I am a Haunted House


How does a girl shake the spectacle of her own mind?

My birthday is a week away. I hate my birthday. Well, more this unshakable reaction to my birthday: loneliness and ache, old ghosts, echo, recall, and a building doom that creeps in and makes home in my chest, every year. It’s easy to say “I hate my birthday”. It’s dramatic; and I am sorry. I am. I wish I didn’t. It seems like understanding this about myself would better prepare me, but it never does.

And it’s so hard to feel safe: carrying this feeling, pacing the living room, staring at ceilings, heeding the thoughts, reliving memories, the same soundtrack on repeat.

I am frustrated with myself for not being able to shake what I “understand” as being a result of so much history that I’ve not had control over. Still, it’s Saturday, almost noon, and everything I feel is my fault: I am unable, I am unlovable, I am never ever enough, I am a burden, a mistake. I am a mistake that I cannot rectify or hide from. I am lonely, alone.

(And, in my older years, not for lack of trying; which might be the worst kind of loneliness.)

I’m sorry. This is all so dramatic. But I’m just trying to get you to understand my bite and snarl.

Mea Culpa, in advance.

Please be gentle with me this week.

I am a haunted house. Houses don’t build themselves. Houses don’t invite ghosts to stay. But, houses hold, they sink and settle, they leak, they break, they flood, they burn —

Please be gentle with me this week. The floodgates open, the nightmares begin and continue, the waters rise; I’m hanging on. I’m tired and terrified and alone. If you can offer a place to hide a monster, please—

If not, come back next week. I’ll show you—

How bright the burn, how black the char.