E m p t y
Goodbye, hun. I hope you understand how empty I felt in the weeks after. I find it funny that you were "worried I'd go into a dark place," as if you really cared. You claim to have felt an emptiness between us, but never seemed to feel compelled enough to talk to me about it. All I ever wanted was to make you happy, and yet that void you seem to have been so worried about kept getting more obtrusive. Well, I hope you're happy in your empty little work bubble. I don't plan on popping it.
“Oh please, that was years ago, your life doesn’t seem that ruined to me.”
"You seem like you're doing just fine. Am I wrong?"
"You always have been, so why stop now?"
"Well, aren't you a heart breaker?"
"Don't you dare call me that. All I did was try to help you, and you pushed me away again and again."
"Uh, wrong. All you ever cared about is work. All you talk about is work."
"Is that such a horrible thing? I finally am respected for who I am in the field of my dreams."
"All you do is complain about it, though. And when you're not complaining about it, you're not in a pleasant mood because you're thinking about work."
"And who are you to judge? You don't even have a career: you have a couple of hobbies and that's it."
"I'm done. Don't try to talk to me anymore. I have no desire to be mired in your negative outlook on life. Goodbye."
Listen to your heart
As stereotypical as it sounds, the best advice I can give is listen to yourself. The coming years, whether you decide to attend college or not, are going to be the best years to figure out what drives your passions and what grinds your gears. If you don't figure those things out, though, in no way are you "behind" anyone else.
I spent a semester in college abroad, and the only thing I really learned is how to take care of myself in a way that makes me happy to look in the mirror. I had to retake two of my three class final exams, and it was massive weight on my self-esteem. I would have much rather been home playing my trumpet in band. If I had listened to my heart more, I would have been able to come to that conclusion quicker.
Even as a paraprofessional, I'm still finding myself trying to listen to my heart and the hearts of my students to find ways of boosting their self-esteem and self-confidence.
Bottom line, remember to step back every once in a while and give yourself some grace. It's not easy to know exactly who you are and what you want to be. Sometimes it feels like you have to wear a mask or a costume to fit in, but as long as you are able to find and be your genuine self, you won't have to pretend to be anyone any longer.
Who’s the fairest of them all
Here and there, they come and go,
the creatures in my lone shadow,
never speaking, lying still,
never has silence been so shrill.
As I glide among the town,
those creatures adorn my murky crown,
and like a horde of angry feet,
the plague my mind, disturb my sleep.
And yet as I look into the mirror,
I press my face, nearer and nearer,
for as I stare, I begin to cry,
those shadows – vile creatures – hang below my eye.
Maybe now I will sleep a bit better,
I have put an end to that nocturne fetter,
my hand feels like that which I broke,
but the crystalline shards, in my blood, soak.
She just is.
I think it goes without saying that she's beautiful, but that beauty lies in her determination: every chance she gets to pile more work on, she does it without fail, and manages to come out stronger every time. She works so hard day in and day out, and yet she is able to melt away my frustration when she realizes I'm upset. As someone who struggles to motivate myself to do the things I need to do, she empowers me to do them in a way that I may never be able to figure out for myself, but as long as she's around, I will keep trying to figure it out for myself, and I don't plan on letting her go any time soon.
I played trumpet in high school, and like every brass player, you tell yourself you're the best there, even if you know it's wrong. My friend was leagues better than me, and I knew it, but I thought I was a good player, so when he was out sick at the end of the year before our big concert, our director gave me his music. I watched him jokingly do the sign of the cross, as if he was praying for me to do well. I hated him in that moment, and only wanted to prove him wrong. I did.
Bulb Lights and Bud Lights
There’s nothing more depressing than staring at a computer screen in a dark room far too early in the morning in the hopes that somehow, a great story is going to start writing itself. Grant knew this all too well, yet there he was again, almost glowering at his Macintosh, willing his fingers to start dancing across the keyboard. The window was cracked slightly open and a faint breeze was drifting in, but that didn’t seem to alleviate his concentration. Grant was determined to “get a story done” before he went off to work, but of course, that’s what he told himself every morning.
I always found it funny how stubborn writers could be. Sure, some are able to render entire civilizations from just a few strokes of a keyboard, and yet others stare at those same keys so long they begin to forget what they all mean. What it all comes down to is control: every writer thinks they have it, especially Grant. One of his stories I happened to read (don’t let him know, by the way) was about a sheep who felt he didn’t have any individual representation, in relation to the group thought of his herd, and when he goes out to find it, he ends up being shot by the paranoid shepard, in an attempt to protect the rest of his flock from what the shepard thought was a wolf. It’s kind of sickening, actually, the twisted grin he had on his face while he was writing that one. Poor Percival.
Anyway, Grant spends most of his nights staring at his computer, eyes bloodshot from lack of sleep and most likely over exposure to the fucking screen. He’s lucky he lives alone, which to be fair was a decision of his to maintain that control over his own life. For someone so paranoid about losing control over the little life that he had left, one would think that a person like Grant would choose a life of sobriety.
Bulb lights strung the apartment like meat in a butcher shop. All Grant liked was plain white lights, so when he was nice and “sauteéd,” as he was fond of saying to himself alone in his apartment at 4PM on Tuesdays, he would turn on all the bulb lights and all the overhead lighting would go out. The further the afternoon/evenings went on, the more reflective Grant’s cheeks became, and the less progress he’d make on his stories. The toughest part about being a writer is that you actually have to fucking write. It seems like some writers think that drinking is the first step and writing is the second. A lot of them actually feel they do better drunk, too.
It’s hard to see Grant like this. Every once in a while he’ll be in a groove and his fingers bang out a pretty good story, but most of the time they hover or play with his balls while he sits there breathing open-mouthed staring at that god damn monitor, drool pooling up at the corner of his mouth every once in a while. I won’t even begin to describe the odor that hung in that apartment.
Tonight was a shitty story. The more sober he’d get, the more bulb lights would go out. As more of them go out, Grant tended to get angrier and scowl more. One night he was so upset he ripped down the last few strips of lights and threw them at the wall. Often when he strung up all those lights, he’d leave his Macintosh unplugged, so he could get as many lights as possible up along the walls.
We’re down to one strand.
I don’t know why, but his glass is full again. This time, it’s just straight scotch. He must think he’s actually got something good here, which seems a lot more like desperation than confidence. It’s about a girl this time, even though the last girl he was with (in the most literal sense of the word) left him months ago, and he’s trying to write as fast as he can. I’m actually getting really uncomfortable, I don’t like how aggressive he’s being. Why is he still drinking? When did he rip down the last lights? Why is he pouring