The day is an overstuffed beanbag chair being used as a pincushion. If I sit perfectly still once I wake up, things don’t hurt quite as much. I know that the danger, that pain is still there, but if I turn full-statue, if I close my eyes and hold my breath and will my blood to turn solid and declare a synapse ceasefire, I can pretend that I’m just fine. And that notion of being safe from whatever the day is going to bring—some stupid work task that I reflexively misconstrue as a personal insult, or maybe the foaming rage that accompanies the sight of a driver not making a complete stop at a four-way intersection, or the latest in my consistently expanding list of innocent mistakes that turn self-ascribed End Of The Worlds—is, of course a delusion. There’s no safety from any of that because that’s what everything is.
Then bad stuff happens. Some of it’s the result of my own doing and some of it isn’t, but discerning the proper ratio between the two is a fool’s math. What matters is that it all feels like my fault, and so when I actually do do something stupid or thoughtless or childish, it’s impossible to divorce from the things that have been done to me, and I find no resistance when blaming garbage people for living up to their rotten cores.
Because garbage people are gonna be garbage people and the only thing you can do is fight and wail and gnash your teeth against becoming one of them yourself. They’re going to fuck your best friend behind your back. They’re going to steal your mattress and lock their door behind them. They're going to take the bulbs from the lighting fixtures and cackle to themselves in an unlit mirror. They’re going to confuse your sensitivity for weakness, and that’s okay.
Because you are going to ignore your friend’s phone calls after you promised to help them move because you’ve somehow convinced yourself that you need a dog today and if you don’t get one your heart will simply burst like a hand grenade and its shrapnel will murder everyone close to you. And you’re going to drop the ball on a work project because you postponed it to the last minute and got so overwhelmed with the idea of dropping everything (isn’t so hard to drop everything when “everything” is “stuff you promised to do for other people”) that you get a panic attack just thinking about it.
Maybe you have a predisposition toward panic attacks. But maybe you’re using that panic attack as an excuse so that, when you inevitably send the verbose 4 AM apology email—and if you’re good at anything by now, it’s apologizing—you have something to call it, since “existential dread” and “a sense of darkness that seems to form itself into a frame around anything that anyone ever says to you, ever” aren’t very good subject lines. So you just do whatever shit you’re going to do because, by now, this is who you are.
But that’s over. I’m tired of surrendering to the worst parts of myself. I’m through with self-imposed Stockholm Syndrome, this anger and loathing and frothing, furious rage holding a gun to my happiness and daring me to flinch.
So let this hereby be my accountability statement:
I will not fail you again. And I will build skyscrapers to prove it.