An Apology to My Past Self by Srishti Uppal

Dear old me,
I don’t know how to begin–how do you apologize for destroying someone?
When I revisit your memory, it’s like a rainforest has been turned barren.
It’s the ghost of a girl who bled through delicate poetry, lived for baking cakes and generic pop music, of a girl who whined about not being able to pet every dog in the world, and about how the littlest spice was too spicy and the slightest winter was too cold

I’m sorry. I’m sorry I pinned you against confined walls and strangled you, choked you until your brightness poured out of your eye sockets, and onto the unholy floor for pretentious men to step on.

I want need you to know I didn’t always have a choice. Sometimes life crept in through the back door, jammed its hands up my ribs, and carved out a deformity I did not ask to be. I realized it was survival of the fittest; and to survive, I had to fillet out your empathy softness kindness until all that was left was the skeleton of a fighter, the shell of a survivor.

I wish I had seen the good in you while you still had it. I wish I knew how to stop losing your smile like it was grainy sand running through my fingertips. I was kicking the cold water, screaming; running from the flames lusting to swallow me whole; checking my cheekbones every single morning for any monsters that might have survived the dark of the night; picking the lice off my brain until I was sans joy, a mere corpse staring at my life as it passed me by.

You have been long gone. But I hope you remember the good times. I hope you remember that no matter what it took, I survived the wars (even if it wasn’t worth it). I hope you remember that in my mind there are collages of your childhood art, mothers’ day cards, and burnt cakes. You have been long gone; thank you for visiting.

Srishti Uppal is an eighteen-year old poet, essayist, and blogger from New Delhi. Her works have been published by The Paper Trains Literary Journal and The Mystic Blue Review. Her most treasured talents include her madly detailed knowledge of Ariana Grande lyrics and outdated vines. You can read her work here.  She is the Founder, Creative Manager, and Editor-in-Chief of Teen Belle Magazine.

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