for your sake, let it rattle
On medication, you are normal. On medication, you lose weight and smile more and get good grades. On medication, you impress yourself. On medication, you don’t have to rely on any friend or roommate or sibling. On medication, you take care of yourself. On medication, you change.
You’re happy you’re not where you used to be. You know you’re so much easier to be around, that you don’t have to apologize for all your sadness to your friends and family. They tell you they’re really happy for you, that you deserve this, finally. You’re happy you don’t need or expect their hand anymore.
But ultimately, despite all the surface level glamor, you miss yourself. You miss that with the sadness came a warmth you didn’t know how to contain. You were loud and aggressive and vibrant, and without knowing why or how, you turned quiet and torn. Monday was never just a Monday—Monday could end abruptly if the wrong song played. Now, Monday is always the same: Wake up at 7 a.m. Go for a run. Go to class, stay in class until 6 p.m. Have dinner. Be friendly with strangers on the street. Do some work before bed. Take two little pills. Go to sleep.
If the old you saw you live this way, they wouldn’t believe it. It would feel like a glass facade that might break any minute. But current you knows this is your life. You are on the other side now. This is what normal feels like. Repeat that mantra until you don’t remember why you had to.
But the medication doesn’t make the sadness disappear. The medication takes the sadness, and all the parts of you that were in that sadness, and puts it in a small glass box in the darkest, quietest part of your body. You can’t really see it, and most of the time you forget it’s even there. But sometimes, you’re walking down the street, and you see a little girl hold her little sister’s hand, and the glass box rattles and rattles. You know what you want to feel. You know you want to fall back into that feeling even for a second, but you can’t. You see and hear and feel the glass box, and it feels like the past you is trying to talk underwater.
Your chest heaves and your face contours like it forgot how to cry and you crane your neck far enough to let the rattle of the box out. But it doesn’t know how. You don’t remember what you did with all of This, with none of This, with whatever This was. You close your eyes, and you try to remember yourself. There is so little of you left, though, that you can barely care enough to really commit to that remembrance.
So you sigh because you miss yourself, but you know you have to let the glass box rattle forever. Instead, you remind yourself what the contents of that glass box took away from you. The glass box wouldn’t let you get a job or go to that party or kiss that boy. In the glass box was the only version of yourself you ever knew, but the version did not love you. That version in the glass box hurt you badly and constantly.
Warm fires on desert cold nights hurt you. Your mom smiling hurt you. Your sister growing so old than you couldn’t catch her hurt you. That episode of that shitty TV series hurt you. Turning 21 hurt you. Waking up some days hurt you. There was very little that did not hurt you. But what hurt you most was that living felt like swallowing salt water, but nobody could even see the ocean. All of this, the glass box contained. All of this, the glass box hid.
But you miss it anyways. You miss the you in that glass box so badly. Because the you now doesn’t know what to do with that rattle you feel when you remember a random Tuesday of last year. The you now doesn’t know how to feel deeply, painfully or otherwise, and you miss that. You miss that deep level of feeling you had when that glass box never existed. When all your sorrow and anger and passion and love never could fit in a box, so you felt fully. In that fullness, there was almost a calm that held you when too much got too much.
Now, it is only a dull nothing. You will keep that dull nothing because the dullness saves you, but you will always hear the glass rattling, and you will never understand what it is trying to say. And that is the sorrow you must choose to accept.