Feelings I can only describe in metaphors

 

john_everett_millais_-_ophelia_1851-1852_oil_on_canvas_76_2x111_8cm_tate_britain
Ophelia by John Everret

The closet was closed. Everything in it was neatly labeled, organized, and packed away. “Beautiful” is what I’d say every time I peeked in it, and I eyed it with pride every time I added another pristine box to its collection. Then you came…a raging bull in my china shop. You wanted to go through everything I had so carefully put away, but I wasn’t ready. Fuck, I knew I was never going to be “ready.” Those sealed boxes with their neat labels contained things that I wanted to forget. At first, I didn’t want to unseal those boxes. I didn’t want to unlock the door and let you in. But you said, “Come on, just one,” with a tone that was so soothing and so compassionate that I couldn’t help myself. You continued, “there might be things in there that you could use. Plus, I’ll help you put everything back in the right place when we are done. So don’t worry about a thing.” Despite my doubts, I believed you. I trusted you. And we started unsealing the boxes 📦 one by one. We went through every single item, new boxes and new stories each and every day. As the time passed, I could see that you were eager to reveal the contents of each box and learn what was so special about its commodities. Each box we opened rekindled sour memories and hollow feelings that I had never wanted to experience again. Sadness, happiness, love, hate, anger, and apathy were emotions that I felt all at the same time every time I saw that closet door slightly ajar from the previous day’s work. At certain times during our exploration, I didn’t even know what to feel. I often found myself in a state of complete emotional emptiness because I could not let myself delve deep into the true sentimental value of some of the packages. The boxes labeled “Unhappiness,” “Shame,” “Ugliness,” and “Betrayal,” were neatly stored with all the other boxes. However, when I saw that you never noticed or even cared to see the feelings my face wore so tightly every time we walked into that closet, I realized that I could never share the deeper truths with you. I dreaded going near that door, but like a junkie willing to do anything for your next fix, you only cared about your own selfish desires. You hastily brushed past both the warning signs my face wore so tightly (language and the hazard lights in my eyes to unceremoniously rip open the next sealed box and reveal its secrets like a drunkard who bypasses a “Public Restroom” sign to piss in the street). Your vile behavior had a viral effect on my insecurities, my emotions, my self-esteem, my habits, beliefs, hopes, and fears, and my morals. It has relentlessly attacked them from the inside out until now I am just a shell of who I used to be.

As the time passed, I could see that you were eager to reveal the contents of each box and learn what was so special about its commodities. Each box we opened rekindled sour memories and hollow feelings that I had never wanted to experience again. Sadness, happiness, love, hate, anger, and apathy were emotions that I felt all at the same time every time I saw that closet door slightly ajar from the previous day’s work. At certain times during our exploration, I didn’t even know what to feel. I often found myself in a state of complete emotional emptiness because I could not let myself delve deep into the true sentimental value of some of the packages. The boxes labeled “Unhappiness,” “Shame,” “Ugliness,” and “Betrayal,” were neatly stored with all the other boxes. However, when I saw that you never noticed or even cared to see the feelings my face wore so tightly every time we walked into that closet, I realized that I could never share the deeper truths with you. I dreaded going near that door, but like a junkie willing to do anything for your next fix, you only cared about your own selfish desires. You hastily brushed past both the warning signs my face wore so tightly (language and the hazard lights in my eyes to unceremoniously rip open the next sealed box and reveal its secrets like a drunkard who bypasses a “Public Restroom” sign to piss in the street). Your vile behavior had a viral effect on my insecurities, my emotions, my self-esteem, my habits, beliefs, hopes, and fears, and my morals. It has relentlessly attacked them from the inside out until now I am just a shell of who I used to be.

