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The Spiral

Updated: Jun 11, 2021

She’s spiralling.

Drowning. She feels as if her body was being dragged to the bottom of an ocean. She can’t breathe. She can’t see. She can’t speak. She can barely think. And her thoughts go round and round in circles. Why, how, where am I, who am I, what the fuck is happening this time, why didn’t I fight, how do I get out of here, who will help me? An endless stream of questions she doesn’t have the answers to.

She walks. She tries to move her body, to ground it in the present. To escape her own mind. Medication only does half the work, she needs to relearn how to breathe.

It would help if people on the street didn’t catcall her every few steps. It would help if she could smile at someone without them trying to get inside her pants. It would help if she could be seen as a person instead of a sexy doll.

She’s intelligent. Clever. She knows it. But intelligence isn’t written on a face. She needs to find a way to hide her body. Or to scare people off. She wears the heaviest shoes she could find, just in case she needs to kick someone. She wears baggy clothes that are supposed to hide her curves. Somehow it doesn’t seem to work. She’s tired. All she wants is to be. Be alive, be herself. Be left alone. Be able to go to the fucking post office without fear.

But fear has been her constant companion for so long, she doesn’t even know what it feels like to not be afraid anymore. She turns it into fuel, spite, anger, words. She writes her fear, she writes her story. She hopes that it will at least help others. Honestly she’s despairing. She wonders if she can save herself. Feels like it’s too late now.

There’s so much to unravel, so many horror stories in her life. So few moments of hope or love. She cherishes all of them, but isn't sure how to make more. She needs more.

More. More laughter. More smiles. More love. More friends. More life. She’s sure she’ll never have enough. She tries. She talks to people even though she knows the risks. She goes out. She creates. She shares. She lifts others up. She’s encouraging. Always. She’s waiting for someone to do the same for her. She’ll find them, someday. The person who’ll look at her and see someone worth caring for.

She’ll never stop searching. For that love, that peace, that hope, that dream. She just needs to figure out what it looks like. But she’ll get there, someday.

She smokes a lot. It helps her cool down, it helps her feel like a fully grown woman. She hates that she looks like a teen at almost 30. She looks weak, so she tries to find ways to make a tougher persona. She hides behind a cigarette and high heels, rings on her fingers and in her ears, big round glasses and lots of tattoos. She’s tired of hiding but what else can she do?

She tries to make herself hard to reach, but her face betrays her. She tries to pretend she doesn’t care but her eyes scream her hope and dreams.

Somebody once told her she was the most alive person they’d ever met. She didn’t understand. At times she doesn’t even feel like a person. She tries though. She reads, searches, learns. About humanity and its evolution. About history, about science, about politics. She sharpens her mind like a knife, it’s her only weapon.

She refuses to give in, no matter what. She has goals you see. She has things to do. Stories to write. Art to make.

She will publish her children's books. She will publish her comics. She will publish her fantasies, her romances, her historical fictions. She will change the world, one story at a time. To end the spiral she keeps falling into.

Hope is a dangerous thing, she knows. But she can’t help it. She hopes that someday all her hard work will pay off. That all the horrors of her life will have been worth something. Even if it helps just one person, she will be satisfied. She doesn’t dream big. But she dreams nonetheless. And she does her best to feel as alive as she can, day after day.

The spiral of despair will break, and she’ll find a straighter line to follow. In the meantime she looks at the sky, the stars lighting her way, the sun warming her soul. She keeps on going, one foot in front of the other. Breath after breath.

She finds joy wherever she can, even if sometimes it’s hard to see the happy times until they’re over. But they’re there. Hidden in the midst of hardships, in the shadows of grief. A smile, a cake, a cigarette shared with a friend, a kiss. The purring of a cat on her lap. It won’t last, she knows, but that only makes these moments even more precious. Happiness is not a constant state, it’s an accumulation of little happy things.

She smiles as she writes, the despair for now kept at bay by the letters that appear on her screen. Words of healing. Words are healing. And sentence after sentence she lets her heavy bags of pain fall to the ground. She’ll leave them there until they reappear on their own.

She’ll never be fully rid of it. Her baggage. Nobody can leave it all behind. But someday the pain will lessen, and the bags won’t be so heavy. She’ll be able to carry it all more easily, to go faster, to run, to fly. It takes time, it takes effort, but it will happen. She knows it. She believes in herself, a little bit. Just enough to keep fighting. To keep talking, and writing, and drawing, and taking pictures of the world as she sees it, in all its colours and horrors and beauty.

The world isn’t all pink. It comes in all shades, in all tones. And she loves all of it. The good, the bad, and the ugly. She sees beauty in all of it. In graffiti on a wall, in the path of a raindrop on a dirty window, in the shouts of a worried mother, in a thunderstorm, in a dried out crop of grass.

Even misery can have some beauty in it. People who have nothing tend to share more. They appreciate what they get, and let go of the bitterness that people who have it all cling to.

She lost everything more than once, she knows what it’s like to have nothing left. But even when she had nothing to share, she gave what she could. She shared her last piece of cake with the hobos of the train station. She gave her last cigarette to a woman who was crying at the terrace of a cafe. She smiled at strangers who were frowning. She tried, every day, to bring some light to people’s lives.

And as the spiral slows she realises the pattern of her life. She has always followed what she thought was right. The only time she hasn’t, she regretted it. Otherwise she has no guilt and no regrets. Her bags of pain were given to her by others, she never picked them up.

Her smile gets bigger. For the last two and a half years she has followed her instincts, through terror and fear. She’s accomplished so much more than she ever imagined. She’s doing good things. For herself, and for others. She knows that, no matter what happens now, she can sleep in peace. Her stories will get better. Her writing is already improving. And she has goals to achieve.

She wants to make this world just a little bit better, and she will succeed. One word, one story at a time.

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