I thought when it occurred, it would be a landslide. Messy and muddy and deadly, but on a small enough scale that seconds after the event, I would be able to clamber over the wreckage, sacrifice the parts of me floundering in the emotional mud, and carry on as parts of me that I once loved fizzled out behind me – more casualties, more parts of me to mourn, with just enough of the rest of me left to function. But the tension behind the calm was greater than I imagined. The tiny events wearing me down were not rain drops soaking the mud and chalk of a far too porous soul – they were far bigger than that. Far hotter.
Magma swirled violently beneath the surface of the calm I had been so desperately waiting for. And when the tectonic plates of that calm finally buckled under the pressure of the things they sat on top of, impassable mountain ranges of emotion rose in my mind – bleak, unmoving walls of grey that had taken many lives before mine. Unmeasurable earthquakes tore through everything that was left, shattering the porcelain of what I now recognise as denial; an audible groan slipped through the canyons left behind, but it caught in my throat, evaporating in the heat of the magma that was now exposed, searing its way through my thoughts, charring and melting beautiful things I had been clinging onto. It felt like being winded.
Everywhere I turned there was no way out. And as I broke down, somehow people still called me strong. Deep down I had known I would buckle. But it wasn’t my health issues that pushed me to breaking (ok, so maybe going to the river I learned to sail on yesterday and watching people I knew race might have almost made me cry because I missed that part of me so much, but I’m not sure that is what caused this). Exam stress is at this point overwhelming me. My ability to screw up everyone and everything I come into contact with left me wallowing in guilt. Fraught family dynamics often cause emotional earthquakes. But this one, although anticipated, felt unjustified. I didn’t know where to turn. I didn’t know what to do. So I did what my friend had been trying to persuade me to do for days, and I messaged someone out of sheer desperation, someone who had at one point saved me from myself, but who it wasn’t fair of me to ask that from. There was no reply.
And now I wish there never had been. “Talk to this person and then me. Ok, in that case talk to this person or this person.” And all I read was don’t talk to me, you can come and see me, but this right here isn’t fair. And then what I realised was what an awkward situation I had put that person in. And I hated myself quite a lot actually. I threw myself head first into the magma in my mind, and it burned me alive. I sat the ashes down in front of my revision, but they couldn’t focus any more, and the insane exam panic was too intense to actually allow any studying (ironic).
I just wanted someone to be there, I really don’t care who. I wanted someone to stamp out the forest fires in my brain before nothing is left to save. I wanted someone to even pretend to care. Instead, the one person I could always talk to completely unintentionally made sure that I will never speak to another ‘proper’ adult again. Suzanne Collins wrote (I think, this quote has multiple versions according to the internet) “you never forget the face of the person who was your last hope”. And it’s all gone. It’s all gone. This is exactly what I said I was scared of when we first met. It’s what I was promised wouldn’t happen. It’s what always happens. It is inevitable. People change. Maybe I force them to.
Before they blew away, I sat the ashes of myself down in front of this laptop, and I wrote this blog post. My new heart tablets aren’t working. I should stress about that. Maybe I am. Maybe my exam stress is 50% health stress in disguise. Everything else has burned out, but a flame of fear still roars. Fear of failing. Fear of the mess I’ve made. Fear that this little pile of ash is going to fall through the cracks, and that the person it once was will be impossible to find.
Fact: I am so incredibly lucky. I am also such a screw up. I am so, so fragile right now. I freak out when people care and then I’m wounded when they stop, even though in reality I don’t think they ever do. It will change. Initially, it left me seeking death’s company, then waiting with open arms for his embrace. Then I realised that I don’t have the energy to fight him again (still talking about death here). And I accepted that if he is coming for me, there is nowhere left to run (I literally can’t). That final meeting is inevitable too. And strangely, today, that is my only comfort. I cannot do this on my own. I am surrounded by people on the outside of this wall that I put up, and the one person who understood me and could break it down… Just added five more layers of brick, a deadbolt, spikes, guard dogs and bullet proofing.
“I could use a break… I need you to take all my shadows for a walk tonight.” – Eliphant, Down On Life
Alternatively, I just need somebody who ‘gets it’.