Bored and Floating


I’m running away from all my problems
I’m so sick of going outside
Might need a treadmill in my apartment
I’m only hiding, not trying to die

Swimming in the rain
Waiting for another day
Drowning in the pain
When everything’s the same

I’m building a bridge to get over friends
I don’t have a straw this time
Weak bolts make me fall again
I suck up all the tears that flood my life

I’m floating on my back
Can’t see anything underneath
Maybe it’s better without a raft
Maybe I’ll feel some sort of teeth

Brush against my leg
Give me goosebumps down my spine
But the only thing that bothers me is seaweed

I feel fine.

Gynophobia – Fear of Women


Attention beautiful humans: I have a question for you.

When do you feel most like a woman?

Is it when you’re in a super fancy dress with makeup and high heels, ready to make that snazzy first impression. Is it when you’re wearing sneakers and a sports bra, covered in dirt and sweat, ready to take that next step to living healthy? What about when you’re casually wearing a t-shirt and jeans, living life one day at a time? No matter when it is, I want you to know that you are “woman enough” for the world!

eliseOne of my favorite Canadian actresses describes womanhood in a beautiful and relatable way: @baumanelise ‘Bites the Bullet’ for shethority and @the_bangbang and says, “I’m biting the bullet and redefining what femininity means to me. I’ve previously muted my more tomboy side, thinking it wasn’t “attractive” or “feminine” enough, but what I’m coming to realize is that often when I feel the most connected to my womanhood is when I’m covered in sweat, pushing my body to the limit. To me, being a woman is full of passion and power and flaws and mess and anger and compassion and so much more.”💪👊 📷 (x)

After breaking out of my shell and experiencing the world, I realize that there is no set way to define femininity because it means something different to everyone. I relate to Elise’s words in the way that I don’t feel connected to my womanhood when I’m all dressed up. Although society believes a feminine person should practically resemble a Barbie doll, it’s an unhealthy image that’s enforced into a stereotype. I don’t feel like a true woman when I’m hiding under the foundation and the eyeliner and the lipstick – I don’t feel like myself. I am in no way similar to the next person, so why is femininity mainly revolving around poise and being “lady-like” all the time?

This question got me thinking, “When do I feel most like a woman?”

As some of you may have guessed, I love to share my art (paintings, drawings, pieces of poetry, etc.) and found that whenever I share that art and receive feedback, I gain a wave of confidence. It’s a type of confidence that either drives me to improve my work, or to be at peace with the creation I’ve made. Naturally, my mind interprets the world in a different light and, for some reason, I feel a need to share that perspective with others. To expand on this a little – I am the type of person who enjoys the little things whole-heartedly. There is so much beauty in the color of fresh grass. There is a sense of joy waiting for you in a cup of coffee by the open window. There’s a whole new world waiting to whisper to you when you stare at the moon. I have found these all to be signs of happiness and it’s made me realize that I need to fall in love more – Fall in love with the feeling of my head hitting the pillow and the color of my nephew’s eyes. Fall in love with things other than people. Be spontaneous and throw away that 5-year plan. My mind has been remodeled to focus on the exact moment I’m living in and nothing else. My ideology for this life is based on the idea that being alone doesn’t mean you’re lonely. When a person learns to live in the moment and find consolation in their aloneness, their mind becomes something uniquely beautiful. When society is able to see what I see (even in the slightest) I feel proud, empowered, and energized. Those feelings then fuel the serotonin and dopamine inside of me, causing me to feel like I’ve made a tiny difference in someone’s life.

It was hard to interpret at first, but I found that I feel most connected to my womanhood when I can influence people’s thoughts through my art. Whether they feel touched by a poem I wrote or inspired by a picture I painted, that sense of influence makes me feel like a true woman. That is where I find real beauty in myself. It’s not in the clothes, makeup, or mannerisms – my femininity shows through my imagination and to be capable of sharing that with the world is an incredible feeling. On top of that, I always feel most like a woman when my shirt is covered in paint, my hands smudged with pencil lead, and my body cramping from the work.

No matter what it may be, don’t allow others to define your definition of womanhood because, as I said before, it is different for everyone and it should continue to be defined in a new way every day. So ask yourself, when do you feel most like a woman?

