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January 2021 Contest Winner: You Made the Bars

It's dark. Such a pity you can't see the blood run down your hands. In another fit of anger, you'd smashed the mirror, hating the girl that stared back at you. Her crooked nose, not perfect lips, too big eyes; that imperfect being was not what you wanted to see.

You'd flicked off the lights and sat yourself down on the cold hard tiles of the bathroom floor. You thought maybe the absence of light- hiding your flaws in the darkness- would've made a difference. But it didn't. Hot tears still ran down your face, making tracks that didn't seem erasable. Chest heaving and hiccups, labored breathing and stifled cries, yet your toxic thoughts and self deprecation kept wreaking havoc on your mind.

You'd spent years in a cage, confined like an animal. And the worst part is, you made the bars. Judging yourself by the standards of others and nitpicking at what isn't even a flaw; no wonder you're up with your back against a wall.

Suddenly, your throat feels tight, and your chest is in a knot. The pain feels unbearable and you can't get it to stop. You make a dash to the door, fumbling in the dark. A few shards of glass get lodged in your feet, but you don't have time for that. The winds from outside make your cuts sting as you fly up the stairs- to the roof. Nevermind the door that you'd let bang as you dashed out.

Now, wait a minute! You aren't dying! It shouldn't even cross your mind. Though with all the sharp glass that had been lying at your disposal, you found it to be quite tempting. You didn't want death. You wanted... air.

"No." Shaking your head softly, a wry smile graced your lips.

It wasn't the air you needed. It wasn't the wind ruffling your hair into a hideous bird's nest. You wanted the innocence back, the luxury of ignorance, of not knowing what the world thought of you and how much they hate you. You wanted to go back to when the perfect girls and their perfect bodies didn't make you feel ugly. You wanted to be happy being you. But it felt impossible. You wanted the world and it's expectations to stop holding you back. You

wanted to stop judging your looks by a standard that doesn't even have a definition. But it was easier said than done.

Maybe you just wanted too much-

"Ms. Knight, you can't just run out of your session like that." You heard the therapist with her kind voice from behind you. You didn't need to turn to know that a pleasant smile was on her face or that understanding shined in her eyes.

-but it was all attainable if you took the first step.

So you turned around, held your bruised and aching hands out. She hugged you. And the tears kept falling.

Freedom. It's near if you stick around.


Turtleboiii, the winner of Writervana's January 2021 writing contest, is a romance and fantasy writer. Instagram | Webnovel

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