Friday, September 20, 2013

Advice if someone with anxiety/depression/another mental disorder opens up to you

If someone opens up to you about their problems with their mental disorder IT IS REALLY FUCKING HARD FOR THEM. Please realize this and don't see it as a burden, look at it as flattery because they trust you. They trust you enough to let you see into their mind and the see the vulnerable parts of their mind no less. I have learned from talking to many friends and family about my own problems and their responses and I know what is good to hear and what really sucks. So I just thought I would share my thoughts.

1. ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR PAIN. Don't brush it away, do not say "oh you'll get over it" or "that doesn't sound too bad". This is a big deal for them and they want you to see that it is important and that they have a right to feel the way they do. It's not even that they have a right to feel the way they do, they are FORCED to feel that way. And many people with mental disorders probably do not go about it the right way but they did not choose this. Even saying, "Omg that sucks," is not a bad thing to say. We want to feel like you understand we're going through a tough time.

2. Let them know that it is NOT embarrassing. Mental disorders have a huge stigma and I have struggled with this for a long time. I have always been embarrassed about the anxiety that I have felt and this has made it exponentially worse. Just like it is not someone's fault if they lose a leg and can't walk properly, it is not someone's fault if the serotonin levels are off in their brain and they cannot socialize properly. Do not judge them, and it would be super helpful if you said that "it's normal to feel this way" or "well just know that i'll never judge you if you have to leave during a party". This will take a huge load off of our shoulders, trust me. The best response I've gotten when I was having a panic attack was "Don't you dare be embarrassed, this is not embarrassing and it's okay."

3. Do not say to "get over it", or "you're overreacting", "that's ridiculous", or tell them to just do whatever they can't do, "just be happy", "just calm down". THIS IS COMPLETELY UNHELPFUL AND WE ALREADY FUCKING REALIZE THAT WE NEED TO GET OVER IT BUT WE CAN'T. Sorry for the caps but this is by far the worst thing you could say to somebody. If we could get over it, we would've already. We can't and we are reaching out because we cannot try alone anymore, or we can't keep hiding it from you. Trust me if I could just calm down and be a chill person who never panicked or got anxious I WOULD. Nobody wants to feel the feelings that come along with any mental disorder so don't you dare tell us to "get over it" because holy balls we would if we could OK.

4. In response to number 3. There are things that you can suggest. Therapy is a huge one. It also has a stigma but a great podcast lately has revealed that it doesn't need to be-- Slate's Meltdown U. It just makes you realize how common mental disorders are and that going to a counselor/therapist is totally normal. I'm sure some of your friends have gone but you just don't know. Suggest helping them find a counselor in the area or at the university (if you're at one). Checking up on them and making sure they are looking into it will be really helpful.

5. Don't treat them any differently after they tell you about their struggles. Except for being extra understanding about some situations that can arise, and knowing that they want to hang out with you or do things that you want them to do but they just might have to go about it in a different way. Keep inviting them to things but give them an escape route so they don't feel trapped, like in social situations tell them that you'll leave with them early if they feel anxious or they can go to the bathroom to calm down. Realize that they need to take small steps and encourage them and congratulate them for taking those small steps. Not like a little kid or a dog, but say they join a club but they have social anxiety and they go to meetings, be like "that's really great that you're doing that". We very rarely get rewarded for our mental obstacles because they seem trivial to those who don't understand but they are a big deal to us and it can be nice to be told that we're doing well. Just like a therapist encourages their patient after they take a step or stand up, we sometimes like things like that.

6. No pity.

7. Just generally try to be understanding. Don't try to fix everything or suggest a million ideas. We just want to be understood, isn't that what everyone wants? We also don't want to feel like we are bothering you or making you uncomfortable so let us know if you are open to talking about it. Bring it up in conversation, "How's your anxiety?" It's actually nice to know that you care enough to ask and it'll be nice to unload for a little. It also makes our anxiety (or other problems) seem like they are normal, like a breakup or a broken leg. It'll make us realize it's not a huge secret we need to hide and be ashamed of. Sometimes it can be a lot though, depending on the situation, so I know there is a line between knowing too much and not knowing anything. But most people feel like they can't talk about it and try to hide it, so talking about it is usually a good thing and suggesting a conversation about it lets us know that you don't mind talking about it.

8. We are more than our problems. Our problems can sometimes overcome us and seem to be consuming our personalities at times but we are firstly your friend, or sibling, or daughter, or son and we are that person even with these struggles.

I know it's sometimes hard to know what to say or do, but trying to put yourself in our place or relating it to a struggle you've had will help you realize how to handle it. Listening is always good.

I'll end with one of my favorite quotes:

"The fact that you're struggling doesn't make you a burden. It doesn't make you unloveable or undesirable or undeserving of care. It doesn't make you too much or too sensitive or too needy. It makes you human. Everyone struggles. Everyone has a difficult time coping, and at times, we fall apart. During these times, we aren't always easy to be around--and that's okay. No one is easy to be around one hundred percent of the time. Yes, you may sometimes be unpleasant or difficult. And yes, you may sometimes do or say things that make the people around you feel helpless or sad. But those things aren't all of who you are and they certainly don't discount your worth as a human being. The truth is that you can be struggling and still be loved. You can be difficult and still be cared for. You can be less than perfect, and still be deserving of compassion and kindness." -Daniell Koepke

I'd also like to add that you can still be a badass bitch. So just saying.

