What if I slip? I watch the suds slide down my ankles and disperse across the brown acrylic that coats the shower. My head hangs and water pools in my tired eyes. Sitting on the floor of the shower is so lame. I think about it all of the time. Instead of slipping, you chose to sit down. I picture myself sitting down in the shower as the blistering streaks of hard and unfiltered water strip away every ounce of faith I’ve ever had in anything. I have an old speaker that sits coated in particles of dust that were once something and are now nothing. Music drips out of that speaker and down the side of the wall off of the shelf. Sextape seeps into my ear canals and swims throughout my brain. It gives me all the more reason to stay on the floor of the shower. It takes away my ability to speak or move. It wraps its resentful hands around my neck and attempts to push me through the floor of the bath and into the dirt that separates me and those who relate all too closely to the particles of dust that muffle the sounds of Chino Moreno.
At the end of each day, when I get out of the shower and brush my hair in the reflection of my steam-coated mirror, I contemplate quite possibly every decision I’ve ever made. I feel the water trickle down the arch of my spine and across my lower back. I let it drape over my shoulders, forcing together flexibility with stillness. I look at myself and no longer criticize. My head turns to the right side as I study the curvature that makes up my exterior. Every night a light seeps into me, it gives me the ability to feel and describe. I feel everything, every drop of water or word spoken. They mean something to me, my mind feeds off of the ability to experience a sensation. My vertebrae twist and my chest crawls outwards, My feet no longer touch the ground and I levitate upwards, the light carries me. My fingertips fall numb and the air expands. A million particles and breaths fill the vastness of the atmosphere. I am nothing and everything all at once. The light swarms me and slithers across my surface. It intertwines with my fingers and the crooks of my neck. It mangles my hair, stretches my skin. It opens my eyes and locks my jaw. It wrenches my shoulders back and opens my throat. I am not me, not without my light. I can’t control her, she flows within me. Her essence seethes through my bones and brings life to my nerves. Her glow leaks out of my mouth and ears, dripping off the tip of my tongue. The layer that separates the world from my organs melts away and leaves me with only a soul. My body means nothing, the only truth I know is my mind and soul. She festers within me. At the end of each night, I look into her hollowed eyes, and thank my tired light. She lets me feel.
This is a part of my Home essay for AP English.
I love to read. I read romance, mystery, horror, and post-apocalyptic novels. Every corner of my room is coated in books that scale about halfway up my wall. I have nowhere to put them.
Ideally, in the future or in another life, I would have a beautiful living room painted white with cream sofas and high ceilings. The windows would take up the majority of the walls, letting sunlight flood the room like maple syrup drizzling over the top of a pancake. There would be a big fireplace that would provide warmth throughout the winter.
There would be huge bookshelves that would match the size of the redwoods outside, filled with stories and characters. Hundreds of different realities would exist in that room. Making me feel as though mine is not nearly as big as I like to think. There would be many different places that I could settle for the day as I crawl into an alternate universe. Plants would perch around the room granting oxygen and life.
My kitchen would be dark green with walnut counters and an antique stained glass chandelier glowing amongst the space. Windows in the kitchen would open letting in the warm evening air that swept across the orchards outside. My bedroom would have a huge fluffy white bed that would swallow me with sheer curtains that would flow like waves merging with the sand.
Trees would shower the land surrounding my home creating a never-ending forest. A place where my mind could drift endlessly. My yard would have an old pool like the ones in Italy, they are like springs built with mossy stone that hold countless memories.
I would have a big dining room with a long table that way every person I love has a seat. A large wooden record player would sit atop a mid-century modern cabinet. All of my favorite songs would echo throughout the walls that held me up.
I dream of a place that is serene and isolated from the business that infests the world. A place where my mind can slow and breathe the air that roams across the surface of the earth. A place where the world can be perceived similar to the way it once was before humans imprinted on it. I dream of a place where I can take a deep breath because I feel at ease rather than anxious.
Im going to give a fair warning that this topic is very triggering and revolves around sexual abuse. You do not have to read this.
