There is a well deep within the garden of my heart, resting between the flowers growing behind my ribcages. Whenever I peer into the darkness, I find it harder and harder to recognise the set of eyes staring back at me against the reflection; My face rippling against the uneasy surface of blue. I can never tell what’s underneath. All I can do is stare and wonder what will break into the surface to reveal itself.
I am a stranger within my own body; An unwelcome guest in my own home. Indecisive and unsure, I am always asking myself, what is it that I truly want? I am still struggling to befriend myself; it makes me sad to remember I know nothing about her. I have given so much of myself to others that I can no longer make sense of who I was before. Who are we? I asked across the dining table. The candle between us flickered against the wind, even if I can’t remember the last time we opened the windows of this house. The girl sitting across from me never answers, no matter how many times I’ve asked. I can’t tell if the silence is born out of anger or confusion. Was she upset that I couldn’t love myself enough the way I loved those around me or was she just as lost as I am when it comes to figuring out what it means to carry our name? Sometimes, I wonder why my heart is always stretching to make room for anyone but myself.
I don’t think I’ve forgiven myself for all those years of doubt, of neglect, of fear. I have deprived myself of affection because I don’t think I deserve it. And because of that, I am a river that insists on giving, even when it’s dying of thirst. It’s time for me to accept that I don’t have to set myself on fire to keep others warm. Not when we can both sit by the fireplace and understand that compassion is not a luxury.
I wish, someday, to understand what it means to love myself from the perspective of a bird who finally sees herself as a home rather than a cage. So that no matter how much others drink out of me, I can never disappear. Only then will I be able to answer my question underneath all the silence.
- A.Z, making myself at home