He taunts her and taints her voice. She hates him. But she loves how he fills the gaps that lay bare when he is not there. She loves that he numbs her. That his spluttering retorts confirm her worries. That in some way she is validated by his outbursts. Each quickening of his pulse, each word he spits at her choking himself, chaining himself to his own pain. Is it not better to be seen for something than not be seen at all? He tells her she’s worthless and she must work harder and she must do nothing at all. Do nothing at all. There’s no point. Nothing matters. But doesn’t saying nothing matters imply that believing in hopelessness matters? Is trying to be detached not just clinging to feeling unattached? Weird. She can’t let in happiness because he’s there and he’s being rather loud. And he’s telling her she can’t be happy for she doesn’t deserve it. And she can’t be positive for there is no point. And she mustn’t eat and she must follow his every command and only do as he says or bad things will happen. Very bad things. Her nightmares will come alive and pounce at her. And she will have caused them for simply not having followed his orders. For not having done what he said. For not being chained to him.
And some days the sky shines out of her and he shuts up and other people are let in. With their smiling compliments and their reassurance. But he always comes back. Like an unwanted visitor who overstays their welcome. Like that creepy customer who doesn’t understand social queues. And because she is feeling weakened by his strength she curls up and she follows him again. She regrets every feeling positive. Feeling ashamed for every feeling hopeful. For believing for a split second that she could be enough. She tries shouting at him, retorting, crying, and running away. But he’s so loud now. He knows how to play this game better than she does. He knows he’s louder. He knows her deepest, darkest secrets. Her flaws. He knows how he can push his spiteful words like poisonous daggers into her wounds. And so he does. But this time she lets him. And when he tells her what to do she just hears the words and stops concentrating. She just lets him sit and scream at her. And lets the pain come. She lets it sweep her off her feet and make her question everything she has ever thought to be true. But she has started silencing him. Bit by bit his screams sound less terrifying. More like a lost child wining somewhere in the distance. And sometimes his words are so cruel, that the daggers in her sides make her want to give up, to retract. Or fight. But she doesn’t. Because she knows that he is getting louder before he gives up. For if you let someone roar they eventually must stop. If you stop believing in words they lose their meaning.
No, she has not lost herself. She has seen herself. Fully. More. There is more in ways she couldn’t have imagined. Space. Fields. Sky. Sea. Breath. Behind his words. Behind her words. Always there.