TW: domestic violence, sexual violence, hints of eating disorder behavior
I was thirteen when I began to realize that home no longer felt like home. Opening the door to eggshells, carrying the weight of the day in my backpack, making every effort as to not step on the eggshells in front of me. These efforts rarely worked. Too much unknown, too much pain… constructed with only two floors and not enough walls to contain it all. These walls were barely standing, becoming increasingly unstable, trying to survive the holes that were punched through it. The sound of sirens has only become a reminder of where and what I couldn’t escape for so long.
I was fourteen, on a train to Colorado with my grandparents. I sat across the aisle from them, reading “Divergent,” wishing I could be dauntless, running on the roof of the train, free, jumping from one car to the other, trusting that the air would catch my fall. Rather, I was trapped inside. I had nowhere to go. What would I do if I were sick? What would I do if my grandmother had a medical emergency? What would I do if the guy in front of me, who had been snorting something and tripping in his nachos, had died? What if someone were here to take our lives? All inside the walls of this three-day train ride. I was too consumed with the fear of being stuck that I failed to see the quickly moving and changing landscape right outside of my train window.
I was fifteen, not yet ready to say “yes.” But that didn’t matter. It’s almost as if I weren’t allowed to say “no.” When I did, it didn’t carry any weight. I quickly learned that my voice didn’t hold the power that I thought it did… it had no say over my needs. It wasn’t mine when his weight had bound me to the couch. I was gasping for air between the cracks of the cushions. Years later, I’m still stuck on that couch, trying to find enough to keep a pulse, breathing my way back into my voice.
I am twenty-one. Stuck in this body that has been unwillingly bound to the confines of the spaces it has been forced into. I want nothing more but to grow beyond these walls but I keep myself here. I continue to make myself smaller, trying to fit into the spaces and phases I have outgrown.
But I’m not stuck. These walls are not permanent, built of only a thin layer of plaster between me and myself. I do not belong here. There is so much more before me, and it’s time to shatter these walls and welcome myself into it all.