vivid

Dreams that are strange, frequent, and memorable have always been a part of my life. I had always credited these to my creative imagination, but my depression may be a better fit for that.

Medication that plays with the wires in your brain can tend to change how you dream, and recently my dreams have become more vivid and realistic than ever before. I wake up exhausted and sometimes shaken.

My mother had always said that video games caused my nightmares, but it seems recently I draw my inspiration from real life.

I dream a lot about nuclear war, losing family, public restrooms, contracting deadly diseases, helpless animals, and a lot of other worldly concerns thrown in. Sometimes I’ll dream about light sabers, spongebob, and bounce houses; they are usually sprinkled in with the chaos.

I once dreamt my parents kidnapped me and held me against my will because I was a failure as an adult.

I once dreamt the United States became a nuclear war zone and everyone had to evacuate.

I once dreamt I grew a T-Rex to life like a plant in a greenhouse.

I once dreamt dogs were being chased and killed by aggressive donkeys in heat.

I have also dreamt I cut out and mailed coupons to a close friend.

Sometimes I feel that I don’t get enough sleep because my dreams feel like waking life. If you believe that dreams are messages from your subconscious, mine must have a lot to say.

 

 

miss you

Are there rules around missing someone? How long do they have to be gone before you can start wishing they hadn’t left? How close did your relationship have to be before you can ache for their presence? Are you even allowed to wish home of someone you barely even knew?

There must be relationship dynamics that render your longing null and void. For if you promised to remain detached, shouldn’t you keep your promise? Shouldn’t you exercise your strength in availability and shut down all receptors for intimacy? How many times must they leave before you no longer feel what you’re supposed to?

I’m not allowed to miss you, but I do. And not for the reasons you’d think.

breadsticks

While relaxing on a swan floaty over the weekend, a man I had just met joined me. He didn’t swim next to me or get his own floaty, he got on the swan with me.

After repeatedly calling it a goose, he asked what I liked to do for fun. I said outside of school and work, I don’t have much time for fun. When I did share my fondness of sewing and video games, he didn’t seem to take interest.

He then asked me to describe my perfect date; a question I tried to avoid.

“Say you meet a guy on a goose,” he said, “and he takes you to Olive Garden for unlimited breadsticks. What then?”

“Well, he’d have to take me to the emergency room.”

“Right, because you ate so many!” He laughed.

“No, because I’m allergic to bread.”

After another half an hour of listening to his YouTube subscribers, his rap career, and his hobby of traveling the world, I decided to get off the swan and look for solid ground.

“You still haven’t described your ideal date yet.”

Because you’re not getting one.

 

challenge

You know when you experience something, or interact with someone, and you’re still thinking about it the next day?

Last night during my business class we went around the room sharing fun tid-bits about ourselves. When it came time for me to share, a male classmate asked if I was also in the same Software Engineering class as him. After I gave my confirmation, another male classmate chimed in. The following conversation ensued:

Male #1: “Are you in Software Engineering?”
Me: “I am.”
Male #1: “I thought so.”
Professor: “How do you know that? Are you psychic?”
Male #1: “We’re both in the same class together.”
Male #2: “Now hold on, I challenge that. And apologies to whomever that might offend.”
Me: nodding, “My Masters is in Software Engineering.”
Male #2: shrugs

Now although it was a brief interaction, it has left me quite perplexed. Why would anyone want to challenge whether or not you’re in a class, especially if a witness has confirmed you so? And even if you were sorry if it had offended either one of us, then why say it in the first place?

Implying that his statement could potentially be offensive, that must mean that he doesn’t believe that one of us is in software engineering. And with the prior knowledge that Male #1 had already shared information about his Masters and career, that leaves only me with room to doubt.

Am I wrong in concluding that Male #2 did not believe that I was taking software engineering? Did I interpret his challenge incorrectly? Or is my classmate a classic sexist idiot?

i wish

I wish I had something to say. I’ve been stuck for the past few months. I haven’t been able to gather my thoughts into a cohesive pattern so I can write them down. I can’t seem to focus on anything other than what I try to forget.

I wish I could write about anything other than what my heart really wants. I can’t put those words onto the page because then they become true. I become like everyone else and no longer be special. I instantly become stuck in a past with a more unsure future than before; a future that more than likely has an undesirable outcome.

I wish I could convince myself. I try to rationalize with my mind; try to trick emotion with logic. It can’t possibly be so – look at the facts!

I wish I wasn’t like them; I wan’t to be special. Let me be special. Tell me I’m the exception.

Unless the above is true, I wish I had never met you.

