An overwatered pillowcase

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A safe space for unveiling any emotions: my pillow, has become a dangerous suppressor.

By Adyson Sand, Lincoln High School

The blend of satin fibers that encase my pillowcase are top grade in the sense that they soak up the sorrows of last night and dry by the morning. There lives no remnant of the precipitation that soaked those forgiving fibers, just a faint echo when I woke up that reminded me that the same pillowcase had been ridden of sunlight for months.

No, I wouldn’t have chosen for it to be this way. In an ideal world, I would have confessed the struggles that had been brewing for the vast majority of the year at full volume and at such a height that the wind would pick up each word and slowly deposit them somewhere that they wouldn’t find their way back to me. But rather, I glued my lips and let them wade in the pool of words left untold. 

Over the past months, I garnered a solid understanding of the fallout that would follow once I untethered this bundle of emotion, so instead, I mastered the art of concealment. If I bit the side of my cheek, rubbed my index finger to my thumb and lifted my eyes to the ceiling, it was nearly impossible to detect the ripple of emotion that coursed beneath my polished exterior. Although my methods were successful to the naked eye, I always felt a slight disruption from the constant corking of my carbonated emotions. 

I was fully convinced that these moments of purity were too irrational, too heavy and too big for anyone but the darkness to consume, so I saved them for my pillow. I reasoned that no one wanted to swim in the wake of my feelings, so I surfed them on my own. 

I did this daily. On select days, when the turmoil of my mind grew to be extreme, I rested my head on a still damp pillow. It became almost routine, where my despondency would fill like a bathtub, seep over the edges, spill onto the floor and puddle at my feet, but only in my duvet that smothered all my softness and candor.

  It wasn’t until I allowed myself to be ridden of the obligation to navigate these things on my own that I was able to begin to sort through the junk pile of sappy sentiments. The angst that would act as a catalyst to my spiraling was now suppressed with a simple conversation. One that introduced something that I was only familiar with through my pillow: transparency.

Unfiltered emotions are synonymous with the human connection. For so long I saw these feelings I had as frailty. I theorized that if I couldn’t cope with these negative notions, no one else would be able to either. But saving it for the pillow was wide of the mark on the proper process of coping. After digging myself out of that ravine, I discovered the benefit of some assistance while sorting through my turmoil. I preached to myself that strangling valid emotions curbs the possibility of ever ironing them out. Showing hurt is not equivalent to weakness, just awareness of yourself and the clarity that comes with expression. You deserve to be heard outside of the walls of your safe space.

So now, my pillow has been dry. Because instead of burdening that sheet of cloth with my raging emotions, my mom can finally know the thoughts that skewer my mushy pink hallways while she sleeps one floor above. I can finally confess that I’m not doing “fine” to someone other than my bathroom mirror. And I can let a tear fall in the light of day without any remorse. Because I will no longer be saving it for my pillow that is long due for a little bit of sunlight.

This story was originally published on The Statesman on April 7, 2021.