moving on or settling down

i’ve been pretty scared of showing my face lately

if “lately” could still substitute for a year and a half

i’m not scared of seeing you anymore

i know you won’t yell or scream or kick or pull

what terrifies me the most 

is knowing you will look at me

 and see nothing

feel nothing

and i know that’s true because you’ve moved on

but i really wouldn’t like to be reminded 

and you know what really keeps me up at night

is worrying i’ll never be able to love anyone again after you

lately i’m not feeling so scared anymore 

i’m not sure if it’s because you look so fucking similar 

or if it could be something more 

practice what you preach 

there’s a reason I’m not religious

I’ve never met a Christian man

who didn’t have some sort of secret plan

to shame me and make me submissive 

Manipulate your way into my head just to crawl inside my bed

and pretend you really just want to cuddle 

you want me to kneel on the pew and pray

Hail Mary’s muffled by your Adam in my mouth

Raven, darling, you don’t have to beg for forgiveness

it didn’t last long enough to reach the heavens

not even the neighbors

you will never be my savior

 I don’t need to be saved

–fragments running through my head while you were running through the door

number one

I remember my first delusion. My first “during the day dream.” It was warm and mosquito season, and the sun stayed out longer. So I got to stay out longer, too. I was nine years old, sitting on a neighborhood kid’s stoop. I’d never sat on that stoop before, even though I walked or drove or biked past it quite often. The wooden stairs were old and warped and pointed at a slightly diagonal angle, towards the junkyard house on the corner. They sold old broken cars on their front lawn, which my parents thought was just plain tacky. But they had a well-kept garden by their front door, and the bright yellow tulips looked so lovely in the setting sun.

In between those two tulips was a black cat, with bright yellow stripes. Just like the flowers. He was sitting calmly between the two, with his bright eyes focused just on me. I remember turning around, to see whom else he could be staring at other than me. His paw was going up and down, like a Maneki-neko.

As I write this, I have a hard time believing what I’m saying. Let alone trusting a complete stranger to think I’m anything other than insane.

Even as a nine year old, I knew I was being crazy. I shook my eyes and thought to myself, “How absurd! That’s not possibly real, my eyes are playing a trick on me.” And then I decided my eyes had super powers; I could bend light with my eyes and control what I saw.

Until this day, nearly thirteen years later, I just chalked it up to some weird over-active imagination outburst. They started happening more often after this, and I just started to acknowledge that they happen, and then they go away. Once I tried to explain light-bending super power to my mom, but she didn’t understand.

For the past few weeks, I have been spending the majority of my time exploring different mental illnesses that may be related to delusions: manic depression, psychosis, schizophrenia; the usual suspects. I’ve crammed a lot of knowledge into my head in a short amount of time on a relatively serious topic, and I should’ve known—or at least braced myself—for the onslaught of emotional revelations about to come my way. And although it’s depressing and kind of pathetic, it’s also really validating. As in one of those, “So that’s why I’ve got this irrational fear,” moments of clarity. I think the word is self-acceptance, but I don’t want to jinx it.

Some friends were at my apartment when I got home this evening. They were reminiscing on old softball cheers. I started thinking about how much I fucking hated softball, and how awful the mosquitos were. My thoughts wandered to that old, broken stoop. I starting thinking about a conversation that I had earlier today with a kind man who had previously suffered from psychosis. He spoke very honestly about very personal things, and he was very brave. He scared me a bit, though: I felt as though he was reading my diary. And what is scarier than being honest with yourself?

He explained to me that trauma makes your brain do funny things. And when your brain does funny things, it’s to protect your insides from getting burned or broken from whatever not-so-funny things are going on in the real world. I nodded my head, feeling completely enlightened. A real Marquise moment for me.

For the record, I can still shake my eyeballs and dilate and un-dilate my pupils. It’s a pretty good party trick.

“hey please really just fuck off”

I was riding the blue line back home after working a double and I started thinking about Friday night. “You Will. You? Will. You? Will. You? Will.” starting playing while we were playing flip cup. Why someone put that on a playlist at a party is incomprehensible. I fled my apartment in tears, pushing strangers out of my way to escape. I was too overwhelmed by all the unprocessed emotions I shoved into Bright Eyes to notice I was making a scene. I’m always making a scene. 

I swallowed the lump growing in my throat. I was not going to cry over you. I was not going to cry over you for the fifth time since the new year. For the hundredth time since we broke up. For the uncountable fucking time since I saw you in the cafeteria four years ago. I cannot believe I’ve known you this long, and I have gone so long without you since. 

I sat on the blue line tonight and wanted to cry. I listened to Bright Eyes. I pictured you laughing and scratching your stomach, wearing that black and lime green shirt I begged you to let me keep. 

But I couldn’t cry. I just ache. I started writing a poem of sorts while riding the train about you. I can’t remember any of it now. 

hindsight 

my roommate has a hard time understanding why I crave you still 

she used to call the cops and hang up after the first dial

it took you that long to take her seriously

but she didn’t want to be serious 

serious is scary

you scared me, you scared her 

you scared me back into the shell of the person you once pried me out of 

only to watch how far you could kick me back in 

but I crave your foot on my jaw 

your knuckles wrapped around my wrists

dropping me onto the cold tile floor before flinging yourself rid of me, the parasite leeching off love   

but I crave you because you know my secrets

they were so painful to tell that I don’t think I can ever tell another soul again 

it took too much out of us when I burdened you with the weight of my insanity 

but I can’t carry it without you 

please

I thought I could

but I’m so much weaker than I ever knew

I never knew I would crave your abuse over mine 

back + forth 

my heart was getting pounded in every night by a very small man with a very large hammer

little cracks started to form like a tree uprooting sidewalk

except backwards, I guess

and you slipped in between the broken pieces and filled up the cracks, like nothing ever happened

but your love was like tar instead of cement

hot and sticky and incredibly painful to scrape your knees on

I’m sorry I kissed him the day after I said goodbye

I’m sorry I didn’t tell you I was using you to fill in the cracks

I’m sorry you found out I’m cold

I’m sorry you found out

I’m sorry I accused you of stealing my grandmothers memorial card

I think the other asshole took it now

an attempt to slam (to be continued)

your marble eyes caramelized my insides

but i remind you of a clandestine

english major with a trust fund

a snail sitting on the trigger of a shot gun

even after everything you put me through

in a sea of people my eyes still scan for you

suffocating in a crowded room

waiting but where the fuck were you