My Youth Is Lost

My youth was lost before I was ready. Before I could make too many mistakes, before I could break my own heart a million times, my time was up.

10/11/20223 min read

My youth was lost before I was ready. Before I could make too many mistakes, before I could break my own heart a million times, my time was up.

And maybe it was partially because I got married young. Maybe it’s because I like to care for too many at once, but no. My youth was lost to a body that couldn’t handle the burden of living the same way anymore. My own skin and bones devoured my youth to stay alive.

Back when I was alone in the world, I dreamed of running away to a country where few people knew me. My scruples and religiosity had already left me in preparation for a fantastic life full of loving people and leaving them behind. It was all supposed to make great writing material, a life full of diligently planned heartbreak. But then I found love right at home, a love that fills every pore of my skin with hope for the future and a desire to stay. There’s no regrets there.

But then my body fell apart. I stopped dreaming of crazy adventures and started planning manageable journeys that wouldn’t break me apart. I had to leave wild recklessness behind.

And most days it’s okay. My life still resembles the one I dreamed of. I still connect with the world and see it with my own eyes and my own feet firmly planted on other people’s ground, but… it’s not exact. The feeling of deep fleeting satisfaction of pain, the inspirational pit in my chest from absorbing everything around me, it’s tempered now. My body can’t handle it like it used to.

The terrible part of it all is that nothing else is stopping me from the adventure, from the chaotic struggle of a romantic heart that dreams of flying. The only thing keeping me from the world and experiencing everything in it is my own vessel.

When I was young and alone, I imagined breaking a million men’s hearts. Coming and going as I pleased, like an the artist with too many places to go and too many people to meet and fuck. I could taste the cigarettes after sex and I could feel the giddyness of getting up and leaving quietly in the morning. That’s the kind of woman I wanted to be: nobodies and everybodies. And even if I hadn’t found love, that just isn’t who I was meant to be. My flesh was always going to hold me back.

And I cry thinking of all the things that used to make me feel alive. All the toxicity that I planned on participating in to learn lessons you’d never learn otherwise. I wanted to feel alone and in control. I wanted to love every second of a life well planned to float along in the chaos. Any time I think about who I was, I want to scream into every void because I was never meant to be her. I never had the option. Even if I wanted to throw my whole life away to be a shitty human being, I couldn’t. Preferring kindness and gentleness and true love stopped feeling like an option and feels more like the only means I have for survival. I don’t like feeling like I don’t have a choice, as stupid and as illogical as it really is.

My bones are easy to break, my skin always ready to burn. Every fiber of my soul feels incompatible with every cell in my body. The life I dreamed of could never be mine, but I still feel a resounding and depressing nostalgia for the inclination.

Everyday I feel old. My bones ache, my head hurts, and I’m tired more often than I care to admit. Being chronically ill has many challenges, but this one is the hardest. Stupidly, it’s what I stuggle with the most.

I miss her, who I used to be. The girl who used men that were also using her in a funny little mutual contract. The girl who didn’t think about cancer with every cigarette and who would go up to new men to ask for a light. I feel sorry for the girl who discovered her sexuality too late to explore it. And it feels like she’s never coming back. More than anything, I wanted to feel like the one who laid her to rest. I wanted to be the one to tell her that her time was done.

Who I am now is who I knew I always wanted to be. In all actuality, I chose to leave the old me behind because that girl was headed nowhere fast. But now I can never go back.

Of all the tragedies I could have envisioned for myself, this is the most painful. I am not hollow, but I am fragile as if I were. I never wanted to be fragile.