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CHAPTER ONE: THIRTEEN YEARS

* * *

 

Her voice haunts me. The shrillness of it sneaks up on me when I am least prepared driving me into a pit of self loathing, leaving me alone shivering and less. Her words slice deep into my flesh and lodge themselves in the precious parts of my being. Only she can affect me this way. We are one her and I. She is me, and I am her. Everything I am is wrapped up in everything she says. The insults she slings as I stare deep into her eyes the disgust dripping from my face in icy tears against my hot face. There is no escape. I try to quiet her but her will to be heard only grows, her attacks become more vicious. I am enveloped in her hatred. Her slander spews from my mouth like bile devouring the outside world of pain which I am not a part of. She is my saviour.

I don’t know when I met her, but my need for her was strong. I needed to escape. I needed to be safe. She offered me refuge deep inside of myself where they couldn’t touch me, where they could not hurt me. When I couldn’t cope, she was strong. She was always there with her bitter harsh reality, my only defence against all that I wasn’t, all that I could never be. I would crumble, and she would be there, her bitterness holding me up while I was too weak to be anything else. She was the only thing for me. She was the closest thing to feeling, to connectedness that I would ever have. I would never have better. I was not meant for better.

* * *

 

I’ve always felt like stopping, like folding inward upon myself until I cease to exist. I’ve thought often about disappearing, of finding a place to curl up and rest while the world simply passes me by, only to reappear when everything is good again, when everything is fixed. I’ve been consumed by this endless longing for quiet, for sleep, for rest that has seemed to evade me at every turn. I don’t want to feel anymore. I don’t want to be stuck inside myself looking out into a world I don’t belong to, a world made for people much greater than myself. Here is a place for those with strength to carry on. Me, I have crumbled at the tiniest of disappointments. I am not strong, I will never be great.

* * *

 

Life has never been something I have been a part of. Instead of partaking in my life, it always just happened to me. Life rushed passed me without me processing any of it, without me feeling anything. I was always so far away from it all. She taught me to be different. She showed me how to make all of it my own, to be a part of all of it. She taught me how to feel, how to be. I had never felt alive until she took control, until she took over. While everything spiralled out of control around me, hunger kept me stable and connected to everything. When I stopped eating, I started feeling. I felt more like a person. I felt normal. She was my liberator. She saw all that was wearing me down, all that was slowly picking at me, and she lifted me above all of it.

Hunger became so many things to me. It was my salvation from the confounding emptiness of my spirit. It was the pain that was so befitting of the arrogant, self-involved, uselessness that I had become. It was my punishment that renewed my faith in the justice of this world. It was all that I needed, so I delved deeper into it until hunger was everything. Starvation was my world and my every waking thought.

* * *

 

I have felt myself wearing out. I have felt the gradual breaking down of my will. I have felt pieces of my armour being chiselled away and falling free leaving me exposed and defenceless. Without my carefully erected wall I had nothing. The buffer between my life and my propensity for self-destruction has worn thin. I have felt so stuck in this endless abyss of self loathing and bitter loneliness. There is nothing here for me any longer. I am so disconnected, I am free floating watching life go by at a distance, yet I am close enough to feel it all, to take in all the hurt, to allow myself to be permeated by all the things I wanted to be bigger than, to be stronger than.

* * *

 

Everyone was better than me. This was a reality I had to come to terms with. Survival was the best I could hope for, and surviving was what I was doing. I hated high school. I hated waking up every morning to the coldness of the knowledge that I simply didn’t fit, and that I never would. While I spent my days surrounded by beautifully in touch people, I would never be one of them. I hated myself for my inabilities. I hated my self for what I lacked. There was so much I wanted to be, and yet I was incapable of attaining any of it, so I gave up. I gave into my uselessness. There was no fighting it anymore, there was no room for denial.

I had no-one but her. I was the only child to parents who wanted none. I was an accident, a blemish on their perfect lives. I was a mess while all they wanted was a perfection they could boast about and introduce to their friends. I fumbled through life, spending most of my time on the ground while they wanted grace and poise. I was nothing, so they ignored me. They clapped as I took my first steps, since then I had disappointed them to the point that I had faded away. We lived in the same house, yet we never spoke. They knew my name, but had to guess at my hair colour. They’d kept the remains of my first hair cut, but couldn’t think of anything that I was interested in. They clung relentlessly to the promise of the infant I had once been, while they ignored the blundering destruction I was becoming.