Writing Utensils


You are the author of your own life.  You started writing in pencil, able to erase whatever you wanted. There were a couple of smudge marks left on the paper and the side of your hand. Sometimes you ripped the page when you tried to erase uncaringly. But as you got older, you wrote in pen. The ink still smeared, making it messy and unclear to read. There were stories you wish you could erase but you could only scribble them out. They aren’t legible anymore, but they are still there. They will always be there, indented in the page.

Addicts


biting down on chewing gum
can’t stop thinking about it

pick and twiddle at my thumb
can’t stop thinking about it

knuckles crack against the bricks
can’t stop thinking about it

count my scars, four, five, six
can’t stop thinking about it

digging out my fresh, red scabs
can’t stop thinking about it

time to take a few more dabs
can’t stop thinking about it

paranoid and ADHD
can’t stop thinking about it

scheduled to break at one, two, three
can’t stop thinking about it

smokey lungs and itchy throat
can’t stop thinking about it

my liver’s ready to explode
can’t stop thinking about it

IT’S ALWAYS ON MY MIND
I’LL NEVER STOP THINKING ABOUT IT

Pills Are a Joke – Original Fiction Story


This past year, I wrote a fictional story for a class. I won’t spoil it and tell you what it’s about but I do want to put a disclaimer here: This story involves sensitive topics such as suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, and dark humor. Thank you for reading.

——

“Goodbye, cruel world,” Clay Lamber said as he stood at the edge of the stool on his feeble tippy toes with the sheets around his neck. “Jesus, that’s too cliché,” he thought, but he didn’t prepare an extravagant last soliloquy for his non-existent audience on why he felt the world wronged him. The chipped wooden stool was uneven since one of the legs was shorter than the other three, making it wobble whenever he shifted his weight. Clay sighed in annoyance at his famous – no, pathetic last words – and became unsteady. He tried to grab onto the navy-blue bed sheets hanging from the ceiling post while feeling the sheets around his neck tighten.

The stool’s shortest leg clapped down on the concrete floor and Clay’s body began to lean backward. At that moment, he lost all his balance and desperately groped the air for something to hang onto. The stool slipped from under his feet completely and slammed on the ground, leaving Clay’s body to wildly dangle from the ceiling. He let out a yelp that turned into a sharp, dry gargle as his makeshift noose violently pinched around his pale neck. He dangled for a moment, feeling his breath cut off. Clay heard a tearing sound but couldn’t tell if it was the sheets or his neck crunching from the pressure. Suddenly, Clay’s body collapsed on the ground as if he were a ragdoll and some child forcefully threw him on the floor. A short tail of sheets fell on top of him. He looked up at the sheets that were still tied to the ceiling post with disappointment. “What a shame,” he said to himself sarcastically.

Clay took a moment to examine his knees, pulling up his baggy pant leg and exposing a nice heart-shaped bruise on his tender skin. He felt that this was God’s way of saying don’t kill yourself there’s so much to live for I love you.

“Oh, the irony,” he thought. Clay stood up, grabbed the knot of sheets around his neck, and began to loosen it like a tie. He yanked the cloth necklace off his head and rubbed his neck, searching for any bruising or cuts. He had a feeling that attempting something like this in the room above where he worked was an idiotic idea.

Clay had been a psychiatrist for nearly three years, but he came to believe that he was just as diseased as his patients, if not worse. He knew it wasn’t just the seasonal depression of the Seattle area, he’d been sick for as long as he could remember, but it didn’t use to be so serious. It seems contradicting for a mental person to be a therapist, but Clay was curious about his condition and thought, if he knew how to handle it, he could help others like him to control it too. Every morning, he took his pills and the regular symptoms would subside, at least until he went home. It didn’t affect his concentration or daily life much and he felt that those pills were his last remedy for feeling “normal” again.

Recently though, he’d stopped taking his medication because, even though it made his symptoms less distracting, it also made him feel extremely drowsy. It resembled the kind of drowsy you get after drinking too much alcohol in one night. During one of his appointments, it was so severe that his patient (who was a serious alcoholic) thought he came into work drunk. No one could think with a groggy mind let alone any sort of migraine feeling. He knew of the consequences that would come from avoiding his medication, but he felt life would be a little more bearable that way – apparently not.

