I Miss

The spark or sunkissed bodies

entangled in the wind.

Having no direction is

a direction.

Collisions–against humanity.

Speak of poisons and barbs

and at night belch

melodies that

sear our souls.

Invisible fingers flirt

with a thick ribbon

of truth.

Our laughter sang.

Each word a mile long.

We were a world

away.

From the houses, the

smells. The heat.

We were electric.

Thick blankets of woolen heat

buzzing against the flesh.

Break the surface. Make

love to the air.

Dance into breathes–

tickle nose hairs. Rattle

eyelashes. Punch souls.

Shake me out of daylight slumber.

Engulf the sunset–

vomit out the stars to light

the road.

Quiet the sun, make it

pale with illness.

It is in this silence,

that the universe may speak .

And so it spoke.

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Would–Could–Should Feet

every now and again in the wake of tumultuous tides and difficult time, the Universe takes it upon itself to remind us that life is wet with adventure and drizzled with the sticky syrup of excitement. around every corner is a pool in which to soak two jumping feet, if only two feet would–could–should jump.

when the heavens burst with watery downpour it leaves no room for the artificial. it washes from us the masks of our beings, the litter, the benevolent buzz of lifelines, and awakens us to spontaneous slickened roads in which to Travel.

and Travel we must. with would–could–should jumping feet–keep–meet. ing in the clashes of splashes in patches; matches–extinguished. of the too-simple hum, drum, scum of being. we are awakened to the rhythm, the rhyme. the beat of the street where would–could–should jumping feet, meet, greet our lives–lives!–in the tranquil drizzle of water drops–sops–caughts us in its dewy spatial grasps. cling to our skin, make us sing, ring, sling a glance at the world. in the only dance we are obligated to prance–Everlasting Romance.

Competition.

Well, I haven’t been all too consistent with the whole daily prompt thing… I did it consistently for one whole day in a row! It’ll take some getting used to, I suppose.

Today’s prompt:

Competition: What activity, task, or game brings your most competitive streak?

That’s a great  question. I honestly don’t know. I’m not too competitive, except with swimming, and noone here really swims too much. I remember racing on swim team, and–god–it was one of the most exhilarating experiences… It’s something that I was completely consumed in. It was a moment to myself. The minute or so that I was in the water for a race was time that I didn’t have to think about anything else; I wasn’t thinking about if my parents were watching, I wasn’t thinking about my friends, or my teammates… It was always my race, and swimming was my sport. It was something I could always own.

I’m definitely planning on joining the club swim team next year, up here at CSU. It’ll be good to get out and see some different people, even if it means dry, flaky skin and crispy hair.

This prompt bothers me a bit, mainly because I can’t really think of any other times in which I’m super competitive, or super compelled to reach beyond what my peers are reaching for. Maybe it’s because I’m afraid of failure or something, or perhaps I’m simply lazy. The obvious (and simple) answer is: find something you truly love doing, or become satisfied with what you’re doing now. But I feel like this is the wrong thing to be telling myself right now. Life isn’t black and white, as much as I may want it to be. Finding a passion surely can’t be something that you can pressure yourself into and say: well, you should find something to be passionate about! I mean, it can’t be that hard, girl!

The truth is, it is hard. I want something to be passionate about with all of my heart. It’s just so frustrating when I feel like it’s nearly impossible. I mean, yes, school is fun, and college is great, but it’s not something that I’d elect to do on my own. When I tell people this (namely my parents) their question is always: then why are you even going to college? When answering this question, my first instinct is to say: I don’t know! When in actuality, I do know why I’m here. I’m here to receive an education in order to further my future as a(n) *insert profession here*. I’m here to better my future, and consequentially “better” the American system.

I feel a lot of pressure to succeed here in college. There’s a ton of pressure to do well, to study for tests, to cram, to apply for internships and scholarships and get merit work-study grants and on and on and on. I do want to do lots of these things, but I also want to do it at my own pace. I don’t like that a 4-year program is shoved down my throat. I don’t like being told that I need to do x, y and z to survive and create a good resume. I know those things. But how can I possibly have an internship, a job, apply for scholarships, apply the the President Leadership Program, attend school, study for tests, write papers, go to the gym, eat semi-regularly, drink in every ounce of sleep I have the time for and have a social life! They say life is a balance, and it becomes more fun as you learn how to manage it better. Ugh but even the promise of a bright future can do little to help, sometimes.