I am going to give a few quotes from my favorite book, it is about an abusive relationship between a 15 year old girl and a 42 year old man that is meant to be romanticized. This book is beautifully written and incredibly alluring. It is also twisted and deranged and made me question every single person in my life. The ability to manipulate as well as a sexual abuser is terrifyingly fascinating. This book made me nauseous, and can be painful to read but i think about it everyday and in no way regret a second of the time spent reading it.
“Because even if I sometimes use the word abuse to describe certain things that were done to me, in someone else’s mouth the word turns ugly and absolute. It swallows up everything that happened.”
“It’s strange to know that whenever I remember myself at fifteen, I’ll think of this.”
“I wonder how much victimhood they’d be willing to grant a girl like me.” This particular quote made me sick and furious because it is clear that he manipulated her into thinking every situation was her choice.
“Kneeling before me, he lays his head on my lap and says, ‘I’m going to ruin you.” I cried during this chapter, this feeling was so claustrophobic especially when having to watch Vanessa know nothing of what was being done to her, that was the most painful feeling.
“He touched me first, said he wanted to kiss me, told me he loved me. Every first step was taken by him. I don’t feel forced, and I know I have the power to say no, but that isn’t the same as being in charge. But maybe he has to believe that. Maybe there’s a whole list of things he has to believe.”
“He’s always going to be old. He has to be. That’s the only way I can stay young and dripping with beauty.”
“He’s the only person who ever understood that desire. Not to die, but to already be dead.”
“An older man using a girl to feel better about himself – how easily the story becomes a cliché if you look at it without the soft focus of romance”
“It’s easy to pinpoint when it all started, that moment of walking into his sun-soaked classroom and feeling his eyes drink me in for the first time, but it’s harder to know when it ended, if it really ended at all. I think it stopped when I was twenty-two, when he said he needed to get himself together and couldn’t live a decent life while I was within reach, but for the past decade there have been late-night calls, him and me reliving the past, worrying the wound we both refuse to let heal.”
“It’s just that I’m depraved, my mind so warped by Strane that I misinterpret innocent favoritism as sexual interest.”
“I think we’re very similar, Nessa,” he whispers. “From the way you write, I can tell you’re a dark romantic like me. You like dark things.”
My mind screamed throughout the entirety of this book, it begged for her to run, it wondered if she should stay. And in the end, I realized what this book was meant to do. It is meant to show you how hard it is to say who did it.
A few weeks ago I wrote about what it was like to have a crush. It inspired me to write about my perception of a broken heart. I think that the feeling of a heart breaking is different for every single person, simply because we all have different hearts. They are filled with different people and different places, some half full and some to the brim. In my eyes, no heart is the same. A heart can be broken by a girl, a boy, a mother, or a father. Anyone can take it and squeeze it until it cracks. I can not learn a lesson, the same thing will happen to me over and over and each time I let myself think that this time will be different. It never is. The first time I think my heart broke was when I was in seventh grade. When I was young, I was very close with my dad, and I spent a lot of time with him. When I turned 13, I had already begun to struggle with depression. It ran in my family and my dad had it bad. When I was growing I would try to talk to him and sometimes it felt like I was talking to a body without a soul. I never understood why I wasn’t enough to keep him afloat, why I wasn’t enough to chain his soul to his body. My days started to slow and I began to feel the separation between my skin and my spark, and slowly, I felt it float away. I finally understood why it was so hard to laugh. Nothing was funny. And I understood why he couldn’t say I love you, Because he couldn’t even love himself. I stopped trying and he started to get better. He would ask me how my day was and I couldn’t remember. So I said nothing. I watched as my dad formed that same hopeless look in his eye, as he watched my soul melt out of the bottoms of my feet. My dad sometimes says things he doesn’t mean but that doesn’t make them sound any less real. A few weeks ago he explained to me that it was tiring watching me get like this. “I don’t want to be your dad anymore.” He took it back. But I would have rather been slapped in the face. That’s okay. I know he tried for a long time and for a lot of that time, I wasn’t there. My mind was always elsewhere, drifting through the sharpness of the sea that he used to