I love traveling alone on public transportation. I like staring out the window watching the cold concrete walls zoom by as I just sit. I’ve always liked just sitting in whatever vehicle it may be. I loved being in that transient state, gone from where I’ve started but not quite where I needed to be. I’ve always very much been a more-about-the-journey-than-the-destination kind of person and I find it bittersweet once my train finally pulls into the station and I must interrupt the quiet peace I’ve found in transit.
Lately I’ve found myself wishing I could stay in this liminal space, wishing I could constantly be in the in-between of here and not quite there yet.
Because lately I’ve felt as if I’m running out of time. The way my work and commitments have swallowed me, consuming me in full without even bothering to chew. I find myself feeling like a ghost, wading from one event to the next, never fully being present.
I crash onto the bed at night with no recollection of the day, only the weary blanket of exhaustion that wraps me before I close my eyes.
I am eating myself alive. I cut off bits of myself and chew it, hoping that it will sustain me, and will continue doing so until I’m nothing but a head and some hands.
I am tired, a broken phonograph that repeats the same hum of “Yeah, I’m just really tired” and can produce no other semblance of sound aside from this. It makes me a boring conversationalist.
As the days go on, I wonder if I will ever recover. Can fizzled out candles be lit once again, even when their wick has ran out?
I’m not sure what to do. I ask my friends, “What can I do to fix this?” and they look at me with sad eyes. What can I do to feel human again? To not exist, but really live? To not drift, but to really be?
I miss my old self. I miss sitting and reading for pleasure. I miss spontaneous trips to diners at 3am. I miss feeling excited for the days to come.
But now I am mush, I am empty and sad. I look at my day and see it is more of the same. I see my tasks pile one on top of the other and tower over me, daring me to shirk them, just for a little. See what happens. See how I add one more item to the list and it collapses and buries me underneath it. How I struggle to find oxygen in this atmosphere that is time, it is something I do not have enough of.
I am so tired.
But I’ve buried myself in too many responsibilities that have grown onto me, like leeches suckling at my back. Or maybe they’re like roses that have decided to latch their roots onto me, but in the process, their thorns have dug in, too.
And if I rip them off, I damage the flowers, and God, I do not want to disturb them. I’ve made promises to take care of them and I cannot bear to see a petal fall.
But at the same time, they keep cutting me open, leaving my flesh raw and bloodied. I am nothing more than an walking IV for them.
When will it be my turn to rest? When will it be my turn to feed? When will it be my turn to breathe?
Guilt hangs a heavy weight on my ankles as I do things for myself. Every unnecessary outing places another heavy plate onto my head and I find myself straining as I smile. When will it be my turn to do something for myself?
I am so tired. Have I said that already? I have a hard time remembering what I’ve said to who and who I’ve talked to and what I’m even supposed to do.
I doze off in class dreaming of endless T rides. Of sitting on the red line with no destination in mind. And if I reach the end, I just get back on in the other direction. Here, there are no responsibilities. There is no pressure. I am simply in transit, going to and from but not quite here.
There is some sadistic part of me that hopes that I fizzle out. That they will come across my fallen form, decorated and pricked by thorns and roses, and realize that they pushed me too far. That maybe then my work and time will no longer just be something to marvel at but instead something to be afraid of. Not something to revere, but fear. So that maybe they will make careful change in the future to dethorn her roses before siccing them onto her so that they grow soft and gentle on the skin.
But for now I work, going to and fro and to and fro.