By my escape

I’ve been having trouble focusing lately. I keep feeling overcome by this urge to do something exciting, meet someone new, go somewhere far away. It’s the kind of restlessness that keeps me up at ungodly hours of the night, my body exhausted and surrendered to my covers, but my mind flickering with little flame-thoughts that lick their way around my sanity, spitting and burning and sparking…

The flame-thoughts scurry away when the sun comes up – as if humbled by its superior glow – but the restlessness remains. It is difficult to satiate a feeling when its origin is unknown, but some things can curb the worst of it: a busy day in the lab, a blurry night drowned in liquor, a new tattoo. But late nights at work have ceased to be productive. And the louder the bar, the lonelier the quiet walk home. The tattoo, though permanent, gave the most ephemeral satisfaction of all.

Sometimes the inside of me feels like it is aggressively unraveling – not falling apart, but rather, untangling into different versions of me that are trying to coexist within the same small body.

It does not feel safe walking around as if I will detonate at any second.  

I crave the exhilaration of detonating every second.  

The restlessness makes me look everywhere, searching wildly for something that will make it go away. Worst of all, the restlessness makes me look into myself, and I don’t like what I see. I see someone who uses other people to feel whole again, yet rejects anyone who gets too close. I see someone who loves the feeling of falling for someone new, but bristles at the idea of any sort of real commitment. I see someone who uses novelty as a tether to sanity, chasing new people and new interests, right up until the moment they are not new anymore.

The restlessness is all-consuming. It makes every day feel like an endless climb where the higher I go, the farther the sky seems. The more I want, the more I get, and the more I get bored. As each day ends, I crawl into bed with this immense feeling of chronic dissatisfaction. The flame-thoughts come back, and sometimes they are hurtful.

You are scared to be alone because it is easier to make other people like you than to make you like you, they tell me.

You take everything and everyone for granted. Why do you want more when you already have it all? they ask me. I don’t respond.

I try to close my eyes, as if the shutting of my eyelids will seal these flame-thoughts inside my head, denying them of oxygen, but they continue to spit and burn and spark and spit and burn…

And the truth is, I don’t think I’m ready to extinguish them just yet. As much as I hate the restlessness, I am more afraid of the stillness. Somehow…that would feel too much like settling. Giving in. Being tamed.

As much as I hate the restlessness, it sometimes feels like freedom.


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