Once there was a woman that I named named Piper. She was the one men wanted, and girls tried to be like her. She had blond hair and a crooked smile, quick witted attitude, spirit gone wild. She was everything I thought I wanted to be, mixed with a little bit of the real me. So I made this hidden personality and when the time came, she made me. We lived within the same flesh, and shared the same bones, but soon enough she commandeered my home. See I created this person out of necessity, and she was almost the exact opposite of me. And when your strung out on drugs and just need to get by, it helps if you don’t take your mind along for the ride. Or so you think…
You think you can make this new name, tie it to the same face, be her when you need her, then return to yourself when it’s safe. But much like all things in life, it’s never that simple. The more that you’re her, the more the real you is crippled. And as her poison doubles and triples, the real you dwindles, and all that’s left is an effect that’s infinitely rippled. See, I told you, it’s never that simple… Cause at the time I lived a life, that demanded I be hard, but as I lived it, I became scarred. So I knew I needed a way to survive and it became too easy to let Piper drive. But I never knew how hard, it would be to come back. I thought I could put her away when I needed, just like that.
But here’s the thing, no one told me. No one gave me the fucking warning; so as I fell victim to atrophy, this girl with my face took control of me. Our minds intertwined, hers into mine, until all that was left was this darkness inside. And I would find myself doing things I never would’ve before, and saying things I should’ve been ashamed for. Treating people like I never would’ve dreamed; all the while thinking “When did I become mean?” If I was a snake I surely would’ve bit you; but left in this hell, I was more prone to hit you. I was losing myself and fucking violent, and all the while my conscience sat silent. Where I was kind, she was equally angry, spreading her hate onto everybody. I was so lost in this person I chose to become but I never could’ve known the damage to be done. I never could’ve known what I truly signed on for, or that 5 years later I would still be fighting her.
I was always a creature of compassion, I was kind to people and rarely wreaked havoc. I held open doors and smiled at strangers, till one day the stranger was the me in the mirror. Somehow this alter ego had taken over my life and I could almost feel the real me fighting to survive. But to say I got right out would make me a liar, I spent quite a few years living as Piper. She moved in my skin, never smiling, tough as nails, and always lying. She’d get really high, take me real low, and always slept with a gun under the pillow. She was a bitch to her man and was angry all the time, anger so deep that it ate me alive. I swear I was just along for the ride, but all these choices she made, were actually mine. I can’t really explain how it got so bad, but the devil got in and I got had.
Now I’ve spent 3 years fighting this burden, but she’s still there, right under the surface. I keep her locked away, chained in a cage and I don’t let her play, cause if she gets out, I’ll never win again. Sometimes you have to know when something can beat you and once, I gave Piper all the power she needed to. But when I got clean I had to fight to take it back and getting clean was the only thing harder than that. So I have to be vigilant, in keeping her contained, although it would hurt less to just let her free. But I’ve learned that no good comes from embracing the worst of me, cause when the going gets tough, she gets going. So even three years later, I still fight the woman I became, when I was strung out on drugs and just trying to stay sane. I feel her try to sneak out when I start lose control and it feels like this bile rising in my throat. And I know she’s trying to make me let her go, but I won’t let her cause more damage untold. She feels no pain, stays numb, unseen, but the pain that she causes, I have to see. So while it’d be easy to get sentimental, I know nothing she causes, will feel as it’s meant to. She has always been, the opposite of me, but I’ve learned no good can come from a lack of sympathy. You have to have heart to not be a psycho, and pain is just a side effect, of feeling life like we’re meant to. So Piper waits in the back as Ashley lives and maybe one day, I’ll be rid of this affliction. The hardest struggles are always the self made prisons.
by Ashley Hebner
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