After his regular ten to seven shift in the office, he walked to the floor above him which resembled an unfinished warehouse. Only dusty old chairs and office supplies lay unused in the concrete room. The bed sheets, however, were brought up prior to the early morning shift – he was too lazy to buy rope. At this time, it was almost ten o’clock at night because Clay had a painfully long brainstorming session on how he would tie the sheets to the ceiling in which he decided to use the rusty ladder that rested against the wall. Occasionally, he wondered if it was even worth it to go through that much trouble when he had a nice apartment with lower ceilings. Then again, if he were to walk home at the regular time, some annoyingly kind neighbor might invite him to dinner. Or worse, someone will ask how he’s doing, and he’ll have to answer with “good.”

“I could have chosen a more effective method like overdosing or throwing the toaster in the bathtub or jumping off the roof. There are definitely easier ways to do this. Clay’s train of thought continued to roll on the tracks of overthinking as he stood like a marvel statue, unblinking eyes, and stared at the sheets on the ceiling. “It’s a Monday. No one gets shit done on a Monday.”

“Have a nice trip, see you next fall,” a voice abruptly said. Clay looked around the room and rolled his eyes in irritation.

“I didn’t trip, dumb-ass. It was that damn stool,” Clay yelled.

“Whatever you say, schizo,” the snarky voice replied.

Clay paused and raised his eyebrows for a moment in response to the voice’s overuse of that nickname. He dragged himself over to the window that revealed the sable Seattle sky and gleaming city lights down below. The dim ceiling lights behind Clay allowed him to see his reflection in the window which also revealed a man standing in the center of the room behind him. He was somewhat short and unusually skinny in an anorexic way. Even though he wore long sleeves, his pitch-black shirt draped like baggy curtains on his bony arms. He had fine blond hair, just like gold, and his smile stretched so wide that it almost touched his earlobes. Aside from all his exquisite features, his eyes were the element that threw off his appearance. They were unproportionally small as if he sewed someone else’s eyes onto his face. It was the feature that made Clay feel the most uneasy among his overall gut-twisting appearance.

“So. How was your day, Clayyy,” the man said mockingly. Clay refused to turn around or even look at the man in the reflection of the plexiglass window. This voice was all too familiar that, if it was possible, Clay’s ears would bleed from all the scornfully sarcastic slurs.

“Don’t try to be my imaginary friend, Dixon,” Clay responded, staring at the ground. The truth was that Clay didn’t actually know the man’s name. He named him Dixon just so that he could occasionally call him Dick. Clay looked up into the reflection to find Dixon standing right behind him, stone-faced with his small eyes wide open. Clay’s breath hiccupped out of surprise, slightly startled by how quickly Dixon teleported to the window. Dixon didn’t usually act like this most nights, but tonight was a failed attempt so Dixon was more ludic than usual.

“You think I’m imaginary?” Dixon questioned, slightly turning his head in playful confusion. Clay’s eyes squinted in vexation, staring directly at Dixon as the skeletal man began to weep in an over-exaggerated way. Suddenly, Clay’s neck jolted behind him to see the environment of the room. He slowly turned his whole body to face the center of the room, seeing that he was the only one present and no one else was with him. Clay took one deep breath and turned back around to the reflection of the window.

“You’re not real,” Clay said sharply, closing his eyes only to open them to see Dixon standing by the fallen stool in the reflection. Clay sarcastically plugged his pointer fingers in his ears, pretending not to hear Dixon – the only thing missing was if Clay yelled “la la la” to show how he really didn’t want to listen. But it didn’t matter how hard Clay tried to plug his ears, he could still hear Dixon’s devious voice.

“So, what should we prescribe for you, Clayyy?” Dixon dragged out. “Did ibuprofen make you feel better?” Dixon began to list off other medications in a humming tone. “Or what about duloxetine. Perphenazine. Haloperidol.” The list continued as Dixon blabbered about different kinds of pill diets to cure schizophrenia. The whole time, Clay watched him bounce on his toes like a king’s jester after he named a new prescription – all he needed was the jingle bell hat.

