The office cubicle made her heart hurt. The closed in walls, the empty white paint, shadowed in cheap and fluorescent hues. Nine to five never seemed as pitiful as it did today, sitting, staring, dying.
The doctors had said she had a few months left. She rarely put stock into what they said. Her whole life the doctors had been saying she’d inevitably die; it’s the curse of a genetic anomaly. And, year after year, she survived. She didn’t worry, she didn’t pray, she just was, and she continued to exist.
Even as a young child, her parents had agreed to medical testing to understand her condition. It would help the next child diagnosed similarly, they said. Sleep deprivation and bodily scarring couldn’t even prove them right (or wrong as the case might be) since the end result was inconclusive.
They were the worried ones, they were the ones praying, and they were the ones losing sleep over her unavoidable demise. Her case was one for the books, one for the medical journals and science conventions.
Usually, none of this bothered her, but today she turned 30, and she’d had enough of all this shit. The confining walls, the unnatural light, and all the stupid people telling her she had some stupid disease that would confine and control her yet further. After all, what was life if not the very act of living, and she couldn’t very well do that here.
She left everything on her desk. She didn’t take her purse, she didn’t even take her car keys. She just left. She’d had enough of this inane and controlled society where everyone pretended they knew what was best, but where no one really had a clue any more than the next person.
When questioned by the police later that day, no one could remember seeing her in the office. “She sort of just comes and goes,” someone said. Another, “she does her work and goes home; doesn’t bother anyone much.”
Statements were taken, her computer was shut down, and the office doors were locked for the night. Of course there were whispers, “She was crazy,” and, “Well, didn’t you know she was sick?”
During the following weeks, heads would pop up whenever a courier arrived or an unfamiliar woman walked down the hallway. Just in case. But, of course it wouldn’t be her. She was long gone-never coming back. But people don’t like mystery. Not really. The unease of it. Not being able to make the pieces fit tastes too metallic in the mouth-like blood, like a wound that won’t heal.
If she could lose control like that, what was stopping them from unraveling, too? That’s the root of the fear, the root of the mystery. The feel of teeth on flesh, biting, until the slow trickle starts. Because, at that point, isn’t it already too late?
Soundly sleeping underneath the waves
While she is guarded from above.
What dreams come
To she so sweet,
Covered with moss and ivy?
Kidnappings and skirmishes,
Love and loss,
Or is she surrounded with a nothingness-
A blank canvas,
Content to just be,
Engulfed in the water
That has always held her tight?
I want you.
How do you know someone, if not through their words?
And I know your words.
They speak to me each time I read a story or poem or essay.
Does it matter where you are from?
Or what you look like?
If you move me, isn’t that enough?
And yet, I desire more.
I imagine your touch-how your fingers would feel across my skin
Or how deep your voice might sound as you spoke my name.
A single word with you carries a thousand meanings,
And I must understand every single one
So I know you
All this subtext between us
Creates a fire in my heart and
I fear I will shatter with this aching.
To see you, to have you,
If you let me
I would take you up in my arms and never let you go.
Too much time has passed to save her.
All that’s left is a hollow
Right here in my chest.
I miss her – the fun we used to have –
The realness & fullness between us –
Ripe, like summer fruit.
The juice drips as I take a bite
And taste the flavor – remembering her.
All that’s left is an image of a scared
Girl in a box, trapped – cowering down as
The walls move inward to flatten her
New world. I can’t reach her, try as I might
To lift her out – to tell her (convince her) none
Of it matters – it’s not real. But I can’t get
To her. The walls are too thick – she
Can’t hear me above her own pain.
Fifteen years is a long time to wait to wake up.
The scariest part is I think she may
Still be asleep, not realizing she’s not a
Scared kid anymore &
The four walls of high school are
Never coming back.
I am a writer. I am brave. I am beautiful. I am scared. I am not fearless. Anyone who says so is a liar. The first step towards growth is admitting there is fear, admitting you are scared. But I can stay here, in this fear, or I can step forward. I may drag fear with me-the path out could be longer than I’d like to imagine, but at least I’d be moving forward and not dismally backwards, or tragically stagnant.
People are scared. They are scared shitless. WE can make this for something. We can create good from this. Give it back. Give all of it back. All the fear you feel, all the bravery you’ve known, all the love that creates, take that up inside you and pour it back out. So people know they are not alone.
Sharing can be scary.
The boy waddled over to his friend on the playground, a half-eaten animal cracker in his hand. He smiled awkwardly at the other child who had his hands full of sand from the sandbox.
The sand monster looked up from his castle, eyeing the half cracker and licking his lips.
The first boy turned back to make sure his mother was nearby and then reached out a slobbery hand, “Wanna a cracker?”
The waiting was intense. He had never felt his breath catch so easily before, and the growing thud in his chest was a new sensation.
The sand monster dropped his sand, “Sure.” He tentatively took the soggy cracker and popped it into his mouth.
“Wanna help me build a castle?”
From our very first attempt at sharing to our thousandth attempt, fear comes with the territory. There is the fear of rejection (obviously), the fear of not getting it right, the fear of too little too late (holding back only to regret it later), just to mention a few. These thoughts are all legitimate. Each of those could happen. We could be rejected, we could try to produce a result and just plain fail at our intent, and we could give 10% towards a task instead of 100% and then regret our “one foot in, one foot out,” mentality later.
Let’s be honest; all of us will try and fail; all of us will face rejection, and all of us will scold ourselves for not giving our all. But we will also learn from ourselves. We will learn that if we let fear control our thoughts and actions, we aren’t really living. We will learn that the feeling of fear will dissipate with practice and time. We will learn that we bind ourselves more than anyone else does, and it’s up to us to decide what to do next.
I’ve decided to believe in my voice through writing. I’ve decided to share parts of myself that I’ve not shared before.
Now it’s your turn. Please let me know what fear has been holding you back and your plan on turning that fear around. Let me know what you’re choosing to share.