Love you all!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Part V: Inside Outside Everywhere

There’s something small inside me
He’s growing everyday and it scares
Me that he is fragile just like you
And he won’t have your name
Because that’s yours and he’ll
Be someone new but
His bedtime stories
Will have you as the hero
Defeating evil and living
In his mind like a
Legend that you never
Got to become, but
You will be here with
Him when I tell the same
Riddles and kiss him on
His sweaty, feverish forehead
Late at night, like I did to
You when mom told you
To go back to bed and
You know she never meant
To be mean but she wanted
You to be ready to live
On your own but maybe
It’s good that the world
Never broke you and
I’m so scared it’ll break him
And that he’ll outgrow you
Not that I want the same
Ending for him that you
Had in your life but if
He outgrows you he will
Outgrow my expectations
For little boys and I know
That I’m not naming him
After you but I want him
To be like you, in a
Different way but not too
Different because his feet will
One day be the same size as yours
Were the day when dad had to
Take your shoes off and he put
Them away neatly even though
He knew you would never
Wear them again and one
Day he’ll be exactly the same
Age down to the seconds
Of when you left us
And then he might surpass
You and I’ll just wonder
The whole time why he got
To live on and you didn’t
Not in a bad sort of way
But in a way that just makes
Me want all little boys
To get bigger feet and outgrow
Their clothes and to stop
Wetting the bed and he
Might get older than you and
Taller than the pencil mark
On the old kitchen entry way
So I can’t carry him around
Like I carry you in my head
It’s just not supposed to be
This way and I wish I knew
Why it was this way so
I could tell him why his
Uncle died the night we
Were supposed to go
Get ice cream and see
A movie and play Monopoly
With his favorite red shoes
On and why I couldn’t
Have saved him and
Let him have the rest
Of his life like I’m
Giving this life to the
Stranger in my stomach
Why can I give without
Trying but I couldn’t try
Hard enough to give you
My hand as you slipped down
And fell and your hand was
Little like his will be in mine
Like it was supposed to be
Yours in mine that time
In the woods with the sound
Of the rushing water
Telling me that life
Was going by in the face
Of yours stopping
And after seeing that
Replay over and over
One day I’ll see new life
Instead of death replay
And maybe

It’ll begin again

Part IV: Looking up

    Everything was different after you died and I’m afraid I can’t remember exactly what it was like while you were alive. Mom and Dad tell me I’ve gotten some stories wrong and I can’t make out clear pictures of certain memories. Maybe I should’ve written it all down right after you died when my memory was freshest. I should’ve typed up a detailed report of your life but I was only eleven and I still would’ve forgotten details. How do you put a person on paper? How can you possibly do that?
            I can’t come to terms with the fact that I might forget some parts of you. Whoever said it gets easier was wrong because it doesn’t and thirteen years later I still want you here even if you were bitter about life and never made jokes. It just kills me that I’ll never know who you would’ve become. And I’ve been waiting around for you. I still do it even though I understand the reality of death by now. Well, actually I don’t think I’ll ever understand it, but I know that people die everyday and they never come back. The world doesn’t stop, the newspaper still keeps coming and people still laugh like it doesn’t matter to them that you died. They used to make me mad. Like the sound of their laughing was directed at you and in a weird way I’m disappointed that I’ve stopped with all of my habits. I’ve given up in a way, but mostly given up on myself.

            I wonder if you would like my boyfriend. I don’t think you would because you were always so jealous of my male friends and wanted to be the only boy in my life. You are and you always will be don’t worry. We don’t really care too much about each other, this guy and me. Were both just lonely and we’ve both lost someone close to us. So I guess that’s why we can’t care about each other. Nothing’s forever and I wish I would’ve known that before you got taken away from me. When everything was changing around me you were the only one I could count on. I guess I can still count on you, just in a different sort of way.

Part III: Landed on the stars

             I can’t believe what I did last night. I can’t even write it down it’s so vile but it’s what girls my age do and what boys our age persuade us to do. I don’t think you would make girls do things like that for you, though. I know that when someone dies, so young especially, we all make them out to be such perfect angels even when maybe they weren’t and maybe you would’ve lost your innocence and been corrupted by the vulgar boys on the bus. Maybe you would’ve figured out why our cousin stopped showing up at Thanksgiving and the reason mom and dad didn’t let us watch the news. I guess I’m torn between wanting you here with me and being glad the pain is over and that no one will ever break your heart and the world you had in your mind won’t be torn apart. Mine was, and even more so after you left because my world always had you in it.
            Don’t worry though it wasn’t your fault for my world being destroyed. I guess it was the world’s fault, for being how it is. Just know that sometimes the only reason I smile is because if you are watching from somewhere I don’t want you to feel bad for your absence making me sad. You need to know you didn’t leave me with darkness. I kept, and am still keeping so much light from you that I try to give to others but sometimes I selfishly take a bunch for myself.
I know that I can’t change when or how you left because it’s yours. Just like the color of your eyes, hazel, and the freckles on your nose, seven. It was your departure and it’s part of you, the you that will forever be you.