throw me into. I like to take myself to those places. Where I remember sitting on my dad’s shoulders or holding his hand while I got off the ski lift. I get sad because I don’t want there to be a brick wall between my mind and his the last year and a half that I live in this house. I don’t know how to try to fix what we broke. Sometimes we sit in a room with a stranger as she tells us what we do wrong and how we can “communicate” in a healthier way. I watch him look out the window and think about a million other things. I won’t play the victim, even if I sometimes catch myself wondering what 10-year-old me could have done better. It’s not his fault and I know that. But it broke my heart to watch as the conversations grew shorter and his door opened less. It broke my heart to start hearing my name instead of honey. It broke my heart to not see him on the field at my soccer games. It broke my heart to watch him cry about his dad and the lack of love he received. I love you, dad. But after all, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
I hate the word crush because it feels so naive. A child should have a crush, maybe a 6th grader. But, the more you think about it, the more the purity spills out of it. For a long time, I forgot what it was like to have a crush on someone. The definition of a crush does change as you grow, but the feeling that comes with it stays the same. There is a very specific feeling associated with the word crush. The feeling of your stomach spinning like a washing machine, whirring and flipping at a borderline alarming speed. When my entire face glows with a deep pink with just the mention of their two-syllable name. When you have a crush on someone, you think about them all the time, especially because you barely get to see them. I think that makes it more exciting, to be honest. The phone calls at 10 pm go on till 3:15 am. The inability to hang up because time moves so fast that I feel like I could never hear his voice enough. They make you laugh at the dumbest things that really shouldn’t be funny, but coming from him it is. Driving home from the beach after dark with my hands and body rising out of the sunroof. A smile was constantly plastered on my face. It makes me wonder a lot of things about myself, did I find the person that makes me laugh on my off days? Why are my walls falling so fast? Why can’t I be away from him for more than a day without pacing around the closing walls of my room? We can sit in the most comfortable silence studying each other’s faces, running and filtering through a million thoughts that could be filling their head at that moment. In reality, we are both thinking the same thing. I like you so much. I wondered why I was able to be so comfortable, but I realized that it is because my inner child is at peace. I have the same crush on him that I had on a boy in 7th grade, so innocent and pure. Like a string of light bringing two people together, encasing the two of you together and tightening until you feel as though you have merged into that person’s body. And suddenly, that feeling is born and fills your entire body and soul. I didn’t know I could smile for the entirety of a four-hour phone call.
Today, I am having an off day. I know it when I wake up because I start my day with a sigh rather than a smile. I don’t bother to make myself feel good by putting on some mascara and emphasizing the pink on my cheeks, I let my eye bags express the weight falling on my head. I put on my Uggs, and I always wear Uggs on my off days. they remind me of my childhood and the ability to cheer myself up simply by the embrace of my mother. It takes more now, a walk or a bath won’t fix it. It sits deep within the structure of my body. It sheathes across all of my nerve endings, running through every square inch of me. It is not sad, nor is it happy, it just is. The feeling of simply not feeling it strangely comforting to me. It is not dark or sad, it is normal. It is okay to sit and let your mind drift into space. It is okay to sit on the floor of the shower and let the water trickle down your face and across your lips. It is okay to put on a show and not pay attention. It is okay to go for a walk and find yourself sitting on the icy pavement within 5 minutes. It’s okay to keep your headphones in all day and let your world be surrounded by something that you chose. I don’t know who needs to hear it, but it is okay. I often forget that this is not being lazy, unmotivated, or worthless. It is normal. Everyone has days where the air seems a little thicker and the light feels a little dim. Whether you choose to admit it or not is a choice, I do, because I want people to know that despite my sarcastic sense of humor and plastered smile, I too have off days. It’s really hard to see the bright side sometimes because maybe there just isn’t one. I mean sure, someone always has it worse, and hey, at least I’m alive. Believe me, I’m grateful, but for the love of god let me feel something. Anything.
go outside and try to feel something.
