11.11.18_9:15PM.docx

I don’t really have an audience in mind when I sit down to write something. Everything I write is entirely selfish, but I think that’s what makes it work. Tonight however, I’m writing with a very specific person in mind. I’ve been thinking about them and people like them a lot lately, and I don’t know if it gives me strength or hope or if it makes me want to die more than I already do.

I’m filled with a lot of compressed rage. It comes over me in sickening waves until I force myself to laugh or smile again. I oscillate between desperately wanting to be alone and being crippling lonely. I want to do everything right now and also never have to do anything ever again. I want to cry but I sit for hours thinking and thinking and thinking and thinking while my eyes remain dry. It’s an exhausting state of living, and I’m not sure how anyone ever does it.

I forget that my emotions aren’t all isolated incidents, but it’s easy to do so for someone who doesn’t address them outwardly all that often. That’s another reason why I write at all—it’s an indirect way for me to yell at the universe that I’M NOT DOING REALLY GREAT RIGHT NOW and that IF I COULD CATCH A BREAK, THAT BE REALLY GOOD. Please and thank you.

I like thinking of the other side when my life will be working out exactly as I want it to, but that idealism is utter bullshit. I’m never going to be happy if happiness means having my life together. I’m trying to force myself to be happy in my mess, but right now I’m more upset by my inability to make changes for myself.

I’m chipping away at my apathy, bit by bit. I worry sometimes that my lack of steam is going to bite me in the ass any minute, but I always cut it close enough. I worry that my inability to put my blinders on is going to drive me insane with jealousy towards my peers because anything has to be better than my life, right?

I’m growing sick of living in an echo-chamber of my own voice. I’m pretty sick of everyone else too, to be honest with you.

To put it simply, John Mulaney once said, “Do My Friends Hate Me or Do I Just Need to Go to Sleep?” While the sentiment is relatable and appealing, I’d say that at the moment I’m more “Do I Hate My Friends or Do I Just Need to Take a Nap?”

That’s another thing, my dear. I’m tired all the fucking time now. Not just physically. We’ve got the trifecta: Emotional, Mental, and Physical! I could sleep for 24 hours and I’d still be falling over in exhaustion. Most of my energy has gone into over analyzing how I’m handling my life and being paranoid about whether or not I actually trust or love anyone.

I feel like slowly going insane.

Friend, I’m becoming delirious and sad (nothing new or special) so I’ll have to stop writing. I wrote a poem about eating last night. It was a Saturday. It made me so sad that I went and sat in a car parking lot for two hours.

I guess what I’m saying is that I’m doing wonderfully and everything is exactly how I’d like it to be. I’m genuinely considering flipping my body clock to knockout at 6pm and wake up at 2. I’m truly in my prime.

 

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Lovers Rock

Clara looked like a barbie doll whose hair had been chopped off haphazardly. The thought burned in the back of Adam’s brain as he watched her on the other side of the bed. She leaned against the headboard, long legs splayed across the cheap and tattered covers, her eyes closed and her head tilted back. He liked the way her eyebrows jumped every now and again to the beat of the music while she swayed back and forth. Playing the record had been her idea, although he had no idea how he’d managed to find a way into finally getting time alone with her.

Maybe it was be a part of their little game. Adam was playing his part, he knew that much; he hadn’t stayed up past two in the morning since high school. Clara stayed up just so she could watch the sun sink down in the horizon only to float back up into the sky a few hours later. She had said it herself once when they were going their separate ways after a night of avoiding conversation with each other. He wouldn’t mind watching it too if it meant that he could be with her a little bit longer. Maybe it’d convince her that he deserved a chance, if not just for the night.

Adam sighed, resting his head in his hand, his shoulder propping him up as he laid on one side, trying desperately not to fall asleep to the lull of the record playing. He almost jumped when Clara’s eyes opened again, warm hazels finding his dark brown ones across the bed. She moved closer to him until they were face to face in the same position. Her smile made Adam want to scream his passions out the window.

“You ever heard this one before?” she murmured, her words slurring together with residual drunkenness. Adam shook his head, paused a moment, and nodded, his tight curls bouncing softly against his forehead.  Clara giggled, the sound feeling the fuzzy in Adam’s ears. Clara raised a hand and ran her fingers through his hair, pulling him in a little closer. Her nose crinkled as her smile grew wider and her eyes more dazed.

“You’re hair is so…frizzy,” she snickered. Adam laughed along, closing his eyes for a few seconds as he breathed her in, remembering the scent for later.

“Well yeah. It’s an afro after all.”

Clara tapped a finger against her full pink lips, her eyebrows scrunched together. “I guess that makes a lot of sense.”

“I guess it does.” They sat and watched each other. To Adam’s recollection, this had to be the longest conversation they’ve ever managed to have. If he really dug into his mental archive, this was the longest amount of time that Clara had ever acknowledged his existence. The thought made his insides swirl around.

“Y’know, um, I was thinking, maybe, if you’d be into it, it’d be really cool if—” Adam’s eyes were already closed before his brain could process the feeling of Clara’s lips on his, her hands tangled in his hair. He hesitantly let his hand find her waist, only pulling her closer the tighter her grip on his hair became.