            I don’t know if you’ve grown up or if you still can’t do multiplication. I don’t know if you read those gross magazines that boys hide under their mattresses. I just wish I knew. I hope when we meet again somehow it’ll just be like it was before and maybe I’ll get my innocence back and you’ll still have yours. We can look at the stars and still think one day we’ll climb high enough to pick them like apples and we’ll carry out our plan to save the world. I hope you still fit in the batman costume. I’ll wear your red cape.

Part II: Floating

You probably still wonder why that man killed the dog
That one night we were on a hiking path in the woods
And he just kept beating it until it stopped making squealing noises
Mom and Dad told you he was sick and on drugs that made him mad
But you still wondered sometimes why someone would do that
And why there were little boys who were just like you, but so hungry and sad
You wrote to Santa telling him to take the cookies to feed them and
The toys for them to smile even though there would be none for you

When you got older you wanted to travel the world and climb giant rocks
You loved everything big and stuff that took you closer to the sky
If you got old enough you would find a girl and she would be lucky
Because once you loved someone they were all yours
You would protect them against anyone and shield
Them from the terrors that they cry about at night
You always had thoughts about the world and I wonder
If you were still here what you would be learning in school

In my science class my teacher told us that there is this thing called
Potential energy and if a ball is at the top of the slide it
Has so much potential energy even though it’s just sitting there
It hasn’t gone down the slide but it still has something
So I asked her that since you never grew up if that energy
Was still floating around somewhere or where it went
And she looked at me strangely not knowing what to
Say because most people don’t when I bring you up
Except to say sorry but that’s not what I wanted to hear
And so I stopped her in the middle and said that energy
Was neither created nor destroyed so how could my
Brother’s energy be destroyed.
It couldn’t, could it?

She asked Jen to take me to the office but I said I
Didn’t do anything wrong and I just needed to know
If it was still out there because maybe I could find it
And put it in a jar and keep it on my shelf and maybe
You would still be with us sometimes instead of
Your ashes in an urn on the cabinet that only make
Us all feel sad and depleted your energy could

Lift us all up and maybe make us fly

Part I: Misplaced

           Sometimes when no one is around I sit and say your name out loud.
I heard a quote by a guy Banksy that says you die twice, one time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name for the last time. You have already stopped breathing and I can’t fathom the fact that one-day people will stop saying your name. Your name sounds strange as it comes out of my mouth. Sometimes I whisper it under the covers. Other times I yell it so loud that I’m sure you’ll be able to hear from wherever you are and come running with that mischievous grin that is seared in my mind like a permanent stamp.
I hope that the names add up like the points on the pinball machine we played around with in the general store down the street. They will stay in the air and people will hear your name in the wind whistling by their ears, or behind the water fall where you thought the world would never hurt you. Once I’m gone, once everyone that ever knew you is gone, you will still have to be here because I don’t think people disappear, I don’t think thoughts or words disappear. Once something is here it has to exist forever. Things change. You changed invisible and silent but you’re not gone. Things don’t go and stop being. They go and they are somewhere else.
You held my hand that one time when dad was yelling at us for spilling the paint and I can still feel it against mine. You told me you’d never leave my side and it eased my sobs after I ran under the porch when the kids at school made fun of my new haircut. Those words spoken through the wooden gate that cold winter morning when we were fighting still hurt because I knew I shouldn’t have pushed you off the sled. Those things are still here in my mind, and you’re name is always on the tip of my tongue. So you must not be far behind. When I go out in our favorite field I know that you’re tagging along with Grandpa’s dog and you’re yelling at me to slow down but I just can’t hear you.
I sure wish you would listen when I yelled “olly olly oxen free” but I know that you have such a great hiding spot and you’re just waiting for me to find you and see how cool it is. I’ll see you one of these days, your messy curls peaking out from behind the hydrangea bush in Mrs. Wallman’s yard or I’ll hear a whimper as you scratch your knee climbing the Gingko tree behind the garage. I’ll be annoyed at first but then you’ll do something funny and my face will break out in a smile. Nobody can make me burst with laughter like you. I’m sick of feeling like I’m going to burst from sobbing.
You can’t die twice because losing you once was hard enough. The world needs you, any bit of you that I can put out there. Hearing your name might not remind people of ice cream covered faces and trains on the floor, it might not make them feel nostalgic for the feeling of fresh independence that came with exploring the woods by our uncle’s cabin but it’ll mean that you’re still here. Mom told me she named you after her grandfather but when I saw a picture of him he didn’t look like he had smiled a day in his life. Your name is full of something I can’t even describe and it belongs to you and not the old man in that faded photograph. And it definitely doesn’t belong to the boy in my class who pushes kids at recess.
When I say your name I think of your face and the weird noise your nose made when you slept and the dirt under your nails. I think of the way your footsteps sounded as you walked down the hall to mom and dad’s room and how you changed your voice when you played with army men. Maybe if people hear it they will know that it’s your name and maybe it’ll be laced with laughter and happiness and they will want to make someone smile instead of cry. And it’ll be because of you.
I’ll never stop looking for you or saying your name. I’ll never stop listening for you outside the shed and looking down the back hill where your tree fort used to be. Dad says that it’ll be easier to deal with this if I stopped doing these things but stopping them means I don’t have to do anything for you anymore and that the things in your room belong to a stranger. It means there’s no one to share the blanket with on the fourth of July and no one to sneak food to Marley under the table. It means that no one will understand me while I’m brushing my teeth and there will be no one to eat the cherry popsicles in the freezer. They’ll just sit there all summer long.
God will understand if you come back home. You don’t belong with him and he probably doesn’t even know how to start a thumb war or do Indian burns. He doesn’t know your favorite cereal or that you like thunder but not lightning. Come home before dinner because mom doesn’t like you riding your bike after dark.
You still make me feel worried and annoyed and loved and safe. You still make people feel things from wherever you are and when the adults told me at the wake that they were sorry for my loss I just told them that you’re not lost and you always end up coming back home eventually. They all looked at me funny like I tried to make a sick joke but I didn’t. The train tracks lead you right back from almost anywhere. You’ll come home and when you do make sure you wipe your feet on the front mat because the mud stains are still on the rug by the bookcase and sometimes Mom cries telling me that she shouldn’t have spanked you for that.
I’ll try to do everything I can to make the world know you’re still here but as much as I practice in the mirror I can’t make the smile that you always put on when I was sad and made me feel like everything was okay.
It’d be nice if other people could see that smile too.

