I knew I was too much in ninth grade.
Mr. Stenz drew clownish, red lines across my essays. I learned bodily cleanliness. The purity of tendus. Over and over and over again. My teachers told me to cut it. My ballet instructor to tuck it. The more I worried, the more I wrote. I disappeared through my own pilings.
I grew up watching my mother hold her stomach after dessert, exclaiming regret. My sister told me to stop eating so much toast.
So much did I write I began to distrust words. I left high school. I cast off ballet. Shared a swing with blue- eyed-glasses. Then another. He told me I was being redundant. He had assured me a joke was a joke. But
I didn’t stop apologizing for cutting on him. Though I couldn’t stop.
Our last night alone, we argued over Trump, broke
off hands, then made out in his car. He told me I
was unlike anyone he’d ever met. It was too much to explain he didn’t understand the concept of president.
I found a college like a new set of lungs. A body stripped of sticky leotard. A home. The souvenirs on my desk were mostly heavy rocks. When they clattered in the middle of the night, my roommates assured
me it was fine. I had never felt so alive, so loved, so intended, so clear, so confused.
Everyone told me I was enough. It was never enough.
It was too much, too much, too much, too much.