There are things I never feel
They’re locked in a box I’m scared to touch
I take in my mother’s sadness
My sister’s hopelessness
My father’s anger
My lover’s fear
My friends’ dreams
I know how it feels to have baggage. I’m always happy to unpack others’.
I don’t know where to start with my own.
Maybe the things I don’t feel is how my father turned to stone. Maybe he once took others in to a heart of gold. And never felt, until it rusted, corroded him so deeply he became unrecognizable, a statue of himself.
Maybe that’s my own fate. I too will be cursed with the Mirror-of-Medusa, and turn my own heart into stone.
My father told me when I was young that monsters were scared of little girls. It used to help me sleep at night, knowing that even if a monster were near, I could easily overpower him. I slept peacefully. I woke up happy.
Now I am grown, out of the house. And I’ve learned quite a bit from leaving. Just because you leave a ghost town, doesn’t mean you won’t be haunted. Now I am scared of monsters. Not the zombie in my closet, the beast under my bed, or the vampire at my door. There’s a demon inside, and I can’t make him leave.
My mother calls me when she’s sad or scared. I calm her down. She asks how I’m doing and no matter what I tell her I’m doing great. Nothing to worry about here. The last time I told her I wasn’t okay–the last time I told her I needed help–she threatened to kill me. So I tell her I am always fine.
She won’t talk about what I did to myself. I don’t talk about what she did to me.
But another thing I’ve learned is that it is very possible to miss things you never had. I long for a childhood of innocent content. Teenage years without a neurological disorder, where I could have been reckless, safely. Deep, deep in my heart I miss conversations with my parents I will never have. I want to call my mother and tell her about the music I listen to and the clothes I wear and the things I am learning and the friends I made. I ache to tell my father about my favorite beer and the new dishes I’ve cooked and how I eat hot sauce with every meal and the time I owned some pretentious dude in class.
I have not seen my parents’ faces in over 100 days.
I think people are a lot like glass. If you’re never dropped, you never break, and you can sit on the shelf forever. If the world grinds you down every second of your life, you’re just a speck of sand. We all are in the end.
My parents were dropped. They have been ground every day and they will soon be nothing but sand.
I was dropped too. I feel like a shard: broken, irreparable, dangerous to all who touch.
But lately, I’ve remembered one of my favorite art forms. Mosaics take broken and forgotten pieces and put them together to make something beautiful. Broken glass on the beach is washed over by the ocean again and again until it is smooth, pastel, and translucent. People mistake sea glass for diamonds because of the way the coastal sun shines through it.
I am broken. But that is only the first step. I will feel. I will let the sun shine through me. I will let the ocean wash over me until I, too, am soft and smooth. I am not irreparable. I am art.