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Abnegation

Maybe that’s why I don’t look in the mirror.

Undetermined date, 2021
6:13 am

“You understand me. We mirror each other. You’re what I see when I look in the mirror and I’m what you see when you don’t.”

Undetermined date, 2021
11:27 pm

I wrote something similar several years ago, right when you entered the hospital for the first time. And that was the last time, I think, that I wrote about you. And I didn’t tell you this morning, but you’re not wrong. 

I am afraid. Not afraid of how your recovery looks or what you are doing, but afraid that it could be me, that it would be me. Your videos, your photos, your messages, your voicemails, your texts, your audio recordings—are what my brain feels like frequently—and I know that you know that. It scares me because aren’t we just all one step away? With mental illnesses it’s more like half a step. 

You’re what I would see if I was unzipped. Unhinged. Uncontrolled. The closest I have come in recent days was in my house. She looked at me and told me she could see myself crawling out of my skin—as if there was a zipper running down the middle of my body and I was emerging from it. Not like a renaissance, not like a rebirth, not like a resurgence. 

I’m not afraid to become undone. I have spent much of my life naked. 

I’m not afraid to show my mess. I’ve always been chaos.

I’m not afraid to share it with others. I wasn’t an only child my whole life.

But I am afraid I won’t be able to zip myself back up. If I am forced to start, I won’t be able to be forced to stop. 

But I will admit that I have the privilege to be able to be covered up. It’s not on purpose. I am not hiding. Those who need to know, know.

But I am afraid I would…

Maybe I just haven’t been that low,
that high,
that manic.

where it was so intense, that I didn’t have a choice.

everyone would know when they looked at me.

spoke to me.

hugged me.

smelled me. 



Maybe that’s why I don’t look in the mirror. 

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