Comme un garçon…
I compare all of my experiences to life in New York or to being in inpatient during 10th grade. I say, “Oh, this reminds me of New York so much.” Or, “This reminds me of when 50 milligrams of Prozac made my hands shake while we played cards in inpatient.” These are my base experiences.

I don’t know which box to put being a foreign exchange student in. Does it deserve the conception of its own file? Perhaps. If forced to choose between the two, however, I would draw a parallel, not between the safety and protection of the psych ward but my existing in a glass box for all the doctors and visitors and night nurses to see, and the magnifying glass under which I exist here—the oft-tense atmosphere, the uneasiness in my belly. Did you know that I’ve only been in Toulouse for nine days? I didn’t. My mind has been trapped here for years, or so it would seem.

My flaws are on display the way I sometimes photograph my acne or scabs and then blow up the image in order to analyze my imperfections even further than a mirror or my myopic sight will allow me to. There is no beauty in my mistakes, no possibilities for them other than condemnation—except for the romanticization of teenage stupidity, if you choose to go that route. I sound like the very person I never wanted to and never want to become. I sound like the adults who tell me to grow up, who tell me not to be selfish.

Comme une fille…
My host family and I eat in the middle of a thunderstorm. How surreal. I run through puddles to reach the metro. I write in the journal that my therapist gave me every day. Sometimes I forget to take my meds in the morning. In a time that seemed like many ages ago, because my mind does not know how to process stages in my life well, a boy whose name I kept forgetting kissed me against a staircase and I felt like myself for the first time in a while even though I couldn’t bring myself to think, not yet.

My memories are all over this borrowed room. I listen to the same album daily. I’m finding myself more than I thought I would this summer and simultaneously disappointing people, but this is not a new development in my life. I try harder and harder every day—I’m curious to see how far my limits extend. New York and I no longer exist in the same world; it is a past life in my mind that I still think about often. The more I understand my mind, the less others do; I’ve said this before, but I’m becoming less comprehensible but it’s too amusing and too much of a relief to feel bad about, like having the answer key to an enigma. I wonder what it will be like to look back on who I am now. Maybe I’m not as odd as I think I am, which would be nice because I’d like my writing and thoughts to be able to resonate with people to some extent. But it’s nice to understand myself so well for once. ♦