienced would have absorbed into me. Laughter made Hailey 2.0. The one that writes. The one that gets 4.5s. The one that takes failure in stride.
The one simply can’t loose.





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