Sometimes girl of the First, when I catch a glimpse of you
in the mirrors at angles or in the scraps you’ve left behind,
I become convinced that I’m doing better.
I see you, in a moment of red faced sadness,
breathless from taking things too literally,
red eyed and pink from the constant six am to midnight days.
I’m better than that, I begin to think and then
I wake up on mornings like this one, aware of my own uselessness,
itchy with guilt and pulling at my hair as the impending sinks
down on me and I have no idea how I’m going to survive this.
So let’s go back two years, to see the girl of the First.
It’s March Two Thousand and Sixteen, and I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but
Every morning, I wake up and tell myself to seize the day, and every evening, I’m still where I started: happiest when daydreaming, worst when living.
It’s like looking up and expecting to see someone else but meeting your own eyes.
Except, do we really know our own eyes? Possibly not.
It’s like looking up and seeing my self, but off kilter slightly.
Seize the day? Now we just accept the flatness.
So I’m trying to write this out, as if it will help.
To write from the heart, or straight from the mind, as they say, but my fingertips and the realm of feelings don’t always connect.
Except they must do, you see, because thirty thousand, three hundred and seventy six words later, you are still writing it out, as if it will help.
But here it is, How I Feel:
It’s an itching beneath my skin,
one I can’t scratch unless
I peel my skin off first and claw at veins,
but never mind that. You can adjust yourself
to this terrible tingling that plagues your limbs,
but you can’t get over the very real moments
of looking in the mirror and ruining all the skin
on you body, not for some deep or dark reason,
but just because.
It’s a pain in the chest, that doesn’t lift.
It’s called anxiety, or maybe guilt-ridden happiness.
It’s a restless sleep, half awake, half not. (What?)
It feels disgusting, like I’m tangled, mangled up inside.
It all feels disconnected. (Like this Is Not Real)
Like the wires to reality have been severed.
It’s like that cool suspension between believing yourself
to be the Worst Person In The Whole World Ever
and also so completely out of this world, that you don’t even belong in it.
It’s the Big Cliche.
What can I do to make my feelings original?
What can I do to make my feelings a little less self-referential?
Nothing. We’re in a mirror maze of our self, remember?
So I’m just smiling on the outside, to make it up to you,
to pretend, again, but I hold two conversations
simultaneously, one in my head
and another with you.
(Yes, today’s been alright)
(I wish I could **** myself)
(it’s been fairly good| I wish I wasn’t here anymore)
(and we’re back to back, and you’re resting against my shoulder blades
or your fingers are digging into my collar bones,
and you’re resting your mouth against my ear to spit in it.
I’m just trying to have a normal conversation,
but you’re leaning against my arm, murmuring, I wish I was dead)
(I know, I say, I know, I know, I know)
It feels like I can’t move.
But I do and I don’t want to.
There’s a world out there,
(a whole ocean)
but I’d rather be in my head (on the shore) but maybe it’s that which makes it all worse and yet going out makes me feel more useless.
There’s just nowhere that I want to be. My own head, my own daydreams are boring.
My room, my house, my safe haven, have become spaces I want to run away from.
But where to? There’s nowhere in this whole stupid wide world that I want to be.
Look, how I’ve descended into whines and plain language. I guess I’m just not poetic enough to make feelings look pretty, but then some feelings can’t be made pretty.
They can be made quotable to the point where we are all metaphorical.
Writing it out, making it unreal, as if it will help.
The problem is
is that the problem doesn’t go away.
It’s the inevitable vagueness. The only solution is the end of everything.
It won’t get better because I keep scratching at it.
I’ve been making my own monsters (read, problems) for years.
It’s out of my control because it will inevitably happen.
It is. It is. It does.
That double is. It’s ugly. But how do I operate on language and make it work my way? What can line breaks do? Surely, that makes it poetry?
Experimental, at best. But we’re useless remember, girl of First year?
What does it matter anymore? Nothing matters.
We’re never going to make it, so why worry about it being interesting anyway?
But these are excuses, everyone else’s and mine too. Just stop worrying, as soon as you get on with it,
it will be over. And now it is and you’re making four out of three
because now it’s the end, you don’t want to leave.
Smile, it might never happen.
(It has.) (It will.)
Smile, sometimes faking it does help.
If you can forget your sadness,
if you can dress it up,
sometimes you can delude yourself enough
to create pockets of time in which things might be
maybe, maybe, maybe, okay!
(I’m not making any promises though)
Yet here is the Problem, the Contradiction:
I don’t know what I really want out of this.
It’s wandering aimlessly, looking for approval and appreciation that I can’t take when it’s given. It’s walking in circles to make time pass, it’s rewriting old poetry, to make time pass, it’s doing anything, to make time pass.
There’s nothing you want out of this.
(Sometimes, things can just be important in and of themselves,
but in this case, I mean you can’t make your dreams a reality
because you have no dreams)
Everything feels tacky, (Everything feels bad)
life’s like a gift shop.
It only looked good when I was seven.
(It’s like being crowded, when nobody’s near)
Just don’t touch me, don’t talk to me,
and I’ll write bad poetry in the library
because I’m so lonely and
the library of first year is a
cold, damp space in your mind.
They build a new one and it’s
one of those spaces you can
convince yourself you are useful in.
Just don’t talk to me,
I’m so dull, but god, am I so lonely.
Life’s just a game of making time
pass in a cold, empty library,
crying into the books because
it’s too dark to read the words.
I’m making monsters from all the bad I can find.
I’m running from the things I’ve made with my own hands.
(Can you guess what I mean?)
(I bet you can.)
(And if you can’t now, you will do later)
(Frankenstein, over and over again.)
(At least I’ve stopped trying to be Victor)
(I’d rather be Ginevra, and maybe that’s worse)
I’ve used all these images before and I’ll use them again,
(And these are just the images I’ve described so many times before –
somewhere between the First and Third, we’ve decided to start rewriting our self)
but they’re the ones that stick like worn out phrases in conversations.
Dead metaphors (of me,)
and I’m itching
like mosquitoes have landed beneath my skin and are eating me alive.
I stand in the now, quoting myself. I know, I say, here’s the mirror box.
I’m making my own dead metaphors and my own personal clichés and
at what point did I get so tangled in myself? I have no idea how to survive
the world, so I make a labyrinth of my own poetry.
The girl of the First pulled this all together from scraps and notes.
She kind of experimented with this by writing at different times, in different moods, inserting new bits in and laughing at the reflection of herself, because what’s better than a nice a bit of self-depreciation to soothe all the guilt?
It’s not her best work, but she just needed to get back into writing poetry,
and to get back at herself.
I’m just so torn between wishing (today) was over or hoping it will stay to put off tomorrow.
I’m just so caught between wanting to end it all and wanting to survive it.
I’m just so torn between wanting time to pass and wanting time to stop.
I’m craving the shore again, but I’m desperate for (desperately afraid of) new places
Just go with it, I try to tell myself, let it happen, but the only thing that’s coming is the dark, vague inevitable and I think I’d rather run back into the mirror maze and back into myself.
Girl of the First, sometimes I think I’m doing better,
but at other times I think you were right.
It only gets worse.