My eyes feel tired from crying, like I’ve been crying all afternoon. I haven’t. All I had was a meltdown.

If I could describe what I’ve been feeling lately in one word, it would be: dread.
In another word: empty.
In another: desperate.

They say on the good days, you’re supposed to feel like what you’re doing is right, like you can and will work hard to deserve the work you’re given, like this is where you’re meant to be. My good days are simply days I managed to survive through. My good day thoughts are, “One down. How many more do I have to go before I’m finally allowed to be selfish and do something for me?”

I told my best friend I didn’t know if it was work or depression. Maybe it was how they collided, how each one expected to be put leagues ahead of the other. If I give up work, my life loses its current structure and becomes heavier. If I pursue work more closely, I might decide I want nothing to do with my life.

I currently want nothing to do with my life.

I had a breakdown this morning. After I rose early and realized I wanted to escape this day, after hour after hour passed with me making excuses and dodging responsibilities, after the time had finally come that I was “too late” and no longer had an alibi to save my skin: I had a breakdown this morning.

My sister left the condominium and my soul went unbearably quiet to the world’s steel coldness. Music did not feel like anything to me. I returned to my bed and there: suddenly, the air around me thickened and felt like water I was drowning in. I was floating in a fishbowl and I couldn’t breathe. I was so scared of myself because in those moments I didn’t care about anything.

I didn’t care about my work, I didn’t care about what happened to me next, I didn’t care about whether I might just die in place or not. That amount of apathy was too much responsibility for me, that emptiness was too large and too dark. I was scared that I might trust it. I was scared that I was very close to that point where I couldn’t go on anymore. I was scared that that was it. I was giving up on myself.

I was absolutely terrified because I knew with every fiber of my pain that I was right: that was definitely what it felt like to almost give up on myself.

So I ran.

What if this sound could bring you peace?via Nate Eul, Flickr

You wake up long before your alarm sets off, the one you love still asleep beside you. The room is half-lit, your favorite kind of place. The world is a half-reality that is there but does not quite reveal itself. It is understanding, gracious.

It is raining outside, purposefully packing away your obligations for the day. You wish you didn’t have anywhere else to be, and so you make plans to remain. You allow yourself to not exist.

The one you love shuffles beside you. Says they don’t remember falling asleep. Something whispers that you don’t remember falling in love, but you decide not to say it out loud. It is too quiet for loud recollections, still too sacred for memory to join you.

But memory joins you. The light awakens to try to blind you back into the fears and doubts you have been having for days, the chill fades into the dull hum of cars outside, the grey world finally intruding.

Your love has to leave.
Says thank you, says they love you.
Says nothing to your demons.

Leaves.

You let them, they have to. But the chill of the tranquil and the intimate leaves with them. It is suffocating, and the loving rain now means blocked pathways. Obligations unfold from their false hopes to announce that they have multiplied.

The world brightens. You do not greet it.

I finally get a (Sun)day where the world slows down. I finally got to sleep in, only to wake up and find my head quiet.

Much of what I’ve been trying to do lately is give, or in a sense just keep saying or doing things outwardly.  I exert myself for work, and then I come home and think about how much I want to be giving to people I care about. And then I proceed to do what I can.

It doesn’t make much sense, I think, outside of my own thoughts. A giver is the kind of person I have always, always wanted to be. I get drained from the giving anyway. I’ll cry and complain the clock round. But I aim to see it as a stretching exercise for my heart or spirit, a conditioning if you must, for a long life of continual giving. That’s the life I intended for myself, so I intend to have it.

No, I don’t have an explanation why I’m so unfit for the kind of person I wanted to be if that’s who I’ve wanted to be since forever. Maybe I was a giver once, and it didn’t pay off. Or it exhausted and bruised me. Maybe those are memories I don’t have anymore. I meant it when I said I don’t know.

I think I’ll just return to being thankful for this slow day, to focusing on where I am.

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When I finally fall in love and agree to forever, be warned. This is how it will feel:

1. I will fall asleep to you and wake up to you. The rest of my life will consist of waiting to fall asleep again.

2. When there is anyone else, I will need them to know that you and I are one and the same.

3. The more I love you, the more I will believe in a God. (I hope you will too.)

4. When my heart breaks, it folds like a cave. I will be a mountain that cannot hold itself together.

5. (I hope you plant flowers at the openings.)

More and more of my letters are addressed to the months of the year, and I haven’t decided if I find it funny or sad.

As life takes me away into a situation I know I wasn’t ready for, I get lonelier. My phone book is filling up but none of them are people I can call at the proverbial 3AM. My hands have started looking for addresses to write to or paper to write on but I have found none. And so I write to time.

I give myself numbers to hold tight to. Two weeks, and you can share your salty thoughts. Five months, and you can write down a milestone. A year, and you can say you’ve done enough. I give myself time, and I tell myself it’s just time. It’s just weeks. It’s just months. You’ve done it twenty-one times, at least.

It’s still not enough to compose me. My life seems split unevenly between things that matter and waiting for the things that matter to find me. Or love me back.

I am having trouble being loved back.