My beta fish, Puddles (aka “Puds”) was looking a little under the weather today. He’s been eating fine, and he’s been swimming well, but he just didn’t seem to be moving so much today. Concerned, I decided to shift some things around and open the drapes so that he could have some light from the window. (I mean, the instruction manual said to “keep out of direct sunlight” but whatever). He’s definitely more active now. Sometimes, even the smallest of creatures need a little bit of light. Sometimes, we all need things to look forward to. (Now that I think about it, I hope the light isn’t making Puds uncomfortable or anything and that’s the real reason why he’s being more active).

I’m just stubborn, I guess. I don’t want to settle for things that make me “kinda happy”. I’m afraid that I’ll settle for less, I guess. That’s why I want the world to be so radically different–because that’s where I can see myself being the happiest. I think I know deep down that I can find happiness anywhere I go, and no matter what I decide to become. What’s holding me back from that happiness is not wanting to settle. I don’t want to make the most of every moment, because I’m afraid that in doing so, I’ll end up cheating myself out of a happier, healthier life. This is insanely ironic, however, because in being afraid of settling, I’m cheating myself out of happiness, anyways. It’s become a downwards spiral. It’s totally crazy, too! But I’m just scared of going through life telling myself to make the best of things when, really, there’s a valid reason to be unhappy and I’m just tolerating life.

As with most things, there is an equilibrium. Perhaps not in the exact middle of two extremes–perhaps the best solution lies slightly to the left, slightly to the right, or anywhere on the vast coordinate plane that takes into account all possible solutions. Of course, you can’t just tolerate life, because if you just tolerate life, then there is no room for improvement or betterment of any situation. I don’t want to be comfortable sitting in a situation that should make me uncomfortable, simply because I “want to be happy”. On the other hand, being completely intolerant of life doesn’t seem to make much sense, either, mainly because that’s what I’m doing right now, and it’s only served to make me miserable every day of my life. I don’t want to be part of the stupid education system that doesn’t even teach effectively and has a ton of issues with the employment and treatment of faculty. Solution: drop out. That wouldn’t make me very happy, either, because I would have to either live at home or get a place by myself and work a minimum wage job. Solution: don’t do that, either. There are only so many options when you’re completely intolerant of life, and when all is said and done, you’re usually stuck with wishing–harder than you’ve ever wished for anything before–that the world would change to accommodate your needs.

My dad said to be patiently impatient, and that’s what I’ll try next. I’m going to give college till junior year to get better (which, by then, I’m halfway through and might as well just finish, anyways). If it doesn’t get better, I’ll know I tried, and it’s not the place for me. People say college starts to suck freshman year, anyways, so I’m hoping I’m just part of a trend. Until then, I’m going to try to try, which I haven’t been doing. I’ve just been skating through school, trying to get by doing as little work as necessary. I’m not quite sure how to facilitate this change. I’m not quite sure how to make education fun and worthwhile. I’m going to start by participating in my smaller classes, and not worrying too much about what other people think. Worry less, think a little more. Why not, right?

~C

I was just about to get ready to write a prompt explaining my feelings towards death in relation to my dogs; my thoughts were buzzing with the type of excited energy that makes you want to drop everything you’re doing and narrow in. But then, an interesting article popped up on my feed: 365 Writing Prompts, Now in French, Spanish, and Indonesian. Now, I’ve looked at posts like this before, and whether it be because of bad luck or poor article-choosing abilities, I typically find the prompts to be conventional and too structured. But I felt particularly intrigued, so I clicked on the link.

The prompt for today reads: Menagerie: Do you have animals in your life? If yes, what do they mean to you? If no, why have you opted not to?

I suppose this isn’t a terribly cool little prompt on it’s own… but it connects so well to what I was going to write, that I am in awe. It’s one of those moments where you question the meaning of “coincidence”.

Yesterday night, my parents broke the news to my brother and I that my dog, Nestle, has been diagnosed with cancer. My heart fluttered, and my stomach dropped an inch with the heavy news. It’s heartbreaking enough to hear cancer has begun to touch the life of someone close to you, but compounding this, is the fact that we just lost my other dog, Abby, to cancer as well. I sighed a little internally, brought down by the news. “But,” my dad added, “we caught the cancer early, and we’re going to have the rest of the legion removed on Friday.” A mix of relief and anxiety swirled in my gut; I wasn’t sure whether to cry or be happy. We don’t know if the cancer has spread into Nestle’s bloodstream, yet, and we may never know. All we have to do now, is cherish our time with him as much as possible.

