I haven’t written poetry in a really long time.

But tonight, I did.

Kind of.

It is an ache that does not wane,
does not abate
like the moon caving in under the cover of dark
It persists: a winter cough–
deep set and rattling my ribcage with each breath

It is an ache that does not go away,
not on bended, scraped-up knee,
not even if I pray,
It squeezes me in the arms I do not want,
holds me,
whispers it will never let me go,

my jealous lover that has never loved.

I am frustration, I am impassioned, I am a fucking thunderstorm.

I throw every scrap of paper away, every scrawling I attempt goes into the trash because I can’t make good things. I can’t conjure transference. I can’t bring the mental image to life for anyone else. It feels isolating. All I want to do is synthesize a feeling to share it with you and I am left chewing my tongue, talking in circles about the fireflies slowly dying on my sidewalk three weeks into October.

I keep thinking back to that week in March when I tried to kill myself. I want to tell him. I want to tell him because I have told nobody, but the words swirl and die on the tip of my tongue like the fireflies. I used to use my sparse student loan refund to try and buy happiness, and I guess it was a kind of happiness to know that I had something to look forward to, a special present coming to me from me in the mail. But it wasn’t real because it didn’t last, and the black water welled back up as soon as I opened my mail box and saw a package slip. It didn’t matter how sorely I had been awaiting whatever meaningless and overpriced lipstick I had ordered; all excitement dried to ash and blew away as soon as I didn’t have anything to wait on.

I am addicted to the inbetweenness. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. The torment of the unknown.

I don’t want to kill myself but I’ve been thinking about how I felt when I did. I am sad right now, and frustrated, but I don’t want to kill myself. I am finally insured again. The little plastic card absolving me of future medical debt (and a portion of my paycheck) arrived this week, and that did bring me some relief. I will owe the government the healthcare penalty because I was not hired quickly enough, but at least I have this small safety net that, should something happen to me, or should I get ill, I won’t be left in financial ruins. I have been putting my mom off about seeing a therapist with my lack of insurance. That’s not an excuse now. I have no idea what I’m afraid of.

If I had to make a guess and shrink my own head (which I do recreationally, as you know), I would say that I still, on some level, don’t feel worth it. I don’t want to die, especially not by my own machinations, but I don’t necessarily feel like this fucked up body+brain combination is worth investing much in. The bald and ugly truth is that, yes, I am 25 years and 6 months and 5 days old and I still don’t like myself. I have positive qualities I’m told, and I suppose I’m pleasant enough–God knows I do make effort to treat others kindly, as someone who has been on the receiving end of malice…yet I find myself nearly wholly unsatisfied with every atom of my composition. I don’t feel nice when I automatically make snap judgments in my head about people or assumptions about their behavior. When I catch a glimpse of my body in a mirror, I try not to physically recoil. When I think about my accomplishments, I think about the things that I have not been able to achieve, and the mountain of failure eclipses the molehill of success.

I have wanted to be a writer my whole entire life. I have read books voraciously, I have studied grammar, I have taken the most challenging English classes available to push myself into honing some kind of skill with words, but I am not motivated, and that is all that really matters. I am not motivated to write much of anything these days, and while part of it is definitely due to the fact that I self-sabotage, and part of it is due to this feeling of disconnection I have with the greater world, much of it is because writing is so god damned hard sometimes. It’s hard and I tell myself I would fail anyway, so why even waste time?

But all I do outside of work is waste time. I used to play video games every single day. Religiously I would plug my headphones in and turn my brain off, if only for a few hours. I would focus as best I could on leveling up or completing sidequests or, hell, making a Sim resembling myself work her fingers to the bone so she could live comfortably in a large house.

I haven’t played any games in a while, but I haven’t replaced that time with anything. Lying in bed scrolling on my phone is less productive. I read Reddit threads about paranormal activity, cringey experiences, life’s nagging questions, but I produce nothing and return nothing. I don’t comment because I’m shy. I don’t write anything but lesson plans. Sometimes I’ll think of a line and write it down, but like I said before, it all ends up getting pushed aside because I invariably hate it.

My tongue feels numb and I’ve been crying just a little bit through all of this. I need to get out of this bed and do something other than dwell on my perceived personal failures. I’m just so unmotivated to change even though all I do is rake myself over the coals, even in my dreams. I don’t let myself set goals really anymore because I don’t let myself feel like I’m worth the planning.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a really strong sense of self-worth and that needs work. I need to want more for myself than base survival…to develop into a more full and whole person instead of so many fragments.

This has been disjointed. Welcome for a moment to my brain. And I’m sorry.

A good eyeliner day.

