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I have a hole in my heart.

It sits at the top, just under my chest blade, with ventricles on either side, pumping blood into my veins, hot and thick.

I have a hole in my heart.

It heals a little some days and then widens again, its presence effervescent, ever seeking inside the walls of my ribs.

With a constant ache it is always there.

I often fall into this hole in my heart with a crashing thud that sends shock waves through my body as if I’ve fallen from a tall tree in a boney forest full of nothing but sound.

It is hard to climb out of this pit, this hole in my heart. With sharp nails and shaking limbs, I claw my way to top of its cavity. I leave my insides more bruised and battered than before the fall.

I like to think of it as a constant heartache. A small piece of organ removed, an open wound to the world.

Its presence leaves a resounding pain, a thudding where it sits – this hole in my heart.

Its exquisite pain I live in every day, in constant agony I cannot admit. When I have fallen into the hole, slipped and hit the bottom of the cave, there is only night, there is only sadness. How often I sit alone in this sadness.

I have three and a half emotions. Happiness, sadness and tormented, fiery anger.

Happiness. Happiness I relish in, I devour, I adore. When I work hard, when hard work pays off. When I love, when I love with all that I have of my misshaped, ill-formed heart.

Sadness. With this hole in my heart I also feel sadness that permeates my entire being, that holds me in its arms like a pool of water, heavy and all encompassing.

Tormented, fiery anger. There are times when I fall into the hole in my heart and I cannot climb out. This is when I’ve had too much to drink. When I’m starting to lose my grip on my white-knuckled reality. In the bottom of this pit, I writhe in the bile of my insides; the hot, sticky blood runs over me. My rational mind fails me. From the bottom of the pit spills uncontrolled, unrelinquished anger. As if I were at the gates of hell and Sin and Death had handed me the key. Over the top of the hole in my heart and out of my mouth come words so fueled by rage that my heart burns as they leave me, lost and unforgiving. I have no control over these angry moments. I can only control how much I drink—and I don’t. Maybe I am allowing myself to be controlled by the hole that I’ve always had in my heart.

It is only in poetry like this that I can put to words what it is like to live inside of my body. Its often dangerous and beautiful rigor, its fighting spirit and constant anguish. Any other way seems dead and meaningless. I don’t know if anyone else has a hole in their heart like mine, but I sincerely wish that they do not. Even the worst of people should not have to live with a hole in their heart. But this is me and this is who I am and I’m learning to accept that this is the person I’m meant to be. A person with a hole in their heart.

There are wonderful moments too. I’m a very social person and when I’m around people I feel less anxious. When I’m at home in a crowd of people and when I’m with my friends sometimes I forget there’s a hole in my heart and those are the best times. It can be hard to live inside my body.

I don’t wish I were someone else and I don’t hate myself. I am troubled by parts of myself and parts of my personality that are very flawed. I know that this is how I am supposed to be but it doesn’t make it any easier to live with these flaws—to be a person with a hole in their heart.