there’s a monster inside of my head.
it moved in four years ago, but they say it’s always been there. my daddy has one. so does his mom.
they say that’s where i got it. dad says grammy’s monster made her beat him until he was seven. dad says his monster made him drink until he blacked out, for twenty years.
they all say, “don’t let it in.” they all say, “it’ll control you, because you are weak.”
(actually, they say “vulnerable.”)
they tell me its name, so i can paint it on my wrists, on my forehead, along the curves of my ears. keep out. no BIPOLAR DISORDER allowed. they say it notices loud things. capital letters, for one. or crying children. or hatred. or fear.
they do not tell me what it’s like to see it. they do not tell me what’s it like, to feel it burrowing under your skin.
when it came to me, i pleaded with it. i said, “please go away,” and it didn’t listen.
but i never even opened the fucking door. it just let itself in. and it dried its feet, and it smiled, and it said
“i’ve been waiting for you forever.”
viruses are very single-minded. they’re a very clean thing that make you very dirty.
they do not like lines. they do not barriers, or a dichotomy. they like consumption. unity.
they say my monster wants to devour me. but it doesn’t like my little round pills, that come in pink and white. it doesn’t like the physiatrists; it doesn’t like hospitals and lithium and the business card in my wallet, with the phone number that can save me if i feel wrong.
it tries to trick me, but only at night. it’s smart. it tells me things: it says, “you don’t need it.” it says, “you’re all better.” it takes my hands, and it says, “you can skip it today, and tomorrow. or forever.”
i’m an oak leaf, trembling on a branch, and my monster – it’s the ground; where i’ll land, when i fall. where i’m stepped on by careless feet, broken apart.
(maybe somebody will take my bones, and press them into the pages of a book. maybe they will label it crazy dead girl. i can only hope.)
because i’m icarus, and my monster – bipolar disorder, is the sea. waiting.
to swallow me up.