When I feel really terrible I think about other times that I have felt this terrible (they become easier to recall). They come when I haven’t eaten or showered close enough to right now, I lay in an infant’s face, crackling apart before it begins to sob, collect in my own filth, which is mostly just imagined filth because there is NO WAY I could be so dirty from only missing a day of showering (and not having left the apartment either).
They come to carry me away (like the Grim Reaper), to make me stuck (maybe I need to be).
Sameera tells me that when she feels terrible, her mom says The First Thing You Should Do Is Take A Shower And Have Something To Eat, you always neglect your basic needs when you’re too busy worrying about how terrible you feel, under a layer of paste, consumed by what you cannot control. But you’ll solve it somehow if you THINK HARD ENOUGH about it and find a way out. There must be some way out. (They’re just bedsheets!)
I always think of that (Sameera’s advice). It reminds me that people can say cute things like “to take a shower or eat,” also it is true, and it helps.
Sometimes when I feel nothing, I want to feel terrible just so that I can feel anything. It isn’t always to get off on feeling bad. I get afraid that I’ll never be able to feel terrible again if I go too long without doing it. I have been told by too many boys that they haven’t cried in years.
It’s interesting what makes us feel so terrible (as humans). It tends to be the thing that used to do the opposite. But then that means that anything bad can be so human and sweet too, like writing down my feelings about feeling terrible, or how some things never have to happen, but they still might, or remembering things, or someone telling you that you could write a novel someday, or really thinking I might be my cat, or was at some point, or needing to stop yourself from being in love anymore, or another person telling you to Take A Shower Or Have Something To Eat. It is all really cute. It doesn’t have to be, but it can be.
My favorite one is a few months after my ex-boyfriend and I broke up, when I got really high for the first time in a while. I laid on my bed and fell into the soft sheets like a wormhole, swore that I was then laying on his body. My brain mistook a mattress for a body. I sat up fast, was still in that old room with breathing walls and art on those walls that would smile and move at me and I felt full even without windows. The art would smile and move at me. I was up in a cave where we used to come together and MEET. Maybe not in our bodies, but we lifted ourselves somewhere else where we were just our insides in total blackness. And we only knew we were there because we knew, and we imagined images of each other as something to accompany what couldn’t be told through sound or sight, only understood by being implanted in our separate heads. It was like condensing your body, pushing up with your arms off a surface to get out of a pool (water weighs you down but you fight it), and then you’re inside of a secret air pocket, not damp concrete. A fire was waiting.
I was sitting up, waiting there. Watching the door, patient for him to open it and come back from the bathroom or from somewhere I wasn’t. Fell asleep alive (high), that night, woke up in the morning sobbing over a dream where he was dead. I had to ask my friend Micah to text him and make sure he was alive.
Back then I used to imagine something really terrible happening to me to put me in the hospital, maybe someone would tell my ex-boyfriend, he’d come visit me. I would be dying, he would be next to me, full of regret and apology. I’d get to see him and know HE WAS SORRY. That meant a lot at the time (dying was the only scenario where I could imagine this).
It was terrible to watch him find someone else (HOSPITALIZING). But then I found someone else, kind-of. I might’ve only imagined them though (a nice idea implanted in my head, in that way, separate from sight or sound). Maybe to cope. Maybe to recognize that I could make all that up in my head out of my own creativity. Or maybe I found them because we broke up, or for no real reason at all. Maybe I’m already hurting over them too, but then I still want to keep going. It could be the time I laughed with this one. We were in a room laughing, my head got really close to their arm by mistake, but then I held it there, against their arm, for a few seconds while I laughed, I still do every time that I see them too. I’m laughing at the things they’re saying and I can’t help it. This has to be why we met, or why I’ll meet the next, or why I can still love, or it also doesn’t have to be. Or maybe it is the fantasy in my head of running back in time to that past moment and just being honest, turning to their face and saying what was really in my head, somehow saying something that I didn’t even know at the time. It’s cute how you only realize something like that after you’re out of the moment and it’s gone. Only after time passes and time makes us weird. Dying makes us weird too. I still don’t really believe that my ex-boyfriend is alive. But that stopped feeling so terrible.
That’s another weird thing, sometimes something terrible just stops being terrible. And new things become terrible. Anything ends up being terrible somehow, it is almost like we are searching for it! Not the art on my walls though. They still breathe and move and smile at me in the same way they used to, but maybe because I want them to.
Or because I let them.
I might’ve hated this whole thing I wrote about feeling terrible, or how some things never have to happen, but they still might, or remembering things. My ex-boyfriend hated to remember things. I might’ve hated the possibility of being my cat! That sounds freaky, to think I’d lay around all day and do nothing with my life, get caught with a paper bag around my neck (by the handles) and run in circles around the room, unaware. You might hate having to stop yourself from being in love anymore, well I think we all hate that one for a little bit at least. Sameera’s advice could have been terrible too.
IT ALL JUST DEPENDS ON ME I’M AFRAID. I can just go to sleep and wake up and then maybe something terrible might magically turn pretty. I can decide that we’re all already at the beginning and the end and the middle of everything. That one thing leads to the next and it just never stops. I decide if we just imagined all of it completely. The images that are implanted in that way, separate from sight and sound, aren’t really implanted but decided very consciously, but still subconsciously (Maybe we all subconsciously want to feel terrible!)
If I’m just a little dot, and Sameera is a little dot, and Micah, and my ex-boyfriend. What if we imagined each other exactly as we are and that’s really why we all know each other. We think we talk to one another, but we’re really just talking to the person we imagined would be talking to us. Or it could just be me talking to Sameera talking. Then we’re all just figments of each other’s imaginations or little spirits or something. But that is really cute, isn’t it? To think that Sameera and I are just little spirits who are floating and imagining all day. That might not be true, but it could be.
Nothing ever really changes so much even when I decide that it might. It is all still there and still happens (I GUESS THAT IS JUST WHAT BEING ALIVE MEANS). We all still happen. I still think my ex-boyfriend is dead. I still think it is so silly to try to explain our lives but we are all still so obsessed with trying to do so anyway. God, we are all just so picky! Some people don’t even have clean showers, or food to eat. I guess that makes us terrible, and them cute. Or them terrible too?
Brittany Deitch is a Philadelphia college undergrad, house show enjoyer, and stream-of-consciousness writer. Find her work via Bottlecap Press and Maudlin House.
image: Ashley Beresch. Check out more of her work on Instagram @ashleyberesch