Twenty-Three Going on Seventy

I’m 23-years-old. Twenty. Three. Well, 24 in two weeks.

I’m a full-grown adult sitting inside of the sink in front of my bathroom mirror, begging it to stop watching me.

I keep the reflection foggy so that they can’t see me, and I keep my mouth sealed tight so they can’t hear my thoughts.

I’m sitting inside of a sink in front of my bathroom mirror, only opening my mouth to chew on a raw, bloody pair of lips. I’ve always feared blood, but the smooth texture of self-destruction that seeps onto my tongue as I attempt to gnaw away at my paranoia brings me a small sense of comfort. I imagine that it’s similar to defeating your enemies in combat, except for the fact that my enemy is myself.

I haven’t left this 5′ by 8′ room in 3 whole days for fear of…well, I’m not exactly sure. Just fear.

When I was 8-years-old, I had my whole life planned out. Unlike my classmate’s dreams of becoming princesses and movie stars, I kept my dreams realistic. I never asked for too much; all I desired within my tiny conception of the future was a husband who loved me and three kids. Two boys and one girl, to be exact.

I wasn’t quite sure what falling in love meant, but I wanted it, and I waited so patiently for it to arrive.

When it came, we carved our names into the wooden veranda that stood by our duck pond.

Ten years later, I’m finding myself searching for solace in solitude, running hot water over feet that sit in my bathroom sink until the whole room is nothing but fog.

Way off of my childhood timeline; I know.

One of the worst aspects within this picture is that I can’t tell if my bouts of “insanity” are caused by a disease that pumps through my genes, or if I am simply insane without the illness.

I usually like to pin it on both, which makes it doubly worse. Mental illness stacked on mental illness stacked on fear of this all-consuming disease.

Parts of me want to get better. The “me” that I let the world see begs for a cure, revealing its evidence through scabbed lips and bloody, chewed up fingers.

But this disease has become my secret love affair.

Most people are constantly living for the future as if a time further away from now will bring them satisfaction.

Well, as crude and unwanted as it sounds, my future consists of a mind that will conceal itself as something so unfamiliar to the one’s I love that they’ll try to forget my forgotten state.

And the fact that tomorrow will only present itself as a progression of my illness has allowed me to live now. So what if I’m too complicated for someone to fall in love with? So what if I hide in my bathroom for days on end for what you’d call “No Reason?” So what if I camouflage my unintentional scars behind words on a computer screen?

I was born a writer. Since kindergarten, all of my teachers told me so.

What the hell would I write about without Huntington’s Disease? Who would I be able to help without my mental instabilities?

Without this disease, the voices in my head would be lonely. I would never have a sense of ‘forever’ like the fear of falling into the sky has given me. I would see everyone in black and white rather than October-night purple and deep sea-foam blue.

Without this illness, I might always be looking towards the future to provide me with something better than ‘now’ could ever give me.

My ‘now’ is crooked, yellow teeth peeking through a perfectly-shaped smile. It’s blowing the perfect bubble only to watch it pop.

It’s being alone and going back to your childhood spot to see your name carved inside of a heart next to the name of your first love. I’m not sad, though. Inside of the etches on the wood, we are still together.

I’m sad a lot. I believe in things that aren’t true a lot. I wish that I wasn’t alive a lot. But these awful feelings have seduced me into a relationship with a mentality that I didn’t ask for…but whether I’m hiding from the world, arguing with the voices in my head, or tearing the skin around my nails apart, I’m living in the moment. I’m living now.

I’m taking full advantage of the functions my body still facilitates. I’m soaking in my mother’s aimless sense of decor. I’m selfishly hoarding all of the love from my past and my present as if it could disappear any second. It makes me appreciate what I have in this moment, because whether anyone likes it or not, there is no such thing as the ‘future’. It will always be now, right now.

So I dye my hair lavender. I wear leggings as pants almost every day. I stay up until 3 a.m. on a school night solely for the sake of watching the stars move with the earth’s rotation.

Whatever ‘now’ entails, choose to embrace it while you’re still able to embrace. It’s not a sad ending, my loves, but an ending that only welcomes itself as long as we allow it to. Every breath is the ending of a moment. Take it. It belongs to you—not a disease, not someone else, and certainly not ‘the future’.

You belong here. You belong now.

If you truly believe it, then you will always be timeless.

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