I’m choosing to write about my best friend this week. Most of my friends know who she is because she’s a pretty common topic of conversation for me. Carol is 17, she was born on May 31st, 2005. She is 5’5 and has long dark hair. Her eyes are the color of molasses and her cheeks are always pink. I’ve never loved someone outside of my mom, dad, or brother as much as I love Carol. Vaughn and Carol are good friends, she’s always nice to him even though he’s younger. She helped me see him as more of a friend than a sibling and I will always be grateful for that. My mom and dad love her, they always say that she’s the best friend I’ve ever had and if she ever needs somewhere to stay they will have her with open arms. Carol sleeps at my house every Friday after school and we haven’t missed more than two weekends for an entire year. We like to eat with my family and watch movies and play with my kitten. She never brings clothes and keeps a toothbrush in the cabinet. She smells like peaches. She makes me laugh harder than anyone I’ve ever met in my life. It often hurts because of how hard she makes me laugh. Her smile makes me want to cry because I know that she doesn’t always see how beautiful she is. I tell her, I just hope she listens. She makes me feel better about myself and showed me self-respect. She will always be honest even if she knows it will hurt your feelings and I wouldn’t trade that about her for anything. I can always count on her to defend me in the case that I need defending. We share a closet and go to Starbucks almost every Saturday. Carol will give you her whole heart, and it takes a lot for her to take it back. She always gives me second chances even when I feel like I don’t deserve them. She is amazing at volleyball and going to her games every Tuesday makes me so so proud. She is passionate and smart and kind-hearted. Carol is the strongest person I know and I often stay up at night wondering how she does it. I love her and I would give my life so that she could live hers. Nobody makes me feel as loved as Carolina.
There is one word to describe the feeling that I’ve had all day. Scraping. my soul has been aching to claw its way out of me. I know what it wants, it wants to rip my chest open and thrust its way through the bars. My mind is filled with serrated lines shooting across the interior of my skull. I shake because I am so trapped in here. When I look in the mirror I can feel my eyes fall back into my head as they drown in the screams that shatter throughout my brain. I can not see myself. Why can’t I see myself? No matter how hard I glare at myself in the reflection I’ve trained to stay still, I can see my face morph and melt into the person I try so desperately to hide. I like to imagine my hands pulling my face as they slide across my skin, dissolving the only thing that is truly there with me at the end of each night. My skin tingles all the time, it radiates through me like small bursts of electricity stopping the beat of my heart with each one. It was supposed to be easy, “crying doesn’t make things better” I was trained for this. I was trained for this straight face and beautiful smile. Why can’t I see myself? “No one will feel sorry for you with that look on your face” I’m sorry, the tears burn their way through the gloss that shields my emotionless face. They leave scars you know, the tears, they ruin the smile. I was taught to cry only in front of a mirror, that way I can watch them disintegrate my complexion, I force myself to watch as I express the most basic human emotion and torture myself at the very same time. This is how I was taught to feel so excruciatingly uncomfortable in my very own skin.
I have so much love for little aspects of life. I love to water my plants. I love to pet my cat because of how loud her purr is. I love to sit on the kitchen counters while dinner is being made, the smell of food circulating the air. I love to imagine those smells as colors floating around me and illuminating the warmth that fills the kitchen. I love it when people make me laugh, It feels like I’m at a loss of breath, which is somehow the best feeling in the world. I love to take the most skin-curdling, brain-melting shower right before bed. I love to hug people goodbye, I imagine the smile on my face the next time I get to see them. I love the song “a day in the life” by the Beatles. I love the book Daisy Jones And The Six. I love to lay on the floor because the hardness feels like an anchor when my mind starts to spin. I love to go to the beach because the sand sticks to my skin. I love to wash the day off of my tired face. I love to smell candles but not light them because I don’t want them to go away too fast. I love white daisy’s in a mason jar. I love to propagate vines. I love to make eye contact with people and let them break it. I love to play with little kids. I love to be at home with my family. I love to watch Formula 1 races. I love to swim and ride my bike at night. I love my mom and dad. And even though he doesn’t think so, I really love Vaughn.