something went wrong around the eighth grade, when those mean boys followed you home, when they cornered you in an alley and pulled your hair out of its braid and told you to get on your knees because one boy had never gotten a blowjob before.
nothing happened. you got away; horrified and shaking, but you did. it was after.
when everything happened.
used to be, you’d cry when you scraped your knees, and you'd let people finish their sentences before thoughtfully adding your own – but that was before, before those boys knocked something loose in you, because now it's a cycle of not stopping. you can't stop talking or thinking, thinking all these big, bold thoughts that can take you away, that can surround you like a deep, dark tunnel, you can't stop eating because girls are supposed to smile and sometimes eating fills that emptiness inside of you, just for a minute, but then you can't stop starving because there's no time to eat, because you can't stop, and this constant motion, it's wearing you raggedly thin.
somebody notices, at last, but it's three years later. it's too late. you've already fucked a boy who didn't know your last name. you've already taken that first sip of alcohol. you've already thought about killing yourself. you've already experienced a sadness so profound that when you looked in the mirror, it cast a shadow over you.
it gets harder, and you go to them for help, but they just say "why are you crying?" in the big, mean, grown-up voice that means they're tired of this already, because that's the fourth time this week.
and you want to tell them, because you are dying, goddamnit, your parents don't understand, why you want to live inside the sun then crawl into a hole the week after, why you don't sleep and why you don't want to get up, why you ran away that day or why you've scratched until you bled or why you hit that girl in history across the head with a textbook after she called you crazy or why you got so excited you drove their car through the garage door.
they remember who their daughter was – the small, energetic version of her, who wrote stories about talking animals, the one who smiled when she was happy and only cried during sad movies, and you're not that girl anymore, and they wonder, who you are and more importantly, what you are? because normal people don't do this; normal people don't tear families apart. normal people don’t scream "i'm sick, i'm sick!" when everybody is already done listening, because for christ’s sake katie, you're not sick, you just want attention, you're nothing but a moody teenager.
so you tell no one. you say “i don't know" and they say "well, stop it." because you at least owe them that. you at least owe them to be normal.
but normal doesn't fit you, no matter how hard they mend it and take it in and exchange it for a bigger size. normal will never fit again.
no matter how much you wish it did.