When you live after, life becomes about the reason why.
You spend your life looking for inspiration wherever you can get it. People, places, things…everywhere but within yourself. And you fail to find it, most of the time. You are stuck as you try to wallow through the muck that is it, no matter how far it is in the past.
It being what happened to you.
Life is completely overwhelming some days. I spend a lot of time running. The Zamboni man and I have a standing date wherein he slams against the wall outside of my writing class and I jump. This happens every day around 3:45, right after our class begins. And in the psychology section I am a TA for, I sit in the front. I hate it, because I have no idea what’s going on behind me. In my literature class, I am inferior. I can’t properly formulate a thought to save my life. I am fighting a losing battle. I’m allowing for my own erasure.
I want to know the reason why. But it can’t be articulated.
No amount of time and space can fix it.
Not only am I allowing for my own erasure, I am accelerating it. I have found a spot to hide, on the top floor of the library in the middle of the stacks. The area is so underpopulated that the lights operate via motion sensor. There is one chair in the corner that allows me a command view of the entire area. I spend so much time there that I should label it mine. And the fact that I am there now means that I am missing my TA section, but I am lost. I want to quit. I am doing everything in my power to get someone else to make that decision for me, but they won’t do it. The people around me refuse to let me go.
My advisor tells me to not expect myself to be superhuman, to try and gravitate to those who will understand me better. She tells me to take the time I need to figure out my future rather than running towards a void. I try to decipher what this means. I assume it means I need to make my own decisions. But I feel like I have made all of the wrong ones; perhaps this is the reason why. I wish she would tell me what to do, but I also know that the reason I like her so much is because she won’t. She wants me to understand that the choices I make belong to me and nobody else. That’s an important part of recovery, making my own choices. She seems to really understand that.
My curse is that I remember everything. I remember, but I can’t discuss it. This influences my choices. It invalidates them before they even occur. But for now, this choice, this chair, is mine. I have made the decision to run away. Rather than sit idle, I use my time of escape to advance even farther ahead on homework. Maybe the reason why is to force me to do better.
Even though I did just fine before.
The email from the professor who leads my TA section comes within minutes of the section being over. You weren’t in class today. Not like you. Is everything okay? It’s from her personal address to mine—that’s our system, when we want to discuss the personal matters of life, we use our personal email accounts. I hit reply, but the empty cursor hangs in the window as it lacks the proper words to fill it. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to tell her I am losing my mind. I am doing too much; I am trying too hard. I close the draft without finishing it.
As I stare out the window, I see the people three stories below wandering across the lawn. They look like ants from up here. They keep moving, but I am standing still. I can’t move forward; I want to know the reason why, because I have an obsessive need to validate my experience. It can’t have just happened. None of this could have just happened. There must be something. I have erected a wall between myself and the rest of the world. They wouldn’t understand; their ignorance comprises the wall. In the immediate after, they explain everything to you, step by step. This will happen now, and then this, and then this, and then this.
Snap. Take a picture.
And people don’t know. They’ll never know.
I stare at the grass below.
When it happens, it takes away a woman’s voice. Not in the physical sense, but in the mental sense. It’s common. She fails to connect in the aftermath. She doesn’t know how to tell people, because she has been burned by telling. It is easier to keep silent than to risk that again. Easier, and safer. She can keep silent forever, and she has. But it spirals; it explodes. She becomes less likely to talk in day to day interaction. She is doubly-less likely to share her secrets. She is scared; she doesn’t want to get hurt again. There is a divide between those who know and those who don’t; those who know number much smaller than those who do. Everything and everyone else seems trivial.
She becomes broken.
Am I broken?
Maybe that’s the reason why. Perhaps we have to be broken before we can become whole again.