I’ve been writing a book proposal. My handwritten copy comes from a totally different part of my brain than my typed copy, so I’ve been going back through my old journals, through the trenches of my psyche, fishing for the repetitions and the points of lucidity that I could only write knowing they were for myself and no one else. It’s hard. It’s hard to face those old parts of me.
Our brains repress things for a reason, sometimes the good with the bad. There were many parts that would have been better off buried, but the ink on the page is like a time machine. All the heartache comes back just as vivid, even though now I’m enough removed that can view it like a movie. It’s no wonder so many writers went insane.
I used to believe that nobody would ever love me. I was told this so much when I was a child that I really, deep down, thought myself incapable of being a beloved, well into adulthood. Too weird, too wild, too quick to see the endpoints and paint pictures of an extended reality for those unwilling, or so I thought, to look beyond the painted veil. But they weren’t unwilling, they were incapable of seeing—at least in that moment in time. This has taken years to unlearn, and I’m still not so sure there is anyone out there who can handle all of me, as is.
One of my exes once shouted at me in exasperation that being with me was like looking into a mirror. I didn’t understand why that was problematic. I tried to give him the things he wanted that he hadn’t yet acknowledged to himself. Ego dystonia. I have a knack for sensing repressed desires. I someone that stranger tell their darkest secret to within ten minutes of meeting, if you can imagine what comes out within a month of dating me. They always ran away. But they always came back around, eventually. When I was younger, I thought I’d wait, but now I know it will always be too late. I have pages and pages of unsent “I told you so”s, and unsent they’ll stay.
I wonder if all that running has hardened my heart. If all the wounds from the pieces they took when they left have created scar tissue, and that when someone comes along who has the ability to pierce through all the damage, he’ll break it for good when he eventually runs away too, afraid of his own reflection. Perhaps this is my armor now. It’s heavy, but I built it myself because I know I need it.
If 29 year old Arikia had 19 year old Arikia in a room, I would grab her and shake her and tell her that someday she will be loved as I disappeared. Isn’t that how time travel works? I wish 39 year old Arikia would come back and tell me that now.