I was watching this movie the other night, or maybe it was a show. It doesn’t matter, either way I can’t remember the title, the plot, the names or faces of any of the characters. But I remember the lyrics to this song played over a scene that sent tears dripping down my cheeks. I still feel them like warm milk down my skin. I still remember the way they tasted when they hit my lips. Salty. Sweet. Lonely.
I’ve heard them before in Amy Winehouse’s voice and in Ella Fitzgerald’s. Somewhere, in some dim room, on some stereo, I swear I’ve heard a rendition by Sinatra.
With the words “Oh how I need someone to watch over me” I just lost it. Not because this woman was longing for a lost love, whether it was one she knew or hoped to one day find, not because this is the kind I’ve never had and that I will always want, but because I felt as alone as a little lamb lost in the wood.
I never thought I’d be here. Certainly not as a too-bright-for-her-age little girl, or as a promising teenager who excelled at everything, not even as a young woman desirable to many. I never thought I’d be so lost, so apathetic, so empty of the things that once made me beautiful. It feels as if I lost all my magic somewhere along the way and the only things left are the things that make me ugly and so very afraid of myself.
I’m almost a couple weeks shy of 30 and I never thought I’d be here. Still fighting to feel normal, to feel happy, to hang on to joy the moments I have it, even if it leaves me crawling into the night with only shreds of it left in my hands. It’s still something to curl into late in the dark.
Sometimes I find myself on my bedroom floor. Fetal position. There’s something about it that feels comforting and that makes everything feel so still. On really bad days, I end up spending the whole night there. Sometimes I fall asleep that way. Sometimes I end up staring at my fingers in the dark pulling up threads from the carpet for hours.
Sometimes I hide in closets, shut the door, find solace in darkness, as if hiding meant this life was happening to someone else.
There’s this little thing I do where I fill up a scorching bath, welcome the burn on my skin, slip underneath the water and tune out the world. I always wonder, is this what peace feels like?
I never imagined my heart would be this heavy.
I never imagined I wouldn’t have things figured out by now, either. That I’d be realizing my dream too late, so deathly afraid I’ve wasted so much time without it, that I’ll never actually be living it. That I’d be stuck in a life that didn’t feel like mine. I never imagined I wouldn’t know where I was supposed to be, supposed to go, that I would be asking myself where it all went wrong, wondering how it is that I’m living a life where I feel like a zombie most days.
I never thought I’d feel so adrift.
I never thought I’d be so lonely. I don’t mind being alone, I enjoy my solitude most days, it’s the utter loneliness and the knowing there’s no one I can turn to for comfort that kills me. Some days, all I need is to be held. Is it so bad for me to want someone to hold my hand? I thought by now I would have found someone who would do anything for me. Someone who would love me with and without all that magic. Someone who would know me and would still want to keep knowing me. Someone who’d crack open my ribs, take a walk in my wilderness, and want to stay lost there forever. Someone who’d see all the things I don’t like about myself and still be able to look me in the eye and call me beautiful.
I lost my beauty somewhere along the way. Spilled it out on my way to here.
I bled it out with a nasty little habit, holding a single-edge razor blade to my hip in my right hand. I starved it, overworked it, exhausted it, trying to have someone else’s body. It leaked out the cracks of my heart each time I forgave someone I shouldn’t have. It left me each time I stayed in a situation I should have walked away from.
It was stripped from me by the men who took what wasn’t theirs. It was beaten out of me by a man who liked to give me little presents wrapped in purple shades. It was scooped out of me by a man I loved who didn’t know how to do anything for me except take. It was lost in a man who called me beautiful and said he loved me, but could never walk down the street with me in the light of day. I let men lick it off my neck mixed into the $165 perfume that wasn’t worthy of them.
It evaporated into the silence each time I didn’t ask for help. It died just a little each time I lied and said I was okay.
I dropped little pieces of it everywhere.
Here I am, remembering a song I can’t even fully remember, and crying a little again. I just don’t want to feel so alone anymore. I keep thinking about being touched by the hands of someone who doesn’t just look at me, but sees me. How I’m sure I never have been seen by anyone who has laid a hand on my body.
I have no right to complain, no room for self-pity, I do this to myself. Find comfort in things that hurt. The truth is, maybe no one sees me because I am too damned skilled at hiding. It is far too lonely here. This is a place I want to learn how to leave.
Would it be so bad to have something hopeful and full of promise to keep me warm while I’m finding my way to shore? Would it be so bad to remember what it’s like to feel worthy? Would it be so bad for me to let myself be happy again?
I feel so empty some days, so devoid of the things that made me who I was, but even on those days it still feels like I have so much in me to give. I have so much left to recover, so much healing to do, but I look at him, I think of him, and feel like I could give him everything. I do want to give so much to him. It makes me wonder if I’m not as empty as I thought.
He looks at me, he speaks to me, and what I feel is a little bit of that magic entering my body again. I feel myself becoming reunited with some of that beauty I lost. I want to strip away each layer and let him see even all the things I’m afraid of and loathe about myself. That’s how he makes me feel. Like he’s someone I can let see me. Like he would just get it.
Would that be so bad?
No one is going to save me, I know I have to do that myself, but I don’t want him to stop looking at me that way and I don’t want to let go of his hand while I get there.
Is it crazy to think I may have found a good thing? Is it crazy to want to let myself have it?