When I was young, as young as ten years old, I remember walking on my tiptoes around my house.
It all started because I had this obsession with being quiet. I hated hearing the floorboards creak beneath my weight. It was like, even in my childhood, I was extremely disturbed by the idea of people perceiving me outside of my own consciousness. I was hyper-aware of what everybody was thinking of me, at all times.
Was it the “smart-kid” thing, drilling into me throughout my entire school career that I had to measure up? Probably. Was it my own self-doubt in my athletic ability and my social skills? Yeah, for sure. Was it also some unnamed force deep in my bones that told me I had to simmer down and sit like a lady and be the most condensed version of myself that I could be?
Because how can people judge you if they don’t know you?
I was my own little secret, red ink in a diary, the number on a bathroom scale when I exhaled to feel as small as possible.
The weight of life has always exhausted me, and I didn’t want to add to it. So I tiptoed.
You all know something broke in me on a random weekend in 2017. I was tired of tiptoeing. I was tired of being a secret. So I poured out my soul on the Internet to thousands upon thousands of ears, and it felt like relief back then. For the first time, I was banging f*cking pots and pans. People were looking at me and seeing me– not just perceiving me.
I haven’t been writing a lot lately, because I decided this summer that I don’t like how I write. Looking back on my old posts, I’m like…”alright, take it down a notch, edgelord.” I don’t regret anything I’ve written, because it all needed to see the light of day at some point.
But I think there was still an element of performatism in my words. I wanted people to sit and think about me a certain way. I wanted some people to feel bad about how they had treated me or what they had done. I wasn’t really writing for me…I was writing to try to explain myself.
I act this way because this happened. Don’t judge me for it.
I actually am not a robot like you all pretend I am, and I should be allowed to mess up. Don’t hold me to such high standards.
I think I am an absolute piece of flaming shit for some of the things I’ve been through and some of the things I think. Tell me I’m not.
I feed on you telling me I’m not.
My writing became just another way of aestheticism. I went from perfectly perfect to perfectly damaged, and people said, “Ah, Lexi, you are so strong/brave/wise/insightful!” At a point, that really saved my life.
I just don’t crave it the way I used to.
No offense, but your validation means absolutely nothing to me.
Writing, lately, is less about explaining myself to others and more about revealing myself to myself. I’ll write something really damn annoying, and be like, wow, that’s really damn annoying. I don’t edit it for three hours and post it so people will tell me it isn’t annoying. I’m allowed to be annoying. Who gives a shit?
I had a really hard summer, and I think that changed a lot for me. I lost a lot of weight and didn’t cry enough and sat in my own denial for too many months. I don’t want to make it make sense. It was just not good. There isn’t a silver lining, really. There’s nothing good that came out of it. I was sick and I was sad and I wasted a lot of time. Period. End scene.
But coming back to college, something shifted in me. I finally feel like I am who I am. I have friends that genuinely love me, and a cute yellow apartment that feels like home, and I dress how I want to dress and study what I love to study and achieve cool things while simultaneously doing really dumb things, just for the memory of it.
I sat on the balcony the other night, by myself, and listened to “I Know the End” by Phoebe Bridgers with my feet up against the windowsill, and wrote some incoherent poem about mold and water lilies or something (it didn’t make sense when I read it back the next day, but it made sense in the moment, so screw it). And I kind of just felt…real, I guess. Like there was nothing left to prove to anybody. Like if I want to spend my night alone being completely nonsensical in my sports bra on my balcony with my dog, I can do that.
And I went back inside and didn’t walk on my tiptoes. The floor creaked. As it should.
Somewhere along the way, I took the shame from living.
It’s suicide awareness month, you know, and this was supposed to be a post about suicide awareness. So in the past I would say something about my experience and what helped me and what didn’t. I guess I just find the details kind of trivial now.
So I’ll leave us with this.
I stopped wanting to die because I stopped caring so much about how I lived.
I’m a leftist English major in the middle of Missouri. Lots of people like me, but not everyone does. I curse because I think it adds flavor; I get tattoos because I think it adds to the storyline. I apologize a lot, out of habit. I’m not afraid of failure or disaster, because I’ve had my share of both. I ride the waves and drink the saltwater. I like me about 80% of the time, and the other 20%, I’m patient with me. I believe in myself way too much lately, and it’s working out well. My English professor called my first paper annoying and narcissistic. He gave me a damn good grade. I live for the criticism. I say yes too much and then spend a few days saying no. I can afford to lose a Saturday night, but I can never afford to lose myself again. I know that now.
If you’re looking for the point, there isn’t one.
We’re all just growing up. Closer to dying. Finally living.