It sat upon my shoulders, with beady eyes and gleaming teeth.
Sometimes It was light, a presence lurking still, but I was able to keep my shoulders square. I was able to keep my head up and a smile on my face, eyes bright. I was fine then.
But other times, It was the weight of the world. That was when it became impossible to stand tall, to look people in the eye, to function. I was not fine then.
I’d come to know that these times of heaviness were inevitable. I knew the comfort and ease would last just long enough to build up my confidence, my belief in myself, my belief that I was okay.
It liked to do that. Wait. And then destroy what I had struggled to attain, what I had spent so long fighting for.
That was the most devastating. The wreckage left, the complete demolition.
You see, everything about It was designed to destroy me. The way It was able to perch just beside my ears, and hiss fear into them. The way Its four arms gripped me, two around my neck like a noose and two constricting my chest. The way it could shut me down, sending ice into my veins until I was frozen.
I had tried to get rid of It, pry Its claws away, but I never could.
I was too weak, or perhaps It was too strong. By now, the lines had become blurred between me and It. I’d lost track of where It ended and I began.
And that terrified me.
Because I was no longer myself, I was It.