When there world around me was chaos, I used to lose myself in the unraveling of someone else.
I didn't like sad stories but those seemed to be the only ones I ever read. I never wanted a happy ending. I guess I assumed that everyone was sad like me, even when I shouted at my mother that I wish we were normal.
She said there was no such thing.
Years later I learned that it wasn't that normal didn't exist, but rather that it was relative.
Nothing was either good or bad, merely thinking made it so.
At least I can say that I tried. On summer nights, I became a mermaid in a sea of sheets.
A long armed and lanky me, swam through shitty teen romances, where the girl falls in love with a boy who will never love her the way her loves himself.
There was always an empty street on the cover, or a teddy bear, or a box of chocolates; the implication that this love would kill the innocence blooming in the heart of some long haired brunette, the implication that some light-eyed blond-haired boy went around with a jar collecting hearts because his had never fully matured, the implication that there were lessons to be learned from this story. But I always paid attention the wrong things when I read. The rhythm of her heart beat beneath her cardigan. The way his hand burned against her cheek. I didn't learn anything.
I let my heart break over and over again, until I couldn't stay up til 3 am anymore.
When my body filled, I stuck my hands in the silt of text books. Let the density of data and diagrams fill me. Maybe if I understood how her heart beat and why her cheeks burned, I could stop it from happening to me. I read about the colony building habits of bees, the way there could only be one lion in a pride, and how wolves ran in packs. There were pictures that showed me the stages my body would go through ---they always made my breast ache and stomach feel strange. I simultaneously wanted and didn't want to look like the women on glossy pages buried in closets I wasn't supposed to be looking in. Curiosity always got the best of girl's like me and Pandora. Hope being the only thing either of us had left after we went places we shouldn't have.
Heavy hard cover books couldn't save me from myself either. Eventually, I became the long haired brown eyed girl, with tears like lakes collecting the corners of my heart. I took a lot dares, ate a lot of chocolate, and ran for miles on empty streets.
When grew tired, I sat in between the stacks and read about how happiness is what makes the greatest number of people happy and how love can't really be defined but that myth has it that once upon a time the gods were jealous of fits of our hearts and sent lightning down to calm the beautiful storms, splitting us in twos or threes.
I read about lonely women who ached and didn't know why, but sort of did. They sat at windows elbows pressed deep, they made their ways through strange woods at night running away from the lies that insecure men tell everyone when they're scared. They waded in unfamiliar waters and let everything else fade.
I didn't understand. I needed the beating and burning. I read and reread
until that woman at the window, in the ocean, by the woods became me.