“Pills are a joke. And so are you,” Clay stated. Suddenly, Dixon stopped moving and looked at Clay, the smile on his face slowly getting bigger and wider.

Jokes are amusing. I am a joke. Therefore, I am amusing. Listen to this – knock knock.” Clay decided he had heard enough, but Dixon continued to talk, his voice getting louder after every pause. “Knock knock. Knock knock! KNOCK KNOCK!” Dixon almost sounded like a broken cuckoo clock that wouldn’t shut up. Clay turned around to the empty room and walked toward the door with a shadow of determination. Blue bed sheets still hung from the ceiling and all Clay could hear was Dixon’s laugh sinking into the floor as if he was drowning. He exited the room and took the fire escape stairwell to leave.

For once, his mind was silent and all he could hear was his work shoes clicking on the floor with every step. It sounded like a walking metronome, gently echoing down the hallway. Clay’s mind was blank as his body went on autopilot to walk home. Luckily his apartment was a couple blocks down the road, so he never had to drive. The twinkling world around him was hushed as a soft breeze caressed his face and the leaves danced around the grass to greet the feet of the other insomniacs walking around. Clay made it home to his small, rundown apartment. He opened the door, which he never bothered to lock anymore, and slipped his shoes off. Clay looked into the mirror he had by the front door. His appearance reciprocated the rough events of the day showing by his dark baggy eyes, slightly red neck, and wrinkled clothes. In the reflection, he could see the kitchen table, and at the table, a woman sat looking at Clay. He called her Lisa.

“How was your day, darling?” Lisa said with curiosity. She had her hands elegantly folded on the polished wooden table. Clay turned to allow her to see his exhausted and messy appearance. “Another rough day, huh?” Lisa turned her head slightly; her hair fell to the side of her shoulder on her favorite yellow satin dress. Without saying a word, Clay walked over to the table and stood in front of her, his legs barely holding him up anymore.

“I wish you could be here,” Clay whispered, examining her pristine hands resting on the surface of the smooth table. Lisa’s face began to droop as if someone was slowly pulling all her facial muscles to the ground. She began to reach for Clay’s hands, but Clay took a step back from her. He didn’t want to acknowledge that she was just as real as Dixon. “Life isn’t worth living without you.” Suddenly, the pitter-patter of tiny feet came down the hallway, sounding like raindrops, and into the kitchen on the cold tiled floor. Clay turned around to see a little boy standing in the doorway. He was holding a cloth brown teddy bear with black button eyes and one ear.

“Hi, Daddy,” said the little boy jubilantly. Clay let out as much as a huff for a laugh as he watched the sleepy six-year-old rub his eye with his other free hand.

“Benji, isn’t it bedtime?” Clay asked quietly.

“I waited for you to come home!” Benji responded, opening his arms to receive a hug from Clay. Before Clay could move, Lisa walked over to Benji, kneeled down, and put her hands around Benji’s little waist.

“Daddy’s had a long day, so we should all go to sleep now. I’ll tuck you in.” Lisa picked Benji up into her arms and disappeared into the hall. They entered a room the was subtly illuminated by a nightlight. Clay stood in the kitchen staring at the door, knowing that he wouldn’t hear another sound for the rest of the night, knowing the door would never close.

 

Bitter Coffee Can Be Enjoyable


It’s intriguing to think that a casual, public place, such as a coffee shop, can allow deep self-discovery and insight into the world around you. Not everyone can say they’ve had this experience, but I’ve come to find that the coffee shop I regularly study at is my beacon for epiphanies and nostalgia. But what’s so special about the only Starbucks in Laramie, Wyoming? Well, nothing really. It’s not about the place, it’s about what happens inside this place. Since the beginning of college when I had found this tiny cafe, I am almost always there either studying, making art, or reading. My back-road journey begins with fifteen minutes of skateboarding before I arrive at my caffeinated workspace.

