To My Anxiety, the Worst Friend I've Ever Had
You're beside me as I type.
The keys crack, crack, crackle with each stroke, and you're hovering. You're hovering, Constance. I don't appreciate it.
Until now, I've been polite. I've shared my couch and favorite blanket. I've asked if scrambled or over easy eggs would calm and better prepare you for the day. I've offered pillows, long after I should have been asleep, and listened to you worry -- worry about his lack of text back and an angry tone in your boss's voice and how behind you feel. I've listened and I've obliged.
I've been kind since your arrival, so I know what follows may seem out of character. It isn't, Constance. It isn't. I just haven't been the best communicator. So, here goes.
I'm mad at you. No, let me rephrase. Mad sounds sweet, like I'm twirling my hair and giggling in between outbursts. That's not right.
I'm pissed. You've overstayed your welcome. Way overstayed. Decades overstayed.
Lest I sound cruel, let's rewind through some of your greatest hits.
In elementary school, you tagged along on my family vacation to Florida.
I've never been much of a sleeper so I okayed your ghost stories long after the birds stopped chirping. You'd reached round three of "reasons I'm not invited to more birthday parties" when you overheard yelling in the next room.
I begged you to ignore it. It wasn't our business, Constance.
You didn't care for the things you heard. I didn't either, but my solution was to bury my head under the pillow. Yours was to shake, shake, shake my body. Shake my arms, shake my legs, shake my torso, shake my neck. Shake every piece of me so intensely that I couldn't stop you.
I couldn't throw you off, Constance. I couldn't breathe, Constance. I was 10 years old and thought I was dying, Constance.
I should have left you in Florida.
In middle school, you jammed into my chair with me to help with homework.
You stared. You drummed on the edge of the table. You waited for me to fuck up.
I didn't care if my "a" mirrored one on a computer screen. I didn't care if the straightness of my "t" could be measured with a level. You did.
You, Constance. You forced me to pause. Pause and analyze. Analyze each letter after I wrote it. When it wasn't up to your standards, you demanded I erase it. Start over, start over, start over. Make it perfect.
I countered that it looked fine. No one would notice.
You demanded I look harder. Hissed that everyone would judge. No one would like me. You convinced me, Constance.
I erased and analyzed, erased and analyzed, erased and analyzed. Over and over and over again.
I didn't stop when I made you happy because that moment never came. I stopped when my erasing tore a hole in the paper and there was nothing I could do but cry.
I should have left you in that chair.
In high school, you shadowed me in every ounce of my existence.
I told you it was rude. That there wasn't room for you.
You scoffed. Barged in anyway. Whispered of course I needed you. I didn't, Constance.
You bullied me into questioning all the fibers of myself. What I said, how I smiled, how I laughed, how I held my arms. If I was funny enough. Sweet enough. Smart enough. If I was too funny. Too sweet. Too smart.
You interrogated me like such a criminal that I stopped knowing who I was. I could only avoid eye contact and melt into furniture. That's cruel, Constance.
At night, you replayed films of my behavior. Analyze, analyze, analyze. Again, again, again. I dozed to the soundtrack of your anger and I woke to the same. In your reviews I'd always fucked up.
I should have left you in bed.
Today, your message is clear -- I'm not enough.
That the seconds I'm relaxing I should be work, work, working. That I should stop trying so hard. That I'm no good.
You're an expert at sorting the ways I'm wrong. Screaming that average is where I belong. Seducing me to dismiss my dreams and marry safety instead.
That isn't okay, Constance. No, let me rephrase. That's offensive, Constance.
You are the absolute worst. You are selfish and greedy and an asshole.
Today, your message isn't working for me. I have things to do.
I'm revoking your privileges. You can no longer tell me I'm wrong. You can no longer tell me I should stay in bed where nothing can harm me. You can no longer tell me I shouldn't bother pursuing my goals because I won't achieve them anyway.
You can no longer tell me I'm not good enough, not talented enough, not cool enough. You can not. That is not your right. You hear me, Constance? That is not your right.
It's time to leave, Constance. You are unneeded and unwanted, Constance. Get out, get out, get out. Go, Constance.
I am enough. I can do it all. You no longer get an opinion on the matter.
I'm leaving you here.