I was going through the Archive of Drafts and Journal Articles tonight, and found a piece I wanted to resurrect. This piece comes with multiple trigger warnings: self-harm, obsession, food, etc.
If you saw her at Panera on an idle Thursday, would you think there was anything wrong?
Would you, consumed in the moment, ever think that the woman with the chipped manicure in the corner by herself is struggling to find a balance between light and dark?
Would you think that she spent a good portion of her day struggling to not be resentful when she hears the comments, the whispers, the conversations about how she is a distraction? How she is “too much”?
Would you think that the practiced estimations of a target value is a lie, and that her skill with numbers comes from the way she sees the shadows of long-forgotten nightmares under the empowerment of mania?
Would you think, even for a moment, that she knows exactly how long she’d suffer if she “lost” control of her car on the bridge?
No, your eyes pass over her as if she’s a ghost, and the few that do make eye contact do not see the pain, do not see the creeping darkness, do not see the mask she wore for thirty years slip back into place with the ease of a well-oiled machine.
It’s there in the silence, in her hands with the chipped manicure, in her eyes with the smudged mascara, in the sloop of her shoulders, in the tear held by sheer willpower alone… it’s there in her breath and in her stare.
…and often, she wonders if the scene in her head where someone says “Bullshit you’re fine” is actually just a fantasy, and not something that happens.
It’s better that it is a fantasy, she thinks, since being invisible is tremendously liberating, and there is profound peace in utter detachment.
It’s better that it is a fantasy, she thinks, because the agony of confrontation would be matched only by the bliss of obliteration.
It’s better that this is a fantasy, she thinks, for then this is not real.