So one more time, come out, come out wherever you are.


Whenever she ate peanut butter
She thought of the allergic kids
In her class who didn’t taste it
And as she played freeze tag
Out under the stars she
Thought of the girl she saw
At the hospital stuck in a
Chair and breathing fake air

Even when she didn’t know
Someone unable to do the
Things in her life she figured
There was someone somewhere
Unable to shower in peace
Or hold hands with a boy
Her moments became wishes
For friends and strangers

Her life didn’t form her, it
Corroded her, as she learned
More about sad people
She knew less about herself
And when a man fell in love
With her she told him you’re
Not in love with me, you’re

In love with the absence of
Everyone else’s happiness, the
Hope that’s been lost and
The dreams built up and
Squandered somewhere out there
Everything I hold does not
Belong to me and if you
Want the world’s wastewaters
Then taste my lips

He responded with care
Saying that he knew what
She held inside and if that
Meant that he was in love
With an old man’s tears
Over a life he didn’t want
Or a family that a woman
Never got to have or

The poems not written or
Song’s not sung then that’s
What he loved and he loved
Every single forgotten
Teddy bear in her closet and
Every love-me-not
Petal that was in her hair.

The withered and decayed,
Ugly and depressed,
Everything without rest.
Bags under eyes and dirt under
Nails, these things weren’t
Terrible anymore, they weren’t
Lost, he had found them and

Now when he brushed her hair
Back or stroked her arm
The goosebumps were signs
That she could feel what
She had right then, and
Even though she was filled up
Bent in and overturned like a rock
He could see the ways to

Move her in the wind.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

I think jealousy is the worst emotion

           There is a reason why people say jealousy is an ugly quality. It’s looked down upon which only adds to the misery when you feel jealous. You get two feelings for the price of one, the guilt curdles in your stomach with the envy and makes you feel heavy and like you might explode at the same time. There’s no way to release it. When you’re sad and you cry or when your mad and you just throw stuff around your room some of the feeling leaves you. Jealousy has no way out. It’s like a lost child in a maze, running around, not knowing where to go or what to feel.
The sadness and anger mix in such a way that you can’t unmix them. You don’t know whether to sob or scream, and deep down you know that neither or them will help. You can’t have what you want, whether it’s a person or a situation or a glance. It’s not an easy thing to feel. It doesn’t come in waves or boils up and over. It slices your insides, so you’re bleeding but can’t put a band-aid on it. It steals your breath and cripples your body. Somebody else is feeling what you so desperately want to feel and there’s no way you can be in his or her place. They have it and you don’t.
So sure it’s an ugly quality to have. It’s a hideous thing that attaches itself to you like a parasite and drains you like a leech. But I don’t look down on jealous people. They don’t feel like they are enough, that they have enough and that’s probably the saddest thing a person can feel. I want to hug them and tell them that what they have is okay, that what comes will come, that the fights worth fighting for will be fought and maybe it won’t end up in their favor but it’ll take them on a journey. Jealousy will propel you somewhere and you just have to steer it the right way. I think that’s the thing about jealousy, it doesn’t come out on it’s own, it has to be told. It might be a wrestling match but you’ll beat it into submission, you’ll put some spices on it, you’ll turn into something that tastes okay.


                I hate secrets. I hate having things bottled up inside of me that I can’t let go. And maybe these secrets aren’t really secrets. Maybe they’re feelings and experiences and things that I just don’t know how to put into words. Maybe they are internal scars that don’t make sense, that don’t even make sense to me. And how can I hide them in front of people who get close enough to see into my eyes, to see that what I say isn’t matching up to the expression on my face, to the way I wring my hands and tap my feet. It’s like my body is trying to release things that get piled up but if they come out then maybe everything will explode. Then maybe the person looking into my eyes will be blown light years away and I’ll feel empty. Sometimes things leave your mouth making you feel better but other times you feel worse. You feel like you should’ve held it in longer, tucked it away somewhere, hid it further in the depths of your mind.

Poem I wrote for the victims of the Newtown shooting

It refers to the pictures that were released of the children and some short descriptions I found online.

