I don’t know what went wrong. Maybe it was me. Maybe it was my insecurities reaching up through the cracks in the cement, pulling at my ankles. I felt it dragging behind me every time I left my apartment, locking my door behind me. In the shower. Every time I looked in the mirror. I felt it clawing up underneath my skin-tight jeans, sinking like a rock in the pit of my stomach, burning until the smoke rose into my lungs, eventually grabbing at my throat. It grew hands, like claws, ripping, suffocating me.
I’d heard of something like this. I’d heard that it was something like a nightmare. That it was possessive, addictive. That it acted like a friend.
I didn’t know that it was like an onion, layer upon layer, doubling in intensity the deeper it got, burning my eyes the closer I looked.
I made a wish one night, as I sat on the front step, alone in absolute silence, that I would be unafraid to know myself. To know what I was capable of. To see myself as I actually was. Then, as I stood and turned to look and see, really see, whatever was behind me, whatever was looming, whatever was clinging, whatever was clawing, whatever the fuck it was that kept me stagnant, I saw that it was something, someone I had seen before, someone I had known, I reached my hands up to grab its neck, to strangle, to sink my nails into and rip the skin, to claw through its flesh. My hands grasping its neck, I watched it writhe, I watched it suffocate.
It was only after this that I recognized my hands had turned into claws. Boney, grotesque. They were connected to me in an unnatural way, a way that didn’t feel real, but now I could see that the neck they were wrapped around like a snake was attached to a jaw with a scar on the chin that I knew, a scar from when I fell from the roof of our plastic car when I was 8, from when my chin hit the cement, when my knees and elbows scraped against the cold, hard driveway. I laid there.
That was when I first met this thing. When I first welcomed this thing into my being. I began to inject it into my bloodstream. It grew like a weed, infecting new growth, killing whatever fresh, green grass I found myself standing on.
That was when the nightmares started. When I would cry to my mom desperately trying to describe this feeling, this creature that was clawing at my insides.
This should be illegal.
This is a piece written by Emily Dorsett, one of the core-members of It's Personal.