As a kid, I thought that a gnome lived in my house.
I imagined he stole little things;
Like socks and charms and the pieces of puzzles we lose overtime.
When I grew up, he was replaced by a thief of different sorts.
His name was anxiety
and he was more sneaky, more greedy, and much more destructive.
He stole things like my ability to breathe when I spoke to the cashier at the corner store
and my aptitude to leave my room.
Later on he brought a friend of his called depression; though he was even worse.
He took things like my capability to get out of bed
and my will to live.
I wish I had gotten some type of security system,
but there is no alarm for things we can’t see.
I wanted to lock my doors but the knob was broken,
leaving me trapped inside of an empty house in which everything was stolen from.
I didn’t know what to do.
I didn’t know how to feel full when I was empty.
So I saw it best to destroy what was left.
It wasn’t my fault that I was robbed,
but it felt like it was.
Why didn’t I lock my windows?
Why didn’t I stop them even though I couldn’t?
I don’t deserve these walls, I said.
Then I knocked them down one by one.
I hurt myself because they hurt me,
so I thought I deserved to be hurt.
But then it became colder,
and I had no protection from the world outside, making the pain unbearable.
So I swallowed little fairies named Prozac and Zoloft
to help be rebuild my walls.
When they didn’t work
I taught them more spells to operate better, more efficiently.
But everyone knows you can’t fight fire with fire,
and even the best magic can’t fix the most broken homes.
What could I do?
I was so small and the damage was so big.
I visited a witch so she could teach me how to feel complete.
When I arrived she said,
“You already have everything you need inside of you.”
I was met with confusion.
How could I have everything when there was nothing?
To which she replied,
“Create your own resources. You are growing more and more every day. Everything you lose gives you the opportunity to come up with better way to stop it from happening again.”
But what would I do if they returned and I couldn’t stop them?
“There will be good days and there will be bad days. Don’t let the bad ones stop you from protecting the home you have made. Let them teach you instead.”
So I left and built my walls back up, all on my own.
I hung up pictures of warm memories, planted flowers in a small garden, and I started again.
I created a new house full of beautiful things,
And when they are stolen I make new ones
because I am capable of providing the things I need for myself
when they are taken once again by pesky thieves that prey on innocent bodies.
But now I am happy,
and these gnomes no longer stop me from living in the small little home inside of myself.
—Celeste Fournier, Grade 10.