Your room is blue. Blue walls, blue sheets, blue. When I lay in your bed in the early morning light I feel like I’m in the ocean, sinking, sinking, sinking. I’m sinking deeper and deeper into your life and you are off living it. I feel detached, separate. I close my eyes, wishing I could just sleep this feeling away: the aching in my feet and the hollow pit of anxiety in my breast.
Sinking, sinking, sinking.
Ugh, Facebook does that thing now where it shows you pictures from previous years asking you if you want to share them (I do not). Today I woke up to one from eight years ago of me and my first serious boyfriend. I stared at it for a long time, noticing how thin and youthful my face was. I don’t necessarily look any happier then than I do now. That’s the thing about pictures; they aren’t a real representation of what things were like. I stared at the picture for probably ten minutes, feeling a real ache inside of me that I couldn’t quite shake off; it was a kind of growing anxiety. I stared at our young naive faces and thought about how he lingered on in my memory like a stain. Nobody else could notice his mark, unless I pointed it out, but I always know it’s there. No matter how hard I try to scrub it away, there it is. There he is.
I remember he asked me once what my biggest fear was. I smiled and told him I was afraid of the ocean, it’s deep caverns and unexplored abysses; I worried about what was lurking beneath its surface. He smiled and kissed my lips gently. I can’t remember now what his biggest fear was, probably something like failure or heights. I do remember how later that night I stood in the shower, thinking about him, tracing my soapy hands along the lines of my curves, imagining it was his hands instead. I suddenly felt a boiling panic rising inside of me, a sort of deep seated anxiety. I was really afraid of losing him, but more than that, I was afraid of not being happy. The ocean was a metaphor for me; I was afraid of what was lurking beneath my surface, an unhappiness and melancholy that had been there since childhood. I pushed the thought away then though, and smiled again. He was mine, nothing was going to change that.
I was wrong of course, and I think about that from time to time- how wrong I have been so many times, about so many different things. When I look back at my life even a year ago, it feels like the girl in those pictures isn’t even me. Her life was so different. There was so much hiding inside of her, waiting to make it to the surface. So much would fall apart and come together and then fall apart again in this year. And that’s the thing about it, no matter how much you think you know about yourself, like the ocean, there are always new strange things lurking in the deep. These things have been there all along, but have existed undiscovered. So how then, can we expect to know another person entirely when we don’t even fully know ourselves? Continue reading Excerpt 1.
I love the way the pavement sparkles with fresh frost under the street lamps in the morning. Its like something magical has been happening while the world was sleeping. Its early, the sun hasn’t risen yet, and I am awake. I feel the edges of dreams and sleep still clinging to me, trying to draw me back to bed. But outside, in the night air that’s becoming day, I breathe in and feel the day ahead of me: full of potential and maybe just a little bit of magic. There’s pixie dust across the sidewalk!
1. I don’t think I can do this again.
2. The thought of someone like you would normally make me want to jump in front of a train.
3. I cannot decide if I’m actually happy or if I just want to be happy so bad that I’m making myself into this person.
4. At the end of the day we just have to be honest with ourselves; relationships suck.
5. There aren’t many things in this world that make me happy, but you…
6. When I used to imagine the person I would end up with it was basically the exact opposite of you.
7. There aren’t a lot of reasons for us to be together, it honestly doesn’t really even make any sense why I’m attracted to you, but I can’t help it. You’re like a drug that I can’t get enough of. I’m addicted to you.
8. I don’t remember the last time I was actually happy.
9. I feel so lucky to have met you.
10. I don’t know what I did to deserve this.
I remember staring out the window as the countryside flashed by us, the stars bright in the sky, and the mountains like a shadow against the night. We were passing wine in the back seat, taking giant greedy sips trying to keep this euphoric feeling from slipping away. I felt warm and cozy with you as I touched the glass pane and felt the chill of the air outside. That song was playing on the radio, the one that I like so much, and I was singing along without a care in the world. That’s when I suddenly remembered what happiness feels like, it isn’t bright and shiny like we imagine it to be, but sometimes it’s just warm and cozy. These moments would fade and combine into others, the frivolity of the evening would change our happy glow. But I still feel it when I look back at that car ride, your fingers interlaced with mine and that song playing on the radio.
