The Freedom of Coming Home

There’s a moment when you come home and you undress out of whatever clothes you wore to be out in public. It feels like you’re shedding skin. Tearing away all the little bits of day that accumulated. Whether it was a good day or a bad day, you take it all off. You put on comfy clothes and you are in a safe place. You can feel the weight of the day lifting off of your shoulders and you become clean, new, in control.

I love that feeling.

I think that’s why I love being home so much. I’m free. I can be myself. I don’t have to put on a face anymore. I don’t have to pretend like everything is okay. If I want to throw things and cry uncontrollably, I can. If I want binge watch Mr. Robot while eating a family size bag of chips, I can. I am free. Of course sometimes the outside world leaks through the cracks. You start to think about your responsibilities. You start to think about your job, your friends, whatever drama is going on whether it involves you or it doesn’t, you start to think about your future, you start to think about your past. It does come through. Sliding in right before you close the front door. It hides in the corners as you be disgusting stuffing your face with junk food or mindlessly playing video games. It sometimes emerges and taps you on the shoulder. You try to shake it but sometimes you can’t.

But within these walls, you are safe to be whoever you want to be.

Honestly after an entire day of pretending to be happy when you’re dying inside, coming home to the four walls that surround you, hidden from the world, no longer pretending. You lay out all of your mistakes and shortcomings, your flaws and your insecurities. You set them free. You lay them out on the table, sort through them a little, watch them roll around in front of you. It doesn’t matter though. You can display all of these things and it won’t matter. No one is watching. No one can see. You are free.

I am free.

Sure, you’ll wake up tomorrow and have to do it all over again, smile when you don’t want to, laugh when things aren’t funny, put your mask back on, and say “I’m fine” when someone asks how you are doing. Sure, there are days when you are truly happy and having a great day and sure, there are days when everything is falling apart but you can’t show it. Sure, it becomes an endless cycle of redundancy. Sure.

But that moment when I am home, when I do shed all of the shit from the day, I remind myself that regardless of whatever is happening, in that moment, I am free.

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From Time to Time

The feeling of inadequacy has been a reoccurring theme in my life.

It digs its nails into my skin until it draws blood. It haunts me at night, whispering mindless nonsense into my ears. It crawls into bed with me and makes itself comfortable within my bones. It buries its head in my bosom and asks for one more bedtime story. It wakes me in the middle of the night, shaking me awake, leaving me restless and worn out.

The constant feeling of never being enough taps on my window sills like rain in the middle of a storm. It becomes routine. I now live in a constant state of questioning whether I’m doing the right thing or not, a constant state of wondering if I’m a failure, if I’m even worth anyone’s time.

Every critique of my character becomes categorized in a library of passing comments I’ve created inside my mind.

Every mistake I’ve made neatly piles up in the corner of my room, filling up the walls and towering over me as I sleep. I am only awoken by the crumbling reminders that fell on top of me in the middle of the night.

I lay awake at night, staring at the ceiling, until my eyes adjust to the darkness and I see the shadows of my insecurities drifting about my room, dancing between the piles of my mistakes, swaying to the sound of the tapping on the windows, steadily moving to the beat of my weary heart.

It’s a heavy and draining life to live. It’s exhausting and after a while, I lose little bits of hope as it falls off of me like the deteriorating paint job on the walls of abandoned houses.

But from time to time, I will take up the paint brush and paint over the broken pieces. I’ll put on several coats until you can no longer see the concrete.

From time to time, I’ll wake up to the dancing of my mistakes and insecurities and I’ll learn to lead. I’ll take them all by the waist and create my own beat.

From time to time, I’ll clear my room, I’ll dust the corners and I’ll neatly categorize all of my faults into shelves of past tense.

From time to time, I refuse to tell them another bedtime story, I bandage my wounds, and I hold them close to my heart and soothe them to sleep.

From time to time, I become better than my own thoughts. I tell myself that I will not take anymore of this and I learn to smooth out the wrinkles of my own heart.

From time to time, I use these as reminders that I’m still worth living.

Fragile Hands

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 5.37.20 PM
Of course the world seems a little darker.
The rain falls a little harder
And time moves a little slower.

You have days when all you want to do is lay in your bed, drowning in your own thoughts. Sometimes your thoughts are so loud that you can’t hear the world around you. The world becomes a daunting task and you feel utterly alone.

These days crawl by, one after another, reminding you that you have so much to do but you can’t bring yourself to do any of them. You feel stuck and it scares you. You become weak and fragile like that good china that your mother only uses for “special occasions.” You shake at the touch of the wind and you can’t bear the sunlight in your eyes. Everything stops making sense and your heart withers away at your sleeve.

People don’t think that you are capable of love but that’s not true, is it? Your problem is that you fall in love way too easily. You fall in love with everything and everyone. You lock eyes in the streets and you imagine your lives together, intertwined within each other’s arms, you imagine futures together and you can’t shake it.
You fall in love with the sky, the way that it burns a bright blue and dulls into that orange that makes you think of famous artists that you can’t name from the top of your head.
You fall in love with the night, the darkness covering you like a cozy blanket, tucking you in and whispering words like dissolving stars.
You fall in love with the world, as it slowly tears away at your skin and erodes your bones. You give it second chances because you tell yourself that you’re in love.
You love so much but you never have enough for yourself. You hope that one day you’ll have some left over at the end of the day for yourself but day after day you come up empty.
With dark bags under your eyes, strained from the weight that you carry from all that love that you keep giving, you fall asleep, telling yourself that you’ll try again tomorrow.

You love so easily and that’s why you’re so weak. Love takes so much vulnerability. You strip down to your bare bones and you expose your heart to anyone who asks. You forgot that half assed wall you built yourself when you were 16 and you promised that no one would hurt you again. You hide behind pillow forts and under cardboard shelters while in the midst of violent warfare.
You care too much and you love with such fragile hands. Callous and numb, you keep reaching out for a love that was never returned to you. You keep searching and you become exhausted.

So of course the world seems a little darker.
The rain falls a little harder
And time moves a little slower.

-jl

The Settling

“I can’t do this anymore,” she spoke softly but firmly, “I just can’t.”

She drowned her face into her hands and her body moved with her breathing. Her voice was filled with disappointment and a tinge of shame. She felt everything and it hurt her. She didn’t just give her heart, she gave her soul, her body, her everything. She started to numb herself, she spent her days into neutral. She always ended up feeling empty and hollow. She entered love like a sin and flogged herself with the pain of self-questioning, leaving her bruised but hallowed.

She breathed into the air, hoping for an answer from a silent god. She felt the world seeping into her skin and onto her bones. She twisted and turned her soul like an old Rubik’s cube in hopes of fitting into the colors of the spaces around her. She couldn’t do it. She never really could get it right. She thrusted her chest out and threw her head back in a desperate attempted to feel something. She let it all in. The anger, the pain, the sadness, the memories, and finally the calm.

“I can’t do this anymore,” she spoke weakly with determination, “I don’t want to.”

-jl