She, Me, We

Every hour on the hour

For months and months

The process repeats

Seventeen minutes of peace, of distraction

Fourteen minutes of pain, of reminders

Thirteen minutes of panic, of heartbreak

Sixteen minutes of recovery, of numbness

A sixty minute roller coaster, ridden over and over and over again

Every hour on the hour

For months and months

Until one day, she just isn’t quite herself

Until one day, she realizes she hasn’t been quite herself

For hours upon hours, months upon months

 

Herself is me and myself is her

 

We are lost

 

She looks in the mirror and sees what looks like us

She opens her mouth and hears what sounds like us

She tells a joke and finds a sense of humor that seems like ours

She knows our past, our present, our future, our values, everything

 

Whenever she needs me, she can find me

 

But when no one’s around, when she is her quiet self, she is a shell

 

A shell that won’t let me in, in spite of all the room

 

She is numb, yet she feels the weight of our emotions pushing against her fragile walls

She is numb, yet she misses me

She is numb, for without numbness she can’t, and with it she can

She is numb, she is numb, she is numb, until she isn’t

 

She is our vessel and our academic, logical mind

 

I am our soul and our emotional, compassionate mind

 

She is broken. I am broken. We are broken.

Revisiting the Last Leaf

About a year ago, I wrote a slightly lengthy flash fiction (because who am I as a writer if not a bit wordy?) that I’ve since posted on this blog called “The Last Leaf.” Today, in honor of the tattoo I just got with this very leaf in mind, I’m reposting it with the following note: I have never felt more intertwined with the narrator of this piece than I have in these last few months. For every day of the last few months, in spite of every difficulty, I have thought about this leaf, and I’ve remembered to always strive to be the last leaf, so to speak, in all aspects of my life. I’ve remembered to hold on no matter what, to incorporate this kind of strength and determination into everything that I do, to weather every storm that comes my way until the sky clears and I can feel the sun on my face again. I’ve learned to have faith in my ability to hold on, faith in the ability of others to do the same, and faith that, should I ever fall, the wind will carry me to where I’m meant to be. For me, the concept of this leaf is what eliminates the fear and enables the strength that it takes to make it back to the sunshine each time it gets lost behind the clouds, and I’d like to think that the narrator of this story has found that peace by now as well. Thank you for reading my ramblings and unnecessarily long sentences and enjoy this spontaneous Saturday night blog.

Jamie

The Last Leaf 

I’m sitting in my favorite chair, the one by the front window. I clutch my hot chocolate in both hands as I stare blankly out at the sparkling white expanse of the front lawn, taking in the gentle grey of the sky, the steady flurry of the giant, white flakes, and the way the snow has slowly begun to fall from each individual tree branch.

As I sit, I see a leaf blowing stiffly in the wind. Some time ago, I would have marveled at the way this leaf had somehow found the strength to hang on to its tree through the fall months and into the new year, finally succumbing to the power of the first winter storm of the season when it could hang on no more. Now, I wonder why. Why did it cling so stubbornly to its branch? Why, when it would have been so simple for it to fall, crunching sharply under the foot of a little kid walking home from the bus stop, or the tire of a car moving slowly over the slick pavement, would this leaf endure the pain of holding on?

I used to love the snow. I loved the way it seemed to appear magically overnight, never making a sound. I loved the look of the sky just before a big snowstorm, and the color of the clouds as they graced the world beneath them with a blanket of glistening white. I loved the way it smelled, the way it tasted, the way it felt to take my gloves off and feel each individual snowflake melt into my skin. I used to find myself walking out into the yard, compelled by the majesty of the winter wonderland it had become, and just standing there in the cold, admiring the complete and utter beauty of the neighborhood as the snow fell.

Now, though I still acknowledge its magnificence, I am able to see past snow’s gentle beauty. Now, I look at the snow as it continues in its relentless descent to the earth, and I see the ugly that joins its beauty. Now, I see the woman who slips on the ice and hits her head after work. Now, I see the car accidents that come when the temperature drops and the streets become deadly sheets of ice. Now, I see the homeless that remain stuck outside in the storm with nowhere to go and nothing to do but wait for the storm to pass. Now, I see all that it has taken away from me despite the way I once cherished it.