 

five years

I’ve been told that so many things are supposed to happen when you grow up. You fall in love, you get a career, you establish yourself and figure everything out. Things seem to fall into place like puzzle pieces as you gain the wisdom of being another year older. I turned 25 years old a few days ago, and I can’t really say that things are falling into place.

Five years ago I was in college barely pulling myself together. Who knows what I’ll be like five years from now? So much can change between there and now that I can’t place bets on anything. And I tend to focus so much on the next five years that I lose sight on the present.

Because when I look at the past five years I feel like I wasted them. I feel like I didn’t spend my time wisely, and that if I had a chance to relive it I would change nearly everything. But I know that’s not the truth. In the past five years I graduated college,  I lived in a different state, I traveled to three different countries, I started graduate school, and volunteered more times than I can count. Why is it that I can only remember the moments wasted?

In the next five years I hope to graduate with my Masters, buy a new car, get a promotion, and hopefully be in a steady relationship. Maybe I’ll buy a house or travel to Tokyo. I have plans for my future, but I fear that I’ll lose sight of my motivation and waste it away again. I focus so much on how I should spend my time that I forget to enjoy it.

I want so badly to finish the puzzle that I don’t enjoy solving it.

 

 

time is money

Well look at that, I got a full-time job. My days are now filled with meetings, Excel spreadsheets, and dirty Tupperware. I am once again quickly realizing what little time I have to myself. I am not complaining – not at all. The only thing that I don’t appreciate about my time are those that think they can waste it.

There is one person in particular that comes to mind. When I first met them, we both had a lot of time on our hands. I found myself accommodating my schedule to theirs because I didn’t have a schedule in the first place. Now that I am limited, they still think they can beckon me as they please.

Not today, honey. Not any day.

The song My Time is Money by Jojo comes to mind. “You don’t pay my bills, so give me something I can feel. Can you keep up?”

If you believe in astrology, I’m the stubborn Taurus. I enjoy my free time and I hate wasting it. So if I intend on spending any of that time with you, it better not be wasted. What I mean is this; don’t be late, don’t cancel last minute, and always follow through. There is nothing you can say or do that will convince me otherwise.

So this person that I’m thinking of believes the world revolves around them. They are not sensitive to others’ time, especially when they’re in their selfish mindset. There’s no give and take, no negotiations, and no compromises. Their way or the high way. Well I know what I bring to the table, so trust me when I say I’m not afraid to eat alone.

And I have no intention of slowing down for anyone.

uncomfortable

Let me tell you a story about when a fantasy presented itself, and I miserably missed my chance to make it come true:

My life, as I feared, had become a consistent state of uncomfortableness. I realized this as I sat in a windowless window seat of a plane that was too painfully warm. It reminded me of those silent nights I spent at summer camp where I longed to be anywhere but there in that wooden bunk and soggy sleeping bag. My row mate allowed me to exit the plane before him, and he smiled as I remembered what he told me when we first sat down at the beginning of this flight: “I’m so glad you’re not fat.”

I had done this so many times before. This airport, though it boasted that it was international, was smaller than my apartment complex. There was one Starbucks, no McDonalds, and washed up country stars reminded you over loud speaker to keep your luggage with you at all times.

For the past year I have been living in this small southern town that was constantly dusty and had a dampness you could swim through. Standing in line for the bus to the parking lot I could feel the pollution make its familiar home in my nostrils. I resisted the urge to sneeze.

The bus piled in more than it could hold, and I took a seat on a stained polyester bench. I could touch the person across from me if I reached a hand out. A loud, young man on his cell phone elbowed his way on the bus at the very last minute and took the remaining seat. He could’ve been a bodybuilder or an army reserve kid stationed at the base a half an hour out of town. A book was in his right hand.

I tried to ignore this public disturbance, but when he hung up the phone I noticed the blue eyes behind his hipster glasses. He was halfway through an autobiography. I didn’t want to be attracted to this annoyance; it was incredibly cliche. I tried to focus on the stuffiness of the bus. I let myself acknowledge the layer of plane scum on my skin. I dreamt of a hot shower.

And then I pictured him in the shower with me; I had to open my eyes. To my surprise, his eyes met mine.

I looked away and tried to seem casual, but I could feel the oil collect on my upper lip. The southern heat made me a greasy mess, and I’m sure after two flights and a bus ride I looked just like the grill after rush hour at Earl’s Fried Chicken.

One by one our bus mates got off at their stops until it was just us two. How perfect; how convenient; how storybook! The one time my life mimics a movie and it’s when I smell like stale air and other people’s farts.

“Where’d you fly in from?” he asked, trying to fill the silence.

He said something to me! For once a fantasy of mine was coming true in real life.

“Atlanta,” I said. There was some silence, and for some reason I couldn’t think of anything else to say. I could feel my handsome airport-stranger fantasy slipping away, and I said the very first thing that came to mind.

