by Jin Ryan
A head too full of things
|I’ve been trying to write for days.
The trouble is pollen.
The trouble is you.
The trouble is my mother
and you’re all stuffed so tight in my head I’m going to need someone to trepan my skull to let it out. This is bad writing. This is bad writing to relieve this ache and maybe my soul a bit.
My mother would have been 62 the other day. I kept thinking of how awful she was and how I needed to clearly express that somehow and how emotional abuse just wasn’t a thing when I was growing up, and that maybe she invented this southern version of it.
I wanted to say that the phrase walking on eggshells made no sense to me, because they were broken things. Things that crackled under your feet no matter how softly they moved. I learned how to walk on eggs instead at a young young age, step lightly, no Jin now hover, learn to move without being seen. I gauged the weather in a room before I learned to read.
“At least you were born smart instead of pretty baby” she would say. Pretty was a curse to her, pretty meant 13 marriages and never being satisfied. I was going to write about my mother but I’ve done that and it never changes. She wasn’t nice. She was beautiful. She made me paint my toenails. I wasn’t enough.
I was going to write a list for you in bullet points about the reasons you should like me and then I was realizing that you already liked me and that I was writing a list of reasons you should believe. Just a bit. Just enough. But those reasons aren’t enough. I’ll list them anyway. I fold origami cranes to keep my hands still. I can recite Grease word for word. All parts by all characters. I look good naked. I will cheer you on when you do the thing, it doesn’t matter what thing I will be the best cheerer onner that you have ever seen because I think you are amazing. I am patient (this is not always true but mostly I am patient) . I make the chaos calm I make the weird bad hard things bearable I am like this mini vortex that inhales all of the bad things and shoots them back out as stars.
I am neat. Not like clean because I can clean really well but I am prone to collecting old things and broken things and book thing and nerd things but I am neat like “man that’s really neat” almost cool but not cool neat.
I think you’re handsome and I will tell you how I like your face and that I have spent an inordinate amount of time staring at that one damn shirtless photo and imagining my teeth on your skin because I bite. There should be a warning right? like "I bite when overcome"
I should have this sign that tells everyone I am so high on life that I have hope shooting out of me in ribbons of light and you are behind them all. I could make you smile I think sometimes that I make you smile, but I am afraid when you are free and clear that the desire to go and do and try will be more powerful than a desire for me because what am I? Folder of cranes. Paper in motion.
I want to write about how sometimes I see myself as an Amazon warrior and sometimes I am the smallest mouse. I wanted to say that when the world gets so insane I am at my best that I am so good at chaos but what kind of skill is that? That when the chaos comes at me I am grinning like a maniac arms outstretched before I step into motion. I am one of those cartoons where someone stands with a sword and then in the distance a roiling cloud of anger and things and noise comes storming across an expanse of desert. I am the one that raises the sword. I am the one that ends poised with that cloud In tatters at my feet and I am not even breathing heavy.
I carry a sword dammit I carry a metaphorical sword and it is sharp and I am sharp and we will cut you.
And I am not asking you for anything more than you are willing to give. I am unbreakable. Please. Please try to break me.