I'm Telling the Truth, but I'm Lying by Bassey Ikpi

I'm Telling the Truth, but I'm Lying by Bassey Ikpi


Author:Bassey Ikpi
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: 2019-06-28T16:00:00+00:00

What It Feels Like

REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME you were ever on a Ferris wheel? Remember when you got to the very top and just sat there, the entire world at your feet? You could see everything. You felt like you could reach up and grab the sky. Your entire body tingled with this intersection of joy and indestructibility and fearlessness and that good anxious recklessness. So fucking excited to be alive at that moment. You could do anything.

Now imagine feeling that every day for a week, or a month, or a few months. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, without a break. No “down.” No rest. So that everything you do feels like THE BIGGEST MOST AMAZING THING YOU HAVE EVER DONE IN YOUR LIFE!

The first week or so, it’s great. You write and memorize dozens of new poems. You reach out to old friends you’ve lost touch with. You make new friends on the subway platform and on the third floor of Barnes & Noble and in line at Jamba Juice. You spend hours on the steps of Union Square Park watching the skateboarders and NYU students, imagining what their lives must be like. And these are all beautiful things because everything is beautiful.

Everything is beautiful.

Until it’s not.

Because then the insomnia sets in. And you’re stacking days on top of each other, adding a new one before the last one ends. And you find yourself unable to settle down and focus on anything for long. You have to write the entire book tonight before you can sleep or eat or leave the house or do anything. But first you have to call your friends and your sister and the guy you just met and tell them all how much you love them. Tell each one that you’ve never felt this way about any other human being in the entire world and you’re so lucky and so glad and so grateful to have such an amazing, magical person in your life. And you believe it because it’s true.

Until it isn’t. Until everything about them—the way their voices trail, the way their mouths move when they chew, the fact that he crosses his legs at the knee, the way she speaks about movies she’s never seen, the way they refer to celebrities by their first names—starts to make you feel like your blood is filled with snakes and you want to scream awful things at them about how the sounds of their voices feel like teeth on your skin and how much you hate their mother or their apartment or yourself. You want to bury your hatred in them but you’re never quite sure who you hate the most. You, it’s always you. And you’re afraid they will see how ugly and damaged you are, or how much you wish your heart would slow down so that you could forget you’re alive, but you need them to remind you that you’re alive so you beg the men to love you, because to convince them that you are worth it means you can one day convince yourself.


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