It doesn’t seem fair that the only way people tell you to go in life is forwards, upwards if you’re lucky. Why is there the unnecessary privileging of one direction over another? Why does going backwards feel like walking over brown, crunchy leaves; of turning up to the party after everyone has already gone home.
I want to go backwards, I want to spin myself around, as months of hurt and heart and hollow collapse around me. I want to go back to a crisp Autumn day, a black velvet ribbon tied tightly around my neck, pride and panegyrical speeches in a language that I still don’t understand. I want to go back to when my body was truly my own, when my mind was undisturbed by a type of contact I’d never wanted. Un, I want to be Un.
I can just about remember the time when a bath was an indulgence, and not an attempt to scour the evidence from my skin. When pillows were for sleeping, not screaming into, all too aware of the paper-thin separation between myself and my housemates. Christmas was once about familial completion, not papering over the cracks of those who have slipped through the walls.
I wonder when my mind was thrown off its axis, when white paper packages indicated celebration, rather than self-medication. At one point, I was proud to attend the so-called “Best University in the World”. Perhaps, when the dreaming spires are long gone, I’ll recover that pride.
I conceive of the brain as not unlike one of those wooden puzzles that my dad always gets for his birthday. With effort and concentration, each part can slot together perfectly. But similarly, they can be forced apart, until the person with the right touch returns, to fix them into place.
I want to go backwards. I am not un enough to piece it all together, any more.