Names

By Kat, published with permission.  Original blog posted here in 2014

Brainiac! Brainiac! Brainiac!
She didn’t recognize their sarcasm as she circled the gym floor. Relay race in the minutes spent coerced into athletic activity. She is unsure how to respond to this pronouncement. Feeling vulnerable and spent,wondering if this is who she is.

Girl with words struggling to explain. She remembers her brain bubbling over with words. Needing space to contain them in the margins of the page.

You are a grad student. She remembers the pronouncement in a two-sentence-long email. She wonders what the next step in the process will be.

The other names she calls herself — worn, spent, weary, unsure, unsteady. She wants to spend time with the prouder version of herself — outside of the monochromatic now — flattened into 2D.

You are remarkable, miraculous, continuing on is the image she wants to see of herself — in the echoes of others’ voices, she feels vulnerable.

Writer, has written — will… she pauses as her lines fade off — what would you call me now? A character in a story where I’m not sure who’s narrator.

I remember seeing my anxieties labeled and coded. Pushing through them — grad student — in the past anticipation of what could be; now living in what is.

To have one’s sense of self — career, life, the next things — wrapped up in a series of tasks. She wants to run away, to give someone else her name plate. I remember who I was — voracious reader, furious writer — labeling myself. An Autistic experience claimed for myself — only to be lost in the exhaustion of now.

Not knowing is hard — she sits here — feeling distant from a self she found in this space. I write. I have written. I am a writer. Chronicling my own exhaustion. You are not wrong. You’ve coped so far, even though I know this breakage, loss, is what you fear.

What happens when you cannot be the person you’ve become. Are becoming. She feels distant. Pages ago — before this. She is gone perhaps? Expressive moments to memory.

I feel lost. I feel stuck. I am neither one of these things. The shes I’ve known sit with me now. Memories of what was, how she continues — sitting at a table, distant, but no longer alone with her thoughts. She remains — spoken aloud.

Academic or not, she lingers between these words. In the just is. Managing as that definition expands. She is herself. Even now. She is in-between.

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