I feel too much. It's weird, because there are some spots where I can't feel anything. I run my fingers over the scars, and it's like touching my foot when it's asleep: I can tell there's pressure and a slight tingly sensation, but I can't actually feel the touch on the skin. But the pain is still unbearable. The stab in my heart (sometimes it's a squeeze), the tightness in my belly, the way my whole chest constricts like I'm drowning.

I cry until I can't feel any of it anymore, then I just lay there, curled in a ball, and hope no one ever finds out how broken I am. I'm supposed to be strong, not lash out, not give in. I'm supposed to be the rock in this partnership. I'm supposed to keep everything real and focused on the right track. But I can't.

The only way I know how to pull myself out of the pain is to be numb. I've done it before. I can do it again. Pretending it's bearable, compared to the tortured existences of other people, is the only way I can gulp some air back into my lungs, hoping to re-inflate them enough to make people think I'm okay. Or at least that I'm getting better.

Last time it took years of pushing the pain away before I was able to walk around without it coloring my every thought. But I did it, and then I found that I didn't have raw, gaping wounds anymore. Just scars.

It took a few more years before I was able to see just how much that world of hurt affected me. How many of my life choices - big and small - were painted a darker shade by my own memories.

It frustrates me to no end to imagine the brighter hues that could have been used in the picture I see of my life. Did you know I love art? In an oil painting, the colors underneath tint every layer of paint above it. Start something with a bright base layer, and the end product is cheery. Begin with darkness, and - even if you end with the exact same colors in your final layer as the bright painting - your end product will have darker darks and deeper shadows. God, that's how I see my life unfolding. I'm sick of the dark.

And what if everything from here on out is good? Blessings heaped upon blessings? It will all still be tainted by the darkness underneath, hidden by the scars.

Why can't my heart feel like my skin? I can put on a shirt and the scars are gone. I can't feel the spots where scalpel and stitches were. But the new wounds, the ones the doctors can't see, are still festering, crying out to be held back together. Gently, tenderly. But no one's trying to do that. Maybe because they can't see how much I'm hurting. Or maybe they're too scared to try to do anything about it. 'Leave her alone, and she'll eventually get better. She always does.' Right.

Love shouldn't hurt like this. Life shouldn't hurt like this.

I just want to be numb.