The clear glass doors always have some sort of smudges on them. Whether they be from little children smacking their sticky palms against it in attempts to enter through the heavy door to everyone pushing the door open with their oily hands rather than using the door handle, the smudges never cease to exist. Upon opening the glass door, a gust of black forest roast blend and salted caramel waft into my nose. I take a deep breath and inhale the coffee-scented air around me. The smell of bitter, black coffee reminds me of the times back home when I woke up to that same unsweetened fragrance. Halfway downstairs, the pungent combination of bacon and waffles swam around the air, misleading my nose to believe it was at a fancy breakfast restaurant. My father liked his coffee to be viciously bland and I would always ask him why he preferred it that way. He responded with the same typical answer: “Because it’s a reflection of my life.” That dialogue still occurs to this day.

As I reminisce, the gentle sound of conversation fades into my ears and I find myself back in the coffee shop, drifting away from memory lane. Inside the grey-walled cafe, I take four short steps to my usual table. For some reason, sitting at the first table on the left causes me to be the most productive than if I were to sit anywhere else in the building. Sitting down in the polished, wooden chair, I place my heavy backpack on the tiled floor and rest my skateboard against the wall. My taste buds begin to tingle as my eyes frantically scan the menu above the front counter. I examine the mouth-watering photos of various sandwiches and beverages, all portrayed in vibrant colors. My session of self-interrogation commences: What sounds yummy today? I’m not really hungry, but I do have ten dollars so I could treat myself. However, I did treat myself yesterday so maybe don’t spend more than needed. This silent soliloquy is delivered so often in the moment of decision that I should practically have it memorized. God! Why is this so hard? That’s what she said. Okay, focus, just get the same thing you always get. A moment passes as I stare at the menu through squinted eyes, struggling to convince myself to order the item I purchase every single time. It’s cheap. Sold!

The closer my caffeine-deprived self gets to the front counter, the more times I rehearse the line I’ll deliver to place my order. Preparing a request for a beverage is nothing like preparing for a Broadway musical, but I still get “stage fright” when talking to people. Even after knowing exactly what my stomach is yearning for, I pensively look at the menu, pretending that I’m observing all my options. To avoid being awkward, I wait until I see a worker walk my way in my peripheral vision to know when they are ready to give me service. The exchange begins with, “What can I get you?” My eyes glide up to a random item on the menu to give off the impression of looking at my desired drink.

“Can I have a small chai latte?” The worker nods their head and browses the buttons on their Toshiba monitor to place the order.

“That’ll be three eighty-nine.” The worker stares back at me, waiting to receive my dirt-green, paper bills. I grab my tiny orange wallet from my back jean pocket and pluck out the messy roll of one dollar bills. My hands shake slightly out of nervousness that I’m holding up the non-existent line behind me. The soft paper money lightly jitters in between my thumb and pointer finger as I hand it to the cashier. It’s humorous how anxious I get during any face-to-face encounter. It reminds me of the first time my shaky voice and I entered into a poetry slam. Essentially, I was overconfident and then suddenly nervous and froze at the beginning of my poem. Trying to read words on paper when shaking like a leaf is not a simple thing to do. It’s safe to say that was one of the most embarrassing moments in my life.

Practice makes perfect, I think to myself as I grab my hot paper cup and shuffle back to my table. I unpack my sticker-covered laptop and turn it on. On multiple occasions, I’ve received compliments about the array of bizarre stickers – from the cute tan teddy bear with yellow button eyes to the cartoonish neon-green alien in the pink spaceship. Little children love to stare at this art piece I call my computer while adults affirm the spunky aesthetic. I plug my headphones into my laptop and carefully scroll through the songs to find the one I’m dying to hear – Dream A Little Dream of Me by Doris Day. A small draft of air conditioning falls upon me from the ceiling. I look at the stimulated environment around me. Many students are tracing their fingers back and forth along the lines in their textbooks while others are scribbling in their notebooks, their faces pinched in concentration. The dim lighting of the room blends with the natural light of the setting sun, causing everyone’s skin to have a gentle glow. The scene makes me wonder what’s happening in the other customers’ minds. Some might be rapidly spitting out numbers and mentally talking themselves through their math homework. Others are probably peacefully reading or feeling scatterbrained, drafting what they wish to say to their crush or significant other. We can never truly know what someone else is thinking and in a populated environment, such as this coffee shop, it’s common for me to dive into my curiosity by silently analyzing the studious humans. Aside from their internal thoughts, I find myself wondering what kind of person they are. Usually, staring is not polite, so I repeatedly glance at others from across the room and identify how their clothing and study habits define who they are. I occasionally get too caught up in my secret psychoanalysis that it takes me a couple minutes to begin my own homework. Observing the world around me is a regular step in the process of beginning my school work.

