Let’s Get Personal

Sometimes you have words worth writing down every day for months at a time. Sometimes you can’t even open a word document for a month and a half. Sometimes you tell yourself you’re doing fine and you’re getting by despite every little task feeling like trying to push a boulder up a mountain. Sometimes you tell yourself and your friends that you’re happy and you are actually better off without him, like, you can’t even believe how dumb you were being. Thank GOD it only lasted five months. To the day- did I mention that? It happened on the fifth. Oh, I did mention it? Sorry, it gets hard to remember what I said sometimes. Yeah, no I’ve been getting sleep. I mean, maybe not enough, but I’m getting everything done. Haven’t called out of work yet. They’re actually really happy with how I’m fitting in there. Yeah. It’s exciting.

Sometimes you stop to think about how you’re doing. Like, how you’re really, truly doing. And it scares you so much you start listing the accomplishments you’ve made recently. You realize how easy it is to convince people you’re Happy and you’re Doing So Good, like You Should Write A Book On How You Got Over Your Depression. If Everyone Did What You’re Doing, I Think We’d All Be So Much Happier.

And sometimes you are doing good. Comparably, you’re doing a million times better. Side-by-side to your younger self? Unrecognizable. And you take pride in that. But sometimes your mood dips and a twinge of guilt takes up residence in your chest. You worry the worst isn’t actually over yet and this was just one long moment of clarity.

And as the years go on, you realize that might just be a part of depression. All the coping skills in the world and all the reworking thoughts can’t take it away. There will still be bad days and you might not get out of bed until 5 sometimes. And that’s okay. Because you’ve been through this before and you know the routine: feel bad until you don’t anymore and try not to ruin your whole life in the process. And you’ve gotten so good at not ruining everything.

Would 7-year-old me be proud of who I’ve become?

Sometimes it feels like I’m not myself anymore. But I am, I’m just growing. And changing. I’m finding my way in the world as an adult. Not that that’s new, it’s been a good few years now, but when I was first 18, I didn’t feel like an adult. Even when I turned 21 and I went out and bought a six pack even though I don’t drink, I felt like I was faking it.

But now it’s been a few years, I know my favorite brand of beer and I’ve voted five times. I’ve felt what it’s like to fall in love and I know all too well the hopelessness of heartbreak. I still live at home and I’m still trucking along in college, but both of those are nearing the end of their lifespan. I can’t help but wonder where I’ll be in five years. That feels like a more daunting question now than it ever has. Will I still be living five minutes from the beach? Will I still be friends with these people who’ve lived down the street from me our whole lives? Will I have started my career? Will I be happy?

Sometimes I wish I could go back to being 7, laying in the grass in the backyard of my childhood home, listening to the same song on repeat until I learned all the lyrics. Or until it got dark out. That song was eight minutes and four seconds long. It was a song from before I was born and I still remember most of the lyrics. I wanted to learn the words so bad for virtually no reason other than just wanting to. I would write on a piece of paper for weeks, all the lyrics to this song from my parents’ childhood. And eventually, I learned all the words. I never showed it off to anyone, I never sang it for anyone. I did that purely because I wanted to see if I could.

At the time, that was something that brought me the greatest dopamine rush. Nothing made me happier than to be able to swing on the swing-set, listening on my $30 off-brand mp3-player in the crisp spring air, and quietly singing all the words. It was my project and no one else’s. Nothing could’ve made me happier.

Maybe the key to feeling that freeness again is to pick up that habit again. I should do things for me, to make me proud, not anyone else. I’ve always been a firm believer in thinking: if 7-year-old me knew what I was up to, would they be proud of me?

Snowfall | #poetry #poetrycommunity

There’s a calmness in the winter

the stillness and the silence

bundling up under several layers

just to go watch the dog run around outside

and come back inside to a piping hot cup of hot chocolate

hands like icicles, wrapped around the mug, warming.

December can feel like a separate world from reality,

everyone bustling to get ready for the holidays

while maneuvering around the first real snowstorm of the season

and I sit here drinking my hot chocolate

and the world stops for a minute

and I know,

if only for a moment,

that everything

will be okay.

..

-Ren Marie-

Misguided | #poetrycommunity

I spent three hours last night

searching for a story I read seven years ago

it’s lost to the archives of the internet by now

and I can’t remember the name of it

but I kept searching

despite the truth being right in front of me.

I spent hours searching for something

for the fleeting feeling of nostalgia

or something familiar

And I spent this time searching,

ignoring the weight in my chest

because it’s easier to search

for something physical

than admit I’ve lost you.

We do silly things when we’re hurting

and we deny until we can’t anymore

but I don’t want to stop denying

that you’re gone for good

because I spent all this time

thinking it’d be forever

I’m not ready to admit

I may have been

misguided.

..

-Ren Marie-

Forgiveness

When I was debating you

and debating moving states

and cutting my hair

but I stayed stagnant

for the hollow feeling

of thinking I was wanted

I should’ve left

I should’ve been spontaneous

and I should’ve taken it as a hint

all the songs I cherished

about running away

maybe I should’ve, too.

It’s not new that I should’ve left sooner

but if I listened to the hurt inside me

just for a moment

I could’ve avoided the whole thing.

I could be better.

I get so stuck on the what-ifs

and the ways I could’ve been better

I forget that I did my best with what was handed to me

if I’d done everything perfectly

if I hadn’t stayed

if I hadn’t debated college

if I knew the outcome

and the way to get there without getting hurt at all

I wouldn’t be better off

I’d be bored

Completed | #poem

I know what love is

because I feel it

when the sun shines

and when the breeze

blew you into my life

and I know I love you

because I want to try

again.

