Nothing to touch

by brittanychavez

There’s a girl. She’s just living her life. Maybe she’s a little busy. Maybe she doesn’t really know herself. Sometimes, when she’s not busy, when she’s not working, she feels something inside her chest. An ache. Not a physical pain, but something clenching, like she’s forgotten something, but for the life of her she can’t remember what it was. At times this feeling is very strong, it fills her up, fills her chest cavity up and makes her want to stand on her tip toes. She feels like she’s living outside of her own body.

She doesn’t believe in God so her feeling can’t just be faith. She’s sure it’s something better, something special, just for her. It comes when she is happy, like being filled with too much joy, but being a little sad, like there’s something she’s unaware of. It comes when she’s sad, like there’s something else inside what feels like a hollow chest. It’s deep, and the few times she tries to describe it she finds herself pressing into her sternum. “Here,” she says, “right here.” She begins to think of it as her secret. A secret kept so far away from the world that not even she knows about it. A secret from herself. And she thinks she’ll never l;earn her secret. And she thinks she’ll never really know herself until she does.

So she goes on.

She goes on living her life and sometimes she’s aware of her secret and sometimes it stays hidden away.

When she tried to look inside herself she’s faced with this big empty void and that scares her because maybe she’s nothing.

“Maybe I’m nothing,” she thinks.

“Maybe there’s nothing inside.”

She’s an iceberg, a big unknown below her which can’t be seen or touched. Maybe 88% of her is hidden away. Just like an iceberg. Sometimes, when she’s trying to know herself, actually trying and not just living, she finds herself on the edge of this iceberg. Her toes could be in the icy water. Like a suicide jumper on the edge of a building. She’s filled with a desperation to know, she wants to know her secret. She wants to peel her skin back and find it.

But she’s paralyzed with fear. Paralyzed with fear. “Maybe there’s nothing inside.” Maybe she’ll jump in the water and come up to a smooth flat surface of the underside of an iceberg. Maybe she’s only 1/9 and she’ll never know what the other 8/9 are. Because they’re nothing.

And she’ll end up in freezing cold water with nothing to touch but ice.

(This was writing for my latest drawing assignment. I realized after writing it that I had written about myself. This is word for word out of my journal, and I wrote it on the bus so I’m sure there are a ton of grammatical errors and some parts don’t make sense. But here’s my process. I’ll have a picture of the piece up soon.)

(And I have become obsessed with icebergs.)

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