Written by Rigby Celeste
Art by Kássia Melo
I fill the void with more work. Add an extra class and keep my normal shifts at the restaurant. Solder metal, then bind a book, then run some prints through the press. I find myself speaking so ecstatically I think I see my words dance along the perimeter of the loft. I think I can catch my running thoughts. For 30 minutes straight, I monologue about my “soul aching for solitude” to my best friend. Afterward, we both agreed I am becoming very enlightened and doing great work. Great walk! Spend more time processing feelings in bed. I am doing it all on my own! But at the same time, I find myself drawn to the loft at any sign someone else is home.
Again, I exist in paradox. All my emotional freshening-up clashes with my cacophonous daily schedule. Though I speak the words, my body is not restful. I check the box on my taxes, but I am not independent. I am back in regular chaos, the place where I feel most control. I am back to skipped heartbeats and stress headaches. I am back to where I first was, where I belong.
When I last got my heart broken, I went to therapy and healed the parts of me that wanted to be neglected. Up until now, I’ve chased; I’ve thrill-seeked. I wanted what I couldn’t have, and I became especially attached to anyone who wanted me back. With enough rounds of CBT I began to probe at these bad habits, asking myself why I did them and how to stop them. I tackled my issues–meditated habitually, challenged my negative perception, and asked for help when I just wanted to scream. Reflecting, I feel like I’ve done everything right. But in all my self-improvement, the quality of my life faded into a boring lull, not unlike the periodic drip of a faucet.
I don’t know what to do with myself anymore. I did work to curb my greed for attention, and quit thinking about love. But when I stopped falling in love, my life became painfully boring. On nights when I’m extra-emotional, I choose to lay down with this bored feeling instead of running off to the closest destructive habit. When I am reminded of the past, I avoid spraying text after text to anyone who will listen. Instead, I ground myself in the present with mantras like “I am here now”. And when I succeed, I still feel unnerved. With all this grounding, I have no momentum from moment to moment. Truly, this feeling is the stupidest struggle in the world. I want to be bad, I want to be the villain again. But for the first time in my life, my body refuses–because I know the pain I’ve felt. I still struggle. When I can’t get myself worked up about this boy I love, I think about what my ex might be doing. Even though his social media is public, my hands refuse to type his username in the search. What is time for if not to yearn? What am I if not bad?