i can't write

I really can’t.

It’s ironic, because in every single “Pick three words that best describe you” box, I always manage to shove “writer” in there with a self-righteous hand, as if I own that entire lifestyle. But whenever I type it out, the letters jump off the page and settle in my scalp like lice—I can’t stop feeling like a fraud, and no matter how hard I push, the shame never leaves me. It burrows into my skin and hatches into an army of raucous doubt.

I think I started realizing this when I began writing all those letters. At first, I thought each one was a tiny variation of the phrase “I love you” wrapped carefully in different metaphors. I spent so long writing them, trying to craft the perfect similes, trying to find the perfect way to describe why the things that I feel were more wholesome than things other people feel, like the air that I breathed was sweeter than the rest. But I was so wrong; I snatched spades from the deck of cards I hid under my pillow and I slaved through the pages and pages of things that I wrote to you, and nothing, nothing I wrote, was special at all—They were all just pretty words and simple thoughts rearranged like Lego blocks of the same color; they all looked the same in the end and if I ever stepped on them, my skin would tear and my feet would bleed.
I thought I was Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Emily Brontë, Edgar Allen Poe, Ayn Rand—I thought that my words were special too, that in the ink I circulated with my heart I carried some ingenuity, that my papers echoed a ubiquitous philosophy like a sunken cave. But they gave me magnifying glasses and when I looked closer, there were no stars in my penned thoughts. My soul was tunneled through by black holes, savage vacuums that ground up all of the beams of intelligence I wish I could emulate into heavy dark matter of mimicry that fractured my mind until my breaths drudged like the tickings of a clock. I existed on the works of others, on discoveries already discovered. I have nothing new to offer the universe. I am another footprint in the earth to be drowned with the tropical monsoon, erased by the Indian floods, buried with the desert sandstorms, replaced by everyone else who moved into the home I tried to built for myself on the moon.

And now I wish I could give you something more than what I am; there is no possible way that all sixty percent of the water in my human body could form a barrier against the trillions of gallons of water that submerges all of the shipwrecked vessels and souls. I am ordinary and I mix with the ocean like grains of sand; I settle to the bottom of the sea and on some fish’s scales and I am separated and I am forgotten.
I try to gather up all of the words I wanted to use to make something of myself, to prove that I am worth something, to tell you that I love you and am in love with you and wish that that could always be enough. But they run through my fingers like the water people try to find gold in; they slip through the cracks and they fall into a muddy puddle at my feet, and there is never any gold in the end. And I wish that all the words in the world, that they could someday be enough. But they never can be; I burn everything I touch.





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