© XI 2019 

At some point, you run out of close calls. Lying in frigid bed sweat, you rationalize; fidgeting with pillow threads, glazed-over blank gaze directed at the dull wall, with the dawn creeping up it like the hairs on your neck’s nape, you squirm in some-point’s aftermath.

 

You put the dark, black-bandanna-ed man away. You want to be able to, for once, heed your alarm’s morning plea. From the pit of your stomach, you order your eyes shut. “You can’t miss more class,” your professors chide each time you’re already halfway out the door. Never in a million years with your friends, not even on those 3 AM intoxicated stretches of weekend musings peppered with philosophical spillovers and haphazard confessions, would you let on that you haven’t set foot but once in a classroom this month. What a slap in the face it would be to their inebriated earnestness if you were to reveal the charade. No, no point to piss in the punch bowl.

 

The vise loosens just enough for you to drift off a few daylight hours, punctuated by vividly intense dreams you always regret to wake up from. Estranged characters recur, the ones you loved most fiercely with all the most misbegotten ways of showing it. Who are you kidding, there was only ever one name that seethes in your brain, even to this day, crawls in your entrails and rends micro-tears in your clutching throat, reiteratively leaving you to nurse your ego.

 

But unrequited love didn’t eviscerate you. Strangers did. Or as some bystanding people would have had you believe, you let this happen, with youthful warmth and your naive openness to the world. A twenty year old girl one-day washed onto the shores of Puerto Rico doesn’t know what to fear, you protest their awe-tinged condescension. You grapple to reconcile their world with yours—up to that point, brimming with giddy boundlessness of untapped potential. The unknown had been the unexplored.

 

Fear was a latecomer. So, seasoned, you stop speaking to people. Withdraw from potential bystanders and perpetrators alike. It didn’t help that the townspeople you’d sought support from really drilled home for you the liability of your independence.

 

“Are you drinking again?” The first question. Unmistakably follows without fail,

“How can you think to live alone? To travel alone?

“You know, he must have been watching you for a while.

"Didn’t you think this was coming. You were asking for it, coming out here.”

“Where are your parents?”

***The privilege: in which just living, breathing, existing as an individual, a uterus-equipped individual, would automatically draw unsolicited, dangerous attention is lost on me as a concept of “common sense.”

Naive like a brazen little boy, i did not know to fear, as i’d grown up in the micromanaged shelter of an immigrant family. Extraversion and openness were conditional to my privilege and inexperience.

The week before i turned 19, i wrote for the first time about an experience w/ sexual assault. My agency in speaking up for myself, initially with immediacy, over time and repeat experience, eroded.

(can u believe at the time, still, i was concerned about the emotional impact expressing my point of view would have on my attacker?)

Diminished emotional responsiveness manifested as a dulling, a depressive state i struggled for many years to overcome and find an outlet to elucidate.

In my peak nihilist depression, you and i collided

When i was convinced nothing ever at all mattered or ever would

in berlin a guy tried repeatedly to rape me.

and i had to be the one to sit bolt upright as he tried to pry between my thighs

i had to be the one to talk him down from assaulting me, like my own twisted crisis counsellor

i met some sympathetic people and exposed him on the internet for the predator he was

On a roadtrip w/ 2 germans and a Pol, our car tapped out in Bosnia

i fell and shattered my foot cliff-diving in Croatia

flew back the next day to California, got in a car accident the night of my flight back to school

never completed my final course paper, dropped out of my BS/MD program

partied too hard and got transported to the emergency room.

sat a term out working on a shrimp farm in Hawaii

 

I wish the chaos and overcompensation ended there,
But i’ve a knack for the trickiest of situations

It seems i don’t learn without some sort of trauma.

neatly compartmentalized incidence. scholar of the epigenome, i make concessions that environment and exposure has drastic and lingering effects on expression. 

i recognize my dissociation from my past gender identity + orientation is a reaction to sexually abusive situations arising in my prime adolescence.

The nihilist and existentialist factions in my brain contend over the cliché concept that things might happen for a reason.

Taking a Stand for Self-Preservation in the Taylor-Swift Age of Rampant Self-Victimization.

You Are Not Stronger Silent, You Are Not Stronger Perpetuating this Illusion of Infallibility/Imperviousness via your Cowardice.

Depression, PTSD happens, unrelated to weakness of character.

// Anticoagulant / Looseness.

 

it’s okay not to be a woman or a
whole person.

i can be enough as a tangle
of anticoagulant concepts

Loosely coalesced around a core

That crackles as do embers,

all while maintaining the fantastical

potential energy of a nuclear fission

reactor.

^Xi rationalizes her dissociative identity issues by referring to the many-worlds interpretation of the Schrödinger’s cat thought experiment. At the node of each traumatic / formative event, reaction propagates branch points— 

in this iteration of reality, the previous version of Kelly up to that point may not have withstood and survived to reassess in the way that i go on doing as this iteration. Hence, within this iteration of subjective self, there can exist many simultaneous terminated Kellys, equally valid and inaccessible.

 

*Xi choses to use the diminutive pronoun of ‘i’ in deference to ‘iteration’;

first person possessive ‘I’ is uncomfortable to someone so heavily compartmentalized.