Honesty is Overrated

Okay. Maybe it’s not. Maybe I’m just bitter. That is a very great possibility. And yet- and yet, there’s a reason why advice to new couples is “Less history, more mystery.” There’s a reason why white lies exist, and why we use them constantly. It’s because the truth can be harsh, unpleasant, unwanted.
Why do we blurt out the truth at the worst possible times? Why do we ruin the beauty and simplicity of friendships with bitter pills and noxious notions of some falsely noble honesty? I don’t have the answer. I also know that I have rarely accidentally said something honest – it has always been deliberate, and that makes me think that this time it was just as thought-out and planned as ever, only subconsciously. That doesn’t make it better. While we’re not the masters of our subconscious, we are the masters of our mouths, and should keep them closed tightly when needed.

I am less than a month away from my twenty-first birthday, and yet everything I’ve written above strikes me as intensely and unpleasantly adolescent. I guess we all have days of regression, and this must be one of mine.

Combination Lock

Three turns to the right. Stop at “Guilt.”

Two turns to the left. Stop at “Self-loathing.”

One turn to the right. Stop at “Guilt for the narcissism of self-loathing.”

Open the safe. Inside, you will find another, small safe.

Three turns to the right. Stop at “Anger.”

Two turns to the left. Stop at “Impatience.”

One turn to the right. Stop at “Self loathing for feeling angry and impatient.”

Open the safe. This time, you’ll find a drawstring bag inside. Open it, and out will flow dozens of small, egg-sized capsules. Each is clear, with a folded up piece of paper inside of it. You can open the capsules look at the writing on the papers if you like. One will say “Happiness.” Another will say “Misery.” Another will say “Oddball.” Another will say “Unique.”

There’s something else in the cloth bag. If you reach right to the bottom of it, you’ll find a needle. The moment you try to pull it out, you’ll find the cloth bag unraveling. But if you leave the needle in place, you’ll be able to put all the capsules back inside. Then you can draw the strings shut tight, and even tie them. You can put the bag inside the first safe, and put that back inside the second. You know the combination now, so it’s no trouble going in and retrieving the bag whenever you like.

But what if you lock both those safes and throw them into an ecologically correct trash heap? Melt them down, use the metal to make… not bullets or guns, no… not spearheads either… and not jail-bars… how about wrought iron railings, delicate and beautiful, the kind you can train vines and flowers to grow around? Then you can still feel safe, but you don’t have to look at a cage or a weapon. You can’t use the railings against yourself, because you can step over them and make them beautiful. Forget the flowers – even without them, they’re beautiful. Just wait, see if other people admire them. I’ll bet you they will.

What about the bag, you ask? Well, that’s still with you, isn’t it? Tie it to your belt. Let people look into it sometimes. Let the people you love go in deeper, and sometimes maybe take a risk with a stranger. Don’t worry, they can’t steal anything. Even if they take one of those capsules in there, a new one will pop back instead of it. But more importantly, spend some time with that bag yourself. Look into it. Sort it out. See what belongs and what doesn’t. See, this is the magic about it – if anyone else tries to take something away, it’ll pop right back. But if you give it to them willingly or get rid of it yourself, it’s gone for good.

Careful, though. Don’t throw away “Compassion,” or “Love,” or even “Fear.” Don’t let yourself throw all of it away, both good and bad. Keep most of it. Just sort out things like “Pointless Guilt” and “Worthlessness” and you’ll have a good start going.

But remember the combination. If you don’t know how to open that first safe, you’ll never get anywhere. What if the combination changes, you ask? Ah, well, if it does, I trust you’ll be able to listen to that little click-click when the wheel hits the right place, so you’ll crack it in no time. Just make sure to try.

Beast

Surrounded by mirrors
You cannot escape.
You surround yourself.
Stare and gape
Wide eyed
At the truths you uncover.

Screaming at yourself,
Hitting,
Scratching,
Biting,
Self-loathing,
Covered in blood.
You pause and see yourself-
An animal.
A primitive being
Unable to control itself.

Rage, anger, hurt,
All forgotten
In the shock of discovery.

Through it all,
A small light in the corner of your mind.
It leads you back into yourself.
It makes you believe that perhaps,
Just perhaps,
The mirrors deceive you.
Someone loves you.

Rosy Thoughts

“Plink-plink-plink”
The metal chimes of the pretty mobile touched each other lightly in the almost nonexistent breeze. Rosy stared sullenly at them with her ice-blue eyes. The sound always bothered her immensely. Why have wind chimes when there was never any wind? The air was always as still as a boulder in the summer, and Rosy hated it.
As if the tiny breath of wind had heard her thoughts, it ceased to make even the merest attempt at cooling the stifling room, and the plink-plink of the chimes stopped. Rosy shifted her position a little bit so her neck wouldn’t hurt as much, and settled down again, closing her eyes. She let out a long, slow breath.
If anyone were to look at her at that moment, they would see a beautiful, sleeping girl, her shortish hair spread around her face like a chocolate-colored halo, lips slightly open and face perfectly calm. Little would they know the turmoil of thoughts and internal conversations that went through the mind of this silent angel.
Rosy felt as if her mind was filled with a whole crowd of people.
The part of her that was a little bit wicked was saying “Keep pretending to be sick, what do you care? All that matters is that Mama and Papa keep paying attention to you.”
Then the sensible part of her would interrupt with “But you can’t go on like this forever, and once you do get up, you’ll have to deal with them.”
The self-pitying part would meekly put in “It makes me sad to think of that though… Can’t you just stay in bed and have them keep feeling sorry for their poor daughter? You are their poor daughter after all, and you are very sad and tired now.”
Wicked would interrupt with an eager “Yes, exactly, that’s exactly right!” but not long after that, Self-Loathing would rear its aggressive head and yell “You disgusting, wicked, ungrateful little fiend, how can you be doing such a thing? You make me sick, you know that? What you’re doing is just so wrong and pathetic that-”
Sensible would then try to sooth everyone with soft words, “Come now, that’s a bit harsh, but yes, you must stop this, Rosy, because it’s not going to help in the end and you know it, dear.”
Wicked-self-pitying-sensible-self-loathing Rosy snapped her eyes open once more. It was no use. No matter what she did, no matter how hard she tried to sleep and look properly sickly, she couldn’t shut out the stupid voices in her head, nagging her about what she was doing or not doing all day long. All Rosy wanted was her parents to stop fighting. They had stopped, for the past couple of days, and she knew it was because they were worried about her complete and utter collapse that led to her staying in bed all the time since. Rosy also knew that the moment she seemed to be feeling better her parents would resume their bickering and their harsh conversations, filled with grim words like “lawyers” and “bank account” and “custody” – words Rosy was thoroughly sick of.
So now instead of hearing her parents fighting, Rosy had to endure the bickering inside her head and try to deal with it. She often dreamed, when she got tired of fighting with herself, of a day in the future when she would feel fine and dandy about everything, a day when things would feel normal, no matter where her parents were. She knew  a day like that, a day where all this was behind her, was somewhere in the future. Rosy waited impatiently for that day. She wanted the present to be all over and done with.
Whenever she lapsed into that dream for too long though, her voices would pick up their arguments and she would sigh, adjust her position, and live in the now in her mind. Occasionally the wind-chimes would clink against each other, puncturing her thoughts, and giving her something fresh to be angry with, but the air always stopped moving soon, and the dead air of the summer would grip Rosy’s heart in a vice-like grip, and her thoughts would continue in their turmoil.

I have no clue where this came from. I started writing it months ago, completed it tonight. I don’t even know if I should call it a short story or not. It’s just… something.