Look in the mirror at yourself and nothing’s amiss. You’ve learned how to plaster yourself with just enough foundation (and in the correct shade) to make you look less like a palette of colors and more like a blank canvas. Eyeshadows carefully selected to complement each other–but never neutrals because you find them dull. Eyeliner, replete with wings, extending out and up at the perfect angle, large enough to notice behind your glasses. And, finally, lipstick chosen to work with and not against your dramatic eyes. Completeness achieved.

At least, for the moment, because life is a string of moments and life is always changing.

You’re tired.

No,

I’m tired. Very, very tired. I don’t want to say I’ve thrown myself back into the arms of sadness or anything over the top like that. I know that I am run down emotionally, and perhaps (once again) expecting too much of the only person I could spend every waking moment with.

Living in your own head, completely alone, is pure torture to me at times. I value my independence and my agency, I value being able to function as a single human unit, I value my own thoughts and feelings, but I think about Genesis P-Orridge and Lady Jaye, and I think about fusion, and I think about that horrible unknowable lens that we have to view others through, and I can’t help but feel like there’s something distinctly missing. I am not enough for myself, for some reason, and I don’t know that I ever will be.

I feel fleetingly proud of altering my appearance to a level of heightened attractiveness, because I do not ever perceive myself to be attractive. Even if I were thin–and I am screechingly far from that–I still have a large nose, crooked and off-colored teeth, puncture scars on my arms, stretch marks aplenty, and a burst blood vessel on my right asscheek to contend with. And trust me, I could go on, but I don’t want this to become a catalog of my physical sins.

I don’t even know what the point of all of this is. I just needed to type at a screen. There are more important things going on that what I’ve chosen to talk about, but I think I need a little more distance to discuss it with any effectiveness.

The same old view made new.

It’s beautiful outside of my window today. The hillside is just starting to catch fire with the blaze of autumn as we creep to the thick of September. I’m up early, and not because I have to be. I have sat here in this room so many times before, looking up to the point where the trees seem to brush the sky, branches as arms reaching high. And every single time, the view is different.

It was different when I was 14 and full of all of these unknowns that made me sick to my stomach. When my grandmother had just died, and I was questioning the longevity of any of my friendships or relationships at all, I would find my escape and solace in music and solitude, convincing myself that I was not in fact a social creature and needed to be “pure” by cutting myself off from anyone that might be interested in what I had to say. Then, the fading greens were actually grey and withered, just like everything else in my periphery, and spring seemed too far away to hope for.

It was different when I was 22, swinging back up out of the worst depressive period of my short little life. I had just moved back into my childhood bedroom from college, armed with a degree and hope. And the only “he” that mattered for the past four years was back, too, and my future seemed so big and so wide open and exciting, and I hadn’t felt excited in such a very long time. Spring had arrived, and so the world had burst into life. I spent my summer drunk on both bottom shelf vodka and hope. The green was electrifying.

It was different when I was 23, because what a difference a year can make. My father was in the hospital, and had been and would be for six terrifying months of wondering if he’d ever make it out again. I did not have a job and was back and forth from home to the hospital two hours away, staying in my aunt’s bedroom and sustaining myself on Facebook chats with “him” and reruns of Sleepy Hollow. Try as I might, I couldn’t distract myself from the fear that ate me from within. When I looked out my window, everything was dark. I was awake with the moon and it seems like I can’t remember one instance of a bright night. The trees were skeletons and they were black and they mirrored everything I was feeling inside.

Now, I’m 25. I started a new job on August 15. It’s still a teaching gig, and I’m still teaching math, but GET THIS: I only have ONE lesson plan to do each week. One. I teach the same subject all day long. This group of kids is different, too; they’re eager to please and ready to learn. Sure, I have a couple of behavioral issues to work out, but the difference between last year and this year is night and day. Literally. I will never say I’m 100% cured from anxiety or thought demons, but I have a life. I feel so much better. I am not in my most perfect, ideal situation, but I can work with this. I can dedicate myself to knowing the subject better and more completely. I can be a better teacher to my kids. I can do things outside of school and not feel guilty for not devoting every ounce of myself to work or work-related things.

I feel like respiration is finally possible for me again. When I think about the future, I don’t think about how much better it would be if I wasn’t in it. Just months ago, that wasn’t true. I want to do better. I want to be better. I want to do things that improve my situation.

For now, I am content with the view outside of my window with the knowledge that even when autumn hits and the leaves are dying and the trees are going to sleep, change is coming, and it’s all cyclical, and it’s not all quite so terrible.

Pour toi.

Much of the time, my mind is unquiet. Anxiety is the devil on my shoulder, keeping me occupied with what-ifs that never come to fruition.

But he is the blessed silence of familiarity, the dark comfort that gives me rejuvenative rest.

I would walk through fire for him. I would go to the ends of the Earth and beyond. I would sacrifice–beg–search endlessly if it meant that his life could be easier or better.