Plimsoll Line

Zachariah Lee

Photography: Shen Osaki | @shenosaki

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*plimsoll line is the reference mark on a wine glass to indicate a single serving 

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I want to drink Sauvignon Blanc. Home alone; poured generously into a wine glass. No plimsoll line. No one to watch me. I want to switch off the lights. I wish I could turn off daylight for just a second, it’s so pervasive sometimes. I want to switch off the lights. Let the blaring glow of my laptop overtake me. It makes me feel like I only exist in that moment. When I look out the window, all I see is the glare of my neighbour’s bathroom light through their fragmented glass windows. It’s still night. The light from their window shuts off. The silence that follows is strangely acute, almost as if someone else’s light was the source of my comfort. I want their light to turn on again. The warmth of it, although unfelt, was visceral. I’d rather know that feeling. The digital brilliance consumes me again. I occasionally turn my head back to my door, glimpsing the belt of external light that exudes from the hallway. I think I’m being too loud. Too lonely. I get anxious for a moment, but the invasive whiteness of the screen brushes my hand and I return to nothingness.

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* * *

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I want a lot of things. I remember when my teacher told me that there was a difference between wanting and needing. Yet here I am. Caught in the tide of want. It spits me out and pulls me back. How can I get angry if I am the one to walk into the water? Every time I think I am exempt from the rampage of my emotions, I am humbled. I sit on my bed now, eyes unfocused and glassy. A notebook sprawled out in front of me, which I think is telling me to be honest. That if I’m not honest, it’s going to be disappointed. I struggle to comprehend the thoughts sometimes. It’s hard to articulate when all you want to do is cry. I think I hate tightness. While it is a symptom of growth, it forces me into a corner of unbridled anxiety and agitation. I want the plimsoll line to exist for once. I don’t want copious abundance. I don’t want excess. I don’t want heaviness. I’d much rather prefer to feel minimal within myself. Overthinking has no bounds. It’s insidious and uncharitable. I want to feel content with what I have, not what I could have. I don’t want control over my emotions; that is not what I am saying. I just want the surge to not be so intense all the time.

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* * *

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I think to be desired is a peculiar thing. I don’t have a problem with wanting to be desired. I think I’ve been a subject of desire before. A spectacle to behold. An alluring creature. Those impossible lock puzzles. I think while I’ve been a recipient of such desire, it’s debilitating when those yearning for my attention aren’t the right people. Wrong people subjecting me to expectations and wanting me. Yes, I want to be seen. But not by the wrong people. Yes, I want to be heard. But not by the wrong people. Yes, I want to be felt. But not by the wrong people.

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* * *

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“I’m desirable and loveable, but by the wrong people.”

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* * *

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They’ve seen me, consumed me, held me, thought about me, wondered about the possibilities. That’s how I feel. I want to let myself go. I want to detach from my body. Every part of myself disengaging in a beautiful surrender. I want all of the orifices in my body to close. Perhaps as a sign that I’m finally closed for business. I’m no longer available to you. I want myself to be an empty space. Perhaps I want void. Quiet, still, like the enduring glow of the screen. There, but not there. I want to float in space, only thinking about my own gravity. That way, I am existing outside of myself. I want to see the weight of my existence. Not in increments of vanity. I don’t want comparison to be a prerequisite for my self-love. I want to feel like I can live this turbulent life without the validation of others; their constant reassurance, their approval. I want to look at myself and not immediately look to the sidelines, awaiting a cheer. I want to drink Sauvignon Blanc. And then, smash the glass afterwards.

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* * *

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I’m tired.