hard to explain
Formes Frustes – Untitled (2015)
Once, when I was about ten or so, there was the Morning of Doom.
I’ll never remember the date or even the season, but I remember waking up and seeing the pre-dawn glow through my curtains, and it made me cry uncontrollably.
I had time to fall asleep again before I had to get up for school, but things didn’t work out that way.
I clenched my teeth and scrunched my eyes shut as tight as I could. I sang to myself. I wrote “YOU’RE OK” on my arm and stared at it. I knelt down and prayed to anything that’d listen.
However, the crying didn’t stop until my mother came to check in.
At first, I tried to hide that I’d been so distressed, in case I got in trouble somehow. As if my mother would threaten to give me something ‘real’ to cry about, or accuse me of faking sickness, something like that. But I was just so tired that no usual pretense would hold up. My chirpy little grin kept folding in on itself and my nutty little chuckles were dissolved in my closing throat, just to fall back inside and eat away at my dwindling resolve.
Amidst these feelings, I managed to get a few words out. I don’t know what I said, but it was enough for my mother to admit that I should stay home.
I had no idea what was going on with me; I thought I was having a heart attack somehow brought on by my sadness. I remember thinking, “Is this what happens when someone dies of a broken heart? Is this what really happens? I broke my own heart.”
My childish abandon had, in turn, abandoned me, to be replaced by paranoia and apprehension. In a flash. Just like that. Ouch. Who dropped the world on my shoulders? I’m just a kid!
Until I was about twenty, I saw that day as some kind of awakening to what the world was like and what it held for me. I thought to myself, “Well, that hurt, but that’s how growing up feels.” I looked back on my halcyon days of happiness and enthusiasm as if I had come out of a highly-publicised stupor and was very, very embarrassed indeed. Like I was so sorry for living out loud that I’d never do it again.
Of course, now I know that the Morning of Doom was a panic attack. Nonetheless, it stained my tiny soul, and left me feeling seriously empty and confused. And roughly sixteen years later, I still sometimes panic and cry at the very sight of the light of day, and I still can’t make steady sense of it even though I try and try and try. But now, my emptiness is my muse. I’ve found interesting things in my mind whenever I try to describe the abyss I sometimes inhabit. It’s not like I enjoy how any of it feels, but I often find myself looking back at these episodes quite philosophically and matter-of-factly and it’s very curious indeed.
But if it gets really bad, I’ll just remember “YOU’RE OK” scrawled in purple glitter-glue on my wee twiglet arm and I’ll give my inner child the comfort she would’ve liked on that sad day, because she really is OK right now.