This I Believe

Kelly - Charlottesville, Virginia
Entered on May 29, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Sometimes I lie on my bed and stare at that kidney fleck on the ceiling until I start sinking into the quilt; gray matter leaks into my hair puddle and my fingers ooze over the edge of the mattress. That fleck stares back at me until the carpet soaks up my eyeballs and I can’t see anything but the dirty sock under my dresser.

I’m a melting addict.

I used to do it only when I was really stressed, kind of like meditation. There’s something electrifying about it, something refreshing about focusing inward for a change. It’s like discovering this new radio station where the only stuff they air comes from inside my head; I can actually hear myself when I tune out all that headache-inducing crap the other places play, all those lies about being fat and boring and nowhere near as good as my sister at anything. As weird as it sounds, it’s only after I’ve lost the rest of my body to some thirsty surface that I’m able to find myself.

Melting’s great every once in a while–it’s relaxing and all–but lately it’s gotten to be a problem. I catch myself dripping at times when I really should be solid: my hair bleeds into my shirt during class, my knees run down my shins while I’m at work, and I seep into the seat when I’m behind the wheel. I can’t focus on anything but the flecks (there are so many) and I’m liquid everywhere I go these days.

My friends just think I space out a lot or something. Most of the time they’re too busy listening to junk stations to hear what I have to say anyway—there’s always this gossip or that paper or those movies to pay attention to first, so I haven’t even bothered trying to explain my predicament to them. How could they understand my water/radio thing when all they’ve ever gotten is static? So I keep this secret to myself, quietly dripping away until they can’t see me anymore, just my empty body spilling over the side of my chair.

I hate that my friends can’t empathize with me, but there’s not much I can do; the ability to tune in to yourself is really something you’ve got to figure out on your own. While it sucked that my parents got divorced right before I finished middle school, it taught me to put things in perspective. It took tearing my life apart for me to be able to piece things back together. Most people probably don’t need a wakeup call that dramatic, but you’ve got to learn how to listen to yourself some way or another. Sometimes you’re the only one who will.