She drowns herself–

Constantly,

Figuratively,

And, once, literally.

 

She began drowning herself in salt water.

Not the ocean she had grown up with;

Not the dependable friend,

With moods and tides like clockwork.

 

She drowned

In the ocean within her,

The shocking depths

Of her tear ducts.

 

Whether tears of sorrow or joy,

Were determined only by circumstance.

She lived only in extremes, feeling everything,

Or nothing at all.

 

She submerged her head underwater,

Refusing to rise,

Claiming not ignorance, but joy;

Fueled by fear, not hope.

 

She denied having outgrown her pool,

Denied that she must now swim with the big kids,

Denied that she was drowning,

Denied that her head must soon break surface.

 

She tried to prolong it,

But she was never good at holding her breath;

She knew she had little time left,

And wanted to make it last.

 

But she didn’t know how.

It was hard to find pools of happiness,

In a world with such little cheer.

She resulted to drinking up puddles.

 

She didn’t know where else to look.

She tried so hard,

To drown herself in good,

Knowing what was coming next.

 

Against her will, she was thrown into deeper waters.

She couldn’t touch the bottom;

She was bumped into and dragged down,

But no one heard her cries for help.

 

She tried to drown herself in oxygen,

When she discovered the bubbles of other’s screams;

Savoring every haphazardly drawn breath,

Unsure of whether it would be her last.

 

She drowned herself in people,

The sea of bodies she was forced to navigate.

But nobody wanted to lift her up,

And she was too selfless to drag anyone down.

 

She drowned herself in words,

And soon lost herself,

A single name in a void of verbs, adjectives, and nouns,

So much more meaningful and purposeful than she.

 

She kept drowning herself, unwittingly,

Trying to find a way out, or a way in,

Trying to find hope, faith, or love,

But only finding nothing at all.

 

She drowned herself in a bathtub;

White porcelain in shallow warm water,

Reminding her of the happiness she once found,

Before it was soaked up by everyone else.

 

She drowned peacefully at first,

Letting go of everything she had ever known.

She drowned violently soon after,

Wanting to go back, but too strong–or afraid–to rise.

 

She drowned bravely,

And didn’t flinch as she saw the face of Death.

She drowned happily,

Weeping at Death’s sweet caress.

 

She drowned herself to Death,

But he too, left her behind.

She was reborn,

And she had learned how to swim.

 

Brilliant, powerful strokes,

Powered by the muscles she had gained,

From the burdens she carried,

That no longer seemed so deadly.

 

She had learned how to live,

How to breathe,

How to love,

How to write.

 

She had found a deeper happiness

Than all of her shallow pools combined.

She had found a meaning

Worth using those wonderful words to describe.

 

Before she had lurked below the surface,

Wallowing in fear and self-pity.

But now she contentedly floats on top,

Basking in happiness.

 

She is living,

She is breathing,

She is writing,

And she is no longer drowning.

 

Edited by Renee Luna

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