Now, I miss the person that I used to be. I miss the girl who ran outside without a jacket just to stand and dance in the snow and feel it on her skin. I miss the girl who would sit in this very chair, drinking hot chocolate from this very mug, cozy in this very blanket, and stare at the snow for hours and hours, feeling only joy at the sight of it. I miss the girl who saw beauty before ugliness and love before hate. I’ve tried and tried to get that girl back, but now, as I stare out at this brave, stubborn leaf, I can see that she may never truly come back to me.

Perfectionism

Today, I came to the realization that I’ve been putting off for several months which is that my self diagnosed “writer’s block” is actually just intense perfectionism. The thing that’s strange, though, is that this obsessive perfectionism applies to absolutely nothing else in my life but this. My room is a mess for probably a solid 11 months out of every 12, I couldn’t care less if anything is ever folded correctly, I do what I can with my hair and general appearance every day but I certainly don’t obsess about it, I generally do the bare minimum for school work (although my bare minimum is probably a little higher than some people’s because the grade scale I was raised on was A: average B: bad C: crappy D: dumb and F: a great many expletives that don’t need to be written out; I still would never obsess over whether or not any of it is perfect), and I pretty much am just a generally messy and disorganized person if I’m being perfectly honest with myself here.

So why on earth is it that the one thing that’s even remotely inconvenienced by perfectionism is what my brain overanalyzes? To be a successful writer, I need to be able to create a first draft of whatever it is I happen to be working on with no over analysis and no second guessing. Everything I’ve ever heard about writing from writers is that, counterintuitive as it sounds, writing comes first and thinking comes later. That idea has been reinforced in my own writing time and again as the best things I’ve ever written have come with this method; the inspiration hits, I write it all down or type it all out, and then I go back and edit it. The problem is that no matter what form of personal writing I’m doing, getting into a mental space where I can follow that method is like pulling teeth for me. Even now as I write this I can feel myself overanalyzing every little thing and wondering if it sounds right or if it makes sense or if anyone will get it or care or if anyone even reads this silly blog and on and on and on and writing out a sentence and deleting it and rewording phrases and then just highlighting the whole thing and thinking about deleting that and starting over and on and on and on and–

Breathe. Deep breaths. Recover from that run on sentence. Continue.

The point is, that’s what my brain does almost every time I sit down to write something for the blog or that’s just a piece of creative writing in general, and it’s exhausting. I think that for some reason I second guess everything because a part of me is always mindful of what anyone reading may think. So, my new years resolution is to get rid of that block, get rid of that mentality of “What will people think of this?” and let in a new mentality that brings more positive energy into my writing.

Basically, if you’ve made it this far in my monologue, I apparently made you read all of that just to tell you I don’t care what you, as a reader of my writing, think of my writing. In all seriousness, I do care to an extent and I do hope you like what I write here, I just don’t want to worry or obsess about it because that’s really no way to live. Anyway, thank you for reading no matter your opinion and happy new year.

Grey

*This is just a little something I wrote about a year ago that I found and wanted to put on here:)*

Sometimes, all I see is grey. I see a grey past, a grey present, and an infinitely grey future. Sometimes, that grey fades to a lusterless white as life ceases to make any sense. Other times, it darkens to a menacing black as I lose sight of everything and see only that darkness which seems to consume my every thought. In these times of painful neutrality, all I want is the vibrance of color. I want to see the luscious green of the land and striking blue of the sky in the summer. I want to see the fiery yellows, oranges and reds that grace the world in the fall. I want to see the pale blue and weak yellow of the winter sky and sun. I want to see the fresh greens and blooming pinks of the spring. I want to see the changing colors of every sunrise and sunset. Sometimes, I see all of these colors and I feel nothing; I feel none of the magic that they can sometimes elicit, none of the emotions they can sometimes inspire; I feel nothing. It’s as if I’m stuck in a world of black, white, and every shade in between; I’m stuck in a world where I see beauty and I feel nothing.

Going All In

Human relationships are complicated, there’s never been any secret there. Because each individual person is so unique and complex in so many ways, attempting to bring any two together is difficult enough in itself, let alone attempting to do so for life. Because of that, going all in and fully committing yourself to any one person or relationship is one of the biggest risks a person can take.

