Are you patient, are you kind?
I would like to be. Many times, I have just been frightened instead. Someone pauses to take a breath. "Hurry up and speak!" I want to scream. I write their sentences in my head. I see the impending ocean of non-existence coming, we only have so many seconds to have this conversation!
And I am only human. Sometimes I mistake flowers for a knife. Sometimes when a man opens his mouth and turns out to be a crocodile, I climb inside. How warm, how safe! When his fangs bite down into my shoulder and the trickle of blood runs down my ask, I ask, have I done something wrong?
I don't trust myself. That's the problem. That's why I've spent most of the last two years alone in a room, simultaneously asking myself why I'm such a fucking knuckle-head and then trying to soothe myself. It's okay, baby Autumn. It's okay my child. It's not your fault we're broken, but also, it kind of is.
Pop quiz: Are you terrified of the way that you involuntarily bite your lip when you're seized by the idea that something may not go the way that you planned, that death comes roaring in like a wave at midnight and you can't differentiate between non-existence and deep water, and it's in that shadow in the corner of your kitchen where you're suddenly aware that everything you don't know is surrounding you on all sides, gripping your spine, sucking up the spit that drips from your mouth agape at the fact that you are both the thing that is afraid, and the terror that is terrorizing you?
I don't even know what this Facebook post is supposed to be about really, I just opened up the page and started writing like I sometimes do, ceased by a crease in my stomach, a place where it aches as it begins to fold. Happens to the best of us sometimes.
I was out walking our dogs with Robert and I realized that ordinary people go out. Out into the world I mean. I look through Instagram stories and see people getting dressed up and I'm like, "Oh yeah, that used to be me." They go to restaurants, movies, concerts, theaters, friend's houses, parties, on a regular basis. They dress up in things that aren't just sweatpants, toeless socks, and Pikachu sweaters. I keep my hair colored partly to convince myself that I'm still human, that I have a reflection I can look into. Sometimes I'll put on a face full of makeup, with winged eyeliner and dark smoky eyes, like I'm going to the club, just to remind myself that I still can.
When I was surrounded by people all the time, I thought it would make things better. I thought it'd soothe my screaming mind. Instead it made it louder, and louder. I'd kiss the ugliest person in the bar, just because I hated myself. I'd let a boy slip his fingers up my skirt and the feeling was uncomfortable, but I wouldn't push him away. I was here to experience, after all! Isn't this what existing means? To drink whiskey until you puke, dance with strangers, take shots of things that taste terrible, fall in love with someone who has blue eyes and a tan line?
Why does it seem like everyone else is having fun? Why can't I have fun?
There has been more than a few times when I'd run out of a club into the night, heart beating, mouth frothing like a dog's. Afraid of - what?
But not just being.
Having to exist as a subjective consciousness, indentured to pain.
Trying to move in the flow and the cycle of everyone else in existence while keeping my eyes shut and my head down.
Wearing knee-high socks and saying, "am I a good girl, world?" looking up into the mouth of the cruel universe with a submissive smile.
When I fell in love with Robert, I unhooked myself from the cycle. From THAT particular cycle. We were on opposite sides of the country, but it was like the love uncurled me from the asinine, eternal ritual of trying to be something that I wasn't. I realized I didn't have to do that anymore, I didn't have to push so hard against the parts of myself I loathed, so I didn't. And when I loved him, I began to love me. I had to. He didn't live in that place I had been for so long.
I go out so rarely that I can see how my self-imposed isolation is affecting me on the occasions that I actually do hang out with someone. For one, I'm awake now. I've written about how I woke up so often, so I won't repeat it. Outside I move like crystallized honey. My eyes are agog at all the new shapes. While other people are complaining about slow lines and rude waiters, I'm staring at the mosaic tiles on the wall and thinking about how we evolved from apes just to create beautiful things.
It's hard to have a conversation with me now. All I want to talk about is how happiness is real. And when people ask me how that happened:
"I realized things exist!"
This should be obvious to me, but it isn't. I've spent a lifetime surrounding myself with books, and then people, to distract myself from things like gravity and the noise spoons make on wood.
Robert understands, he's been through this before. So he doesn't laugh at me when I point up at the power lines and tell him how they seem to hover in the air, slicing the sky in half.
Are you patient, are you kind?
Not yet. I'm working on it. I go inside instead of outside. I see the whorls on my toes and they're eerily similar to the patterns made in flowers. This seems very important somehow.
Every-time I feel uncomfortable, I lean into the feeling. I work out 3 hours a day sometimes because I've really begun to enjoy the burn. It means something good is happening.
I'm a loner weirdo, but for once in my life I'm excited every day to wake up. It was a feeling I chased for years, a feeling I only got when I had begun to write something and felt on the cusp of something wonderful. I explore internal structures now. It's where the answers I'm looking for are.
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