“Well, technically Orlando. I had a connection. To Atlanta, obviously. But I didn’t spend time there,” I sputtered.

He nodded, then looked out the window. I so terribly wanted to disappear. This was my moment to say something witty or clever, and I might as well have bit my tongue off and handed it to him.

“I was in Disney World,” I continued, thinking I could save this encounter by giving him more information than he needed, “for my birthday. With my sister. But she lives in Indiana, so she went there instead.”

I could see the light leave his eyes, but I just couldn’t stop. It was my Mean Girls moment; my word vomit hell.

“She doesn’t actually live here, she just goes to college there. I’m not in college though,” I shrugged as if to make that statement any less unordinary.

If it weren’t rude to, I’m sure he would have moved seats to get away from me.

The bus came to my stop and I quickly stood up. I needed to escape this nightmare that I had created for myself.

“You have a good night,” he smiled.

“You, too,” I sputtered, grabbing my bag and running off. I didn’t even look back. Did I just travel back to the seventh grade? Since when did I have issues talking to boys?

As I pulled my damp bag to my car down row 441, I went over the last few minutes in my head like a sports replay. I should’ve just asked him where he was flying in from. I should’ve asked if he was staying out at the reserve base nearby. I should’ve made him do the talking. I probably could have just kissed him instead! Anything other than listening to me desperately make conversation.

The windows on my car were moist, and I had to use my hand to wipe the fog away. I would have wiped myself away if I could have.

attack

I was sitting outside before class on a bench with my head in my hands. An undergraduate student approached me and asked if I was alright. I whipped my head up and smiled.

“Yeah, I’m fine! Thanks!”

“Oh, okay!” He sighed and put a hand to his chest. He was wearing a beanie and thick rimmed glasses. “Have a good night!” He waved and headed in the opposite direction.

“You, too!” I called after him as he faded away.

But I wasn’t alright. I was having a panic attack. A pretty big one.

It came on suddenly like a freight train. I have no idea what caused it. It could have been one thing, or an accumulation of many. It was so intense and seemingly unprovoked that I stared to hyperventilate. I had just set my things down for class when I felt hot and dizzy. The air in the room seemed to tighten around me, and I felt the urge to escape.

I picked the bench outside because it was close to the door and the cold air felt good. But I realized after the boy approached me that maybe it wasn’t the best spot privacy wise. I was concerning others; something I never thought I’d do.

When I regained feeling in my legs, I retreated inside to the bathroom.

Why couldn’t I have been honest with that kind student? What could he have done if I had said I wasn’t okay? Would he have sat down and comforted me? Would he ask questions or tell stories to take my mind off myself? Would he have suggested I take deep breaths, or offer to walk me to the health center? Or would he have just walked away, afraid of taking on me as a responsibility?

I felt ashamed to admit that I was struggling, so I didn’t. I didn’t want to burden anyone else with my cross so I kept my mouth shut; but don’t mind me I just feel like I’m dying here!

There is such a stigma attached to mental illness that even something as simple as an anxiety attack can scare people away. Anyone can get one, even if they don’t suffer from anxiety on a daily basis. So why do we feel so dirty – so appalled -when someone opens up about their struggles? And vice versa?

It’s been a few hours since my attack, and I’m still thinking about that young man who asked if I was okay. If I ever see him again, I’d like to thank him sincerely for taking the time to check on me and that I really was not okay. I would like to encourage him to keep reaching out to those he sees in pain, even if they shoo him away like I did. I’d like to think that in the future if I see someone silently struggling that I’ll offer a hand to help as well, and that I’ll have the strength to help them.

crush

You know what it’s like to have a crush on someone? That suffocating, intolerable itch that dominates your waking consciousness?

The kind that is so innocent when you’re younger. You imagine chasing each other on the playground or passing notes in class. You dream of the day they sit next to you at lunch or call the house phone and ask for you by name. You imagine what kind of color you’d wear to the school dance and if you’d be close enough to touch.

The kind of crush that develops into heavy breathing. The kind that weighs on your chest as you grow into an adult. You start imagining them in your passenger seat or dancing to your favorite songs. You see the two of you walking hand in hand, only to be pushed up against the wall. You picture shutting the bedroom door behind you as the atmosphere swells with intense desire. Sheets become tangled and the air thick. Your mind clouds with thoughts of them saying your name.

You spend each day carrying this crush around like a weighted backpack. Invisible and incapable of being removed, it prevents you from living a carefree life. You drag your feet knowing that the only way it can be lifted is either by giving in or putting it down to pick up another. Either one day you’ll forget it’s even there, or you’ll carry that for the rest of your life.

Anyway, I have a crush.