At times, I conjure demons out of hiding to come and play. They slither out of the cracks merrily, asking where I have been.

I tell them I have been travelling between the phantasms of nightmares and the realities of the objective world; that I have learned there is not much out there to see; that my follies have flown me too close to the sun and now my heart is filled with embers at risk of fizzing out like falling stars, one after another.

They seethe with resentment. They see through my ruse. They know I only seek them out when I need an excuse.

“In all your joys, you never once see them through. What is it about happiness that frightens you?” they ask.

I acquiesce to their astuteness and answered, “I know happiness is akin to an eye’s glimmer, glimpsed only fleetingly. I dare not relish in the warmth, lest it burns through my skin and scar.”

“No good thing ever lasts. You are wise to come. All the others would have turned you away, but not us! We know you; only we can fathom your depths, and we have missed you dearly. What game should we play today?”

I stood in the silence, letting the question linger in the air. My mind echoing, wondering, “Why am I here?”

Our heads are large, cavernous spaces. They contain the voices, both kind and cruel, of all the people we have ever known. Some are languid and soothing, halting rogue fears and rekindling the strength that lay dormant within us. Others are vicious and relentless, gnawing at our bones and wanting nothing else but to keep us small.

I have shared my bed with the demons for the better part of three decades. In that time, I have wavered in and out of numerous consciousness, always with one foot out the door, constantly fearing the softness will show. For softness has no place in this world — women demand abrasive strength from their sisters, while men expect flesh free of mortal wounds.

I am soft, and I am scarred. My being has become home to people who have not been given the space to express their surrender to tenderness. The journey I am on requires me to unburden myself of all external expectations that serve as fodder for my yielding to the demons in my head.

I have not yet learned how to stop seeking them out in days of joy. I have not yet learned how to not become wary of happiness. For now, I will try to bask in the fleeting, rose-colored glow of my glee, breathing in its perfumes and sleeping in its balminess for a little while longer.

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One part self-proclaimed libertine with a penchant for bad timing, one part socially anxious introvert, two parts walking contradiction. I like clichés and bending social constructs. I live for the visceral and look to the rational for guidance. Forever in a thesis-antithesis-synthesis state of mind. Unlike most millennials, I don't yearn to be born in another era. There is nothing better than living in the now.

2 thoughts on “Playdates.”

  1. i read your letter to your mother. thank you, i am 60 years old and still dealing with the angst and damage my unemotional and unattached mother caused me in my childhood, and still do every phone call. your story really rang for me and i plan to read it every so often to remind me how far i’ve come, but still need to go to be free. so glad you are dealing with this young. you’ll have decades free drama that you can fill with your own story and not hers. sounds like you already have made it deep and fulfilling. long may you run, akua

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, wow! I can’t believe that’s still up! I wrote that ages ago. Over the years, I’ve thought about editing it (because goodness knows there is a lot to improve on 😅), but a part of me is almost afraid to re-read it again. Do you sometimes feel that way, too? Afraid to do something lest it uncovers old wounds. But thank you. Your words mean so much to me. When I was reading this, I got misty-eyed and flooded with emotions. On the one hand, I was happy to know that I am not alone (we all know our situation is very common, but the feeling of isolation and heartbreak make us forget). On the other, I am absolutely gutted. No child should be made to feel this way, but here we are. While I may be young, I feel like I will live the rest of my life with some resentment still, despite my mother being significantly less cruel the past few decades. But you give me hope, that at 60 one can still live a beautiful life in spite of the pain. Will we ever forget? If you like, we can talk about this more in private. Let me know if that’s alright so I can message you my details. And, also, I would honestly understand if you’d like to keep our interactions strictly on this platform 💓


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