I had no friends. I wasn’t unpopular, or picked on. They’d have to see me to break me. I was simply invisible. I walked next to people who didn’t even notice that death was among them. Their oblivion was the worst. Their ignorance fuelled my hatred, my self-loathing. I didn’t blame any of them. It was all me. I was drain on everything. I was a drain on myself.

* * *

 

It turns out that I am nothing. All the attributes I had seen in myself have been stripped away. I hid behind my own rage in an attempt to save what is left, to keep something for myself so that while everything else is stripped away, while I am raw and exposed, there is still something to cling to, something to go back to. Even my rage has worn thin, has been rubbed away. I wonder what will be left? Who will stop to stare? Who will be there to witness my destruction? My undoing?

* * *

 

The mirror was my enemy. It was here that I was forced to confront myself, that I was forced to face all that I was not. I stared into its harshness and the waste that stared back at me was inescapably enveloping. I was disgusting. Everything about me was disappointing. Everything I had was less than I wanted, less than I needed. It was unfair, my inability to accept the decay that I had grown into. The fighting, and the struggling was so consuming, so tiring. I was devoured by a need to be more, and the knowledge that I was sinking inside of myself.

“I need there to be more than this,” I muttered to the frail image in front of me. My fingers poked at me, finding all of the ugly places, all of the imperfections. Even in the dark I could see all that needed fixing.

DO SOMETHING! she screamed. It was not the first time she pushed me this way. She was relentless in her nagging judgements. I could not get away from it. I could only hold her back for so long. I owed this to her. She gave me so much, I could give her this. This was about retribution.

* * *

 

I am nothing. This spirit was created far too large for this small being. The conflict within myself has become so stunting, so paralysing, that I could no longer reach for the things that I wanted. Instead I made myself less, I made myself small. I Tore away everything I could have been and I made it easier for me to be gone, for you to pass me over. I have succeeded in disappearing. I am finally nothing, I am no one. No one will cry for me. There is nothing here worth crying for. I have taken so much and wasted it. Everything given tp me, every breath that I have selfishly breathed was a waste. It is difficult to define just how wrong this life has been.

* * *

 

Tears began to shiver in the corners of my eyes as I sank to my knees next to the toilette. Life could be so cold, but nothing was colder than living inside of myself, living inside of my hatred. It was all around me, it was in everything I did. I could not get away from myself. I could not make myself better. I could not fix myself. I can fix you. This can fix you. So I sank. I gave in, and let her waters wash over me, drowning me, silencing me. Her fingers reached into my throat evacuating all of my filth, purging all of my putrid ugliness. She made it all better. She made it all go away.

She continued until my worthless body ached. She left me there, shivering on the floor. I was too weak to stand, so I stayed down. I stayed there surrounded by my brokenness. Still, the hollowness had become real to me, it gave me hope, it gave me comfort. I closed my eyes and sank into it.

* * *

 

It was wrong of me to ask any of you into this, to reach for you when I was scared or alone. In doing so, I dragged you down into this hole where I live, where I cannot escape HER, the girl I see in the mirror. The guilt that has consumed me for so long will be absolved here tonight, and none of you will be responsible. You can finally wash your hands clean of this, and of me. Please see this as freedom, and as justice for all that I have put you through. I have clung to you. I have sucked every ounce of life from you in an attempt to keep myself afloat. You have all given yourselves graciously for it is the charitable thing to do. Your compassion was wasted on me and I am sorry for taking from you what I did not deserve.

* * *

 

“What’s going on?” I could manage nothing more than a whisper. I felt as though I were being held down just below the surface, unable to come up for air. “Where am I?” My eyes were blurry, and I tried desperately to blink away the muddled confusion. My questions went unanswered. It was so bright and so calm. The quietness that surrounded me was terrifying. It had never been this quiet. Her screaming was gone. She had been silenced which meant I was alone, which meant I was penetrable. I didn’t want this. I didn’t want the quiet. Nothing had been so terrifying as waking up in this strange peaceful place so far removed from myself.

“No!” I shrieked as I struggled to regain some clarity. I could not move. My wrists and ankles were bound. A tube snaked from the back of my hand to a bag of clear fluid. It was becoming more and more clear. “I don’t want this. Let me go,” I cried to the empty room. “I just want to go. I just want to leave.”

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