Innocence submitted early. She helped create me in her 18th year of existence. I hear her in my own voice more often than I‘d like. Clear and bell-like. A certain tone that becomes evident in times of laughter or sympathy. I always thought she was pretty. Naturally pretty, ya know? She never wore makeup, and when she did it was simple blue mascara and chapstick. Her hair, I always found secretly ridiculous. Not cared for. Washed properly, yes. But not much more than that. She was never skinny. Which is strange, considering we’d go days without proper meals. We were never close, never. As far back as I can remember, there was always a force between us. A very….cold, force. A sister came eventually. I was seven. You could say I was chucked into motherhood, literally. She delivered her safe and sound. Nice and healthy. After that, she left and never came back. I don’t mean left as in went to the store and never returned. I mean laid down one afternoon. And the next. And the next three after that. She slept. Showered every few days. Did laundry once a week (maybe). Other than that, not much. She was depressed. And at the age of seven I did not realize that. I was aware of the excessive rest, but it didn’t worry me. We shared a room, my sister and I. I changed diapers. Woke up at night with her. Monitored bubble-baths. Got her dressed. Potty-trained her, successfully. I made sure she ate, despite lack of desirable resources. I was her “mommy” in a seven year old’s body. Not once did she thank me. Not my sister, no, she loved me unconditionally. Not once did she thank me. Did she notice my contributions at all? That’s questionable. It wasn’t until I was about 11 that I started to see the truth in things. Realized how bad things really were. She was on drugs. The hard ones. I never spoke up though. She was the adult, she knows to do good, right?
The morning I left…as I type this it replays in my head like it was yesterday. Eyes, shiny. Teeth, off-white. T-shirt, musty. Voice, unfamiliar. She‘s shouting and accusing. Her hands are shaking. Her heart, nowhere to be found. The last thing she ever said? “I’m doing this because I love you.”
I don’t know much about him to this day. Helped create me in his 18th year of being. Irrelevant for the 10 after that. Sleeping around? No doubt. Drugs? No. I know this for a fact. Drinking? Absolutely. All the time. Up until three years ago, he was a stranger. A stranger that I look a hell of a lot like. Ask anyone that knows, I look exactly like him. Our laughs, identical. Our eyes, too. And cheekbones. Nose. Sense of humor. Music preference. It all mirrors…him. When I left (“…..I’m doing this because I love you….”) dropping my bags inside his door was like taking a deep breath of vanilla right before you close your eyes to sleep. Relieving and easy. We were happy. He got to know me. I got to know him. I got to see the origin of my habits that I never would’ve guessed anyone else had. I felt free to discover the world and explore opportunities that I had as a young human, with a good heart and a good mind.
Things changed after I fell out of the closet, head first. He…accidentally…found out that I was kissing the girl I called my best friend. That’s when it started. The sudden enforcing of rules. The short leash. Bruises. A lot of bruises.
I remember being three, four, five years and all I ever heard from adults was how pretty I was (am?). Teachers have always boasted about my intelligence. I‘ve always promised myself I won’t end up like her. And more recently, like him, either.
I‘m pretty short. It’s fine, it’s quirky. My eyes, I like that they are eerily the same color of my red hair. My personality, I‘m proud of it, although there are people out there who think I‘m a b- …uhm. Not very nice. I‘m often told to quiet down. They call it cocky. I call it comfortable. I respect others more than I respect myself. I lost my sense of self-respect over a year ago. Pessimistic? Maybe. Relevant? Not anymore. He says I‘m a lost cause. She‘s still not in the picture. Have you picked up on the struggle yet? I had two chances at an upbringing, one with her, one with him. Both were trashed, wasted. I raised myself. But I‘m nowhere near grown-up. Nowadays I‘m free. There’s not much I care about too much. My sisters, I‘d kill for. My best friend, too. Myself, not so much. Like I said, not much respect left here. If you feel the need to shout, throw punches, it’s okay. Go ahead, if it’ll make you feel better. I don’t feel it anymore. I call it selfless. You probably call it crazy. Sometimes I try to express my ways of thinking to their full extent. But it’s really, really hard.
See, I‘ve always hurt. Always kept trying and it was never appreciated when growing up. I‘ve always thought that no amount of physical pain could amount to emotional pain. The good heart and mind that adults always used to fawn over, well, it can only take so much. I found ways to relieve my heart’s pain. My wrists, forearms and thighs started taking some of it. Get my drift? No worries, Reader. That part of history is exactly that, history. The worst I do to myself now is losing my cool and hurting a finger or five on whatever flat surface I aimed my fist at.
My hair is always a mess, in a cute way (I think?). My makeup is never perfect. Half my friends are probably not my friends. The songs stuck in my head are usually vulgar and my poems probably suck. But ya know…I‘m just one of those people that doesn’t care. I don’t care in the..most optimistic way possible.
Because what I think is, I think she experienced reality, as everyone does. And she cared too much. And caring too much is what kills people. Made her pluck veins just to ease it, inhale so much poison she couldn’t feel the venom of imperfection. Him, well. I‘m not sure about him. He definitely cares too much. They say it’s called tough love. Yeah, okay. Abuse is abuse, friend. Why is he so angry? I don’t know. I don’t care. It’s his own choice to be oppressive and bitter. His loss. Because life is better when you don’t care. My goal in life….Don’t be her. And don’t let him win. And never care. Because caring kills. Understand yet?