Writing in the Wild

“Why did you ever think dead girls could fly?” | Fragments of Unsent Letters

A word, a line, a few sentences, a thought that gave me pause… here are pieces of letters I wrote (and other bits and bobs scribbled on loose leaf paper, mostly at 3 a.m) that for one reason or another fell on the cutting room floor. Well, mostly because a lot of it is depressing (if you skip everything else, read the last one). These appear exactly as they were. Enjoy.


March 19, 2015:

I had a bit of a meltdown today. I strapped a get-away pack to my bike containing a twenty-dollar bill, a pair of headphones, a bike lock, an emergency blanket and my phone. Then, I left, in as straight a line as I could from whatever insurmountable thing I was running from. I don’t know how long I was gone or how many miles I traveled, but I listened to one-and-a-half audio books. When I dumped my bike back in my driveway I was soaking wet from the puddles and my light-blue jacket was half brown with mud. I can’t tell you why I was upset. I don’t know either. I think I’ve been so sad and so angry for so long that the loneliness finally soaked into my bones and I just didn’t know how to feel anything else anymore.

April 5, 2015:

Tattoos to me are like those lingering memories that float inside your head until one day you manage to fish it out of your skull and slap it on your skin.

April 30, 2015:

Something about the way you look at me makes me feel a little drunk, although I haven’t had a sip.

May 4, 2015:

I spent a lot of time in a tree today eating purple applesauce, soaking up the sun and writing garbage prose.

[This was the actual garbage I was writing, published for your entertainment.]

June 3, 2015:

Tomorrow I will wake up and write something so great it will expose a little piece of my soul. I’ll wake up and do the same again and again until I’ve exposed so much of myself I’ll have nowhere left to hide.

April 11, 2016:

A great crime is having all this time stretching ahead of me to do anything I want with, but either I’m too afraid to do what I want, or I don’t know what I want, or I blink… only to open my eyes right as the time goes rushing past.

[Blink.]

July 12, 2017:

Dear 14-year-old anorexic me,

Hi, I read your writing a lot, 2010 seems like a rough year. I’m sorry that you’re so angry. I’m sorry that I hurt you so much. You weren’t a bad kid. You wanted to connect with other people so badly that you went to extremes to feel loved. It didn’t work. You made awful choices, you starved yourself and lashed out at the world because being Allyson hurt too much. When I’m I think I’m most free a smell or memory is all it takes for you to come rushing like a brick wall to the face. Suddenly I am you again, utterly helpless and unsure but too filled with anger to let anyone in.

You haunt my dreams. You look much the same as you always did: long patchy hair, hollow bird bones and sharp nails that you sink into my chest as you beg me to love you. You look like a baby bird with that fuzz growing all over your body to keep from freezing to death, pretty girl, but you’re too weak to fly, so what did you hollow out those bones for?

Sometimes I still feel like I’m rattling inside a cage. In those moments I remember you and I think, if only I can be a little less, then I’ll be worth a little more. People will like me. I’ll write something worth a damn because all the best art comes out of pain. I’ll be beautiful like the way fire is as it burns away everything once living. I’ll finally feel scrubbed clean. I recognize you in the grinding of my teeth as I think these thoughts and I know that you are lying to me, pretty girl. I know that my brain is lying to me.

I know that happy, pretty girls don’t burn holes in their sharp, happy, pretty hips to break free from the skin they’re in. Strong, happy girls don’t cry when they realize there are calories in toothpaste. Why did you ever think dead girls could fly?

Anorexia holds your hand and promises to love you even as it kills you. Darling, love lives in darkness too, like hope and resilience you’ll find them in shadows, but anorexia never loved you.

It wanted you dead.

It never loved you.

I love you. I’m glad you’re alive.

-Allyson, 21-years-old

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