I don’t know why it happened
I don’t know why anything happens
So cruel, so completely ruthlessly evil

All I do know is how beautiful they are
Freckles and wrinkled nose, about to laugh
Catherine could make you smile, I can just tell

Taken far too soon, ripped from the love
Here they stood, so oblivious to the cruelness
In this world, everything was a fairytale and

Heroes always beat the villains
But Chase, that face could outshine
Any darkness as you cuddled him close.

Little hands, little feet, little ears,
No monsters under the bed,
They’re all out here.

Scaring them away with her bright light,
Ana’s energy radiates from her eyes,
I imagine her singing, or splashing in puddles.

So gorgeous, so full of life, but why
Would someone come and make
Everyone feel so empty from

This tragedy and how can we fix
Anything when these children
Are gone.

There’s something I can see,
In James, a brave soul, able
To be friends with anyone because

He thinks the best of the world.
Just like Grace, her blonde hair
Pinned back with a pink bow

And a knowing smile on her face,
She’s so sure, that the heart of
Humanity is good.

The love that lifts her up,
That lifts all of these children up.
Is not lost. It can’t be.

They are not here,
But they are not lost.
Still here, forever the smiles

Work into our minds.
Making us love harder,
Trying harder to be like a child.

So delighted,
His bright blue eyes look
Right into mine, Dylan is

Saying to smile too,
Because he doesn’t know why
You wouldn’t.

We know, we know
The deep, dark evils of this world,
How they can tear out our hearts,

Sharply ending something,
That barely got to begin.
And robbing parents of their angels,

Unfairly keeping Charlotte from
Giggling and dressing up in silly
Outfits because there are worlds

Of make believe unknowable to
Adults, and these lovely minds
Were full of imagination and

We have to ‘imagine’
A world where John Lennon’s
Words ring true.

That is the world worthy
Of Emilie’s cherub face,
Her cheeks kissable and hugs

Unlike anything making
You feel truly important
Because the love for a child

Is what we know is always right,
So this is so completely wrong.
Nothing like this could happen

When these children are saying
Things in a different language,
Mastering things so amazing

For someone so young.
Taking care of sisters.
Teaching, and learning,

Ready to go for the day
Daniel would grin with
Those two teeth missing,

Still kissing his father
Goodbye, because love
Comes before pride, or greed

Or hate. These little
People are all full of love,
Wearing wings,

Olivia could carry that role perfectly,
Her face as stunning as a rose,
No thorns, just petals,

Bringing joy, just as all
These children did.
Because innocence is not blind,

It is purple, Josephine’s favorite
Color, and it’s setting up lemonade
Stands, riding bikes, and wearing,

Bright, flowered dresses.
Madeleine holds her favorite
Book, and she is determined to finish

It, her eyes sparkling as she looks
Up with accomplishment,
Like sunshine,

And tall grass, horses wild,
And free like Jesse and his zest
For life is contagious,

Neighbors hearing him having fun,
And smiling to themselves,
Because everything they do

Is so pure and good,
Like Jack’s full support
Of the New York Giants,

Because he saw some tough
Guys, some guys like him,
Who are strong and sweet, like

Noah saying ‘Not as much as
I love you’, and holding
Hands with his twin sister.

Wives, husbands, fathers, mothers,
Doctors, teachers, and good people,
These children would’ve certainly

Become, but their love and lives,
Will continue to affect many,
Making wonderful things happen

That we cannot imagine,
And inspiring people to be like
Caroline, so generous and

Goodhearted, her eyelashes so long,
And her body always on the move,
Soaking up life.

Jessica, blue eyes, and thoughtful
Disposition, drawing horses,
With much care, and making

One for the fridge at home,
Her little brother and her parents,
Drawn under clouds and with flowers.

Curly, brunette hair, and
A wiggly tooth, Avielle
Wanted an easy bake oven

To make cookies for her mom,
Always thinking of others,
Pink cowboy boots, not

Brown, eyes, and the sweetest face,
Love for life, Benjamin
Made you feel the bass,

As you dance along to your
Favorite song,
Seeing his spirit big and strong.

Small hands in the garden,
Allison tended to the flowers
As lovely and sweet as her,

Humming a song, not
A care in the world,
It’s not fair

That we can’t hear
What they say, or sing, or yell,
Anymore, that they cannot

Hug, or kiss or touch,
But their spirits can still bring
Tremendous joy, happiness, love

And that can never be
Taken away.

