This tiring, toilsome inner digging never brings up anything a nervous sickness, a constant picking fingernails tearing, scarring soft flesh Futile thrashing of mediocre mind trying to be intelligent enough to untangle and translate ineffable inner landscapes trapped behind the shame of stupidity A festering sore that can't be bled silence that spreads like slow infection the lazy dripping, grey water of stagnation the pressure of compounding mistakes
Fear Never Ends
Everything ends and I am so afraid of the empty space between love and loss Everything ends and it never gets easier fear of change only grows I hoped it'd shrink with age Everything ends and I never learned to cope with the possibility of regret with decisions you can't take back Everything ends and I'm paralyzed by thoughts that nothing new and good will find me again
Caught in between the pros and cons no choice has ever been clear-cut the sudden gleam of fear and doubt always catches my attention more easily than the possible happiness I could obtain There is no hope bright enough to blind my eyes from the terror of mistakes, regrets, and "what ifs" I'm too scared to reach, I stay in one place worried I won't be able to forgive myself if I fuck up again
I can't follow a heart that constantly contradicts frightened by unfaithful, fickle feelings This inner guide cannot be comfortably trusted it oscillates wildly in the wind Unable to cope with decisions that can never be taken back just let me linger in limbo forever
I’m Not a Good Person
I'm not a good person there, now I've said it first as if this self-awareness will shield me and your agreement won't feel worse I'm not a good person I hide behind my fear as if anxiety absolves me from hurting everyone I'm near I'm not a good person I've never claimed otherwise as if an acknowledgement of poor character somehow makes me look better in your eyes I'm not a good person there's nothing I can do as if a weak constitution can protect me from the truth I'm not a good person I wish someone else would help me as if an external force of energy could change the way I choose to be I'm not a good person and a really do apologize as if feeling bad about my actions eased the pain of all my lies
The Awakening *Spoilers*
I first began reading classic novels in college. I loved to read something that had stood the test of time, something that I felt I would gain some intellectual benefit from apart from simple enjoyment. It was exciting to catch quick references to characters or plots from stories in other content I consumed that before would have just slipped by unnoticed. I’ve found the classics add a lot of depth and context to many other aspects of life and art.
The Awakening is a very short novel by Kate Chopin I read nearly a decade ago. I wish I knew exactly what year. I hardly remembered the story at all. I just retained the vague feeling that I had not been too impressed by it. Someone suggested this book to me recently, and I was proud to say I had already read it. Although, I was a little embarrassed I didn’t remember more about it. Realizing this, I decided it was a good time to reread it, especially knowing, at only 157 pages, it wouldn’t take me more than a day or two to casually flip through. I was excited to see how ten years of further life experiences would alter my perception of the story.
It was fascinating to go over the text with the double vision of reading it for the second time. I could recall my original thoughts, while also experiencing it as if for the first time. There is something indescribably poignant and sad about seeing how much I’ve grown through revisiting a story like this. When I was younger, I remember being rather bored in the beginning of the novel, and utterly frustrated and perplexed at the ending. Now… well now, I felt my soul gripped by every word, every thought and experience Edna Pontellier had. Ironically enough, I am now the same age as she was in the book.
When I was younger, everything seemed so much simpler and straightforward. If Edna loved Robert and not her husband, and Robert loved her back, then what was the dilemma? Just leave your husband. Nothing is more important than love, especially a love that is within your reach. I found it hard to understand why Robert left for Mexico. It angered and confused me. When he finally came back, my naïve heart truly believed they would finally be together in the end. Even when Edna left to go tend to her friend, I felt no uneasiness about Robert waiting for her to return. Of course he would.
This time, as soon as the inevitably ending began it’s slow approach, I felt my chest getting tighter. Despite not remembering the book, I knew immediately Robert would not be there when Edna returned. Some part of me thinks that even Edna knew as she sat on the porch for a few minutes before going back in, as if to prolong the happy delusion for just a few moments longer. This time, I also knew in my very bones why Edna appeared by the seashore of their happy island summer homes. I knew she would not be returning to have dinner with Victor. As a teenager, I was dumbfounded about what was happening all the way up to the point where she stripped all of her clothes off in front of the ocean waves. I remained in disbelief even at the very end.
Revisiting this story after so much has happened in my own life was profound. It ached in all the best and worst ways. It swallowed me up completely. It held a mirror up to my very soul and cradled my crumpled form as I wept inconsolably. There is something about youth that fills us with crisp simplicity and happy illusions about life and love. The painful pull of life that drags us along into the future adds such complexity and depth to concepts and convictions that once appeared so crystal clear and unchangeable. Sometimes things cannot have a happy ending. Even love is not enough in many instances. Certain decisions cannot be taken back or rectified regardless of how wretched we feel about them later. One word spoken too soon, a poor choice of phrase spat out in a moment of high emotion, can change the course of a life forever. Even small stones, carelessly thrown into the still pond of life create irrevocable ripples that spread out in ways we couldn’t have possibly imagined.
