Kaci Skiles Laws is a closet cat-lady and creative writer who reads and writes voraciously in the quiet moments between motherhood and managing Crohn’s Disease. She grew up on a small farm in a Texas town alongside many furry friends, two sisters, and a brother. She has known tragic loss too well, and her writing, which is often dark and honest, is a reflection of the shadows lurking in her psyche. Her work can be viewed at: https://kaciskileslawswriter.wordpress.com/
I’m tired of self doubt. I let myself out when no one asks me to leave I stay when no one wants me until it’s so apparent they are seething I pine and dissect them. I exhaust myself until I can start again Oh God I’m unacceptable in all the wrong ways no one remembers but me; they pretend to forget until I hate being chiseled, I hate not really knowing if I'm being chiseled, my imperfections a cataclysm of self-loathing Oh God cycles of something I can’t name because it triggers everyone it alienates I hate I hate I hate my name I want to change my face so I change my hair, every shade Oh God the S word is the last symptom of depression and everyone thinks it’s a choice no one chooses. Everyone is afraid of the last symptom, razor teeth, disproportionate disease, life isn’t for us in life we are tourists of our shame our life finds us out Oh God don’t let it get me. I am good I am good I am good I am good I am good good God.
Stage One: I can't remember when the worry began. It must have been before my sister's bed became the dark spot, her door diminished and closed, before she stopped eating, before mold began pressing up into the fibers of a rug over some hidden crusts, before the disintegrating pills surfaced for gritted question, a sob, distant voices and the too quiet. Her feather feet quiet, the walls quiet, the dark spot quiet, her door diminished, closed again. A still house is loudest; the worry is worse. Stage Two: The doctor called it a brain tumor after a psychiatrist couldn't fix her, and the worry woke up. It followed her to the hospital, held her IV drip; the dark spot stayed, and her door diminished. She put my name on a bracelet between some small red hearts; the last letter was missing; she could not find—I. I saw the worry where the lost bead should've been, in my sister's complacent stare, in the indifferent eye— the same as in our mother’s dejected gaze like a cancer; it was eating everything. It ate everything but the dark spot.