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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Ashoka chapter.

Edited by: Shloka Sankar

I’m despairing, again.

The world wields touch like a weapon, every moment is an inescapable affront. I want to retreat into myself, fold myself away, disappear into nothingness. 

Everything is louder than it should be. Noises burrow in my skull and I can’t chase them away so they ping, ping, ping back and forth like marbles rattling in airborne glass jars, like the incessant rattle of metal knives and forks clattering against each other in the mess halls. I want to turn the world off.

What’s my weather like?

Weather Update, says the weatherman.

Oh look, the smoky, furnace-hot winds blanket the world, scorching the earth.

Oh look, the sky is sinking at an exponential rate and soon we’ll be suffocated in cotton-thick clouds, and I’m the only one that seems to notice.

Oh look, the wind has set my hair on fire, and I’m a candle, burning at all ends.

Oh look, earthquakes have scored cracks across the earth’s surface and I’m dangling off the edge by a hook digging into my cheek, scraping at the tender flesh, freshly gnawed between my molars.

Look— don’t you see it? Look!. 

I feel myself straining to escape my own too-much-ness. I’m so trapped within myself, penned in by the weight of my own presence. 

I don’t fit right in myself; nothing sits comfortably, like I was placed here all crooked and twisted. I sag in places, gathering in thick, tiered folds, pooling like melted wax at the base of a candlestick. Elsewhere, I’m pulled tight, straining over hard white bones. 

My bones are wrapped in sandpaper, I can feel the burn of them scraping away at the underside of my skin, digging for an escape route. There’s a thin, film coating every inch of my skin, wet and sticky. I stick to myself and I have to peel myself apart at the creases of my joints, each movement punctuated with a wet, muffled sound of velcro being pulled apart. I want to pluck out each of my eyelashes one by one.

It’s possible, I’m a pure and unadulterated disaster. 

I am rotting from the inside out, all pus and phlegm, globs of greenish-yellow goo, oozing within me. 

Did you know 1.5 kg of you is bacteria?

Did you know 1.5 trillion bacteria live on the surface of your skin?

Did you know there are ten times more microbes in your body than there are human cells. 

I want to flush myself with bleach, floss between sinews, pull stringy mucus from the spaces between organs and layers of tissue,  strip my skin inside out and powerwash it, wring microbial matter from my gut, watch it ooze out of my intestines.

Weather Update:

Oh look, the weatherman’s tie has caught on fire, flames lick and curl up the neon-green fabric, inching towards his throat. He doesn’t seem to mind, his million-dollar smile beaming.

Look— don’t you see it? Look!

I would scream but I wouldn’t be able to escape the sound. My lungs fill with liquid cement and I can feel them pull me deep into a bottomless ocean. The pressure builds, pushing against my skull, making my ears ring.

I’m not a person in possession of a natural proclivity for optimism but even I can appreciate the silver lining that at least, underwater, screams are silent.

You say there’s something glamorous and seductive about despair, something interesting and worthy in this tortured existence. But this doesn’t feel glamorous. 

This feels like pulling apart ends of a rubber band, waiting for the white-hot sting of the snap. It smells like the sour-milk cloud that hangs around you after too many unshowered days. It is pretending you don’t mind tasting the stale stink of morning breath, swiping at the hot mist that has settled across your cheek with the corners of your duvet, as you ignore the day outside. It feels like being made of grease and tar, sticky and thick. 

It feels like being trapped within yourself without an exit strategy.

Antara Joshi

Ashoka '25

Antara is a second-year student at Ashoka University and an English and Creative Writing Major (also known as, future member of the unemployment line). She is trying very hard to dissociate her value as a person from her academic achievement and grades. It’s going okay. She has an inexplicable semi-religious allegiance to wearing sweaters and cardigans, even in the peak summer months. She asserts her aesthetic is ‘Heatstroke.’