He could be nothing to me

Excerpt from a story I haven't even written yet

A line of blood was dripping from where the man had scratched at my face. It led from my left nostril down my lips and chin, the blood continuing down my neck. Tears were beginning to brim as I left the room, and I almost ran into him as he was leaving an office on the second floor. Shocked, I immediately covered my face but it was too late and his eyes widened in panic.
            “Jesus, what happened to you? Who did that?” This is not what I needed right now. It was easy to be strong in front of people that I hated, but for him I was always ready to break down, to open up, to let him in. But I couldn’t, if I wanted to protect him he could know nothing, he could be nothing to me.
            “I just cut myself,” I mumbled, not making a very good excuse and somewhat subconsciously changing my voice to a meeker, more timid version of my normal, no-nonsense tone. He led me to the window bench at the end of the hall and pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket, only he would still carry something like that around. I tried not to smile as his face became very concentrated and concerned; the look of genuine distress pulled my heartstrings so tight it hurt. Quickly I grabbed the cloth from him and remained serious.
            “I’m fine, really.”
            “Okay,” he was taken back, a little hurt. I was hurting him, and that’s the last thing I wanted to do. But I used my reputation, my shell, the hard exterior that I had built up over these years, to shield him and therefore keep him away from everything that came with me and my messed up life.
            “But I know that you didn’t cut yourself, you looked scared when you left that room, what happened? Come on, we’re friends now remember?” Don’t do it, don’t give in to those deep set eyes and the little furrows on his forehead, and don’t you dare look at his hands, the calluses and hangnails that were just begging to be discovered, to be grabbed and touched. I imagined him finding out and how it would change everything for him, how it would crush him like a bug and they would know. They would know that he knew and that would be the end of it. He would be in too deep, there was no dipping in to test the temperature, if he stuck his toe in, his whole body would get the effect.
            “Yeah there was a bird loose and I was helping Firenze catch it. I’ve always been scared of birds. But you should get back to work, you weren’t hired to take care of me, that’s what the servants are for.” My voice didn’t break, but it felt like my heart was about to. He nodded firmly and left without another word.



It was remembering what it felt like to have my face against his neck, feeling our skins touching, and my smooth to his scruffy. It ignited this feeling in the pit of my stomach causing me to inhale and try to smell his scent as if it would be wafting through the room at the mere recollection of his presence.

It was remembering the wetness of our kisses and the feeling of his lips against mine, just that feeling isolated in time and space, no picture to accompany it but just that strange indescribable meshing of slippery projections sliding over each other trying to feel something that couldn’t be felt with fingertips.

Growing up

It’s a miracle that someone can physically be here. There are so many things that can happen at birth; even before birth the chances of things going wrong are innumerable. Even before our parents were born, before our grandparents were born, there was even less of a chance of survival. Yet we are here, breathing, alive.

Sometimes, even more of a miracle is how we survive mentally. I guess some people are more delicate than others and have more innocence but the world can break you mentally just as much as it can physically. Especially now, with information traveling so fast we get all kinds of tragedy forced upon us daily. When I was really little my world was built neatly around me, I was lucky to have such strong love surrounding me like walls. My preschool years went well, learning to draw rainbows and boys kissing my cheeks innocently. It was entering grade school that rocked my world.

Kindergarten and first grade I had strict teachers that really disciplined me and reined in my free spirit. It wasn’t as laid back as preschool, and I was getting older. I think that subconsciously I could tell that I wasn’t allowed to be a little kid as much as I was before. Even though I kept using sippy cups and still pretended to be a baby sometimes, I also had a uniform and had to sit still in class and do Phonics. In first grade I had my first experience with anxiety, which sent me into a whirlwind of sickness and crying fits every night. I said I was done with school.

From this I moved on to being scared of illnesses, the ones I heard about in the news and the stories my friends would tell me about kids dying. Even to the point where I was scared of my shoes because of the potential germs on them. Sometimes I couldn’t sleep because I thought I was going to die. September 11th struck in third grade and evil like this was just unbelievable to me. I started washing my hands a lot until they bled. I was scared of wetting the bed at sleepovers and had anxiety, which sometimes sent me crying to call my parents.

I was in my prime in the middle grades, playing elaborate games of pretend, traveling to islands, being lions or strange children with sharp teeth, getting involved in silly drama which sometimes involved instant messaging or ditching people on the playground. I wasn’t that scared then. I played soccer, volleyball, acted in the play, was in band and had plenty of friends. The tragedy is my cat running away, my friend moving away, my friend switching schools. I try to resist getting older. I wear ripped jean shorts and red converse climbing the back hill and running on the railroad tracks but soon my playmates buy bras and they want to look like the girls on TV. So I follow because I know the social scene well, you need to fit in or else you get left behind, you stand in corners at recess with your hair over your eyes or you get made fun of. We need to have certain clothes and bags and we need to get good grades, we need to behave, follow the rules, tuck in our shirts and grow up. Learn about growing up. Get into a high school. Get good grades so we can get into a college. Pick a major that will get you a job when you are out of college so that you can buy a house and pay for mortgage and have kids and make them tuck in their shirts too.

That’s when I fell apart again, sophomore year of High School. There were too many things I was dying of, and I couldn’t breathe. My friends were confused. I was confused. I clung to my dad even though I was too old to be scared of the dark. Even though I was too old to wake up and walk into his office scared and curl up on his lap. It wasn’t the monsters anymore. It was my own mind sending me swirling and twirling so I couldn’t sleep. And I took a bath instead of going to the movies and I left school because I had a panic attack in math class. There was a lady that told me I had OCD and my brain was sending messages to my mind and she drew out a picture of my head but I didn’t know how to fix myself and she didn’t seem sincere. I didn’t like that place, it felt cold and it was embarrassing. I told myself to stop being afraid of dying but then one night I didn’t sleep and insomnia followed me around like a stray cat begging to be noticed at times and leaving me so unbearably frustrated and tired. So tired. It was torture listening to people breathe those sleep sounds while I was completely and utterly awake. The worst feeling is the next morning when you are completely drained and don’t feel like going on with life feeling like a zombie.

