The Weight You Gave Me. | Teen Ink

The Weight You Gave Me.

May 23, 2022
By LHayze BRONZE, Temperance, Michigan
LHayze BRONZE, Temperance, Michigan
2 articles 2 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.”
― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

The weight of my body feels like cement against the plush mattress I curl into every day. Recently the feeling of peeling my body away from my safe and comforting fortress has become increasingly difficult to achieve. My malignant battle with myself often makes me wonder if I were simply better off ending the fight early, a forfeit if you will. I immediately feel the weight of you hanging on my arms. Similar to a begging toddler, you pull on my hands, bouncing up and down, screaming for attention. The morning struggle then leads me to the ever-growing knowledge of my greasy hair and my yellow, plaque-filled teeth. The sleep shirt I have been wearing for about five nights now clings to my ever-shrinking frame and I suddenly feel horrifically disgusting. My hatred for myself is finally the thing that pulls me from my bed. I begrudgingly grab my towels and slink into the shared bathroom with me and my brother. 

I turn on the faucet and it seems as if someone did the same to my eyes. I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and shutter. I see the lines, man-made or otherwise, lining my stomach, arms, hips, and thighs. I see the thick, black liquid that is dried to my under eyes, caressing my cheeks remembering the salty, warm tears that, no doubt, now stain my unwashed pillowcase. I take in the overgrown roots of my dyed hair and screaming red splotches on my arms from the absent-minded pinches you tell me I deserve. My hands run over my stomach to my shoulders, to my hands then to my forearms. I squeeze myself tightly and allow a few more brutal tears to slip out of my eyes. Finally forcing myself into the tile enclosed, molten rainshower, I shut my eyes tightly and attempt to wash as quickly as possible. The routine stays the same: shampoo, shampoo, conditioner, face, body, out. Pulling the soggy curtain away, I step onto the cold linoleum and wrap my body in the towel laid out for me as I make my way back to my fortress. 

As I am getting dry and clothed you whisper something in my ear. “Why do you keep going? You look terrible.” My futile attempts to shake away your words drain even more of my energy. Hearing the sounds of my parents shuffling to get ready below me pulls you away from me as I continue to get ready. Small things such as pulling a comb through my hair, placing two black lines beside the folds of my eyelids, and choosing a non-physically taxing outfit for the day seem more difficult than they should to the “normal” person. Unfortunately for me, you seem to make an appearance in every aspect of my life. 

Your name is dysphoria. You showed up around seven years ago when the changes to my body became noticeable. You have manifested yourself as sleepless nights, wishful thinking that I can change my body, pleas with the mirror to make something, anything different. When you arrived, all I could see was a horrific hole in my room which only appeared every once and a while when my mother forced me to wear a dress for picture day. As I have aged, you have become some sort of twisted, old friend. Not having you around feels more out of place than you near me. I hear your comments as I pick through the stack of clothing lining the far wall of my bedroom. “Not that one, you look too feminine,” “Last time you wore that, you were made fun of,” and worst of all, “Just give up.”

It feels as though you wish to patronize me. Push me further and further down into the abyss that you seem to frequent. I’m aware that not every story must end with a happy ending, but I am determined to have at least a pleasant one. For I am not afraid of you. and I have not been for a very long time. Selfishly you attempt to crawl your way up my throat to make me say the wretched words only you think about me. I will admit I am not perfect, but I am trying. You no longer have control over me. You no longer hold real estate in the deepest quarters of my mind. You no longer dictate that I am not worthy of love. The totalitarian you have become is no more, for me and my courage will pull on our armor of kind words. We will band together and rip through the dense brick walls of insecurity that you so “lovingly” created for me. We will overcome, and I will be victorious over you.

The author's comments:

Coming to terms with my gender identity has been a long struggle for me and dysphoria has become a strong force that made me struggle even more to find adjectives that felt as though they described me. I am now 17 and I have only recently come to terms with my gender. I am proud to say I am Non-Binary. So hello, My name is L and thank you for reading my story about dysphoria. 

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