There once was a girl named Sonya. I loved her. From the moment I first saw her at recess in 2nd grade, until high school when I finally struck up the nerve to actually speak to girls about my romantic intentions toward them. 

There were times, like in fourth grade, when some of us would put glue on our palms and wait for it to dry so we could stick them together and as they pulled apart it would look like webs from a spider. The fun part was peeling all the dry glue off of your hands piece by piece. The larger the peels the better. Sometimes Sonya would join in and we’d all have fun. Even if some of our hearts were pounding harder than the others at her closeness.

Well, she had long brown hair. Unfinished, lightly brown skin. The most adorable face with crooked teeth. She also flirted and was always trying to be close to this other boy I knew. It hurt. This boy was always dominant at recess. He played soccer, he played basketball– he was good too. Better than I was. That hurt, too.

I dreamt of Sonya. Boyish dreams I don’t remember the details of. Being nowhere near puberty at the time I don’t have many jokes from the dreams. I remember my feelings being of quite a serious nature. So much so that I kept them a secret and felt that if anyone knew they would either worry about me or force me to confront the lovely gal.

But I positively burst with the desire to do so. There was a period in middle school, which was a different building but with most of the same students from elementary years, where I became obsessed with writing her a letter that might describe my feelings for her. But my fear of rejection had been heightened back in 5th grade. 

It was the year I had sat at a computer and wrote from memory the entire Disney’s Hercules film into a Microsoft Word document over the course of a few days with the free time portion of the day.

Two reasons I love to write are the letter to Sonya, and the discovery of Microsoft Word that year. Though, admittedly, the letter was to be handwritten. I didn’t own a printer and there was no way I would let anyone else read the contents.

That year, I wrote a different girl who I had a smaller but still significant crush on a very small question on a piece of folded paper and set it on her desk. There, with my name at the bottom, was the query: “Do you like me? Yes or no.”

I watched her open the paper and read it. I didn’t expect her to write something on it. I couldn’t wait to read what she wrote. But before I got to, she balled it up tightly and threw it in the trash can nearest to me.

Great vote of confidence.

I was devastated. So I never gave Sonya the letter. I never even wrote it. Constantly I would rewrite and edit it time and time again in my head. But never were these words shared. Never did I speak to her about my love for her for fear it would be unrequited.

Did I want her to love me back? Hardly was it a prerequisite, but if she would even grow to, I’m sure I would have had no need for heaven, church, or food, or a silly old QWERTY keyboard.

My hypothesis is that the constantly edited letter going through draft after draft in my head and then getting constantly suppressed by my fear of rejection, fueled by that intense love for that… damn girl, has been the source of what would later become the voices in my head.

The doctors speak of it as a “split”. The voices themselves sound typically like my desires. The problem with the voices is that what they say, need be said, yet doesn’t come out because once the sentence is formed, it’s echoed inside in a timbre that isn’t recognized as myself. So I react by listening as if someone else has read my mind and said it out loud. Which, by the way, is EXACTLY how it feels. Every time.

My assumption as to the cause of my auditory hallucinations is that once I distanced myself from the sound of my heart’s deepest desire – in this case: Sonya – by denying myself the love I obsessed over, and by the suppression of my inner voice (and all that beautiful poetry)for all those years, my mind has split into at least two parts. The suppressed voice and the expressed mind. This results in the third voice, the psychological shadow, the sound of the original mind, the unconscious… along with it’s frustrated tone.

It’s just a hypothesis, I don’t know for sure. The causes of schizophrenia are as unknown as the number of sand on the shore.

Maybe the idea she would ever go for me was my first delusion. Think of those implications. Granted, you don’t know someone’s preferences if you don’t ask or they are unwilling to tell. And 2nd grade is a difficult time to enter puberty. At any rate- that’s early. 3 years early by today’s data on when puberty starts and how old children are in that grade.

Love hurts. But unhealthy obsession is what leads to mental health issues. Since I never confronted the girl and told her how I felt, I’m sure it was an unhealthy obsession. I’m also sure I have other problems that stem from my life’s first prolonged heartbreak. But at least time has gone by and I’ve gotten over, more like “past” her. Just be careful out there, you could really mess yourself up if your self esteem is dependent on who you love and you must obsess over when you will finally win them over.

It’s so unfair.

Be Well.