Throw Back Thursday: Just Fine

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Oh, younger version of myself, you make my heart hurt!!

I wrote this poem 8 years ago.
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November 20th, 2008

When you can’t say how you feel
Or why you feel the way you feel
Because you don’t know how you feel
Does that make you numb?

Does a lack of definition mean you’ve ceased to exist?

Are you simply floating away bumping into people you used to know who are no longer the people you used to know?

Are you continuing your conversations with the bricks in an uncaring wall?

When people ask you how you are then just want validation of their own existence, they want those 5 little words, “fine, thanks, how are you?” the way they want pre-shrunk cotton on their beds and trash day to always come on Thursdays.

When he asks you and he really wants to know
You stop thinking
The world becomes clearer and your inner self hides
You focus on the lighting in the room, the way your toes can feel the sheets, wrinkling under your feet
Your emotions become color blotches like in a color blind test– is that an “8”? Or the word “orange”?

Muddled, your brain frustrates your mouth
You feel like a box of oranges, like a cold glass bottle, like sprite left out overnight– it’s lost its bubbles, like a tree with no leaves

You feel powerless, scared, uncertain, crazy, like you might start crying if you stop smiling, like it’s all your fault, like he might stop wanting to touch you, like he might not want you in his room, like he wants something more, like it will all melt, like you’re a little girl, like you hate him when he looks at younger girls, like you love the way he holds you, like it might not be enough, like if you let him get your emotions, you’ll fall apart when he leaves and takes them with him, you’ll feel all these things.

And you want to be a suitcase, you want to be a kiss, you want to be the way he feels when he opens a new book and smells the paper, you are afraid to be extraneous, you’re afraid of water in movies, afraid of the end of the world, of suffocation, afraid of the feeling you get when things become comfortable and unspoken instead of when things are passionate and words are poured like honey all over the body of the beloved; you are afraid of the time when touching ceases and people get left alone in dark rooms and move to bigger beds so they can say this side is mine, you stay over there when they used to wake up sweaty and tangled and you are afraid of not being wanted.

You’re afraid that he gets up in the middle of the night because there’s something better out there for him and he’s still searching for it, you’re afraid that you don’t know how to become someone worth sticking around for.

You feel broken and invisible and like a favorite pair of pants that’s getting too small.

Opening your mouth in answer, you smile and say,
Nothing. I’m fine.

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