Beneath Her Skin
A homage to The Woman in the Yellow Wallpaper. What happens when we feel trapped in modern day.
Sometimes she felt outside. Outside of her yellowing skull beneath her skin. She wondered how her feet could pat the ground and have any feeling at all. Was she outside or was she just staring at her walls? She had wanted to get out of the monotony of cookie-cutter houses and quarter-acre yards. She spent time staring out the singular window of her room, people wondering about their day going to the grocery store. Sitting cross-legged in bed she’d imagine herself trapped in prison with white chromatic walls, and robotic features only to find herself back in her room with a massive headache. She felt everything, every trickle of sweat, every film. It seems as if no one noticed. She needed to do something but was stuck not doing anything. She wanted to do something but her body levied against her and kept her in the same spot she had always been. Her room no longer seemed hers. Torn by wires and books. She had grown tired of everything beyond her blinded window and peaked. If only she had done this before, a life beyond walls. What she really needed was the comforting touch of her mother but she is long dead. If only life hadn’t kept her trapped with a ghost of a body that didn’t feel like her own. A soul long gone that felt entitled to obtain hers for keeping order, when all she wanted to did raise hell. Sold an idea of a romantic that she didn’t want to be. Sold this idea of a need that she didn’t need. She dies inside while everyone else goes to sleep, A bleeding heart preserved, would last longer than her. If only...her hair so tight that it turns her face pale with nassau, be set free with breath. She’s free! She’s sorry she screamed She can’t listen anymore She’s sorry she yells once more Her voice breaks through tears. Her body, outside of her control. She’s outside of her body. Her hair flies in her face as she falls. If only the ghost could see her now.
This had come out of a migraine that I had and I kept staring at the walls and window of my room because I didn’t want to do any work. I felt both so out of control of my body but also deeply aware of how each thing in my body was experiencing. I felt like a ghost. I had the image of yellowing skulls as I was wary of what I was beneath my flesh. I thought capturing the feeling was important. I think a keened eye reader can spot many allegories.
This piece continues a discussion illustrated in many of its references in respect to mental health. I wrote this as a result of my migraine. Although I, the author, do not have any chronic illnesses, I couldn’t help thinking of others who experience this everyday. I wanted to illustrate what happens when we do wander and don’t pay attention to others. This is a theme I carry through most writing projects.
Chyonika Roy is the author of short essays, articles, and stories, including “How did we get here” performed during the Climate Speaks performance. She is interested in a wide range of interests including environmental science, civic education, and public policy. Usually down to learn, she maintains a curiosity she hopes to foster in others. In her free time, she can read books, talk to her friends, or listen to dark academic playlists.