I take the first long-waited sip of my latte, expecting a warm, flavorful taste. Instead, I tip the cup back a little too far out of anticipation and a steaming stream of scorching liquid immediately flows to my tongue. I jolt the burning beverage away from my lips and clench my teeth, attempting to recover from the burn as casually as possible. My taste buds feel sparky and my tongue feels like it’s throbbing. I move my tongue along the back of my bottom teeth, hoping my ability to taste will come back soon. The semi-painful feeling reminded me of a phrase my professor told me that is still perfectly locked in my mind: “Pain is either not that bad that you get used to it, or it’s so bad that it kills you.” Whenever I am in physical pain now, that is the first sentence that comes to mind and the pain slowly dissolves out of existence.

I allow some time to pass for the coffee to cool down before cautiously drinking more. The latte is now the perfect temperature and makes for a more heavenly experience. The cinnamon spice flavor satisfies my longing taste buds, so I take one more sip and place the cup gently on the corner of the tiny table. A distant memory walked into my mind of the time when my latte sat in the same position and my laptop screen covered the cup from my view. Enough time passed that I forgot about the coffee and backed my laptop further up the table to make some writing space. Suddenly, a sloshing splat audibly filled the room. I slowly leaned over to see that my beverage had spilled, creating a light brown puddle on the floor. Since then, I have learned from my mistakes and keep my drinks in plain sight at all times.  

It’s interesting how even the most insignificant details and unconscious actions can remind me of memories from my past. These mental cinematic moments allow me to revisit the times when leisure living existed, and I didn’t have to worry about the struggles of being an adult. My study spot lets me revisit cherished recollections but also introduces me to new understandings. Thanks to this small brown building, I realize I want to add a little sugar to my coffee because bitter, tasteless coffee is unsatisfying. Even to this day, I watch my father at the kitchen table, sipping on his unflavored beverage, grimacing at the way it slowly stains his teeth. The sugar bowl lays two feet away from his reach, yet he enjoys his homemade, flavorless coffee just the way it is. I look down at my own home styled coffee, analyzing its light hazel color. Swirls of white creamer and a small pillow of whipped cream swim in the hot liquid. Similarly, it resembles the same color of my chai latte from Starbucks. This coffee shop is the reason I realize that, even with bitter coffee, life can still be delightful.

A Bottle of Ignorance


This is different than the little green leaf

That I regularly smoke during the week

I hope you know what I’m talking about

But maybe your innocence has washed you out

For luckily, you’ve never experimented like this

With drugs that are so cruel, they give you bliss

This time, it’s not ignorance that fuels a result

It’s simply stimulants that put you at fault

I’m intoxicated as I write this right now

I can’t tell a lie, see the sweat on my brow

It brings out the best

It brings out the worst

It’s just a drunken poem

Go home and quench your thirst

Poem of the Week by Elise Bauman


Obviously, these were not my words and they were spoken a long while ago. Even though they are intended for her thoughts and feelings toward Inauguration day, Elise’s words are still relevant today in our daily lives. We truly are a nation of hypocrisy and we will never be able to move past our differences if we can’t see eye to eye. Luckily, we have taken a couple steps forward since the delivery of this poem but we still have kinks to work out. Maybe we as a society aren’t as broken as we used to be, but every day is always a new opportunity to better ourselves. Maybe you don’t even care about this poem or don’t find it relevant anymore, but its meaning goes beyond the political spectrum. I find this poem to be beautifully written (especially for a first-timer) and I slightly envy Elise for her passionate and flawless delivery. I was glad I could share this with you even though it’s far past its original publication. Hopefully, I could put this idea in the light again and make you think a little. Or maybe I just posted a beautifully spoken poem for you to enjoy. Either way, there you go! Now enjoy the rest of your day.