just keep in mind, miracles and hard work are far from mutually exclusive.
Drip, drip, drip. The showerhead beats against my back, harmonizing as silent tears join the liquid down the drain. I wonder why she chose today, of all days, to cause a meltdown, leaving me in unknowing misery. So once again, thanking the fog on the mirror for hiding the discreet scars from sight, I whisper the question I have asked all my life: why did it have to rain today?
Water is a force living inside my brain, a creek with endless bumps and rapids. She began to run as I did, a natural occurrence that did not grow as I aged, simply strengthened. Although Water can develop from surroundings, mine was formed alongside my personality, laced into my DNA like an undetectable chromosome. As a girl, she appeared through sudden bursts of anger and unexpected mood swings, leaving my family whiplashed by the flash floods of my emotions. Water was selfish, too; she kept me from keeping friends, causing me to act out and look...crazy.
Her first hurricane hit sophomore year, catching me in a riptide without a lifeguard on duty. As I drowned, my thoughts dunked in a dark pool, I turned to safety pins on my thighs or rusted nails above the waist to distract myself from the cold. Once my blood surrendered to its captor, unable to escape from beneath the skin, I stopped trying to escape my body and allowed others inside, punishing my self-esteem and mind for letting it come to this. My innocence was lost, and one night in late April of 2018, Water tried to sink me for good.
Little did she know, while I was flailing in her midst, someone was watching. After being committed by my parents, the rotating prescriptions and fellow inmate stories made her shallower, letting me wade on her shore instead of tread for the first time in months. Looking at the teenagers around me, each one being put here by versions of her, I realized that I was anything but alone, and with the right amount of listeners and a couple of pills, things could be okay.
Water will never leave me, and part of me does not want her to. She is a piece of who I am, an entity that may be controlled but not destroyed. Although she feeds on fear and insanity, she has taught me lessons about the world and myself, helping me realize the truth behind never being alone.
As I stand in my bathroom, I touch the few scars left, feeling the sensitivity of memories flooding back. 18 months ago, I was a very different girl, drowning inside my own head as my brain’s anchor became heavier. But slowly, I have learned to tame the waves, compromise with them, survive the storm. Water is a force that lives inside my brain, a creek with endless bumps and rapids, but even though she is raining today, I will never let myself drown again. Because now, I can swim.
BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on March 28, 2020:
This is so powerful.
Great heartfelt write.