They say a person has three hearts. One, they show the world, whether it be friends, family, or acquaintances. The second, they show their lover, their other half, their muse. However, the third is the most fragile, it is the heart only you know, your soul, your spirit…your weakness.
I was a prisoner. In a way I still am. If someone had asked who was holding me I wouldn’t dare answer at the time, for the person was not a person, nor were they people, they were me. I, who put on a mask of anger and frigidity when all I wanted to do was scream. Scream and scream and scream until my throat was hoarse and my voice scratched like the vinyl records in my bedroom. But I couldn’t do that. No, instead of letting myself be free, I locked myself away with chains of Depression and a padlock of Anxiety. I threw the key into a pile of fuzzy videos and broken VHS tapes.
Hollow hands reach out, their fingertips grazing the tense arms of a little girl who just wants to be left alone. A little girl who doesn’t know what she did wrong. I don’t know what I did wrong.
I sit in a room with others like me and we listen to the adult who is trying to pick our brains apart to see how they work. They ask us to describe our emotions with one word but how am I supposed to do that when I am being trampled by a stampede of thoughts and pressurized under a pile of feelings. I tell them “Overwhelmed” and they say it’s from my first time being there. They don’t realize I’ve been doing this for half my life. That I, who appears to have a heart of stone, have been in more little rooms and circles of chairs than I care to admit. They don’t realize that it is not working.
My family is afraid. They aren’t the only ones. Friends grow distant. Their smiles seem more forced the longer I am around them. I remember the times we would sit together during lunch and recess and discuss our weeks and lives at home. They, of course, were wary. My family’s silver tongue could rival that of a conman. They knew this well.
Today, I learned that I am human. Humans have hearts. I think I have one. Humans make mistakes. I often think I make more errors than successions. Humans have thoughts. I hear them more than my own voice. Humans have feelings. I know I feel sad. I know I feel anger, worry, and so many other emotions at the same time that I am afraid. Afraid that I may be different.
They tell me that I overreact. That I am “acting out for attention”. Anger issues. Pills. Depression. Pills. Anxiety. Pills. Attention Deficit. Pills. How many different bottles are you going to give me before you realize that I don’t like taking capsules that would choke a horse? That I feel as though I’ve been reprogrammed, a tin can waiting for its next command?
When you look into my motherboard you will not see bright, shiny copper. You will see a mess of dull wire that is torn and fraying and covering important pieces that need to be fixed. You will see a broken and burned piece of plastic. A broken machine. They say a human has three hearts. One, they share with the world. Two, they show to loved ones. The third is delicate, it must be caged to protect it.
I have set mine free.