I got very good at letting my feelings fester and rot inside of me. My tongue punctured and scarred from biting down to keep from letting the words come bubbling out from my raw vocal chords that spent too many hours silently screaming.
I became a builder of my own solitary confinement. Brick by brick I built walls around myself to protect, to block, and to surround myself with something familiar yet solid. I built a house full of empty promises and lies to soothe my shattered confidence, screaming into every corner and crack, hoping the foundation would be strong enough to hold up my secrets. Keeping everyone else on the outside at a comfortable distance, close but not quite letting them see inside to the wobbly foundation that I had perched my house on. A careful balance of tip toeing back and forth to keep the walls upright.
I learned that so long as you smile, just a little smirk will do, people will find your “I’m fine” more believable. The smile does not even have to reach the eyes. So a deep breath and a smile would get me through this moment, and onto the next five minutes, and the next. Until I could spare a moment to myself to finally let out a heavy sigh and relax my face. With the drop of my shoulders, it feels like the whole facade drops and the foundation of my house shakes. But the walls quickly go back up, the smile put back in place, and on to try to get through the next 5 minutes, and then the next.
Some days I feel my emotions come pouring in and out of me like waves, washing over me in brilliant blue hues and deep dark greens. Other days, I feel uncomfortably numb, like I am standing barefoot in sheets of grayish snow. I feel as though I am not in control of this body, but merely an observer looking out. A well worn traveler with no destination, wandering aimlessly for meaning and creature comfort.
My body is an open book of scars and tattoos, showcasing my journey from self destructive injury to comfortable self acceptance. If not quite love then at least likability in my own skin. My broken and chewed nails showcase my anxiety, the nail punctures on my palms my struggle to keep balanced. My chewed and bloody lips a testament to my inner battle, a desire to keep in the words that so desperately want to come pouring out of me. I am at odds with myself, craving to be positive and happy yet my mind wading into dark waters. I endlessly float in a sea of happiness that I cannot seem to baptize myself in, forever lapping at the shore to be bounced back out to the depressive sea again.
But I always come back home, to my walls of brick and ink. The walls covered with my stories and insecurities, wrapping me in a dark quiet, waiting for the day I can pull the blinds back and let the sun shine in through the cracks. In the corner I sit, wave after wave crashing over me and into me, the pain absorbing into my bones until I ache. Soft music playing, my security blanket, blocking out the noise from the outside.