Cut from the Same Cloth
It starts like a gentle beating of the heart, out of the ordinary. I assume it is the usual beat, reminding me that my body is tired, my mind has shut down, and my soul is heartbroken from too much unfurling. It starts like a gentle beating of my heart, slowly, one beat after the other, until it graduates into this rapidness I do not understand.
It starts with the brightness of my phone being too much, so I let it fall to the floor, breaking into uncountable little pieces. I feel it, the pain, at the back of my tightly-shut eyes, but when I curl myself into a ball on my bed, it graduates into a pounding at the back of my head.
It starts as soft and gentle as cuts on the soles of my feet as I walk over the broken pieces of my phone; so I start entertaining these thoughts of sweet, pleasurable pain. Almost like when you willingly experience vaginal penetration for the very first time. Almost like the itch you feel when a yeast infection finally settles in the crevices of your vagina.
It starts as soft and gentle as my thoughts when I am seated on the toilet; This is the sadness that keeps you awake at night. That breeds anxiety. That keeps you locked, between bedsheets, in darkness. That jerks your body whenever your phone rings. This is how it ends; your body getting accustomed to the pain, that it begins to anticipate it. To want it. To crave it. And when it finally shows up, it bows and lets all the happiness, peace, and calm out.
It starts as soft and gentle as me cooking, and shoving all the food in the freezer because I do not have the mental strength to lift a spoon to my mouth. Neither does my mouth crave any sort of goodness. And before I know it, I am losing my shit and clearing first my fridge, then the freezer, the wardrobes, and I am this close to letting go of my books.
Then, I realize just how deep I have sank.
In this state, I do not remember all the laughter that has been bouncing off these walls these past days, and weeks, and months. I do not remember how it sounded; the happiness and love. I do not remember the people who have been here, nor what they were wearing. Heck, I do not even remember what they said, despite the fact that I have previously held their words, always, closest to my heart.
In this state, I do not remember the sound and feel of good music to my ears. I do not remember how music tastes, and it is only after my mother repeatedly calls and asks, “What is that noise?”, that I realize the TV has been on this whole time; loud, unapologetic. As if it is not mine. As if I do not sit before it, daily, conversing. As if it does not share in my sadness and darkness. As if it no longer knows me.
It is the thing that happens with me when angry, or sad, or battling anxiety. It starts softly and gently, caressing the edges of my skin, trying to push me as closest as possible to the edge. Then, suddenly, it takes control of my mind and I can never remember what I used to feel before this cloud of darkness settled upon me.
I do not remember a time I was ugly. Or broke. Or struggling with whatever tangible things human beings struggle with. I have always been beautiful. I have always worn stylish clothes. I have always had all the things I wished I had. Even when I thought I was broke, I always found ways to still live my life in the most rewarding ways.
But I remember the time when I was in pain. When I was in despair. Broken. Helpless, and on the verge of depression. I remember, clearly, a time when I crawled to church because that was the only place I could find calm and peace. I remember the exact bitter taste I felt in my mouth seven years ago, which is a different kind of bitter from the one I feel right now, still different from the one when Bree died.
Even as a child, growing up, I do not remember much of the physicality. Not the colour of the walls of our house. Not even the scents of flowers that were all over. Heck, I don’t even remember how many we were in the household at a time. I do not remember the mucus-filled faces of my friends back then; even their names are starting to sound too strange and foreign in my head. As if they did not exist in my life. As if they no longer exist in this world. As if they are only but products of my imagination.
But I remember my father’s music; melancholic, not-easy-to forget. I remember the look on his face when he took me for evening walks. I remember the sound of his laughter, floating above his friends’; as if it was forced. As if it was not what he wanted to do. As if there was a greater force within him, urging him to set his heart and soul free.
I remember the size of my small bed, and me crying daily for my father to get me a bigger one. Or to let me sleep on the couch. Because, still, I remember my father’s snoring, and his calm sleeping face against the moonlight. I remember these little things because it beat logic how he could sleep so sound, so peacefully, after listening to such intensely sad music, and going by the day, doing things I felt he found no joy in.
In many ways, I am like my father. I see it in the way he talks to me and asks, “Uko sawa na hiyo? Usikubali tu just because others are doing it. It will hurt you in the end.” I see it in the way after every phone call, he sends me messages to remind me of what we have agreed on. I see it in the way, to date, his music is still my go-to-music when I am angry. Or battling bouts of anxiety. Or a cloud of darkness is threatening to rip my body into pieces.
I see it in the way I see his face whenever these things start to disturb my peace, and I hear his voice in the midst of his music. I see him in the way I continue to choose myself, over and over again, effortlessly so, because I know, and I understand the amount of damage that comes with conforming.
I see it in the way his face is the first I see when my happiness starts to return. When I find my voice again, and the strength to draw my curtains and open the windows.
I see it in the genuine smile on my face when the sun’s rays filter into my bedroom, and the ringing of my phone ceases to drive me insane.
I see it, because I am my father’s daughter, and we are cut from the same cloth.