“There’s something intriguing about things being discarded after a season / In order to make room for new growth.”
“Tomorrow It’ll Be Sunny”
Fiction. Based on a True Fragility.
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255.
You’ve prepared the room. The keyboard is pressed up against the wall. On the other side of the room is your record player that you haven’t used in a year or more. There’s an Indian blanket on the bed that your aunt bought you at a pow wow, the one that you have a picture of him curled up in. They always look so innocent when they’re sleeping.
Yesterday you burned incense in here to ground yourself. You opened a window a crack so that the heady scent wouldn’t give you a headache. You ignored all of the notifications on your phone and your computer. You made a game of it, even. Today is Easter, you said. Today, I do nothing.
But you knew, in the back of your mind, that every day you tell yourself something similar. You say, Tomorrow will be different. Tomorrow I will wake up with the alarm, and I will do all of the things. Tomorrow It’ll be sunny.
Tomorrow is today, now. You woke up some hours after shutting the alarm off by unceremoniously turning your phone off. It was the cat, finally, that woke you. You woke in your sexiest pajamas, because the night before you had wanted to feel wanted, attractive—if only for yourself. But you needed to cover yourself up before leaving your room, because you don’t live alone anymore.
You wear a shirt that reminds you of when you felt free and important. You wear it with a tank top underneath, because otherwise you may be judged for your immodesty. And then, still exposing yourself to reprobation, you wear the leggings you bought and were so excited about before they told you that they left nothing to the imagination.
I’m mysterious if I want to be, dammit.
Your face today, as usual, is unwashed. Your teeth are unbrushed. After you left your room, you poured yourself some coffee. You set it on the counter while you went outside to check on your plants.
They’ve wilted, kind of like you. They haven’t been able to weather the frost that still comes every night. They don’t like where they’ve been planted. Maybe the soil is too poor or too rich. Maybe you didn’t prepare them enough in advance for the wind, the sun, and the cold.
You wish someone would have prepared you.
You spend a moment talking to them, because words are all you have. Words are all you can give right now. You encourage them to grow.
Back inside, you’ve checked the time and decided that it’s time to take advantage of the keyboard’s new location. You’ve made the decision to sequester yourself into these two rooms because here is where it feels safe. If only you never had to leave, never had to get dressed, never had to think about being modest or clean or presentable. Never had to decide what to eat or strategically plan your exits from the rooms to avoid human interaction.
You remove the cover from the keyboard. You’ve brought the metronome and the music. The volume, as you’ve checked, is low. You set the metronome and begin playing.
Not even twenty seconds have passed before your father enters the room. You freeze, immediately, because you know what it means. You should apologize, but you can’t summon the words. You feel as though you’re about to cry.
It took so much energy to open the cover on the keyboard. Never mind moving it into this room because you thought you could practice here. It was an effort to find the music, the metronome. It meant something that you felt inclined to play the piano at this moment. It meant something that you thought playing music might give you happiness. In an instant, this delicate construction of actions was cut short.
You are like a delicate flower. You are like the lavender plant that you just transplanted in the garden. There is so little energy now. What little you gather is meaningful; it has value. They don’t know that. They don’t know how difficult it is to dress and leave your room. To move a music book from one room into the other. To slide the keyboard cover open. To actually sit down and touch your hands to the keys. They don’t know what it means, and they don’t know how it hurts. If they did, they would think you ridiculous.
The smallest of things will stunt your growth, like a pebble buried in the dirt. Put it in just the wrong place, and the carrot will grow crooked. Maybe if it had been a few degrees warmer last night, the lavender wouldn’t have died. You are as delicate as a flower, and it’s just you against the whole wide world. You are all that you can take care of right now. It’s all you can do to make your needs a thing of value.
It’s not their fault, and it’s not your own. All you can do is pick yourself up and try again, this time with something else. And abandon expectation.
This is how things are right now. And that’s okay.