a hiss like a cigarette singeing skin, a rush like an open door 30,000 feet above the ocean
i never really got to be a kid because i was too busy being a mediator. i took my family’s foul moods and tension and stuffed them down my throat until i couldn’t feel my own sadness.
first dad left.
then my sister left, too.
then it was just me and her.
we shared a bed for two years.
she made me her surrogate spouse when i was still a child. she took all the hate and anger she had for herself and laid it on me, and i let her because i loved her and it hurt me when she was upset.
i let her drink. i let her spend the money that should have fed me on the wine she needed to keep from crumbling. i dug through couch cushions to buy milk. i spent the money i made at my after school job to make sure the lights didn’t get shut off. i shoplifted groceries so i’d have money left over for drugs because i needed the comfort they gave me that she never could. i was more like her than i wanted to admit.
i let her tell me how worthless i was. i let her blame me for our family dissolving. i took the pills she said i needed to be skinny and happy and successful (they didn’t work).
when i’d had enough, i left
but i came back.
i came back because i felt guilty. i felt like she needed someone to look after her. i needed to be looked after, too.
she didn’t even come visit me when i was dying in the hospital.
one of my earliest memories is sitting in my backyard, pushing a rock into my leg over and over and over until it left a dark, horrible bruise the size of a golf ball. i don’t know why i was so angry but i remember that afterwards i got secret pangs of pleasure from looking at it, from digging my fingers into it and making it hurt again.
i lied to my parents about it and said i fell off the swingset.
i used to keep a food diary until i realized that instead of helping me eat better, it made me afraid to eat.
Another page from “The Riot’s Great Big Patriarchy-Smashing Activity Book!” NOW WITH MORE CORRECT SPELLING!
Free to take.
but only sometimes.