Steps by Hannah McBride

Steps to Living an Ordinary Life

Step 1: Pull up the hood to hide your face, plug in the earbuds to block out the noise. Nobody needs to look at you, nobody needs to talk to you. Somewhere in your head says it’d be nice but the fear is too strong.

Step 2: Stare blankly at the clock, watch in mournful silence as the hands tick by. The time is painful, draining away your composure. Everything seems painfully slow.

Step 3: Looking down you try to work but before there’s anything written, the bell rings. Productivity doesn’t seem to be in your mind’s best interest.

Step 4: Swing the bag over your shoulder, like everyone else you walk out. Bodily contact is something unwanted and yearned for at the same time.

Step 5: There are too many people, too many faces. Shoulder the bag again while you feel self-conscious. Everyone seems to glance at you as you walk by and it burns like hot irons. It’s like they know you’re avoiding the help, making you feel guilty.

Step 6: Smile at your friends because they need to believe the illusion that you’re okay for right now. This isn’t a place to open up, people will listen in and expose you. Sure you could see someone about it, but that’s so much effort.

Step 7: Feeling lonely and unwanted isn’t unusual. You’re the emo kid and as such you’re expected to just deal with it. They don’t know it still hurts. Therapy seems so out of reach and bothersome.

Step 8: Listen and nod your head as everyone vents to you, start no tea, throw no shade and you’ll be fine. But what about being helped? Nobody ever listens to you.

Step 9: Go home and sit in the dark, there’s no more energy inside. It’s all been used to hide your emotions of feeling ignored. Spend restless nights awake in more pain, just to meet the slow rising sun.

Step 10: Look outside and listen to the wind. Everything’s not so bad, just a single frame of time in a single part of life. Sleep now and let anxiety be at rest, find your little point of light in the darkness.

Step 11: Repeat the process in a never ending cycle, because this is your life and you don’t quite know how to change it.

Words by Hannah McBride

Images by Deven Clevidence