OPUS Issue 62 was awarded REALM first class by the National Council of Teachers of English’s Recognizing Excellence in Art and Literary Magazines program

OPUS celebration

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Pity Party

by Mary Fernandez

Note from the editors: while we were unable to offer Mary's piece a place in OPUS 62, we wanted to recognize Mary's courage in submitting her piece.

I don’t want you to pity me. Don’t tell me that my problems make you feel better about your own. Don’t make me feel like my pain gives you satisfaction. I’m suffering while you are barely skimming the surface. I won’t tell anyone anything anymore because of you. I won’t trust anyone with my secrets because of you. I won’t get better because of you.  I will not serve as the main attraction at your own pity party. I have it under control, I tell myself. But I’m still paralyzed in fear as I write this. My eyes are glazed, my breathing matching my erratic heartbeat, because I know it’s all true. I tell everyone about my problems maybe for the pity but also to feel like someone actually cares. My real friends won’t do it, so why don’t I put it all out there for a stranger to hear. Sometimes I need the pity to feel like I belong because I’m broken...the pieces too shattered to glue or mend back together. I hate myself for sharing all that I do, letting others get a glimpse of my “tragic” life. I don’t want to. I don’t need to. But the words flow out of me while the negative thoughts burrow themselves deeper into my heart strings. They don’t pull anymore, coated in every hateful and nasty word that anyone has ever said. The coating can be erased, but mine is written in permanent ink.  Your safety scissors are no match for my blade. And your pity will never compare to my wish that one day I will be better. So go ahead and do it. I really am a great model of what not to be. My mind has taken over my life, but your words have taken over my memories. So tonight I will hear your words echoing in my head, your words having the same impact that they did when I first heard them. And I won’t forget. I know ten years from now, your words will sting just the same, and I’ll spiral down this dark hole once again. And for the rest of my life, I won’t tell my friends about my problems.