What hurts is trying to make up for it by giving love even more and what hurts is I don’t have an idea if it’s working. All I feel is lonelier, and emptier. All I start to think of is maybe October has always been dark blue to me.

Despite the love I used to find in October and despite someone always wanting to hold my hand, October is dark, unfriendly blue. It is the onset of lonelier things, of personal winters. It is the recurring question of whether or not I can live inside my own head for much longer.

Loves, it is so damn lonely inside my head.

The first months after you, I started collecting receipts. Come to think of it, it may have started at the airport, with the credit I bought just to say goodbye again and again as if I could learn to do it that way. I kept the receipt to remember that day, because I always thought I would come back. So on every receipt I drew a circle around the date, maybe for the same reason people leave tracks in the forest. They can always go back home, whether they remember the way or not.

I held your large hands with one of mine and the other covered my eyes while you took out my tracks one by one. It took me a while to think that maybe I was never angry at myself for letting you do that. I was angry with you for turning me into the kind of person who would let you.

I never blamed you for leaving. I forgive you, still, for wanting to leave and for your willingness to forget me in a blink. I forgive you for the day you chose me over her (but never told me) and I forgive you for the day we became friends, when you made a promise to yourself that you would always protect me.

You inspired a lot of badly written poetry, not because I broke my heart but because I didn’t. Not because I loved you but because you were my friend. Friends forgive friends.

Your every wish compelled me. Your forbiddenness lured me. I lived in a vortex of 3AM closing coffee shops, staring like you felt the same things I did and stepping forward telling me you weren’t ready to leave. I forgive you for looking at me the way you did, I forgive you for making the streets behind you slow down and the city lights all around us fade to gold, persimmon, an undiscovered shade of white.

I forgive you for calling me iridescent.

You never made me feel like I was first, yet you had me thinking that 2AM New York street was my doing. Your friends cared more than you ever did and I forgive them too. I wonder if you knew how different things would have been if anyone had looked me in the eye for a second. They knew so well what was going on, and you were just another boy with large hands erasing my way home while I covered my eyes.

I don’t know if I managed to remember home, or if I found a new one.

But I remember something of home, some more sins, some more graveyards, some more missing apologies. I remember white lies, twisting my mind like a boy scout’s rope, repeating to myself, “It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter.” I remember pretty girls’ names. I remember justifications. I remember my insecurities rising like a constant high tide, tossing me inwards like a misled ocean wave, telling myself I was crazy when I should have been telling myself I deserved a quiet mind.

It still matters; I forgive you. I still see their faces; I forgive you. I am still drowning, I am still crazy, I still deserve a quiet mind, I forgive you.

I never did learn how to say goodbye. All those encircled dates never did lead me home.

I have ripped my skin off my hands and rearranged my ribs to forgive you. But the moon will set itself on fire before I forget all the apologies I never got.

***

Prompted — or more accurately, triggered — by this image.

1.

“Man starts over again everyday, in spite of all he knows, against all he knows.” (Emil Cioran)

2.

if you have the courage
to make it through a lonely night
with nothing but
your self destructive thoughts
to keep you company,

darling, you have
the courage to make it through
anything.

(“silent nights” by typical treatment.)

3.

“Try and stay fresh and engaged and have something in your heart that you want to say [that] feels important to you.” (Stephen King)

4.

“I don’t want to look back in five years time and think, “We could have been magnificent, but I was afraid.” In 5 years I want to tell of how fear tried to cheat me out of the best thing in life, and I didn’t let it.” (sublime-flowers)

5.

“I would like to be known as an intelligent woman, a courageous woman, a loving woman, a woman who teaches by being.” (Maya Angelou)

6.

“Some days are like this. And the only way to get through them is to remember that they are only one day, and that every day ends.” (David Levithan, Six Earlier Days)

7.

“If you care about something enough, it’s going to make you cry. But you have to use it. Use your tears. Use your pain. Use your fear. Get mad.” (Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary Of a Part-Time Indian)

8.

“Whenever you’re going through a bad day just remember, your track record for getting through bad days, so far, is 100%; and that’s pretty damn good.” (pain-is-temporary-keep-fighting)

9.

Some women are
Lost in the fire.
Some women are
Built from it.

(michelle k.)

10.

“You’ll figure that out. The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.” (Lost in Translation, 2003)

11.

“People will love you. People will hate you. And none of it will have anything to do with you.” (Abraham Hicks)

12.

“You will always be too much of something for someone: too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. If you round out your edges, you lose your edge.” (Danielle LaPorte, The Positivity of Pride)

13.

“Be as you wish to seem.” (Socrates)

14.

“I am learning every day to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me.” (Tracee Ellis Ross)

15.

“‘Why the fuck not me?’ should be your motto.” (Mindy Kaling)

16.

“Never bend your head. Hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye.” (Helen Keller)

17.

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” (Brene Brown)

18.

“My darling, you are allowed to fail without being a failure. You are allowed to make mistakes without becoming one. More opportunities will present themselves, you will find hope again.” (rustyvoices)

19.

“Having a soft heart in a cruel world is courage, not weakness.” (Katherine Henson)

20.

“There’s power in looking silly and not caring that you do.” (Amy Poehler)

21.

“Always be kinder than you feel.”