Stories From Growing Up: Throwing Punches At Sickness

Where is the proof? How does the brain change?

I waited an entire year before I told them about my diagnosis. In retrospect, I should have made the decision last much longer. I wanted to have some sense of what my life would be like, some sort of resolution before I could open the door.

Prove it to me, tell me about academics and science. I am not a daughter, but a translator and educator. Tell me as I cry about how I am hurting that you need to know if this is even a “real thing.” I suppose it’s easier for me to tell you than for you to politely explore it yourself.

I am only your daughter if we can call this a matter of being too sensitive and absolve ourselves of its name. If we can pretend that all my turbulence is no different from what other people go through– what if this is just how it is at your age? 

Pull your head out of your ass.

Funny that my reality is unfounded, but is strategically useful.

Are you sure you can handle this? The token response when I do something unfavourable. The voice that tries to say that it can see my sickness, but what it means is that I have done something they disagree with.

Did you take your medication? The thing you abhor, unless you can use it to paint me as irrational. If I am upset with you, it is only manufactured.

As it turns out, you don’t need to believe anything. You just need to know how to manipulate the people that do.

031

Sighs into sighs,
cradled by mountains and lies
say we’re absolved by closing our eyes
but we’re still seeing the brights of the sky
still pleading for a break from responsibility,
from owning my iridescence

no, I never thought I peaked
but I thought I was better than this,
assuming that we’d both take the heat
no, I’m not better than this

I hate my caricature, this mess,
no rejoice when you think of me now
I was a quaking mess, I confess
now I’m your worst-case, at best

I hate to understand you
when I don’t want to,
hate that I split this,
and now I can’t fix this

I’m trying, holding steady
ridges like tightropes
toeing the line,
false eminence, I know,
I’m no better than this.

031

I rest my head on your shoulder
you take the picture and let me go
take the picture and I don’t know,
if it’s all the same to you,
I don’t want it this way

You light a cigarette
ducking under an umbrella
going out into the rain
I taste the smoke as you go,
if it’s all the same to you,
I’m a little over the burn

You sit on the edge of the room now
indentations in the middle cushion
where you used to be,
won’t retract, no welcome back,
if it’s all the same to you,
I think I’m gonna spread out now

I’d show up for you out of love,
ride the aisle seat so you can see
be a window ornament
while you sit on your phone,
If it’s all the same to you,
I think I should sleep.

smooth white, you find the walls
more interesting than my eyes,
your drink is a better walk
than a walk with me,
If it’s all the same to you
I think this is it.

022

I wanted to tell you
I’ll be late
or nowhere at all

to let you know I’ll be home
but please don’t check on me
I’m nowhere
at all

I wanted to tell you
I stand in a fog
there’s nothing
at all

I wanted to show you
my throat has cracked
I couldn’t speak,
not about that

I wanted to tell you
I’m sorry I stayed
don’t know how you could love me
not after that.