I left the door ajar.
The door in the back of my echoing subconscious that’s been bolted shut for longer than I can fathom. The door that hides the cities of towering boxes, brimming with secrets disguised as clutter, and memories saved from oblivion. Boxes in a room stuffy with the smell of rejection, piling up to a size so monstrous, it can just about hold all the dust-bunny remnants of hurt and humiliation.
I used to spend hours playing fantasy games amongst the carton-ed maze, ripping open the boxes and pulling out the strings of insults, piles of toxins, and morsels of shame. I would fling the door wide open and dress from head to toe in all that made this world cruel and noisy, and everyone on the outside dubbed me as the teen who wore her heart on her sleeve. Can you even imagine me? This stone-faced, no-time-for-bullshit lady ever feeling so uninhibited and free that she could turn her insides out to express herself honestly? She carried her heart in her palms like the dainty glass slipper worn in a fairytale, absolutely certain that at least somebody would care. But eventually enough people furrowed enough eyebrows and too many people wanted the emo girl to just ‘chill out’. The glaring reflection of honesty within my clasp blinded some, while others stepped back aghast with my blatant disregard for their discomfort. For a world that promised to love and care unconditionally, it has a surprisingly low tolerance for honesty so like everyone else, I also learned – perhaps too early – that you are meant to swallow all your negativity as there is no room for it in other people’s reality. So even after I stopped hovering around the boxes, locked the door and hid the key in the back of the closet; even after I stopped chewing on those toxins, the fumes continue to linger and the boxes have begun to look like coffins.
Today I stood at the door and breathed in the poison. I walked to the beat of the voices in the boxes still clamoring, old age rendering them hoarse and broken but still as chilling. I pulled out the rusted bullets and slid my fingers over blunt blades, I blew on the dusty spears and toyed with the reddening chains. The room sighed within the weight of my feet, its abandonment speaking volumes to me. I imagine if I switch the lights on, it would become harder to not confront the years of pain and hurt and anger all casually pushed away, and yet I know that it can no longer just stay. I see the room begging for a quick sweep, for its slate to be wiped clean, but on some days its okay to admit I may not have it in me. Not today at least. As large and daunting and bizarre the room may be, it is also nothing more than an old scar – one that needs to breathe.
So for now, I’ve left the door ajar.