A familiar feeling settled in, a feeling that set off deafening sirens. She smiled to herself knowingly. This could only spell disaster. She even left a mental note of warning, knowing it would be buried with the rest of her sense because just then, their eyes met – collapsing all reason.
Perhaps we spend our lives sailing
through various storms
praying for calmer waters
only to find
that once the sky clears
our traitorous hearts
are longing for new adventure
Time, oceans, seasons –
things that separate us still.
Life made us strangers.
It’s one of those days where I don’t know what to write about. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say. It’s quite the opposite. There’s so much going on in the world right now. So many bad things. Good things as well, I suppose, if we look hard enough. There are also many things happening in my personal life – many good and bad things. But what do I say about them?
It feels as if everything is trying to rush out of me all at once, but there’s only a small outlet – only a few places I can put my thoughts, only a few people who will listen. So, instead of everything gushing out at once, my thoughts are dripping out of me as if from a leaky tap. Uncontrollably, albeit in small doses.
This inability to articulate and regulate my thoughts makes me feel as if I’ve failed somehow.
“How can you call yourself a writer if you can’t express yourself with words?”
I have thoughts like these sometimes – thoughts of inadequacy. I have them more often than I’d like to admit. But, these thoughts feel less lonely than they did before. At first, they were grey, like the sky before a storm, but I think the storm has passed now. Everything feels a little lighter than before, a little calmer, as if dawn is approaching. Everything is turning blue – the colour of sadness, but also of tranquillity and hope.
I’d call that progress.
I’m still not sure if I should send you this letter. I’m not sure if you’ll read it. Maybe some things are better kept hidden away in journals. Only, I’ve already taken all this time to write you…
Anyway, I hope you’re doing well and I hope there are blue skies ahead for you. I feel dawn approaching.
I’m doing the right thing, aren’t I?
I’m on an escalator heading up
with the rest of them like I should be.
I’ve been a good kid, haven’t I?
Pacing back and forth in the realm
of your expectation, without objection.
I’m going in the right direction, aren’t I?
Even if everything I want
travels opposite to where I’m headed.
Am I doing the right thing?
Ms Ritzer looked like an old tree stump, sturdy and wrinkled, as she stood in front of the overflowing lecture hall. It seemed to me that she, as she stared at us with her stern, joyless face, that she was about to impart some great pearl of wisdom.
We all tend to think psychiatrists know a great deal more about the world and the human condition than we do. That’s why the room rang with silence as every one of my classmates waited eagerly, folded forward in their seats, for her to say something profound.
“Anxiety, you see, is all in the head,” she said finally. I risked a sidelong glance at my friend, Lee, who had thrown herself back in her seat, arms crossed.
I risked a sidelong glance at my friend, Lee, who had thrown herself back in her seat, arms crossed.
Ms Ritzer continued, “You know why people have anxiety? It’s because they’re living too much in the future…”
I didn’t hear her finish that sentence because I had to unwrap my scarf. The room was suddenly getting warmer. Besides, I was finding it hard to hear her. There seemed to be a buzzing in the room.
“A good cure for anxiety is to get a hobby, like cooking. I find it so relaxing -“
My fingers started to tingle as I tapped them impatiently on the wooden desk. Why was the temperature rising? Was I the only one noticing the air getting thicker?
“You can come see me after class if you’d like me to share some recipes.”
Lee tapped my shoulder. She was trying to say something, something important. Her eyes looked like two big marbles staring at me. Only, I couldn’t hear her. I couldn’t even move. So, I stared straight ahead, silent, shaking, as all the blood rushed to my head.
[Anxiety is not something that just goes away. It is not simply stress or nerves. It is a potentially debilitating disorder that can adversely a person’s ability to perform day-to-day tasks and comments like the ones made by the psychiatrist in the story are not helpful. These sorts of statements perpetuate the misconception that certain mental illness can just be gotten over. This is not the case and while a new hobby may help a person cope with a mental illness, it is by no means a cure.]
I’ll admit we were stitched together poorly.
Skin and bone don’t work as needle and thread.
Still, I did my best.
I brought us as close as I could
without pricking your skin,
without spilling blood
on our fraying carpet of promises.