This followed me around along with some anxiety, which caused me to hide. It was better to hide than be seen as weak. There were too many things to worry about in High School. I don’t know how I did it. I would go to school and then soccer practice all on zero sleep. It was torturous sometimes. Friends and boys and grades and that awkward parent-child relationship filled with guilt and embarrassment. And then there was the world around my bubble that sometimes came crashing in like when I learned about sex slavery and I broke down in my shower. I sobbed for them because they couldn’t feel safe in the shower, they didn’t have any respite. I was helpless.

All this information was flooding my mind all the time. TV shows, and magazines, from my friends and on Facebook. Death, disease, murder, torture, and I felt a little bit of that pain every time I heard about it. I stored the pain away in the back of my mind but I didn’t know what to do with it.

Not shocking

I don’t have a shocking story for you. Nothing about my life or me is shocking. And I’m okay with that. I’m trying to be okay with that. I’m not darkly mysterious or beautifully broken. My pain is ordinary and boring, it’s dull and I can’t show you any scars from it. If you ask me why I go to therapy I won’t give you an intense stare and say, “I’m really fucked up”. Because I’m not, I’m just another person with unbalanced levels of something in my brain; just another diagnosis in a psychology journal and my past doesn’t illicit gasps or widened eyes.
My therapist asked me what my earliest childhood memory was and I didn’t really have anything particular to say. My childhood was a happy one, simple and happy and I have no qualms about that. I’m beyond lucky for everything I have and the life I’ve been given. I told her that I just had several memories from preschool, no single one stood out to me. She found this perplexing because of my anxiety. “Most people with these problems have usually had a traumatic event happen early in their life”. She asked me if I had any reoccurring dreams. And I told her no. She was confused further.
And I could have made something up I suppose. I could’ve grabbed something from one of the many dramatic TV show episodes that I’ve seen or a newspaper headline. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of compassion for the people who bad things happen to, who are exposed to terrible things as children, who hear screaming instead of  lullabies. But what I have realized is that lately we only care about things that are appalling or outrageous. The news stuffs it down our throats and so does the media. Cliché as these references are, it’s true. And I know I’ve been affected by it. I see myself looking for a piece of juicy gossip I can reveal so that my friends are shocked or trying to find a heart-wrenching video to share.
I don’t discount the sad and strange but it shouldn’t make you discount me. It shouldn’t make you discount those people who aren’t recognized, who suffer in silence without a camera in their face. It shouldn’t make you say “People have it worse”. It shouldn’t make people compete for who has suffered more because suffering is not a measurable or comparable quantity. It’s not something you wave in someone’s face or hold above their head. It’s the feeling you have sitting on the cold bathroom floor after puking up your meal from 3 minutes ago because of your anxiety. It’s the feeling of wanting to disappear or runaway, shaking so hard and breathing into a paper bag. These scenes are not poetic or striking, they are just simply moments, not ones that are anything extraordinary. Often when I’m in the most distress I’m just sitting there, with hurricanes of anxiety ripping through my insides. Day-to-day struggles, moments when I can’t finish my sandwich or I can’t stop pacing in my bedroom are tough for me and I wouldn’t wish them on anybody. I don’t hold them as coveted secrets excited to reveal them to a captive audience, and I am still trying to accept them as part of me. I’m still trying to wish them away.
My life would make a very boring Hollywood movie but I think more people could relate to it than the storylines that are being repeated over and over with different attractive leads. I wouldn’t want to watch my movie either, or my father’s movie, or my mother’s, or even my grandmother’s, but they are my heroes for their strength through the everyday tasks that wear away at your nerves or test your patience. The long drive my dad makes to his job everyday when he’s tired, or the nervousness he gets in meetings or talks with his boss. A lot of our struggles are all tangled up inside and they’re invisible to the untrained eye but they have just as much value as the ones acted out on Grey’s Anatomy.

So my story isn’t shocking and chances are yours isn’t either. There are millions of other ones just like it. But it still matters. It’s still important. And I don’t want pity, I don’t want your jaw to drop or you to tear up and share it on your Facebook page because it’s likely you won’t. My story isn’t an inspirational story of recovery or a sad story of hopelessness but it’s mine. We aren’t news stories or movie scripts but I’m not looking for the next big Internet meme. I’m looking to become stronger and more confident and that’s a big deal for me. I guess I’m just saying we should have more compassion for each other, and we should realize that the “normal” people aren’t really “normal”, we aren’t just the background characters. We have our own stories with just as much value and richness as the ones on US Weekly. Our goals may seem small but they are much bigger than you realize. Just remember there are other people who matter that aren’t on display.

A Lonely, Hopelessly Romantic Eighteen Year Old Girl's Outlook on Love

Love Is Not Like the Movies
I wrote this two years ago but I still find it relevant, also it was the beginning of a book/movie, but it is basically my life.

Dark brown ruffled hair, tight grey t-shirt, hands in his pockets with a casual stroll. He smiles a little bit and I grow flustered.

"Look! That guy just smiled at you! You're looking for a boyfriend. You should date him!"
"He would never date me."

And I’m sitting here to tell you that he never will.

Don't you hate when a movie starts out with a girl talking about how some hot guy would never date her but the whole time you just know they're going to end up together? And they try to make her look awkward even though she's fabulously beautiful because they think adding some glasses, nerdy clothes or frizzy hair will automatically make her ugly. Yeah, I'm talking to you Anne Hathaway, Mandy Moore, and Hilary Duff. In the end they always get the guy. So you just get kind of pissed off after awhile because these movies give you false hope that one day a guy will see something special in you, no matter what you look like.