As the time passed, I could see that you were eager to reveal the contents of each box and learn what was so special about its commodities. Each box we opened rekindled sour memories and hollow feelings that I had never wanted to experience again. Sadness, happiness, love, hate, anger, and apathy were emotions that I felt all at the same time every time I saw that closet door slightly ajar from the previous day’s work. At certain times during our exploration, I didn’t even know what to feel. I often found myself in a state of complete emotional emptiness because I could not let myself delve deep into the true sentimental value of some of the packages. The boxes labeled “Unhappiness,” “Shame,” “Ugliness,” and “Betrayal,” were neatly stored with all the other boxes. However, when I saw that you never noticed or even cared to see the feelings my face wore so tightly every time we walked into that closet, I realized that I could never share the deeper truths with you. I dreaded going near that door, but like a junkie willing to do anything for your next fix, you only cared about your own selfish desires. You hastily brushed past both the warning signs my face wore so tightly (language and the hazard lights in my eyes to unceremoniously rip open the next sealed box and reveal its secrets like a drunkard who bypasses a “Public Restroom” sign to piss in the street). Your vile behavior had a viral effect on my insecurities, my emotions, my self-esteem, my habits, beliefs, hopes, and fears, and my morals. It has relentlessly attacked them from the inside out until now I am just a shell of who I used to be.


I knew you would stop showing up eventually. I knew it wouldn’t take long, and you proved me right. Maybe you got tired… Or maybe you were simply satisfied with the mess you had created… You thought you had the guts to stick it out until the end, but you didn’t. Bravo for thinking so highly of yourself. Before I met you, I had walked tirelessly through long jagged roads and across treacherous bridges. I have fought and won unfathomable battles that left me marred and weary; yet, my triumph was glorious. After a lifetime of exhausting victories, I was excited because my path to you was the shortest. Your road was paved. Your bridge the longest. However, despite its appearance, your road was the hardest to cross. Deep, canyon-like gorges would lacerate the surface of my soul every time I touched the door knob to that closet. In the past, I expected to walk away from my battles cut, battered, and bruised. So was it too much to expect better from you? Unfortunately, my expectations with you always seemed…naive…and immature….maybe because I worshiped you. I stepped onto that field and into that arena not expecting so much as paper cut, but to my surprise, I got mutilated every single time.

When you stopped showing up, my numbness grew because you were the only one who had the guts to look through that door. I have to admit that I admired your bravery. However, leaving me with a monstrous junkyard where a once neat, organized closet used to be is enough for me save my praise for another time. Now I sit in the middle of events and worlds that were once separate, labeled, neatly packed, arranged, and stored in their own compartment. An ode to simpler times hums vaguely in the back of my mind as I come to the realization that I am completely clueless as to where things belong now.

I never wanted a junkyard. I told you that I wasn’t ready. I was content with how I reused, discarded, and recycled my scraps. But now, this chaotic landfill is a grotesque, unrecognizable shadow of the ordered closet it used to be. I had almost forgotten about that closet entirely. Its order brought me peace. But now? Oh no. Now I am forced to eat, drink, and consume the wrath of the closet that was. No peace when I’m awake. No reprieve when I’m asleep. Even my dreams are wrapped in the scarlet entrails of the closet’s innards. I trusted you to help clean up the mess you created, but I was wrong. Damn it! I was wrong.

I can’t really tell you how long it’s been. My perception of time is askew. Every moment is a rapid vacillation between the brutal numbness that comes with the passage of time, and the acute pain that accompanies the freshness of new trauma. Regardless, things are progressing quite well. I have put things back on their shelves, and I have accepted that it will not be the same closet. The feel of the knob will be different. The door will be different. I still feel anguish, woe, sorrow, hate, misery, and regret, but this time will be different. I have learned to accept these feelings, and my acceptance brings peace. Tranquility is what I deserve. Time is my most trusted friend, a faithful companion that reminds me things will continue to get better as she passes by. Time will be there when I reach up to push that last box in its proper place. Then, the closet will be the puzzle that she and I completed together.”

-written by Idiatou Thiam

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