I had always set the bar high. I was raised to expect the best, not only from myself, but also from others. I wanted the highest grades, the nicest personality, and the best friends.
I was a fairly pretentious child. It's just the way I learned to be.
The thing about the high jump is that if you set the bar too high, you will knock it down with failure and defeat. I'm not exactly sure when it happened.
I can't tell you if it was material failure or mental disaster.
Was it when I failed a geography test in the fourth grade, or was it when I realized I never wanted to feel like that again so I made the conscious choice to study until my brain felt
like useless liquid between my ears?
I would stress myself out so much over perfection that I would get nosebleeds while studying, panic attacks when I would make an insignificant mistake at work.
I don't know if it was the boy I admitted my crush to in sixth grade that literally grabbed his shit and sprinted down the street,
leaving me in the rain by myself, or if it was the crippling fear that maybe no one would ever love me.
I can't decide if perhaps it was the fact that no matter what I did, it was never enough to please my dad. He never looked at me the way he did with my sisters.
I always felt like the family disappointment. Was that it? I can't tell.
But whatever it was, whatever short coming or failure that I am built in, it knocked the bar down, and I crashed and burned in nothing but humiliation and self hatred.
The worst part is that after that, I felt like that was where the bar belonged. I felt like that was all I could ever amount to and everything I ever deserved. Rock bottom.
Don't get me wrong. I tried to pick the bar back up. I had the luxury to watch my friends turn on me and leave and that smacked the bar out of my hands and back to the ground.
I did everything right in school: I took the right classes, kept perfect grades, did everything I could to be involved. It didn't matter.
I didn't get the scholarship, and I couldn't afford the college I had been set on for so long. Smack. The bar was back on the ground.
My new friends battled depression and lost, landing some of them in the mental hospital and one of them six feet under. Smack. Someone ran a red light and totaled my car.
I should have died, and I was pissed that I didn't. Smack. I gave up trying to put the bar back. After all, this was all I deserved.
Because I believed that I deserved nothing but the things that crawled in the dirt of deceit, I let boys take advantage of me.
I let boys I didn't even like grab me, kiss me, violate me, break me. All of the kisses I've ever shared have been from boys that just wanted a good fuck.
All the caresses of my body have come from boys that saw me as a piece of ass, nothing more, everything less. And it didn't matter that I never slept with them. Nothing mattered.
I didn't matter.
If I fought back or pulled away, thinking I deserved better, disgusted with the results of rock bottom, they'd grab me roughly,
rub against me with bodies as inviting as grinding on a cactus and tongues like razor blades.
They'd bite my neck and hold me against them, leaving me feeling like nothing but a dying gazelle in the clutches of a cheetah, its teeth in my neck,
stealing away all of my failures and reminding me of everything I cannot be. I can't be the girl that gets the guy. I can't be the girl that people love... that anybody loves.
The most I can be is a convenient tool people will manipulate and use. On a good day, the most I am is invisible.
When I told my parents about the boy from the club that was the newest cheetah, the one that wouldn't let me leave, the one that violated me and scared me,
the one that made me so uncomfortable in my own body, the one that broke me again, the one that tried to follow me out of the club... They didn't care.
He didn't rape me, I know, it's not a big deal, right? I know it's not. Other girls, other people, they've had way worse, but it still broke me.
My friend was there with me, with her own cheetah that wouldn't let her go.
She reached out and grabbed my hand as he gripped her face hard enough to bruise her and shoved his tongue down her throat. She squeezed and didn't let go as the guy behind me bit down again. My heart broke for her.
I pulled us both away and dragged her from him, from the club. And I know it makes me a shitty person, but when I talk about what happened, everyone asks me about my friend.
They never ask if I'm okay, how I'm holding up. They ogle over my friend. When she talks about it, people hug her and vow to beat the guy up, and as I stand next to her, I fade into nothingness.
For how could the angels in the clouds see the ants in the dirt? This was what I deserved. This is what I will always deserve.
Don't think for a second that this is what I want. That I enjoy this. I don't. I hate it.
I hate it all so much that I have draft after draft of suicide notes, some typed, some echoing on loop in my head. I have failed jump after failed jump crisscrossing over my wrists.
I am broken, and no matter what I try, I can't seem to get the pieces to fit back together. I do everything right, and I fail. I tried Jesus, booze, friends, and suicide, and nothing worked.
My bar sits in the dust, too heavy for me to lift it, too light for others to try. I hate settling. I hate that this broken empire of desolation, desperation, and dirt is all I have.
It's all I have...
And the worst part in all of this is that it's still the High Bar that I can't seem to make it over.