5 Reasons You Consider Yourself An Island

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Sabine Wilson-Patrick

11/4/20222 min read

1. It explains away your loneliness

Your mother’s parenting philosophy is akin to pangea. When you breathed in, your little lungs filled with love. Affection had many faces, some with great white teeth like stalactites, hard, open palms, some had rosy cheeks and told you that the world was your oyster. This is childhood. Someone brought into existence to bandage your scarred knees and preserve your body in neosporin. To hold you tighter than any precious thing has ever been held. But you’re not a ruby, you’re a girl. Your adolescence resembles the Laurasia Split, you break away from unconditional love in the form of locked doors and junky cars with engines full of woodchips. As this new island, your scraped elbows bleed into the ocean like spilt oil. You cry for your mother, but she is too far away to hear you.

2. You are untenable

You start falling in love young and soft. Things grow on your shoulders, you are covered in blush coloured posies and the groove in your back is segmented by a grove of fig trees. You wait patiently for some nice boy to tell you you’re a paradise. But he never comes. You accept less than him. Boys come as sahara dust, drought in the summertime, sickness in the winter. Men like dead crops and bush fires; bruising and biting and becoming you closer. You are told you are untenable by a white boy with unworked hands and no follow through. His pockets are bursting with spades and poppy seeds, but he says the ground here is too hard. You are uninhabitable.

3. You have a score to settle with the ocean

You could have been a country, or a continent, but you are an island because you’ve convinced yourself that the waves will give you back what they took. You demand memories of your mother teaching you to swim on some vacation some place. She rested her hand on your back and you floated, salt water drifting from ear to ear through your hollow head. You demand it gives you back your childhood, the water gun fights and first kisses in the shallows. As an island you sit there expecting for your mother and her unconditional love to wash up on the sand one day, but the ocean never took them. You gave them away.

4. You want to be settled

They are easy to confuse: colonization and love. You wanted to feel wanted, worth it, coveted, conquered. You’ve stopped wanting to be called paradise and you will now settle for any name at all, as long as somebody is calling for you. You want to be governed, you want to be possessed. You want someone to plunge a flag into your hip like they are mining bone marrow, to fill the gulf in your chest with high schools and hospitals. To excavate your deep veins and use them as a roadmap. You are not tenable but you are tolerant. You are waiting for a man that shines in the sun like a god.

You know that you will sink

You’ve never felt permanent. You’ve described yourself as an exhibit, a mushroom cloud, chalk on the pavement. Conspicuous but not sturdy. All your bones are made of limestone. The collapsings of countries and continents are eclipsing. A crumbling skyscraper blocks out the sun. But you are not that girl. You are not stupendous or earth shattering or even visible behind mist. You plan to simply slip away, back into the earth.

Sabine Wilson-Patrick is a nobody writer published in The Interlochen Review and Mixed Magazine.