Oh home is wherever I’m with you…
I need to work on managing my expectations, because living in a constant state of disappointment or anxiety of impending let down is not a way to exist. As I write this I have tears brimming in my eyes because I let myself get too caught up in my hopes for a person, and when they did something human I couldn’t handle it.
But is that all my fault? They made a mistake. I need to work on finding a balance between setting realistic expectations of people but also being able to express my disappointment and frustrations.
It’s not a big deal, but when I’m sitting here alone it really worries me that this could be a shifting point for things, and that’s me, not you.
I have a problem of comparing myself to people, constantly trying to place myself on some sort of spectrum that defines my worth against others. I’m just trying to find my place amongst everyone else, but it ends up being detrimental to my emotional well being. I sit on the bus and go- I’m fatter than she is but definitely in better shape than that other girl; I have a nicer face than her but soandso has nicer skin; she is really sociable, but I’m funnier and so on and so on. I could compare myself to others forever.
What’s the point though? It doesn’t help me to feel like I’m better than other people, all it does is give me an unrealistic image of myself. Over and over again. Then why do we do it constantly?
From the moment we are born our life’s clock starts ticking. From the very second we start something, it is one second closer to ending. I have been overly aware of this reality lately, feeling constantly and obsessively like time is running out. It is not an awareness that I am incredibly fond of. Living with a perpetual timer in my head has the effect that all I do is tainted by the fact that everything ends.
This isn’t meant to be a comment on our human condition or some sort of metaphysical discussion of our immortality but rather a reflection on how difficult it is to live in the moment. It’s all just grains of sand slipping away before our very eyes, and there is absolutely nothing we can do to stop it. I’m not sure how to make that sound less bleak than it is.
We can pretend that we will seize each moment and live each day to the fullest, but laying awake at night there is the crushing sensation that there is so much more left to do and not enough time. There is the overwhelming knowledge that we have not used our time well and that we are not where/who/what we thought we would be by now.
It is said that time is a mere human conception and that it is the reason for mankind’s worry. So how do we do away with the calendar and clock and live a life that is more intrinsically connected to desire and fulfillment? How do we let go of counting minutes and focus on what is truly important- the things that fill our time and make the hours disappear?
These are the things I want to say to you- the things that I think it might be important for you to know.
I am afraid that I have let the world harden and jade me. I used to be a romantic. I used to be able to see the good in everyone and love without fear. Now I tell myself that I was naive and childish, and maybe that’s true but I am afraid that I have let the best parts of myself slip away. I wonder who I would be now if I didn’t feel the need to protect myself all the time. Every single feeling I have is felt with a tinge of anxiety, always erring on the side of caution. I’ve convinced myself that it’s instinct, but I worry that it’s these so called “instincts” that are causing my problems, like self fulfilling prophesies.
When I look at you I want to feel all the butterflies and magic that I can acknowledge are there, but a voice somewhere tells me to relax, to be cool, to be reasonable. So I smile coyly, a master of the game I’m playing against myself.
Really, I’m just afraid of losing you. Really, I’m just afraid of everything.
I’m feeling a little bit lost in myself today, like I’m in some sort of dream-like state. The edges of my mind will not focus and everything passes me by in a haze. I lay here sipping tea, daydreaming, and then slowly turn to see my door standing ajar. I never leave my door open. But there it is, wide open.
I am at a place in between dreams. With all the chaos and excitement of the last few days, having today to settle down and reflect makes it all feel unreal. How could it be real? That after all this time, after convincing myself that there must be something wrong with me and that maybe I just needed to stop looking- it’s happened. I’m being vague, I know; it is intentional. For I fear so greatly even saying out loud what it is that I think I have found, because then it may slip through my fingers before I have even been able to fully grasp it.
But I think that my door is finally opened.