She cracks her knuckles and bends her neck back and forth. She shrugs her shoulders. She jumps in place. She sputters a few frustrated exhales.
Almost time to begin.
But just before she starts, she realizes all this would be better if she had her hair in a pony-tail. Get it out of her face, so she can focus. She pulls an elastic band from her wrist, one of three she has there that leave a permanent red indent on her arm. The simple act of taking it off gives her some relief she didn’t know she needed. Damn those hair ties for being so tight. She never thought about how they replaced her need for bracelets. Not that anyone ever needed bracelets, but regardless, her hair ties were certainly en lieu. They were like the weighted bag of rocks old timey adventurers placed on scales in place of gold. Yes, yes: showy bracelets out, emergency hair ties in.
A much more practical use of wrist-space, if you asked her.
She looks at her right wrist where the hair tie had been. A forever loop imprint not that much different to the thin loop on her middle finger, the finger where she wore her mother’s sapphire ring every day for nearly fifteen years. Where the hell was that ring? Oh, right. She took it off. In preparation for this.
Don’t lose grandmother the ring. It’s a horcrux. Dumb, but true.
Her hair is up now. She pulled it tight until a slight tinge of pain touched the back of her skull.
But first let’s make the pony into that careless, “messy” bun everyone thinks is so dang cute. So careless it takes nearly two and a half minutes to get it right. Just a tuck here and a tug there…
She stops, turns around.
“You done?” it appears to ask. Though it can’t actually ask, that would be stupid.
She contorts her mouth into an irritated smirk. So what if she isn’t done with her hair? So what if she wants to look adorable the moment before she unleashes her rage. She doesn’t even dignify it with an answer. One more tug and tuck and her hair is ready. Messy bun? Check. Fists clenched? Check. Kesha on in the background? Duh. Check.
She approaches once more, her hair up, jaw suddenly pierced shut. One more breath. Here goes.
She releases a sound that can only be described as pure, undoctored rage. Her screech hits all the notes in her soprano register. She imagined dogs everywhere lifting their chins off floors, perking their ears. Sirens going off. Glass breaking.
She pulls back her right elbow and stirkes blow to its center. She follows up with a left hand upper cut to its corner. The punches start slow at first, then faster faster faster, until her vocal cadence turns into desperate panting and her fists blur into the speed of the moment.
She gets tired, but she reminds herself to keep going. Keep going until its better. Keep going until she finally feels better.
But that was the problem. She didn’t. She wouldn’t. Even as she kept on, her desperation and anxiety stayed the same. All this wasn’t the relief it was cracked up to be. Tears stream down her face. Her attempt to “let it all out” in the most Oprah-esque motivational poster manner wasn’t working.
None of it was working. She was failing.
Why, during her knuckle cracking, her neck bending, her music blasting did she feel the need to be pretty? Why the messy bun? Why, during her mighty punches and high pitched piss offery, did she feel judged but calling her grandmother’s ring a horcux. “Are you done?” it said in her mind. Jesus, she was so insecure she projected that an inanimate object was judging her for taking her time.
Even in her angered squeals and quick speed punches she wondered if she was actually strongm if this soft thing was actually a predator could she even do damage? Or were her squeals too girly? Where her blow too weak? Will her tiredness prove that she could never make a dent the way her hair ties dented her wrists.
In spite of wanting to empower herself and embrace her maximum frustration to its fullest potential, she knew this dumb bedroom smack down was just a temporary solution dipped in layers of projected insecurity and womanhood failure. At the heart of it, she knew what she was doing was not actually empowering, but an incredibly stupid waste of time.
It makes sense. Her whole life she has felt dumb, why should this be any different?
She speeds her punches to a thorough wallop, eventually busting it wide open. Its tears and spews out. The floor littered with its insides, the walls vibrating with Kesha music.
She plops down, exhaling once more.
Among the pile of beautiful, soft, feathers, she sat. There was still so much anger, but no more pillows to destroy.
– One L
“Tears on my pillow, pain in my heart caused by you…” – doo wop doo be doo