Car Crash

I accept that everything happens for a reason. I only wish I knew what those reasons were. It’s the speculation that wears at me more than anything. When you’re as anxious as I am, it doesn’t take much to send you down a rabbit hole of your own thoughts. The slightest push and your foot slips, dirt crumbling beneath your heel. You fall and fall and your fears whisk by. You watch them go up and away as you go down and further down, until all at once you hit the bottom, the impact like a car crash.

But at the bottom there are no answers either. It’s silent. And dark. The only voice that comes to you is the echo of your own voice, bouncing off the walls. “God, let this be within your blessing,” your voice says. “God, let me have this thing, and let it be good.”

You look up at the hole from which you’ve fallen. You can see the sky, blue, and the grass at the edges of the hole, a green and marvelous crown, swaying in the sun. You wish you hadn’t been so foolish. You wish you had made better choices. But you know, in all honesty, that your decisions had felt good in the moment. They must have…

Still, there is nothing for it. You’re still down here, and the world up there. You make yourself small at the bottom of the hole, ashamed, and wait for the more clever version of yourself to wake up and pull you out.

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Resolutions

There’s about five or six of us enrolled in Modern English Literature. It’s such an intimate class, we don’t even take it in a lecture hall. Instead, it’s held in our professor’s office, where we scatter ourselves among her couches and prop notebooks up on our laps. Modernist literature is known for focusing on the internal mind, on the consciousness of its characters, and so maybe that’s why it feels so much like a group therapy session whenever we come together. It’s as much a study of ourselves as it is of literature, and we’ve learned a lot about each other.

So, it was no surprise when, the other day, our professor interrupted class to ask us each what our resolutions were for the upcoming year. We sat in silence for a moment, thinking, not sure what was too personal to share. And then a friend of mine spoke up.

Her resolution, she said, was to give up overthinking.

Oh, I thought, that’s a good one. And I could see a similar realization wash over the other students, as well. Perhaps it’s just uni culture, but we really are just a group of anxiety-ridden young adults. Our collective fear is something we bond over – joke about even – but we all know it isn’t always so easy to laugh about.

Our professor, who has the perceptiveness of a loving mother, took note of the faces in the room. She could see that we related to my friend, and she began to tell us about how she, too, had been an anxious student. However, with time, she had trained herself to  take things more easily. She took a moment to remind us that nothing is worth a sleepless night, that we should learn to say ‘so what?’ more often, and that, most importantly, we should never allow other professors – who have forgotten what it’s like to be young and inexperienced – to bully us into feeling inadequate.

It’s funny how we think we already know these things, that we don’t need anyone to remind us, but when you hear them after being in your head for so long, it can be like having a fog you weren’t even aware of lift suddenly. All at once, you’re aware of all the nails you’ve bitten off, lying in a heap in your lap, aware of how vigorously you’re fidgeting in your seat, of how fractured your mind is, thinking days, weeks, even years ahead. It’s good to work, to excel, but it’s also okay to not constantly be doing something.

I’m writing about this because it’s Christmas break, and for the last two days I’ve done nothing but lie around in various positions and think about all the things I should be doing. Coursework, projects, writing – even leisure reading has become a chore. I attach urgency to everything in my life, and it’s exhausting. I do think being ‘productive’ is healthy, but only when one is able.

So, yes, I do want to work and create – of course I do – but not in a way that constantly makes me feel like I’m being chased. There are no teeth yapping at my heels. I have time. I’ll get things done. And even if I don’t do as well as I want to, well then – so what?

See you soon.

Fresh Eyes

During the last two months, I strongly entertained the idea of putting aside my current project and starting something new. My characters supported this change of plans, some of them being so fed up with sitting idle that they were ready to pack up their things and join me in a different plot, a different book. I really thought I was going to do it, but not anymore.

Yes, I haven’t worked on the book in a while – I feel like I’m always saying this – but that’s okay. I realize now that what I truly needed was some proper time away from my wip. So, I let myself focus on uni. Throughout the semester, I read some amazing stuff – plays and novels and poems – both in class and on my own, which have allowed me to return to my project with fresh eyes and more insight into the craft. Reading is important, you guys. I know that sounds a little obvious, but I don’t read nearly as much as I should. I don’t think any of us do.

So, I’m feeling motivated. I’m ready to delve back into my project, to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty. I’m ready to write. God knows I’ve missed it.

See you soon.

Forgotten Things

I half-woke at night’s peak
he stirred me, he must have
and the first thing I felt was the breadth of the sky
and the boldness of each star
hinged there, pridefully in their domain;
I had forgotten they were of the throne

At night’s peak, heaven is widest
so wide that it engulfed the bed
and yet that warmth dragged at me
the warmth of my blood, which in sleep means ‘life’
which I knew once I had been drained of
though was somehow still kept breathing;
I remembered this curious fact at night’s peak
and other forgotten things

But they were not enough
not on their own
to shake me from my warmth
so he willed a timely reminder
an echo that met no walls;
I shuddered, the half-waking now full
and the starlight surged
and in its glow, I saw beneath me not a bed
but dirt.