Someone Says Something

Someone says something like,

I would call it a shift in landscape, maybe in tone—an intention of sorts, if haphazard. What do you want from love, anyway? Only a beginning. Only an end to the endless.

Or: I have been thinking lately about fear.

Or: I am very sad, & very anxious. I've said those words so many times—in my blog, in my love letters, in my books, in my column, in my interviews, in so many other variations, in so many other voices, in so many other ways—that I worry it becomes boring to listen to. But I have no other truth to share. I am very sad. I am very anxious. It's hard, even & especially as an artist, to find a way to turn that aching into something beautiful.

Or: I think what makes me the most afraid is losing things. Someone says something like, only your body belongs to you. & someone else says, no, only your memory. Or, only your art. Only your fury. Or, only last night's dinner, only the rain, only the strangers' vacation photos in which you are a shapeless blurred background figure. Only the plums in the icebox. Only the ones you loved with more love than you knew the world could hold, & still they did not love you back.

Or: on days like these, my illness feels like a world huge & nameless, full of so many fears I can never quite grasp onto, can never quite take hold of.

Or: sadness & anxiety seem the only constants, & that is the greatest fear of all. Sometimes I keep track of the ways in which I change. Weight, most obviously. Length of nails. Words known. Pages read. Pages written. Hours of sleep. Songs listened to. There is so much I've already lost & so much left to lose—a poem I memorised yesterday that I won't remember a word of in six months, a girl I once loved to whom I now barely speak, a hairstyle I have no patience to maintain anymore—& yet, through it all, there's the water & dark, there's the ceaseless revolt. That's what makes me afraid. I lose so much yet never the things I most want gone.

Or: I am a monster mourned by so many.

Or: someone says something like, only the voices in your head belong to you. Or: is fear not its own act of god? Or: this terror makes me roil & burn & starve with thirst. If that sounds like a contradiction, maybe that's because it is.

Or: my illness is submerged in the throat, is dreaming in the morning, is ever-present & awful. If I am afraid, it's of losing the wrong things, always, letting go of what thaws me instead of what freezes me whole. It's of ruining myself in the search for the right hands, the right space to fill. Or: someone says something like only your emptiness belongs to you, something like you're all my aching ever talks about, & all I can think to reply is, maybe that aching will always be so bone-deep & noxious, will always be so large I can't help but fit inside of it.

This is the shift. This is the great unclenching fear.

p.s. for R, & for K
p.s.s. & for anyone who has ever been afraid