Coming Alive: Part 1
I stared at the open notebook on my lap and tapped my pen against the blank page. The window to my right revealed a moving image of Long Island as the train gradually closed the distance between North Babylon and my home in Manhattan. Sandwiched between recollection and dread, I contemplated the coming months and what I wanted the next year to look like as I surveyed my current state of being.
Out of place, disconnected, anxious.
I’d have cringed thinking about the way I had been at the New Year’s Eve party the night before, but my emotions were missing somewhere beneath the shell that encased me. I felt very little besides anxiety, and what I did feel I pushed below the surface until it was buried deep down with the girl who used to be Eriana.
I had been doing it for years, so it was easy.
Did that girl even exist anymore? Had she ever existed? How had I become so lifeless? Where was I? Who was I?
Most people would blame it on the first six months living in New York. New city, new job nannying four kids, first semester of college. All of that could do something like this to a person, right?
That wasn’t my problem.
My problem was that I had been tough for years. Too tough. Too strong.
Holding the cracks together no matter what it took without admitting any cracks existed at all.
I had it all worked out.
Being misunderstood, made fun of, and ostracized in high school?
Built walls with all the stones.
Walking on eggshells under the weight of expectations?
No sudden movements, no tripping, no risk-taking.
Had to be good.
Had to be the best.
Had to be perfect.
Had to be happy. All the time.
Had to be someone I didn’t know how to be.
Had to be someone I couldn’t be.
Had to try try try try try.
Had to be liked. (But no one likes you, so…)
Be better. Be more likable. Be perfect.
Reveal no weakness.
Bury it all.
And run before they catch you.
You’re going to get there eventually. (No, you’re not.)
You’re not enough.
Don’t mess up.
Don’t make a mess.
You’re not safe here. Anywhere.
You’re only safe inside your head. Stay there.
Don’t let anybody in.
They’re all laughing. All the time.
Just be cool. (You’re not though.)
Always too much.
Suck it up.
So yeah, I was tough.
But the cracks weren’t going to hold forever. Unbeknownst to the 19-year-old girl with piled up pain hidden under a bubbly demeanor, I was breaking a little bit at a time, and something was coming for me.
There were no tears on the train because I didn’t yet possess the ability to express emotion.
I turned my eyes back to the empty page in front of me. What did I want for the new year?
Every resolution that came to mind felt hollow. I scrawled down a few things before it reverberated in my head. What I really wanted? To feel. To be a person. To get my identity back. I turned the page and wrote down a single sentence:
“In 2014, I want to come alive again.”
I wanted that with every ounce of resolution I had left in me.
I wanted to wake up.
I wanted to come up for air, fully alive.
I didn’t know I’d have to want to die first.
To read the full story check it out at Eriana.NYC!