My White Flag – A Heart-Breaking Monologue by student, Emma Arthurs

This is my white flag.

There are times and days where I fight back, stand as tall and proud as it does, strong in the face of higher powers. But those times and days are not now and I cling to this flag as dearly as a poet does a simile.

A broken shell of a girl who once had the world at her feet but stepped over the edge and into a free fall.

Arms that once had the façade of a stronger person seem to fall limp and lifeless under the weight of surrender and in the false light of hope they barely cast a shadow. A shadow of a former self that I and we barely knew and one I hardly care to.

Kick start with the narcissism. I am better than that. Better than the me that I am and the we that we are. Or that we aren’t – weren’t.

Was there a we? There was a you, and a me. There was a together. Whatever we were, we are no longer. And you are gone. And why did you do that to me?

Crippling narcissism – the drama queen. I am better than that, but I am not good enough. For me. For you. For we. And so a war ensues. Or begins. Or continues. Staccato.

I take solace in the idea that my lust for life was not extinguished along with my dignity that burned away so long ago – fuelled by the harsh morning light and own brand whisky. There is more to this somewhere and my flag waves effortlessly under the relentless cascade of self-doubt that leaks from every inch of my being.

I can feel myself crumbling as I stand, exhausted in the midst of this battlefield. All around I see those who crawled and twisted their way through these walls before being forced back with such fierce apathy that they now lie, gnarled and broken on the ground, silhouettes of what they could have been.

As I look on feeble reminders stir in the pit of my stomach and I am hurt, once more, a shock to the system as strong as in the first instance. A pain that leaves me gasping for air and grasping for the right words to scribble upon the grave of some long gone but not forgotten memory. And I lean on my flag once more, a flash of purity across the scarred and battered landscape that is my heart. One wrong step, another mistake – just one last chance.

And it is myself this time, and not those walls. The walls that took so much neglect and despondency to build and stood so strong for so long. I am breaking away within them, my one own safe place and now my own downfall. This place has changed so much in its nature. My very being breathes life in the form of pain and misgivings as the shadows of my past creep closer. A past too complicated to remember yet painful enough to never erase, with questions circulating through my lungs and oxygenating my blood with loneliness. There is fear, and plenty of it.

Holding onto the past does nothing but wear your muscles down to the point of disintegration, and grasping for the future …
But there is nothing here for me in the present. It has become as empty as my promises.

I yearn for the capability of my once empty soul, but the love and kindness that I have so willingly thrown away has made me into a person that could feel. And now, at this moment in time, I can feel –


It hit me like a train and derailed any logic and passive thoughts I once had. My head so quickly became heavily burdened with unwanted pain that absorbed and consumed everything in its wake. How can there be so much and still so little all at once? You cannot put much stock in actions made with good intentions and bad logic.

You taught me to feel and I taught you to fall.

Oh, it gets better with time and time heals all wounds. But time has proven a catalyst, and it erodes and corrupts. You search for beauty in a carefully constructed face. Time is a cruel b******.

I don’t feel the same in these bones any more.

It is not the physical aspects that prove a person changed, the sharp protruding bones of a frame should be so far removed from what and who a person is and where they long to be. Nor a change in face, but the little things behind it all. Those flickers you think you catch in a seconds glimpse that quicken your heart for fear of the unknown. I feel it now as my heavy head takes the weight that my heart once diverted. Shattered glass now fills a space within me, scratching at my chest with each sorrow filled breath. And amidst this chaos you must find yourself.

It’s just I can smell you everywhere. You are every word that graces my tongue and you are the sigh of my name on the lips of lovers. Your words still echo in the whisper of the wind, deafening in the silence of all else. I can feel your skin against mine when I wake up and I yearn to relive memories that I all too quickly learned to resent.

Cruel, torturous things that are now dancing in front of me and all that happiness and joy I once felt is now sat in the confused corners of my mind pouring salt upon her wounds.

Everything else has become incoherent – obsolete. My flag waves proudly as I sink, ashamed, beneath it.

I was always a fighter. Bear witness to my fall from grace.

And though I believe it would be more poetic to stay in the abyss of self-pity, I will stop at nothing to breathe happiness. I am surrendering to my internal struggle and waving my white f****** flag.

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