Adam didn’t realize an entire song could feel like a lifetime until Clara pulled away as the chorus faded into silence. Clara didn’t look at him before turning behind her towards the open window. Streams of light began to paint the walls of the bedroom, the shades of purple and pink sunrise forming outside the window. It framed itself like a photo as it began to fill the room, the record setting itself on repeat at the sign of a show.  As the light hit Adam’s face, he felt his body float away from him as he became overwhelmed with the memento mori.

It took Clara’s soft snores to pull him back down to reality. She was curled up on the pillow, the golden beams making her hair glitter in the light. Adam let out a sigh as he climbed off the bed and pulled on his one-size-too-big hoodie and walked out of the room and into the brisk damn of fall.  

 

dancing king.

When he walked into the room

I had nearly missed him. 

It was the first time I had seen his face,

memorized the special curves

and peculiar valleys,

and realized how pleasant I found them.

The springs of curls had been buzzed away,

leaving a clean cut shadow. 

He was walking a little straighter

or maybe I had imagined it as more than it was

or maybe I hadn’t ever bothered to pay many attention.

 

When he walked onto the dancefloor

his ears were adorned with gold,

the light catching the glimmering metal

whenever he moved. 

His smile was shy and all-knowing as he danced in the center of the circle,

just for a moment becoming the star he desired to be.

Or maybe he didn’t care much for the attention

but for the swaying bodies around him.

Maybe it was in spite of the other boys who stood around like stocks of straw,

paralyzed by the fear of

what?

Being different?

 

When he walked into the line

he stood quietly waiting,

a dazed smile on his face

while I watched around and about him fondly.

Seniori-tea

Fear is defining my life lately.

This isn’t a pleasant conclusion to come to as you can imagine. I’d like to think that I, for the most part, exude a certain amount of confidence. I’d even say, if it isn’t too bold, that I’ve managed to fool most people into thinking that I feel secure with myself. Ha.

I’ve lived under the perpetual belief that everyone secretly hates me for the past ten years of my existence and I’m kind of over it. I think everyone feels that way from time to time; I’d even argue that it’s an essential ingredient to the human condition. But my fear of taking up too much space, being too bold, or too invasive is driving me towards insanity.

It’d be easy to pin this feeling on a small but traumatic lunch room incident when I was in the second grade, but I’m starting to believe it’s far beyond simple rejection. I think I hold a certain shame in my existence—I’m obsessed with this idealized persona of myself and the idea of anyone seeing past that terrifies me to no end. I feel like if I say the wrong thing or let anyone outside my very tight group of friends know any of the things I care about, they’ll come to be disappointed, bored, or worst of all annoyed.

The worst part right now is that this fear has started to bleed into my creative work the more aware I become of how closely attached it is to me and the prying eyes of my peers. In reality my world wouldn’t implode if someone believe that something I wrote sucked. My problem, however, begins to take root in people thinking that because of that, I suck.

I’m in a current dilemma. I could A) drop all of my bullshit and push myself to be more daring once in awhile or B) I could continue to play it safe and save myself from all the inevitable and impending heartbreak. A is our obvious choice.

But it doesn’t change the fact that sometimes, although there are highlights, I do suck. I’m really soft-spoken, so most people can’t hear me in loud group settings. I’m also insanely uncomfortable talking in most groups expect when it’s my closest friends. I’m either overly talkative or uncomfortably quiet when I’m in conversation with others and sometimes I nod and smile when people speak to me instead of bothering to process a word of what’s being said.

I use self deprecating humor because I grew up in a generation whose main source of comedy is formulated as such, even though it’s honestly just sad and uncomfortable to listen to. I’m a Cancer, so of course I’m emotionally unstable. Sometimes I’ll isolate myself away from the people I care about more than the world because I’ll convince myself that they don’t actually like me or want to speak to me, inevitably distancing us further.

I want to talk to literally 10,000 different people and befriend them, but I never do because I convince myself that they either a) are too cool for me or b) want nothing to do with me. Even if I do end up talk to those people, I still manage to convince myself that everything about our friendship is fake.

I also dissociate 50% of the time—partly to ease the pain of being alive and at school but mainly because the stress and sadness of being alive at the moment is too much and if I snap out of it anytime soon I might actually kill myself.

Yet there’s a reason I’m writing this all out on here and not in my journal to look back on in a few months and pity myself over. I’m exposing myself because acceptance is the first step. I’m exposing myself because I need to be held accountable for my self-sabotaging bullshit. I’m exposing my inner workings because deep down, you’re reading my words because something is sticking for you.

We all need to breathe and lower our fists every now and then. I think that most of us never learn to live audaciously until the ripe age of 40, and as much as I’m looking forward to how enlightened I’ll be by that time, I think it’d be ridiculous to wait that long. I deserve to be happy and live my life the way I desire. I deserve to let myself feel proud of the work I’m doing. I deserve to let myself talk to the people I watch from afar when I walk the halls with my headphones in. I deserve to keep singing my lungs out in the car when I pull into the student parking lot, banging my head like a poltergeist is taking over my body. I deserve to live the life I’ve always wanted.