I was so lost

I got out of bed out of spite,

now I do it so I can see your smile

and on days you’re not around

I do it because I want to.

Love is more than us

but it’s so strong with us

that I feel it even after you’ve gone

and I’ve always loved

I’ve loved the fall

and I’ve loved singing in the car

but they don’t complete me

like you do.

Creative Fiction Profile | Loneliness and Headaches

Anything to take the mind off this headache.

He lit up a smoke and slowly laid down, hands behind his head. He took a deep inhale and closed his eyes, ignoring the throbbing in his forehead and focusing on the feeling of the smoke in his lungs. He always enjoyed the feeling. Anytime someone tried to tell him it was going to give him cancer someday, he always rolled his eyes. The upsides always outweighed the downsides in his eyes. Whatever happens, happens; if he’s going to die, at least he’ll die happy.

He didn’t smoke cigarettes. That was the distinction he always made. Cigs had little redeeming qualities. He just smoked weed. It wasn’t as big of a deal. And it was legal here now, anyway, so who’s going to stop him? His mom? She lives across the country.

The weed always helped with the headaches. Even when it doesn’t make them go away entirely, it at least gives him a few hours of serenity. That’s all he can ever ask for. He isn’t one to complain about his life, he’s doing alright for himself, got a good group of friends and a job that pays well enough for his living habits.

If he has any complaints, though, it’s the loneliness that looms over him at night. It always happens around 11 PM. His friends one by one say goodbye for the night and he’s left there by 2 o’clock with a half-smoked spliff and an empty chest. When his friends ask him if he’s doing alright, he says he’s fine. He means it most of the time, too. Them reaching out to him is enough to make his heart a little warmer.

He can’t deny though, that when the last of the group leaves to go to bed, he feels a piece of his heart break more. For a while, he thought he’d be happy being single. He wouldn’t mind if he spends the rest of his days with his friends doing whatever they want every night after work. But after a few friends got married and drifted, he felt that the group was growing smaller and someday it would be just him.

The problem was, he’d been in relationships before and they always ended the same way. He had a track record for being cheated on and ghosted. After the fourth one came and went, he swore off dating for a while. He said it was only for a short period, until he regained his trust in romance. But weeks turned to months turned to years and now he ends every night with a bong rip and a sigh.

His headache started to drift away, and as did he. It was the middle of the day on a Saturday and he had plans at 7.

He awoke from his weed-induced nap with a rumbling stomach. The sun had already set. Before he had time to regain his bearings on the world, he heard a knock on the door. It was Mark. He brought a six-pack of their favorite beer and a new board game. The rest of the gang would be over shortly.


Five Years Later

Being 23 is nothing like what the movies make it seem like. At least not for me. Movie-23-year-olds are at their dream job, engaged to the love of their life, and have life figured out. I think watching movies like that did not prepare me for what being 23 is actually like.

Being 23 means you’re either still in school or you’re freshly graduated, and you’re so overwhelmed with what the rest of your life will look like that you don’t want to plan it out. You just want to nap. Or have a drink. But it’s only 4 in the afternoon and if you do either of those right now, it’ll ruin any plans you had for the night, so instead you try not to think about it.

I remember at my high school graduation the teachers asked us where we imagined we’d be in five years. Well, it’s been five years and I don’t think I could’ve predicted I’d be where I am. I figured I’d have my degree, I would’ve transferred from my community college to a four-year, then gotten my Bachelor’s in Writing or something of the sort. I didn’t think I would’ve changed my major four times just go to back to where I started. I didn’t think I would’ve switched schools after taking a year off. I definitely didn’t think that I’d still be in school now, barely even a Junior.

I remember when I graduated high school- I remember the feeling I had. I felt so free, I had so much to look forward to, so much ahead of me and it was only just beginning. I imagined that by 23 that feeling would’ve dissipated by now. I still feel like I’m only just beginning and I’m pretty sure it’ll feel like this for a while.

I think I’m at the point where I’m getting an idea of what I want to do with my future. I think the initial excitement of “wait, I can actually do whatever I want with my life???” has died down a bit and I’m thinking more realistically nowadays. There’s still a lot I want to do in my life, and I can’t even imagine where I’ll be in five, ten, fifteen years. I just hope that I’m happy. I just hope I’m going down the path I think is right for me, no matter what job I have, no matter where I live. I just want to be happy. I think that’s what I said when my teachers asked me that at my high school graduation, too. And I think I’m getting there.

Uncertainty

Am I where I should be?

Is this what I want?

Does anyone know what they want?

Or are they just blindly chasing a feeling?

People put on a reassuring smile

and say they’re happy,

they’re doing what they want

and “don’t worry, you will be, too.”

Sure, maybe they’re right

and I know I’m still young

but that doesn’t make this

uncertain feeling in my chest

go away.

.

Days all blend together

and I wonder if they’ll ever stop doing that.

An ever-changing world

I want to grow

I want to bloom

I want to look back on this time

and think of how much I’ve changed

for the better

and be proud of myself

I’ve always been growing

I’ll always be changing

I’ll always be looking back on the past

with a hint of nostalgia

and a wave of pride

because I’m always growing

and I’m always changing

and I used to think I would stop changing 

when I reach a certain age

but I don’t think that’s how it goes.

You learn new things

you find new hobbies

you find new things to talk about 

with strangers and with close friends.

I think it’s beautiful

how the world is always changing around us

and we’re changing, too.

if ever there comes a day

where I stop growing, stop changing

I hope it is my last

because if I can’t change with the world

then I can’t change the world.

.. Lauren Hayden ..