Despite this, there is such agonizing, undulating beauty to be found within deep, unalterable grief and regret. Books like these, characters like Edna, are a haven for the innermost broken-winged birds of my soul. They are a reminder that while I may not be able to change the course my life has already taken or the decisions left open to me because of that course, I am not alone in my sorrow. Others have experienced the complex emotions I often feel incapable of expressing for myself, and even more will experience them in the future. I’ll leave you will a quote from my favorite artist that sums up this sentiment nicely:
You’re not alone in anything. You’re not alone in trying to be.The Ladder Song – Bright Eyes
How can I ever forgive myself for the fire I set in ignorance and intentionally used to burn down the only place that I belong A decade spent sifting through ashes ears still ringing from the roar of the flames a warm home replaced with the unbearable weight of my own mistakes How can I ever trust myself again to hold what is precious to me when all I've ever done is ruin what I love All I can offer is to stand apart and busy my hands by sifting through the charred remains of my sanctuary forever laid solitary and silent How can I bear to move on from these ruins of a life I loved more dearly than myself to commit myself to a waking world that pales in comparison to burnt memories
The Morning After
Head underwater heavy lungs hard to breathe swimming through thoughts the thick molasses of memory Two days sacrificed at the altar of alcohol the temptation to drink poison is quite telling Dense, dizzy fog cannot be shaken off I'm getting too old to keep making these same mistakes Why can't I stop tripping forward into failure? my higher self can't hold me back There is a strange sickness somewhere inside me that sours everything a stench of burnt sugar saturates my cells No swift violence can fully cut it out crisscrossed incisions carved into soft flesh were never worthwhile Stop this ceaseless spinning the sickening swirl that swells and consumes common sense save me from the inevitable cascading crash of myself
I wish someone had told me to hold onto all the people I once knew. I wish I had some way of knowing what I was throwing away, or at the very least letting fizzle out, watching with disinterest as my many fertile gardens of companionship withered in the hot sun of time. When you’re young, it’s hard to realize what you have. Everything just feels like it’s always been that way, that it will always be that way. Friends come and they go without much fear of social isolation. There will always be new peers, new classmates, new friends to take their place. Every school year is a new start, a new chance to build connections. After high school, there is always college to find your chosen family.
Six years after getting my Bachelors and only now am I beginning to realize the opportunities I squandered for all those years. I would always hear people saying that high school doesn’t matter. That you’ll leave those doors and all the people inside behind forever once you graduate. Not to worry about those relationships, because there will be plenty more that are more important in the future. Looking back, I wish instead they had said those years don’t have to matter. I realize now this was a message for people struggling in school, the social outcasts, the kids that felt like they’d never fit in or find friends. This message was a beacon of hope for them, a call to keep their courage as they moved out into new avenues of life. The point wasn’t that I shouldn’t invest effort in maintaining the relationships I did have. It wasn’t about devaluing the whole idea of childhood friends.
At the time, it seemed like a waste of energy, pathetic even, to try to cling to old friends that were no longer around you everyday. After all, there was a whole new pool of peers to meet and mingle with. Why reach out to people from the past? I never really gave much thought to the fact that the bonds I formed in college would one day become less convenient as well. What then? It was quite a shock when I started working full time to feel the difference between a classroom and a work place. Not only were there far less people to interact with in general, but those people were vary rarely of an age that I would consider my peers. We had very little in common. I already had trouble finding companions within my age group, let alone outside of it.
All these years later, I often find myself looking back on all the bridges I burned, wondering if there is any way I could salvage them, or if the other party has already forgotten me. I never understood how precious a childhood friendship truly is until it was too late. There is an empty space inside the new connections I make. There was something so special is the knowledge that the other person really knew you. They knew all of you. They had watched you grow up and you had known them just as intimately. That’s something you can never have with someone else, even if they tell you about who they used to be. You are still only seeing it through their eyes, only getting the bits they want to reveal. And something aches inside of me when I acknowledge that.
Some days mistakes feel like stains on my soul a filth I can't scrub clean with good deeds Shame that saturates the once white linen of my small life no amount of bleach can undo the damage done I've always struggled with shades of grey one slight flaw and I am forever sullied and beyond redemption But the soul is not a garment that I wear or a soiled sheet that can be thrown out and replaced The soul is eternal it cannot be tarnished by earthly errors there is always room to make amends and uncover my light once more