((for some reason I cannot get the bold to turn off which is kind of making me angry so sorry))
On my 15th Birthday it was the first party I’d been given and they told me it was preparation for my sweet sixteen the following year. I was fresh to the party scene but they told me that party hats and cakes were distributed amongst the guests. This year's guests were few in number and resembled my father and mother. They strapped stretched wire around my neck and snapped the paper cone to my head, and when they put the cake in all its bright orange glory in front of me I read in mother’s chocolate font, “You are a hideous and pathetic excuse for a daughter.” It was then that I realized my body and brain would accept this information as fact, and place it on my top frosting layers so I would more easily recall it and accept it as truth.
On my 20th Christmas it was the first party I’d been given an invitation to, one that extended its use to New Years. It told me to bring a side dish for the others and in the spirit of giving I decided I would look into the matter. I asked my uncle what sort of snacks people liked and after compiling a list I fixed my food bowl and laid it out at the table in the middle of brownies and deviled eggs. I watched whispers pick their way through the line and when nobody touched my mandarin orange fruit salad it was then I realized that my work and my creations would accept invisibility as a fact, and reflect on my appearance so I would more easily fade in with with the wallpaper.
On my 26th Failure it was the first party someone had held for me since I moved to the neighborhood. I wasn’t familiar with the people yet and the nice lady in beige and brown made it a point to tell me she was always across the street, and then introduce me to everyone’s face and teeth and cold hands. I could see myself in a mirror from adjacent to where I stood and had to excuse myself from the party for the next couple years, telling my neighbors that allergies and sickness kept me locked up inside. I didn’t let them know that these hobbies and habits of mine usually restrained me to bed from night to next week. It was then I realized that my presence and my state of mind would accept depression as a fact, and it would inhibit and infiltrate my sociality so I would more easily stay alone.
On my 29th Fourth of July it was the first party I hosted for myself and myself alone. I laid out the necessary foods and trinkets that I deemed would be wonderful for the night and when the evening sky sprinkled pretty colors I lit the first firework. The knife I’d chosen was quick and to the point and I watched the bubble of my blood blaze and fizzle out like the pain from the initial cut. I wondered briefly if I were to go deeper if the colors would change and by the time I started on my second arm it was far past Fourth of July and I had to work harder to hide something others would be far more ashamed to see than me. It was then I realized that my skin and my blood would accept blades as a fact, and it would teach me how to keep going so I would more easily not just die.
On my 31st Birthday it was the first party that dined with only two. When I took their hand from across the table and flipped it over to see the scars, the twitch of their mouth gave them away far too easily. But when I brought it to my face to breathe in deeply and to kiss a trail along each line it was something I wanted to do for myself too. And when that date turned into many more they brought me flowers and love and held my hand and told me words that would make a flower bloom. We understood that downs kept us away and ashamed, and when I told them I did not deserve to love them they understood and put a cake in front of me, reading “You are a honest and strong reason for me to love you”. It was then that I realized my eyes and heart would struggle every single goddamn day of my life to really accept this information as fact, and wonder why the things that were cruel to me were so much harder to pry off, and the things that made me beautiful to myself were so much harder to glue on. It was then that I realized that my body and brain, my work and creations, my presence and state of mind, and that my skin and blood needed to love itself a little more, show itself a little more, listen a little more, and cut itself a little less, and then I could more easily accept it as truth that it might always be a part of me, but will never be all there is to me.