When I think of people who live the closest to fearlessly as any teenager can, I think of my friend Irene. We were talking the other day about people, especially one person in particular that always makes me nervous to talk to. She told me that she never really acknowledged status with others. She just sees a new person to come and understand.

I haven’t been the same since.

To be clear, the girl isn’t superhuman by any means, but if there’s one gift she has that I can only hope to get a fraction of, it is her ability to connect. That’s what I want to work on. I want to connect this year before I have to cut ties with my home. I want to connect with myself, connect with people, and connect with the world. Only then will I ever be able to get where I want to go. Only then can I live a little bit more freely.

Right now I’m going to be kinder to myself. I hope you can come to do the same.

 

the way home.

We were squished together like sardines

in a dark blue hallway,

the linoleum lights giving a warm and tired glow

on our sweaty and tired faces.

Tiny feet beat down on the ground

causing the ringing of drums to spiral

down that black blue hallway.

Then there was me—

tall and wearing too many layers for fall,

straight hair pulled too tightly back in a ponytail,

my tiny fist clinging to my shiny black box of plastic

with the only numbers inside being my mother’s and the house.

 

When the bell rang, the children sprang free

from the confines of the brick school house,

grubby hands pushing and shoving,

tiny feet drumming on pavement

until they hit the grass and took off

running across the hills toward wired fencing.

We all sang when we crossed the wired fence,

our feet slowing to a walk

until our hands found our silver door knobs

and we were finally home.

 

the ugliest landscape in all fifty states.

For those who were unimpressed by the Kansan scenery, I ask them if they’ve ever seen a wheat field. Despite all of the possible construction that our Great Plains have endured, the wheat field remains unending in her billowing glory.

She does not care for the roads, the offices, or the Starbucks the men she raised use to mow her out. She hides herself along the curbs or pushing up in-between sidewalk cracks, leaving her thick hair loose and long. We zip by her on the highway or on the way to work, to busied by our own sorrows to acknowledge the effort she’d put into her gleam and shine that day.

The wheat field knows her timeless beauty, with her blazing white brush and her free and flowing body. We dance together as the wind blows, her long blades a long swaying skirt and the sound like a rattlesnake or the friction of heaps of box braids.

The wheat field knows her purpose. She doesn’t fuss as the cows graze around, chewing her away until she’s bare. She knows that she’ll spring back within a few mornings, her bundle thicker and stronger than before.

The wheat field is plain to the commoner, but fierce to those who acknowledge her unending gifts. You may not be hers to beguile, but it’d mighty arrogant for you to assume she’d ever care.

Polaroid Memory

The following I wrote in an effort to find sleep after finishing Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. In the first few chapters she suggests writing of childhood. Since I am still a child, I have years of material to pull clearly from. I had taken a trip to France the summer before freshman year and stayed for eight weeks. During one of those weeks My cousin brought me along to a church camp in Switzerland.


It wasn’t cold, surprisingly. Summer by the snowy mountainside had granted the privilege of soft, cool humidity, making the team task of dish washing less insufferable. We had eaten our lunches before anyone had come into the lunch hall, entering into a makeshift boiler room where all the dirty dishes were held. A sweet older Swiss woman greeted us, assigning us to different stations (one of which I can no longer recall but I imagine had something to do with organizing). I was given the duty of washing and drying whatever dishes came by. I kept my mouth shut while the rest of my team joked around with each other while completing our task, a flood of dirty dishes descending down their miniature elevator in quick increments.  I hadn’t spoken for so long that I began to feel my throat swell up permanently until the older woman turned to me and asked my name.

“Kirsten,” I said affirmatively, my shoulders instinctively rolling back with pride. Her face broke out into the widest and most cherub like of smiles.

“What a wonderful name! My nephews name is Kirst.” The name is male supposedly, and I had never heard anything like it. She began gushing over her dear nephew in a way I couldn’t help but smile at because she’d been the second person in my three months of solitude that my name and presence had provided pure joy to.

The other person had been a month before during another forced camping trip. His name was Adrien, mixed Danish and African and the eye of my cousin’s affections. I would tease Edna about him constantly, but I wholly understood her infatuation—hazel eyes, smooth skin, and a devilishly kind smile. He spoke fluent English—he was one of the few campers that did—so he felt like a saving grace. His only flaw was that he smoked weed the way Mafia gangsters smoked cigars and it had been causing a rift in his family as of late. 

At the introduction of my name he had told me that my name was danish (I was already perfectly aware of its Germanic nature but I ate up the compliment ravenously) which he loved because he was danish. I shot an onslaught of questions about his background, all of which slip my mind now, before he was pulled away into a rugby game. The ball was blue and white and rubbery and I was wholly confused by the sight of it. They ran across the wide, open clearing tossing the ball back and forth, offering now and again for me to join for me to decline and quickly retreat to the side away from the commotion. My eyes remained on Adrien still. We’d bonded so quickly over so little, I couldn’t help but want to kiss him as a form of compassion, of thank you, of a possibility of the romanticized future of summertime romance that has never been in reach.