I think I was ten when I learned what “disturbed” meant. It held such serious connotations. For me it described a feeling I couldn’t shake, something I didn’t like, didn’t understand, but couldn’t escape.
I noticed that when my brothers told me disturbing things, though, they did so with what appeared to be glee. As if they were not disturbed at all.
Maybe they were mocking me. But at the time it lead me to believe that by sharing the disturbing thought, it would become less real and less troubling for me.
I read a lot. I watched a lot of movies. I watched the news. I saw a lot of things I didn’t like, didn’t understand, but couldn’t escape.
If I told someone about them, it would make it less scary and less real.
I lived in a house with five other people. We never got out. I didn’t have friends. It took less than a day for everything one person knew to be common knowledge. there was no escape in my own home.
So I found other ways. I kept a journal. I wrote twisted fiction. I wrote stories about experiences I’d never had and places I’d never been. I wrote about people years older than me. I wrote about feelings I’d never had, feelings so intense I couldn’t find the right words.
I hated not having the right words. So I read more. I got a thesaurus. I read my dictionary. Trying to find the words I didn’t know that would click into the puzzle of the misery I was trying to portray in my stories.
I wanted to describe a misery too intense to be endured by a single human. Because I needed to get it out of my head.
I created characters so I could destroy them. But not completely. Tear them down then wait just long enough for them to rebuild only to be rendered into wreckage once again.
I wanted my words to tear my flesh in a way that I felt my hands never could.
I was trapped in the same way I trapped my characters. Maybe they had an island, or a fence, or a river keeping them in place. I had four walls and five family members who never let me ask the questions they didn’t want to hear answered.
I wrote with a darkness that shamed me. My writing lay stacked in drawers. When I read my works, laughter lashed back. My handwriting became smaller. The stacks grew higher.
As I condemn my characters to thicker and thicker layers of despair, I try to free myself from the sticky strings that life winds around me and sticks to the walls that closed in on my childhood. One time my brothers and I were playing we were trapped in a spiderweb but when the screams became too real I yelled at them to stop and ran out of the room. Then in my head I repeated the screams over and over until they sounded less real and felt less awful. I see the way my words struggle across the pages and the strings stick tighter but there are fewer. I’m still just a ten year old trying to run away from the meaning of a word I didn’t know, I didn’t understand, but that I can’t escape.