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You have painted over everything and now the room is white, a clean slate, a fresh start and you sit in the middle of the floor content, but then it appears, a stain bleeding through, lurid, a violation.
You go to the paint store, you buy better paint, different paint, stronger, and you lay it on thick and true. It covers the stain and you are content.

And then one day you go into the room and the stain is back, like it never left, like you hadn't painted at all and you go back to the paint store and you get the best paint you can, the most stain resistant, the most sealant, the absolute top of the line, and you bring it to the front and the clerk eyes you nervously.  He says, "You must have something terrible to cover up, huh?"
You go back to the room, you paint again with the top of the line stuff, and before you can even feel content this time, before you even get to sit down to rest, the stain, it shows, and you keep painting and it keeps coming back.

You realize it's not a stain, it's a wound, and it goes to the bone.

The clerk says, "You have a problem, there's no amount of paint that can cover what you've got. There's nothing here that will help you.  If it's still bleeding and you keep painting, all you're doing is wasting your time and energy.  Have you tried talking it closed, finding someone to listen?"
You slam your fist on the counter, and you feel that familiar snap, the small bone by your pinky has been broken again. You make it clear to the clerk that you don't want to talk it out, you make it clear that the paint has been a fucking waste of your time and nothing has helped you.

The doctor looks at your x-ray "A curious injury," he says, peering at you over his glasses. "Fracture fifth metacarpal, a rebreak if I am not mistaken.  A boxer's break it is sometimes called.  Are you a boxer?" 
You clench your jaw, shake your head.  You are not a boxer.  You explain about the wound in your walls, about the paint, about your failure.  "Ah a difficult case," he says.  "Have you tried medicating?" You look at your chart, your EKG, your liver enzymes, and you shake your head.  Medicating didn't help, medicating has made things worse, medicating is as useless as painting over an open wound.  He nods. "Have you tried hurting yourself?" You look at your hands, swollen and scarred your shameful and stupid x-ray, your shattered heart, your broken and bruised mind. Yes, you have tried that too, tried it and tried it again and it didn't help.
The doctor looks at your chart again.  He gives a wan smile.  "It appears," he says, "that you're fucked. Completely and irrevocably fucked.  Put some ice on the hand, drink lots of water, get some rest."  You nod and you stand to leave.  When you grab the knob with your good hand, because you have a good hand and a bad hand now, at least for a while, and there's nothing to do about that either, nothing will help that either, when you grab the knob with your good hand the doctor says, "Have you tried lying to yourself?"

You go and sit in the white room, the imperfect stained wall, the puddle of blood, the open and bleeding wound. Why did you think paint would work, why would you go to the doctor at all when you already knew that you are irrevocably fucked?  

Go and look in the mirror.  Say you have changed, say that you are no longer damaged and broken, say that you have learned.  Say you have evolved, that things are different now.  Say you are getting better, tell yourself that small steps eventually lead to big outcomes.  Tell yourself that you will not fuck up everything that you have built and you won't ruin this life for you and everyone you love.  Say that the house of cards you have built will stand forever, say that you have healed.  You have healed, so maybe you don't even need to go into that room, maybe you close the door, you lock it, board it up, chain it closed and get yourself some drywall and some mud and you cover the door and maybe that room barely existed at all, maybe you can forget about it completely. Stand in front of the miror, look at yourself, and just lie your ass off, like your fucking life depends on it.  

And maybe in time you start feeling better, maybe you go about your life, your hand heals like it always has, and only hurts sometimes, and you have a hard time doing barre chords, big deal.  If you start feeling bad, if you start thinking maybe you're fucked, truly and irrevocably, thinking that maybe you should go into that room (room? what room?), if you think that some stains can never be covered up, you can always go to the mirror and lie to your own face.  You can go in there and tell yourself that you're different now.

Lie to yourself, like your life depends on it.

And there in the darkness, the walls are still stained.  In that forgotten, buried room, that wound still bleeds.

Still Writing, 

RP 11-16-22

Who are you?  Why did you even come here?  Let me know: for as long as it exists, I am still on Twitter @RDPullins, and (bareley ever) on Facebook.  Email me at dissent.within at, or be original and leave a comment here, even if its a friendly lie.  Be kind to yourself, hold on for another day. "Sweetie, it gets better, I promise you." which are lyrics from a song called Your Heart is a Muscle the Size Of Your Fist, by Ramshackle Glory, which is beaturful and sad.  Peace.


  1. Much like the picture of Dorian Gray, that shit does not get better for staying unseen. You've tried everything else. Have you tried diving in? Sitting there in that room with that wound, listening to it, hearing it's origin story until you can recite the words by heart? Painfully dissecting piece by piece to decide what is true and what is story?
    What do you need to heal?

    You're right. There's no paint, no primer, no meds, no violence, and no lies stronger than that wound. She's here for the duration, so you're gonna have to learn to coexist. The only way to break it's hold on you is to know it, as intimate as a wife. Get your snacks. Gather your self care kit. Phone your friends and let them know you're going in, that you're ready to dive into the shit, and you're gonna need a lifeline to help you find your way out. I think Brene Brown is the best mapmaker we have but there are others who can show you how to navigate this cave.

    1. You have to love a comment that references both Dorian Gray and Brene Brown.


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