A story is calling me. A story I can't see. This story, its wings are broken and its lips are cracked. The words that come out. The words that come out. They come out all screwed and skewed. I didn't want to say it like that. I didn't want you to see that all, all the confusion. I scratch it out. I scratch.
Write something, the voice underneath my skin says. The voice behind my eyeballs thinks. I get distracted: I need to lose weight, I need to stop smoking an occasional cigarette. I need to eat this; I need to stop eating that. I need. I need. I need.
All this worry. All this worry of being too different, of being to new. I try to put this world together in a language you'll understand. It's no use to me. It's no use to you what I write. The words will get chosen like girls at a dance. They'll be used and it will be cruel.
When I was younger, under 10, I'd copy children's stories on fresh paper. I'd give the characters new names. I'd change the title of the story and make it happen my way. I had no editors then, I had no Twitter accounts or Facebook posts. I had no deadlines or criticism. I just had myself and my magic markers: the green ones, the scented ones. I had colored pencils and crayons and oversized cardboard my mom got at Michael's.
I loved those markers. I loved how they smelled. The tips rested under my nose and I breathed in cherry or vanilla. Sometimes I'd use both at once, in one hand, and make cherry-vanilla strokes on the page. Today. Today. Today. No markers. No smells. Just screens and promotions and shortened links. Just vying for the attention of someone, anyone. And the attention doesn't matter. Ever. Not in this marathon.
I want to want what I love. I want it to fill me every day. I write to spell it all out: love, love, love. I collect the vowels and the homonyms. I scatter them over the white static monitor. Words look like glitter now; commas like pelicans dipping their heads in the salty ocean.
I'm more tired than I was yesterday. I'm more tired than I was last week. Even now, as I type this I want to connect with myself more than I do anyone else. The self is the most mysterious. It's been left unsolved for years. It's been left at the corner of pages in the Letters of St. Augustine to Descartes and even Montaigne.
Each day becomes a question: Can I do this? Each day, a conversation about how I'm going to do this, about how I'm going to smile and feel it for certain; for certain I need to know my own smile. Asking this question is not me giving up. Asking this question is me giving into my innate desire to know more about myself than I did a year ago.
How can I become closer to me? How can I tell you, dear reader? How can I capture the emotion for you? Maybe you tell me? But only if you know. Only if you're brave enough to say how you feel. Only if you mean it. Say it. Say it to yourself.
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