This is for you who wanted to die last night. I’m so glad that you are still alive.
It was around the age when people start to become interesting that she discovered how interesting she had grown up to be herself. There was, of course, still plenty left to figure out – what truly made her happy, what truly made her sad, what truly made her – but there was plenty of time left for fine-tuning the self, too. She was still too young to doubt herself. Life was vanilla, general knowledge, and the relaxing rhythms of her little world.
She liked the form she was taking. The lack of a solid understanding of the quiet workings of her mind, refining her tirelessly day and night, only helped. She had not started to think of the importance of function yet, and was not going to do that for a while. Nobody should take such serious matters into their hands so early in life, because one’s mind changes from sunrise to sunset, and takes an entirely different shape by dawn again. This is precisely what makes little people like her interesting.
But she was already adventurous in herself, and found new ideas taking shape around each and every corner of her being. Mornings were like Christmas days, over and over again. She was discovering new faces in the mirror, new gestures and new thoughts that seemed to have popped out of nowhere, in her sleep. As if touched with fire and filled with wild hope, she was waiting to see in what ways she was going to change next. It was going to happen, no doubt; it was happening already. The days were burning. She was like hot metal. She was like rain water. She was like the wind. It filled her with love for life and the wonderful things it did to her, and she filled life back with beauty. Soft magic was all around.
There was no rush yet. All the little things will eventually add up to something enormous, she thought, convinced that everything was simply her becoming. There was no big plan. She just kept blooming, and the unexpectedness of it added to how interesting it all was. She liked playing with the present, holding it in her palms, in the sun, in the shades of her own shadows. There was no need to invent other worlds yet, for the one she was part of held all the miracles. She could not imagine something she’d not, eventually, find.
Beautiful surprises were waiting for her around each and every corner of the world, too. If she could have splashed the brightness of those days onto a white canvas, the passionate reds and oranges would have burned its edges, and the cool turquoise would have run, still and strong, all across it. It would have been a wildly beautiful painting, changing from one hot minute to the next; and so, she made a promise to herself. She said, I’ll take you there, as soon as I figure out how to hold the colours down, and know what to paint. That would have been a beautiful painting too, no doubt. Perhaps a little less wild, once the colours found their place.
She was fascinated by her own nature, if not a little too much, for she kept growing, changing, turning into new people too often, too quickly, too suddenly. Keeping up was beginning to feel like a struggle and her enthusiasm – a burden, her very first one. There was still too much left to explore. The novelty came and stayed, layers upon layers of new wonders, bending her back and hunching her shoulders. Like Sisyphus, she kept pushing upwards and like his rock, it all kept coming back down to her.
She craved all the precious and astonishing things she discovered, and taking it all in was proving to be impossible in real time. As you grow up you need to start being your own parent, she began thinking, and didn’t let herself out of sight anymore – not for one night. There were no such things as sneaking out, running away, escaping. She was slowly but oh, so surely, becoming her own master. Her own puppeteer, and her very own puppet, too. She learned the inner workings of her mind after all. No part of it stayed untouched by the sharp knife of her consciousness for long. It all had to be mastered until it became lyrical. Bringing excellence out of herself was a mission she knew she embarked on for life. There was nowhere else to go, anyway.
Standing in front of the mirror for hours on end she watched herself marvelling, recording everything. She couldn’t help it. Like a little artist, she could only record; get a good feel for the moment’s scenery and emotional tone, and add it to her catalogue of things to know. Her hands were trembling and her heart was racing with emotion, feeling spectacularly alive. The idea of such perfect control seemed like a creature in the corner of a dream, drawing closer, then vanishing, then reappearing, never less appealing than the time before. She was a lonely highway, going straight into the great unknown. She was also the only one on the road, driving with the speed of happiness, she believed, for she felt smart and wise for learning how to drive the reckless out of her mind. Nobody saw, but she didn’t need to be seen; what she needed was to feel, and then to keep.
She learned how to stop her shakes and push her demons down when she was scared, and use numbness as a silencer for cynicism. It was a rare and wise and divine thing to do, she believed. She possessed a beautiful quality over everyone else. She was winning herself over. She was winning.
But she lost, too. What was she, the master of herself, to do with her wildness anymore? Her wildness had to be tamed, or it would crave sunlight and novelty. She couldn’t take in any more things from life. Life had given her so much that she was already filled up to the top. Then life kept giving, and giving, and she kept shrinking in front of it. She was controlling, possessive with her gifts. They were choking her, and stimulating her, and burned like fire. She had become a spark, and she hated it.
A pneumonic hurt lived quietly in her lungs and hid in her breathing and whispered in her ears at times. You’ve been real. You’ve been lovely. You’re one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to. I kneel down to the lashings of yellow and tell them: ‘She’s the one.’ I will take you, and I will love you, again. But she could not crack her soul wide open anymore, like the little girl used to when she thought she had become interesting and full of wonder. Whatever the outside world was made of that fascinated her, it was now shut out completely. She took only what was necessary, and erased the door when her masterpiece was complete. What little was left of her wildness was too silent to be heard, and hurt too little to damage her creation. Nothing could affect her, no revelation, no crime. She was like a sad story, like leaves in the street. She repeated herself like a song.
Depression is when you can’t feel at all. Anxiety is when you feel too much. It is hard to tell if she felt overwhelmed or underwhelmed. It was hard to tell what she was – but interesting? As interesting as trouble can be.