There are times I find it hard to breathe. I lie in bed counting the inhalations and the exhalations, hoping that the lump in my throat will go away and not scratch and claw its way out of my mouth. I am trying to be quiet as my mind moves faster than it did then night before, or the one before that. One Google search after another leaving me with more questions than answers, although the, “No,” is heard above the noise in my head. No one wants me. I try to think of the least shameful way to make ends meet, the least embarrassing way to salvage some of my pride. I count the days until I see the face I love the most again, and the lump in my throat grows and moves closer to my gaping mouth. My legs won’t sit still until I rationalize things in my mind, and sometimes not even then. I make a plan for the next day and then the next, but it just seems like chaos in my mind. The harder I try to sort through the tangents, the more convoluted they become. If I could only find the center, the place where they become one. I eventually exhaust myself enough to sleep, only to dream of more, “No”s, other girls prettier and smarter, and accidents that strip me of my identity. Waking up the next day, finding that my plans are useless; I try to wake myself. “Today will be different,” I force my mind to tell itself as I shut my eyes in desperate hope of one more minute of fitful sleep. I’ve written down three different timelines and lists, but none of them go how I imagined, and not enough gets accomplished. I go and stop and go and stop until I once again lie in bed counting the inhalations and the exhalations, the lump in my throat getting in the way once more.