Being eighteen with no dating history makes me feel like something is missing in my teenage, young adult life. Everything, and I mean everything is about love. And not even realistic love, but grandiose love that raises your expectations just to let you down. Everyone wants some guy to play music outside your window or stand up and profess his love for you on a table in the school cafeteria. But instead you get invited to prom over Facebook.

Maybe it's one of those things that you just have to experience to really understand why it's such a big deal, but for someone that's never been in love, or even close to being in love. It's just plain annoying.

"I'm not looking for a boyfriend. Just because I'm single doesn't mean I'm looking."
"Okay, okay. I just thought he was kind of cute."

Having a best friend that is always hopelessly in love with someone doesn't make it any easier. Dana has dated practically every guy in our class, even if it was unofficially. She just has that something that boys want, that they see and automatically fall for. And I'm not just talking about the fact that she's had a C cup since sixth grade. She's the kind of person that can strike up a conversation with the most awkward of guys and is always happy-go-lucky and go with the flow. Those are two sure-fire traits that boys lock on to. They hate awkward silences or high maintenance, problematic girls and that's just the kind of girl that I am. And it's not like I'm prissy, but I just have problems. Anxiety problems, that make me both awkward and crabby at times.

And normally that wouldn't be a problem if I was in a movie. In addition to my slightly reclusive nature I might have eccentric style or indie music taste. Basically, I would be a hipster. But what people don't understand is that it's expensive to be unique and quite time consuming. I don't have hours to spend to go thrift shopping or spending time on the computer looking for something that will make me stand out. It's much easier and more convenient to go to Forever Twenty One and try to pretend like there aren't a million other girls there trying to pick out Aztec prints and knee-high boots just like you. Sure it's mainstream, but it's cheap and so is listening to the radio.

If I'm not outgoing and bubbly and I'm also poor and therefore forced to fit in with the other cheap people with limited time, what's left? Will a guy like me if I'm able to name an obscure band's song while I'm in the elevator with him? How will he know that I have a good heart? Thing's aren't as easy as they seem in the movies. There aren't obvious forces of good and evil in the world, and they don't look like Kate from Lizzie McGuire. There is not always an evil cheerleader openly professing her hatred towards you and forcing you to stand out because you are just not "that kind of girl". A guy is not going to fall for me if I'm just nice. That's almost laughable. The kinds of problems that show up in the typical High School movie are really aggravating. A mean bitch like that would not be praised she would be shunned. The "popular" girls in my school are not mean or mainstream Barbies who love pink and listen to pop. A lot of them are really nice in addition to being beautiful, artsy, and one-of-a-kind with the money to buy moccasin boots and makeup to make them look naturally gorgeous.

And all this time I'm talking about how love crazy our society is and how that annoys me and I'm writing all about it in the first place. It just shows how our culture really makes everyone, especially girls, fixate on this for most of their single lives. I mean "All You Need Is Love" right ? And don't tell me the Beatles were talking about adoring your parents or your pet. It's this basic principle of deep love between two people that is involved in everything that I read, listen to or watch. But I refuse to be that one more person, or main character that's overcome by desire for her best guy friend or the Quarter Back of the Football team. There can be a story without romantic love. Can't there?

I guess there can but nobody's going to want to read it. We're all programmed to expect Happily Ever After with the guy and the girl riding off in the sunset, or some form of this. I don't think there is anything aimed at a teenage audience without a boyfriend and girlfriend. I shouldn't just wait around for Edward Cullen or Noah from the Notebook to come waltzing through my door. I should move on with my life and focus on something more reliable, something more realistic, something that will make me stop reblogging kissing pictures on Tumblr and writing love stories. Something that will keep me from wishing that a boy would text me "Good Morning" or kiss me on the forehead. Something that will keep me from dreaming about laying in someones arms or holding hands with someone. Something that will stop me from loving Taylor Swift's cheesy lyrics that I secretly don't think are that cheesy and hoping for my day to be like a fairytale. Something that will stop my mind from believing in true love when there's no clear sign of it in front of me, or near me, or even touching me.

No one knows me enough to love me and know one will want to know me in the first place. And this is what scares me and makes me worry that I'll run out of time and be left a begrudged person with no experience with intimacy. This thought makes me reevaluate my personality, my life, my actions, what's wrong with me that I've never had a boyfriend or anything close to it? And then this makes me mad because I'm even worrying about it in the first place and I shouldn't be another one of those boy crazy, love struck girls who watches chick flicks waiting for her prince charming. Maybe it's inevitable. It's in my nature, my DNA; it is so ingrained in my mind. Because the feeling I get when I listen to "Skinny Love" or "First Day of My Life" makes me want to feel the highs and lows of love. Seeing two people smile at each other or exchange a look like that makes me want that feeling. That something. That everyone else talks about. Is it too much to expect the best, should I settle for something less or should I forget about it completely? 

Mother Teresa probably never thought about this. She just went off and loved everyone else without worrying about being loved in the first place. That's what I should do. Be less selfish and not spend an hour writing something about expecting adoration. Some people just want to eat.

But maybe I'm just hungry for love.