Monday, August 16, 2010

How To Be Honest

 by Carolyn Nash

Sometimes I say things to myself: That's the truth. Stop it stop it stop it. Or: You're alright. Or: Let it go. Things like that -- things that people are supposed to want to hear. I say them even though I am the only person in the room, even though they aren't things that I particularly want to hear.

If there are words in my mouth, I can't hear the ones in my head. That's the truth. So I say these things over and over again, as though they are prayers, as though the rhythm will mean something when the  words themselves fail.
I have to move, I have to move, I have to move. I'll scream it out loud to an empty bedroom until my voice sounds like cardboard tearing.

Or if you're all tender warmth beside me in bed, I'll just say NO NO NO. It must be scary to hear that sudden scream, if you have been sleeping next to me, trying to love me. But you never try to decipher "no." It's one of those words you either believe or disbelieve. It's a word that ends itself, like a suicide.

The thing I say most, though, is I love you. When no one's around, when I'm laying in bed alone. When I'm not thinking of anyone at all.
I love you! I'll say suddenly. And what it means is god please stop these thoughts, these terrible thoughts, please let these words that are supposed to change lives be enough to change mine.

There is a ghoul inside me, I told you once. I don't know if it will ever go away.

Now when I look at you in the half-dark and say I love you I don't know if I am saying it to you or saying it to strangle the ghoul, to stifle all those words in my head: the words that make me want to tear out my eyes just to set the voices free. I love you: maybe the sounds and shapes and depths are truly their own or maybe they are just a salve for the parts inside me that have ruptured. I don't know.

But when I told you about the ghoul, that was love.

That's the truth.

Carolyn Nash
is fasting for Ramadan. Her belly feels seared and torn, like an exploded tire. Her last purchase was a box set of Roald Dahl's complete works, translated into Indonesian. She writes here and you can follow her on Twitter here @idontwashmyhair.


  1. Fucking murderous and perfect. Amazing rhythm.

    Much respect.

  2. Sweet mother of God, this was good. Wow.

  3. Brutal & beautiful; you quieted the ghoul in me for a sec...

  4. Don't listen to those wee voices in your head. They fuck with you.