the Rack.

I am being pulled in different directions, perhaps by my lack of will to stand against it. Or perhaps that I subconsciously enjoy the torture. And it is torture. I am so unsure of myself, so uncertain about who I am and what I want. And yet I am not – I know what I am doing, I know where I am going, and I know that in two months I will be on the other side of the world.
That in itself is terrifying. Not the fact that I will be alone in another world for an entire year, diving headfirst into a culture and a language that I barely understand but absolutely am infatuated with. No, the terrifying aspect is what I leave behind. That my leaving will irrevocably change the people and the places I will associate with home. That the people I love will be virtually cut out of my life by distance and time, despite any attempts to hold them to me. To remind them how much I love and need them. I fear that their lives will have gone on without me, although I would expect them to. I want them to. I never want someone to stop their life for me, I could never ask someone to stop living or dreaming or being who they are or are meant to be. I may want them to, but it is something I could not ask. Because I would never allow someone to ask it of me.
But, yes, there are questions that I do want to ask. More than anything. Questions that tear at my heart and burn in my cheeks when I look at some people, but I don’t know if my stupid tongue can even form the words. I want to scream and cry and whisper these questions all at once, and every time I allow a quiet moment of possibility to pass, I die. And I think my body and my face betray that, and every death is becoming more and more apparent to anyone who looks at me. These questions crave answers, but I have never been more scared of what those answers are. I am becoming more pathetic everyday. I am developing panic attacks over nothing at all, apparently I create tension, and I’ve found myself dropping everything if someone asks me to.
School has been an exercise in futility, the work that I do lacks direction and focus, I am unmotivated and exhausted and voiceless and running out of money. In my desire to create a relationship with someone, I have strained nearly every other relationship in my life. I feel guilty all the time, like the secrets that I carry make me a selfish, ugly person. I feel used, but do not stop allowing people to use me. I realized in the past week that I lack the capacity to say no.
And because of that I feel a hollow insincerity every time I say yes.
I can’t seem to describe myself anymore, save empty. I feel like an echo, transparent and trapped in a vicious cycle of increasingly unintelligible noise. I no longer feel solid, or whole. There are parts of me missing, although I cannot tell which or where they belong.
I have begun to understand that people crave, more than anything, a definition of their identity. They search for that definition all of their lives, through friends, communities, family. And sometimes through sharing thoughts, stealing ideas, having sex, fighting over something (or nothing), talking, writing, screaming, discovering, giving – all can be components of an identity. I am searching for my own definition, but I can’t move beyond this emptiness, this identity as a shell of a person with nothing inside but secrets clawing their way out. I feel if you held me to your ear, you would hear the ocean, not a heartbeat.

How long can a person survive without an identity? How long can someone stand being pulled in every direction, but not find their own?

There are a million things I need to be doing, but instead I will go to sleep. And I will dream of something that when I wake up, I won’t remember. But maybe, I will. Either way, I’ll be waking up.

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3 thoughts on “the Rack.

  1. After reading this I thought, I’ve been there before. Probably not the same cell, but definitely the same prison. There isn’t much advice that I can give you that you probably don’t already know yourself, but trust that you’ll get through it and everything will be okay. Questioning who you are, especially when you don’t think you like the person you’re confronted with, is very very hard and scary. (duh, right?) But just remember that you are in control of yourself, even if you don’t always feel like it, and you decide who you are and who you want to be.

    Know that you are loved, despite the flaws you find in yourself. Have faith in time and faith in yourself. You can get through this.

  2. I don’t have any particularly wise words of wisdom, but I do want to second Amanda’s note — despite the fact that you don’t seem very pleased with yourself of late, we still very much care about you.

    Meanwhile, though, I think some of your expectation is a little bit unrealistic — sure, a good, solid grounding of “who you are” would make life easier in some senses, but I think this is a largely unattainable goal. I find my opinion of myself and what I believe to be my traits changing on a fairly regular basis. Trying to define “myself” explicitly would be (and, truth be told, _is_), an excercise in frustration because I never quite follow my own expectations.

  3. Maddie, I don’t know if you realize it, but you do have an identity. Maybe not to yourself at the moment, but to everyone else around you. You’re the beautiful person who always makes everyone else smile, dance, and feel loved. Of course, there’s always more to the story than just that, but I think that’s a pretty good beginning. I’m going to miss you.

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