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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I am an Onion.

My best friend describes me as an onion. A complicated, pain in the ass, onion. What she really means is that I am made up of layers, and unless you understand all those layers, you can’t ever fully know me. There are hard shells of stone to peel off before you can even begin to see me. Covered by ribbons of doubt, suspicion, and years of broken hope, I stand guarded. I start off shy and quiet, taking in everything around me, analyzing every detail. From there, I determine if it is safe to reveal my next layer, or if I need to stay closed and continue hiding the chaotic mess beneath my smile. Very few people ever get to see the next few layers. They are full of a fierce intensity where a mad woman too colorful and big for society lives. I love and hate with an extreme passion, which can be wonderful to people, but also incredibly scary. At my core I am inappropriate, pessimistic, and have my own very stubborn opinions about almost everything. I don’t fit in a nice little box filled with rainbows and butterflys. I am messy, and heavy, and absolutely all over the place. I am what most would call a difficult person. I cry too much for no reason, am over-protective, and need to be control of everything. For most, those core layers are too exposed, too real. So I hide them with conformity. I pretend to enjoy small talk and act like someone who didn’t have a troubled childhood. I don’t say fuck after every other word, or tell people I think the institutions of marriage and religion are ridiculous, or that I believe psychedelic drugs can open our minds to a world of unbelievable love and connection. And if all that isn’t rough enough, I also I have what most professionals of psychology call ‘Generalized Anxiety Disorder.’ I personally think that is just a fancy way of saying I’m scared of everything.

When we were freshman in university, my best friend witnessed my first anxiety attack. I wanted to control it, to keep her from unraveling another one of my secrets. But I couldn’t hold it back. The entire world rushed into my body and I was left paralyzed. Like stones shoved down my throat, piercing my lungs. I wanted to gasp for air, but it seemed like the act of breathing had always been just an illusion. My hands turned numb and the world started to swallow me up, like it always does. Sometimes I just wait to fall and wonder if this time I won’t have the strength to get back up, but I always do. I don’t even remember what her face looked like when it happened, but I imagine it was full of fear and concern. When it was finally over and the air had rushed back into me, I was able to relax. The moment right before all feeling floods back to my limbs is the only time I ever feel truly free. My friend just stared at me in disbelief. Very few people in my life have ever witnessed what she had, me at my most vulnerable. She soon became immune to my episodes and learned that they were simply my subconscious reminding me I needed some sort of release. Some people have art, some people like to talk, apparently I need to lose all control to finally gain some. She asked me what caused them. The short answer was, “just about everything.” What most people would see as everyday tasks that don’t require a second thought, usually take me a very long internal pep talk to finally start. Driving, going to the store, speaking in class, being touched; they all cause an abnormal, and extremely unhealthy, level of anxiety for me. But people don’t know that. I let people see what they want to see, what is easy for them to see. I stay warm and safe, covered by my layers. I am a complicated, pain in the ass, onion.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This defines me as well. Even I'm an onion with several hidden layers. But thankGod i dont get anxiety attacks.

April 29, 2014 at 1:23 PM  

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