Conversating With Walls
When I was about 14, I was having a lot of trouble with school and at home, mostly emotionally. At school, I was being bullied, harassed and made fun of on a day to day basis, sometimes to the point where often, I would ask to be excused if I was put into a group project to use the restroom, and then never come back until class let out. Anywhere I could find a way to slither off and be alone, I took it, and my parents were sadly of no help. They didn’t know what to do, and frankly I’m unsure if my stepfather cared whatsoever, so they put me into therapy a multitude of times, on and off different medications, and felt they were totally at a loss.
During this time, I became exceeding attached to a doll I had bought at a store. It was a small felt doll with blonde hair and a black dress, and she was attached to a keychain. She was maybe 5 dollars, but she was attached to my backpack, my jeans, basically anywhere I could clip her, she was and she went everywhere with me as a result. So, when I started confiding in this doll, it worried my parents. The thing is, I never once thought she was a real person or could really hear me, but when your parents won’t talk to you, and you have no friends, and you don’t trust your therapist…a doll quickly becomes the one thing that you can talk to. It won’t talk back to you. It won’t reject you. It just listens. I just needed someone to listen to me.
But, this wasn’t just attached to the doll. I started talking to myself everywhere, especially in my bedroom, even when people were home. I just began having whole conversations back and forth with myself, because it allowed me to get things out of my head, to analyze them and calm myself down. I talked to walls. I talked to my dog. I talked to a strangers on the internet. I talked to anything that listened. As I said, when nobody will talk to you, and the ones who will you don’t trust because they hurt you, you will take any chance to talk to anything. So, I’d sit in my driveway at night sometimes and relay my entire day to this doll, or sit in my room after school some days when I was home alone and talk to the walls about my current feelings regarding my home life at that moment.
Let’s be honest, a house knows you better than anyone else. It sees you in your most primal, your most honest, your most…you. It sees everything you do, it hears everything you say, it’s always there for you and keeps you safe. I talk to my houses. I talk to my walls. Sometimes I would toss a tennis ball against our garage door and talk openly to the garage door about how sad I was feeling that day.
These days though, I have a girlfriend I can confide in, and a chatroom I frequent quite a bit, and of course I have social media but I rarely use it for anything other than linking things I like or create. The internet is an introverts best friend. But, because of these things, I don’t really talk to myself as much anymore. I’d like to. Sometimes I do, like in the shower or on the rare chance I find myself alone. There’s a thing called Touch Deprivation where you can suffer from not being physically touched enough either through hugs or some other form of touch. Obviously this doesn’t effect everyone, but I’d like to think there’s a verbal aspect that’s like that. Verbal Deprivation, where if you do not get to talk — either to yourself or someone else in some way — enough, then you start to feel very bad. I don’t know why there wouldn’t be something like that. Perhaps this is what I was suffering from, who knows. All I know is that when nobody else would talk to me, I would just talk to myself.
I still talk to myself. I still talk to my dog. I still talk to the walls.
But, it’s nice that they’re no longer my only option. I sometimes think though, of all the things everywhere I’ve lived has heard. I think of all the secrets, the sob stories, the yelling that I have left behind. Sometimes I miss the places I live in more than I miss people I knew (probably because the people hurt me, and the places didn’t). When my grandmother died, we had to sell her house. My grandfather moved in with my aunt and uncle, and everyone got together to sell her house and clean it out, and all I cared about was going around and documenting the place. I was the only one who took pictures for keepsakes. I shot the garden, the backroom, the guest room, their bedroom, the living room, the bathroom. To this day, even without the photos, I can still recall every square inch of that house, and not just because I spent so much time there but because it was the one place I had in my life that surrounded me with positive feelings, and love and happiness. It was the one place that heard someone say they love me and mean it, the one place to see me be hugged by people who loved me; my grandparents.
A while after the house was sold, I debated going by it and seeing the place, but in the end, I decided against it. Much like seeing someone you haven’t seen in ages, or keeping a loved ones memory the way you want, I didn’t want to see how it’d changed. What it’d become. Besides, it wasn’t my place anymore to talk to. Someone else was talking to it now. Was making new memories and conversations with it. I don’t know where I’ll eventually feel most comfortable talking to nothing again in the future, but I know I will one day, and it’ll be okay. Speak. Speak to yourself, to nothing, to everything and everyone.
God if these walls could talk.
You can read more about Maggies attachment to places at this post. Maggie Taylor is an artist/writer. She currently lives in Texas with her longtime girlfriend and their dog. She creates things and sometimes wears pants. SOMETIMES.