The prospect of death saddens me greatly, and not for the reasons that it seems to sadden most others. To me, death serves as a reminder of how much more we could have cherished time with those we love; how much more meaning we could have packed into our words that we so carelessly flung at one another in the heat of the moment, in times of need; it makes me realize how much fuller we could have filled each other’s lives; it makes me question how aware we are of everybody’s existence; it makes me realize that that’s really all we tend to view each other as: an existence. Why does my dog have to have cancer in order for me to love him to my fullest capacity when I come home from work and I’m “just too tired to be excited to see him”? Why do the people we love have to be in a bad situation in order to gain our sympathy and full attention? And even when these dire situations arise, we often spend time with these people for one reason: they won’t be around much longer, so we want to fill their last moments with as much happiness as humanly possible. Is that not moderately selfish? I equate that to saying, “Oh, shit. Well now that I consciously know you’re going to be a goner soon, I’m going to give you as much love and attention as possible”.

I think that, we, as humans, tend to think in this way very often. Unless something is consciously brought to our attention, it is easy to brush off as inconsequential. And I don’t think that this is necessarily our fault. We live in a world where there is so much to take in; there are things happening here and there, people to meet here and now, and things to get done… we need selective attention, and it is beneficial to some degree. However, I feel as though this has become destructive. I feel as though we are beginning to place our political values, our social status, our priorities above valuing all life. When is it ever okay to physically or mentally oppress a group of people because of our own personal views? Bill Bullard once said, “Opinions are the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires profound purpose larger than the self kind of understanding.” And this is so very true. When is it okay to ever hold your own personal standards and opinions to a higher priority than caring for a fellow human being? Why should it be okay for my actions to say, “Hi, Nestle. You don’t seem to be in any immediate danger, so I’m going to treat you as an accessory in my life, instead of being actively involved with you, and loving you as much as I can”? It’s so easy to treat all lives as a convenience for us, and we only realize this when we are robbed of them. It’s ludicrous. This selective way of thought may not be ingrained in us through any fault of our own, but it is our duty as a society to critically analyze the way it is impacting us. If we were to treat others with as much respect and esteem that they rightfully deserve, the world might be a better place, at least for me (perhaps this whole ‘be mindful of other’s presence’ is an issue unique to me). I’ve tried to engage more with people in a way that is ostensibly more engaging, and this has been able to bring me out of my shell, as well as allowed me to better connect with others. Life is a beautiful, beautiful thing; I want to treat it like a treasure, and sometimes, I wish there was just more love in the world. I wish there were more peace. I wish all of us could sit down, look one another in the eye, and see not a host of differences, but rather a multitude of similarities; the biggest similarity is: we are all human. We all crave love and a sense of belonging. And to me, it seems wrong to go on living life without full acknowledgement of these needs. It seems wrong to go on living life without cherishing our oneness as humans.

~C

PS – to answer the actual prompt, my dog(s) mean a great deal to me, and oftentimes I find myself viewing them as humans, not animals. Nestle brings joy to my heart every time I look him in the eye; he seems so innocently oblivious to all the “wrong” around him, and so full of all that is “right”. I don’t know, but his eyes just seem so bring and youthful, despite the situation he’s in; he gives me hope. Honestly (it’s kinda sappy) but it really inspires me to live the same way–happy as can be about my life, no matter which direction it takes me, and realizing that even in the midst of disheartening situations, we can still enjoy life.

Late-Night Brooding

A train’s syrupy melody–thick, drawn out notes–finds my ears once again; it is 10PM. Once again I feel an unsettling drive for adventure and exploration. Whenever I hear that bell, as it rips through the peace of the still night air, my soul perks up and I feel a giddy nervousness begin to bubble up in my core. It reminds me of the play Footloose. I want to scream at that train. I want to scream away all of my problems, and scream away all of my anger and my sadness and my fear. I want to stand in front of that train, moving away at only when I can’t bear the anticipation any longer. I want to feel a rush–a buzz. That is how I’ve felt nearly my entire life.

I don’t quite know what calls my heart towards such fantasies; I don’t know why I can’t push the craving for true freedom from my mind. A crazy, wild girl inside of me refuses to die. She wants to run through fields of flowers with sun rays coaxing shy freckles from under the skin. She wants to drive for miles and miles with her feet out the window, racing the wind the bats her hair around her face. There is no place to go, there is no place to be, except for the here, and the now.