In giving yourself over to this person or relationship, whether it be platonic or romantic love, you are giving someone all the tools they need to commit to you and stand with you through the good, the bad, and the ugly. Of course, this has to come with a price; in giving someone all of these tools to love you the way you need them to, you are also giving them the tools to destroy you. You are essentially giving them all of your hopes and dreams, all of your secrets, all of your heart, all of you, not knowing whether they’ll lock those things away and keep them safe or hold them precariously in the palm of their hand until they inevitably fall to the ground.

Knowing this, it can be very easy to let the fear overpower the love. It can be easy to walk away before any feeling gets too deep, to choose self security over love, to forfeit the game and never find out whether you would’ve won or lost had you just grown a pair and played the game. I did the hard thing. I grew a pair, I played the game, and I lost in overtime. The thing is though, when you lose a game like that, a close one where you feel the victory right there at your fingertips, you give it 110%, and you leave knowing that you did the best that you could with no regrets, all you want to do is go back and play again.

I’ve done a lot of thinking about going all in lately (obviously). I’ve gone back and forth with myself over and over again about it, wondering if the way I invest in people and in relationships is worth it, if giving people the opportunity to break you is worth it, and the answer I’ve landed on is yes. Absolutely, without a doubt, going all in is worth it. What I see now more clearly than ever before that I couldn’t see in the aftermath of both of my big losses in this game is that conquering the fear at the beginning of each relationship was the smartest thing I could’ve ever done, not the dumbest. Creating such a deep bond with another person and having someone who shares everything with you and knows everything about you and loves you for every flaw and ever asset (no matter for how long this lasts) is one of the most rare and special things in the world and I wouldn’t give that up for anything.

It’s also true that going all in involves making a lot of plans. Such a high level of commitment involves talking about the future, being friends forever or moving in together and getting married, the whole spiel, and that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be. Is it scary? Absolutely, but it’s also one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever experienced. Loving someone so much that you can see a future with them far down the line and you can envision spending a whole lifetime with one person through thick and thin is an amazing thing and it’s not something I think anyone should ever shy away from if they have the chance to experience that kind of love. I’ve been lucky enough to experience it twice, once in a close friendship and most recently in a romantic relationship, and I have to say that as painful as both endings were and as hard as it was to go from being all in to being out with no real say in the matter one way or another, in the end I’d always do it over again every day of the week and (forgive the modification of the expression) twice on Tuesday.

So, to make a very long story short, my advice to anyone going back and forth between succumbing to the fear and taking the risk is go all in.

A Fresh Start

I started this blog with the premise of having an outlet with which to publish my creative writing, and I still intend on dedicating posts to that very same purpose. However, I’ve made the somewhat spontaneous decision to start making a real blog post on my website every Wednesday at 12 pm in an attempt to actually get some traction and be able to write to people who will actually read what I write and potentially benefit from what I have to say. I was trying and trying to make a real post for this first Wednesday blog, but as per usual my perfectionist brain was unsatisfied with the words that came out of my particularly jumbled thoughts and emotions. So, although this is admittedly a bit of a shit post, stay tuned for the real launch of my blog next week and I hope people will actually like it and care to read. (:

Numbness

Numbness is a very dangerous thing;
It may take away the sting,
but to be cold as ice
is quite a hefty sacrifice.

To be numb is to miss out on love,
to feel nothing at the sight of the most beautiful dove,
to feel nothing at the sight of the blooms of spring,
to feel nothing at the symbol of a diamond ring.

To be numb is to feel nothing at all,
to grow as careless as a portrait on a wall,
to become reckless with one’s own life,
to come too close to the blade of a knife.

To be numb is to feel no pain,
to feel none of the agony of an angst-filled brain.
It is in this way that numbness appears to suffice,
but it is never the answer to an emotional vice.

With numbness comes a new sort of feeling,
a lost sense of self without a chance of healing,
an apathy of agony
and unbeatable gravity.

Numbness is a very dangerous thing;
It may take away the sting,
but to be cold as ice
is quite a hefty sacrifice.