There are so many things I should write about, but I’m not ready. Despite everything I’ve already disclosed, I remain private, in more than one way.
I told my partner recently that there is something so dark and so terrible deep inside me, so dark and so unhappy, that it’s been inside me for a long time now, but I don’t remember when it first started. It’s not grief, depression, death wish (when I die, it’ll never be because I wanted to), or loneliness, it’s not something people see in me easily or at all. And if they do, they become frightened.
“What is it?” he asked. “Maybe it’s pain itself,” I said.
“Pain itself” sounds simple, plain, gentle. But it lives outside my conscious thoughts, it doesn’t seem to correspond to any triggers or any particular events in my life, and it is deadly.
I know how strong and resilient I am, even if being close to my own death, living with chronic pain, being neglected because of my disability, and watching my lover and husband-to-be die took bits and chunks out of me. I’ve learned fast and I’ve learned well both from those who supported me and those who abandoned or actively hurt me. But this noose deep inside me is blacker and tighter than anything I’ve ever felt or come up against. It doesn’t speak, not ever. It only hurts, and chokes, and slithers, and hurts, and coils, and hurts, and hurts.
There are moments, hours even, when I manage to stop feeling it and forget for a while. I forget when I’m with my friends, when I fall asleep in my partner’s arms, when I feel the world, but I cannot count on this forgetting. It’s not something I can will into existence because the blackness, the irremediable, is too powerful, too powerful in a savage, primeval way, the kind that has no need or regard for language and its sorry words. It doesn’t care about all the tricks human beings have invented to stave off hurting because it doesn’t have to. We must seem so ridiculous to it, in all our futile craftiness.
—We cling to what is gone. Is there anything in this life but grief?
—There’s love. There’s hope… for some. There’s hope that you’ll find something worthy… that your life will lead you to some joy… that, after everything, you can still be surprised.
—Is that enough? Is that enough to live on?
Does this thing live in some other people too? And if it does, how do they live on?
And me, what do I wake up in the morning for? At this point, I want to have my own pack, those loyal to me, those I can trust. This desire keeps me going, even if my pack will never really know about the noose within me.