Mile Long Stare

My head is beginning to throb. I’m staring at the window, the mile long headache stare. No set pattern to the throb yet, everyone’s chatting. No one is quite loud enough for my head to beat in sync. It’s just a low hum from everyone. The assault of cologne is what’s triggering this one. Working with two boys means that they each wear what seems like a half a bottle of two conflicting scents. They don’t smell nice, it doesn’t smell nice. Every time they shift or readjust in their seats, it sends another wave towards me. They’re talking about something inane. The one just said something mysgnostic. I’d roll my eyes but I’m sure I’d just get dizzy from it.

“Are you okay?” I hear someone ask. One of the boys I’m working with.

Fuck off.  I think automatically. He’s the one who triggered it.

“You seem…not there,” he adds.

“Headache,” I mumble.

He nods.

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Identity

I’ve changed. I don’t recognize myself anymore. I find myself happier, laughing more, just more content. It’s because I don’t have headaches as frequently. Sometimes, it’s like I’m at the top. The person I was suppose to be. But then it’s a tailspin but the headaches come back. From stress, from not drinking enough water, from not eating enough or the wrong thing. I have moments where I’m asking who the person in the mirror is. I don’t recognize her. Without the headaches, I’m a completely different person. I can’t believe how much they’ve influenced me in the past.

Who am I now? How many people – who knew, would refer to me as “Emily – with headaches”. I always did. They were like a disclaimer. We were synonymous.

I don’t feel like myself anymore. I feel more like myself when I have a slight headache then when I don’t. Not having a headache is like an out of body experience. I catch myself – I’m too happy, too loud, too obnoxious.I was never like that before… not before – during. I can’t remember before the headache, I was so young it was before I developed most of my personality. I was never like that during my headaches. I was much more reserved, quiet. I was constantly in a flight mode. Obligations were short as possible and I spent as much time in my safe spaces as possible. Now I’m out and about exploring the world.

The headaches happened during such a developmental time in my life. They are a part of me. Now I feel like I’m missing a part.