I take a step back and look at those last few sentences, and laugh ruefully. “She’s just like a little girl,” I snarl, as if she weren’t there, to my conscience. I watch her smile fade and her proud shoulders droop. I feel my chin tilt upward, demonstrating my already-obvious superiority over her. “She can do nothing in this world. She cannot survive. She has no work ethic, she has no skills; all she ever wants to do is skip around throwing rose petals in peoples’ faces. Peace? Ha! That’s a grand ideal, but the world will never know the likes of ‘peace’. The world doesn’t need people like this. In fact, it would be better if that girl simply left.” She’s crying now, but I really don’t care; the world really would be better off without the likes of her. If crying is her way of dealing with harsh reality, I could really be less concerned. I actively shut down this girl that is begging to be set free. I do it because people have told me–I have told myself–that there is no way to survive in this world with such desires. Such desires are only going to be squashed by the world who demands brain-power, who functions on our time and our talents. But this can’t be true. There must be a place within this world for people with imagination. If there’s not, I suppose I’ll have to make one. But how do I do that? This girl with an imagination, with a wild heart, and a thirst for knowledge, kinsman-ship, and a better future; where does she belong? Right now, she feels lost at sea.

This conflict inside is crushing me from the inside out. This same hostile person who is repressing who I really am is beginning to become more prevalent within my daily life. The new mantra is, “If I can’t have any fun or imagination or hope, then why the hell should anyone else?”. I’ve begun to oppress others. I aim to squash their beliefs, so they can feel the same pain I have felt. I don’t let them have any credibility for their ideas, because I don’t get any, either. I try to starve them of happiness, because I am starved, too. I hate this about myself. I hate what I am becoming. My heart aches to simply exist as it is. It wants to love, and be loved. But I have developed this view of the world… a view that paints a picture of a hopeless wasteland of selfish, brooding people who exist in a daily buzz of existence. How could one be happy with that? I want so badly to believe that the world is a beautiful place, but I guess, somehow, in the course of first semester to now, I have changed. I used to find it so easy to be empathetic with people; when they cut me off in traffic, I my first thought was of how their loved one could be in the hospital, how they might have a sick child in school… But now, I find it increasingly easier to be angry at that person for “not being considerate of my time or place in traffic”. I used to be able to refrain from thinking ill of people who believed different things; now I’m simply intolerant. It’s driving me up a wall; I hate being this way. I know in my heart that I need to be a more peaceful person. But even as I write, this, I feel an itching aggravation that never used to be there. Why can’t I just be at peace again? What is it that shifted so dramatically? What am I keeping hidden from myself? Why does everybody make me angry? I don’t like being angry.

This has caused a lot of anxiety, as well. I am worried that something is deeply wrong with me. This has always been an issue for me; I’ve been a bit of a hypochondriac, and this is what is propagating a lot of the worries I am feeling. I’m worried that something is so intrinsically wrong with me, when, logically, it’s just a phase and it will pass. It’s so hard to reason with anxiety, though. I have been meditation, recently, and it has helped a lot. Daily sleep and exercise, too. Just the little things. Hopefully, little by little, this can get better, too, so I can get back to being Footloose and fancy free.

C

Leave me alone.

Don’t look at me. Don’t smile at me. Don’t even think about me. Push me out of your mind and your life. Just leave. Leave me alone.
I don’t want to be close to you. I don’t want your money. I don’t want your love. I just want you to leave, and take all the memories with you. Leave and never come back.
Stop thinking about me whenever I turn my back. Stop looking at me when you don’t think I’m watching. Because I am, and I know you’re watching me. It makes me sick.
I never want to have to feel so conflicted again. I’d be okay if you never tried to comfort me again. I think I could manage if I never heard your voice or sensed your presence again.
Sometimes you haunt me, and other times you don’t. But I’d gladly forgo the times we spend laughing for the times I spend afraid.
Just leave. Leave and never come back.

MM*: A dull ache. A gentle humming.

Live & Learn

jump-release-let-go

every now and again,
you will feel a dull ache in your soul.
a gentle humming around your heart.
a longing for something without a name.
if i ever told you to obey anything,
this would be it.

listen to the call of your authentic self.
that part of you that lives just outside of your own skin.
let it have its way with you.

i have died a hundred times trying to ignore it.

~ Mia Hollow


Notes:

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