I am gasping for air…
There is a lump in my throat that I cannot seem to swallow.

An inexplicable weight is on my chest, like the so-called monster of sleep paralysis which my late aunt used to blame for the nights that I would wake up drenched in the sweat of my nightmares.
Only now, I am soaked in my tears, kissing every inch of my cheeks as they fall.
I am drowning. This place is strangely familiar despite its darkness.

I can feel the cold seeping in through the carpet as my hands grip the purple shaggy fiber.
The four lonely walls of my room are closing in
as I lay facing the ceiling that is higher than my hopes of making it through the night.
The sound of my muffled cries screaming for help is the only thing I can hear.
Ahh… yes, I am having a meltdown.

I reach for the razor blade on the table.
The promise to quell my anguish is yet to be fulfilled.
Hesitation thuds at the walls of my heart as I tread on new ground.
I convince myself that this razor will keep its promise as the thin stainless steel caresses the skin of my forearm.
In an instant, the bottomless river of grief, loneliness, and hopelessness pours itself into a flawlessly sculpted vase of physical pain.

It does not overflow.
Today, a scar remains etched on my skin, and I wear it as a badge of honor.
It reminds my soul of the battle I won through uneasy means.
Surely Sun Tzu would agree that I chose my battle well.
I’d rather flinch and gasp my way through physical agony than kneel in the face of depression’s overwhelming feelings.
Nobody knows the story of this scar, but it runs deep.