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  • janeasterroe


This is a story about falling apart, and also a story about gathering the broken pieces of yourself that you flung across your apartment, so that you can reconstruct and be presentable to the outside world.

Only it’s hard to re-assemble yourself when you’re disembodied and alone.

It’s hard to put yourself together, when you’re missing glue, and a how-to-guide, and you don’t even remember what you’re supposed to look like

All you have is scotch tape

So you tape yourself into a shape that vaguely resembles you, but the tape doesn’t hold everything on properly, and the pieces don’t fit quite right.

You walk amongst the world with a pasted on smile, with clown makeup covering mismatched body parts and a heart that’s bouncing off your internal organs like a pinball.

It works, the facade.

You are called sunshine in a person.

But the problem is you feel like you’re screaming all the time and no one is hearing it.

You can’t even cry.

The sadness is rooted so deeply inside you, that you can’t bring it to the surface, so it takes root, rotting your insides while you smile and smile, and wonder perhaps if you have accidentally become a puppet being controlled by strings.

You start to feel desperate.

One night you throw all the eggs in your apartment into the sink, and then, despite cleaning them up, continue to find pieces of shell littering your apartment for weeks, so you are quite literally walking on eggshells.

Another night, you throw a glass onto the ground and it shatters deliciously and spectacularly. You use the vacuum but miss a piece and later find it embedded in your foot. You pick it out carefully with tweezers and bandage it up and wonder why you didn’t feel it entering.

This is the summer of breaking things.

Sometimes on purpose, and sometimes by accident, and sometimes in between.

This is the summer of being out of control

If not for the anxiety you might never get out of bed, but when depression hits its peak, your anxiety, which has cocooned somewhere in the back of your throat, hatches into a butterfly that you choke on

And so you get the groceries and go to work and meet the deadlines and pretend and pretend. Until one day you collapse.

The tape stops holding.

And it takes a team of doctors, and the stillness of the hospital ward for you to remember.

You remember that sadness ebs and flows, with anxiety

And your glass isn’t half full or half empty but half broken, and so you must take care to patch up the cracks with compassion.

You remember that sometimes you laugh so hard you can’t breathe and dance so freely you grow wings.

You remember you love yellow and thick socks, and feeling the world turn

You remember that at the core of it all you are built of curiosity. About the world. About humanity. About why it all matters and about what comes next.

You remember that you are not crazy, you are reacting sanely to a world that is making you insane.

You remember that you may be diagnosed mad, but there is kinship in madness and meaning making and you don’t have to be ashamed.

You remember that you don’t have to wear clown makeup all the time, just to exist.

You learn that you can ask for help and you are worthy of it. And so you create instruction manuals, and failsafes and contingency plans.

You draw maps, and feel your pieces assemble without tape or glue, but simply because they know where they need to be.

Because most importantly of all, you remember that you may feel lonely but you have never been alone.

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