100 Days Project

Kayla: Grief. Mercy. Language

I will write some form of poem or prose each day, experimenting with different structures, voices and styles in order to create emotive texts that explore the limits of language and meaning.

This morning, I rose from the dregs of some bad childhood memories that had resurged in my dreams. I carried them with me throughout the day, sometimes attempting to shake them off, sometimes putting a smile on my face. But when my husband came home, I saw the sadness in my eyes reflected back to me. And then meeting a friend after work, I spoke with restraint, wanting to hold a normal conversation while simultaneously saying to myself, “Just shut up. No one wants to know what you have to say.”

And then later, when telling my husband a story, a story of one of those painful memories that had been following me around, he flinched. He waved his hand in my face and said, “Stop, stop, I don’t need to hear it.”

With a lump in my throat, I went to the bathroom sink to get a glass of water. And then, I knocked that glass over with my own clumsy hand. I looked up in the mirror and heard that voice say, with such spite, in my head,

“I hate you so much. Why don’t you just disappear? No one wants to see you. No one wants to hear you. You are disgusting."

It’s not an unfamiliar voice. In fact, it’s one I’ve heard so many times that it doesn’t even shock me anymore. And almost as soon as it spoke, the other voice said, in a very matter of fact way,

“All right then. This is how it is tonight? Give me all you’ve got.”

And so I sat with it. With all my self-loathing. My own putrid shame. And I sat there and I let myself want to disappear. To hate myself. Knowing none of it is true, but no less real. Knowing it needs to be acknowledged. Even when no one else wants to see it.

And if I’m truly honest with myself, I’ve been told enough times in my life what a waste of space I am, to believe it. I’ve been ignored and forgotten enough times to believe I don’t matter. And maybe I don’t. But me and my shame are just going to sit here, and be disgusting together, and we’re going to find a way to be OK with that. Because that shame, well, it’s never going away. 

Day 12:


Sounds negative - and it is, I suppose, unless you can learn to see beauty in pain. And I do. It's not about pity, it's about survival, and hope.