Somewhere in the distant realm of possibility - it seems - this feeling will pass. Yet, here I am, surrounded by these same four walls, barricading myself. Possible becomes highly unlikely. My heart races as my world is at a stand-still. I sit in silence as the outside world moves faster and faster around me. I think to myself, “what could be better than nothing?”. Once again, my train of thought is cut through, bleeding around me, as the sound of sirens fills the room. I’m reminded that I cannot be still, that time will not freeze for me. I breathe. How did I get here?
I think back to when my mother used to tell me that all great artists have deep, complex, and troubled minds. I fell in love with this notion, that something fantastic could come from the darkest place. Maybe, I placed myself in this hellish sanctuary, attempting to emulate the infamous artists I envied - Van Gogh, Plath, and Capote.
I am still again. Like the waves in the ocean I exist to rise up and fall down, controlled by an unseen force - unpredictable. At the same time, I know there is someone out there who could understand the pattern and untangle my mess. I’d like to be wrapped up in a neat bow.
I’m in the bathroom now. Strands of my hair fall as I slice off the dead ends. If only it were this easy to rid myself of the past year. I watch as the pieces rain down and scatter across the floor. I’ll sweep them up later. I look in the mirror at the new version of myself I hope exists, but nothing has changed. There was no miracle. I see the same blank face staring back. It sees through me as I see through it. While I know its curves and surfaces, I don’t really know it at all. I laugh.
Now, I’m on the couch, searching for a new world to escape to. For hours at a time I will engulf myself in someone else’s story. My world fades as I watch figures of light dance across the screen in front of me. Words, scripted with purpose, echo through the room. There is no worry, what is happening will unfold with certainty. This won’t last forever, though, I know.
I am still in these same four walls. I trap myself in a cyclical loop of time. I dwell on things that have happened, considering the things that could have been. I am filled with regret and self pity - the cherry on top. It’s an awful sundae. I manage to snap myself out of it long enough to think about the future. While this feeling is different, it’s equally as painful. The certainty I love in other worlds does not exist in my own. I worry about what will happen, even though I don’t want to know. The cycle repeats and my head is spinning in an imaginary time. I am never here, I am never now. The sundae has melted, my head is a sticky mess.
In the shower I try to wash it away. Is it the wave, the tangled mess, or the sundae? I’ve made myself up to be so many things that I’m not sure what I am at all. The water isn’t cleaning anything, but my fingertips have shriveled up. I wish I could shrivel up. If I weren’t somewhere else, I might have noticed that thirty minutes had gone by, and I’d just been standing there. Staring. A switch quickly flips and I am in autopilot: shampoo, conditioner, body wash. I stand in the warm water a little longer but I know I need to get out. I turn the water off. My shorter hair is easier to dry, but I’m still left wet and uncomfortable. Staring into the abyss of the white wall, I dry myself off.
I walk out into my bedroom, shivering. As I look out the window, I’m thrown off by the lack of sunlight.“Shit,” I think, “I’ve slept through the whole day.”
There were many things I should have done but each task seemed more exhausting than the next. It was as if my body ran on a rechargeable battery, and as it charged over and over again, it was losing its power. I was drained, more than anything. Sleep didn’t seem to help. No matter how long I slept, after waking was always the same: I would have a burst of energy to get me through two hours - three if I was lucky.
Confusion hit as I wondered what to do next. It was dark out, I wanted to go straight back to bed. It was winter now, or late fall to be exact, so dark didn’t mean the day was over. The sun set at 4:30 pm. It was only 6 pm now. I traced back my day in my head. Had I eaten? I couldn’t remember. So, I played a mindless game with the refrigerator. Open and close. Open and close. Maybe I missed something. It was full of food but all of it had either gone bad or required too much effort. Instead, I turned the kettle on. Some instant noodles would do the trick.
With my masterpiece of a dinner made, I sat back down on the couch. It was time to repeat my loop.
“Well, there’s always tomorrow.”