Anxiety

Anxiety. Being afraid of being afraid of something you know it does not make sense to be afraid of.

Anxiety. Replaying conversations over in your head for days after because you know you sounded like an idiot & the person you we’re talking to will probably never want to speak to you again.

Anxiety. Being afraid of any small thing, good & bad, your body feels because the bad feelings mean you are dying & the good feelings are your body readying you for your swift death.

Anxiety. Staying up sun rise to moon set because you had a dream that was definitely a premonition & something catastrophic is sure to happen if you close your eyes.

Anxiety. The destroyer of worlds.

Most everyone has suffered from anxiety at one point or another but it isn’t spoken of out if fear of sounding foolish or being brushed away.

Don’t let your anxiety over your anxiety keep you from reaching out. We’re here. to listen. We’re here to help. Breathe in. Breathe out.

Parade

You ask if I’m getting out if bed today, with attitude, as if I am the laziest person alive. Yes, I am getting out of bed today & I want a fucking parade because it will take every ounce of me to step out of that bed & to put my feet on the floor. It will take every ounce of me to fake my existence with perfectly timed smiles & pretending to sneeze when I feel water burning behind my eyeballs. It will take every ounce of me to keep up with conversations while working so hard to detangle the black thoughts that haunt my mind. I deserve a fucking parade.

Without

Tell me, do the androids seriously dream of electrical sheep? If not, then why do I dream so? You do not hear me. Every part of me has conjured up everything that can to tell you I’m sorry. I’m not crafty enough? The exhaustion has made me question my life. So I go forth with the equipment I have. As do you. I am no shining armor. Who has time to clean? I just wished you fought the fire with me, douche bag.

Within the void.
Robbie.

A New Poem

Mark the page of the dictionary, darling, so that I’ll never forget the word to describe you

You will always be my definition of love
Whenever someone asks me
What love feels like,
I will smile.
You.
It feels like you. Your hand,
Firm, protection,
Around my waist. Just above the
Curve of my hip.
Like you were putting the
Pieces of me
Together and turning every
Dream I’d ever had into
A vision of
Technicolour.
A spectrum of light and you were
Every shade.

-Amy Beecham

To see more from Amy, visit her blog The Girl and the Words or her Twitter page.

Anxiety

Anxiety has been a part of my life since before I had the language for it. Over the years it will wax & wane— sometimes for good reason but oftentimes (and more frustratingly) out of nowhere. In July I got really sick, or at least I felt really sick, but no trip to the ER or urgent care returned any results. In August, I had panic attacks more frequently than I’d had in years & I started to worry about the snow & how I would handle the winter blues if I couldn’t handle the summer. I got so frustrated with myself— “my life is better than ever, why can’t I just be a human?” & I forced myself to conquer fears (hi, I have stage fright but I’m gonna act in front of a bunch of strangers for the first time ever at 28) just to prove to myself that I could. The only thing that ever really helps my anxiety is yoga (mind) & eating clean (body) so I decided to commit myself to both for 30 days using the #whole30challenge (no sugar, carbs, booze, etc). To most people this was stupid (I get it) & I don’t know if these things really “cleanse” anything physical, but for me— it’s a mental reset, a challenge to conquer just so I know I can. I don’t believe any diet or lifestyle is right for every person, & I don’t believe in shoving your choices (even your good ones) down other people’s throats (sorry, crossfit friends) but I think if you can find something that fixes your shit you should make it a priority.

Anxiety

5:32am.
No you can’t hit snooze.
Grab your phone.
Facebook says everyone is fine. Get up.
Where are your slippers?
Where are your fucking slippers!?
More people shot today; more hate and fear on tv.
Choke ’em back, go get dressed.
Look at you. You haven’t looked yet.
You don’t wanna look.
The scale fucking LIES.
The news fucking LIES.
Fuck these damn pants!
You guess you like this skirt instead.
OH SHIT! You lost track of time.
IDIOT.
Better hang your head and make the late call.
You’ve been fucking up a lot recently.
WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?

NOTHING. I am human. I am worthy. I am always learning. I am always enough.

-M

The Truth

You left me. You left my love because your parents told you they’d shun you from their love if you didn’t. As if being gay is still taboo.

I’m a parent’s dream for their kid: good job, good pay, paid off my car, I don’t do drugs, I’m living on my own, I cook, clean, and repair things, I’m 23 and paid my way through a foreign country, I speak multiple languages, have a degree, great with kids and all I want is their daughter to be happy and safe. That’s my priority. Why wouldn’t you want your kid with someone like that?

I remember when we met, it was like one of those movie scenes. Time stops with you, and it feels like we are the only two people in the world. I have never loved anyone more in my life. I know it hurts you as much as it hurts me to stop this. The world accepts us and sees our love is pure. Just not your world. I wish your parents loved you enough to love who you loved.

I’m not sure how to let you go. It feels like having to decide between losing my arm or my leg. I will always want you to be part of my life. You told me to find someone who is like you but willing to fight for me. My heart has never hurt more to hear that. I know i will be ok. I’m just not ready to let you go yet.

Scatter the Ashes of Our Love For Me One More Time

Write about me, you said
But how can I when I don’t know
How the syllables of my name would sound
And taste
On your tongue?

I was in love with a boy like you once
He had your eyes, your soft face
A smile that lit up a thousand streets and
Brought people out from the houses to bask in
It’s brightness

A boy who changed the weather;
A sunrise on the cloudiest morning
Who looked at me like I was the solution
To every problem he’d ever had
The missing piece
Of the puzzled life he was trying so hard to fit together

There was something different
About him from the rest
Maybe it was the way his hands
Were matches and set alight
Every part of my body
And I let myself burn and burn and burn
For him and only
Him

I know that you won’t make me burn, but darling I wish you would.

-Amy Beecham

To see more from Amy, visit her blog The Girl and the Words or her Twitter page.

Fixing Us

I thought I was doing the right thing, you know. In a weird way, it felt like something I had to do. I had to cut myself off – for both of our sakes, because there was nothing more I could do for you. We played the same game, fought the same fights round after round and both of us seemed to lose every time. I couldn’t bear to watch us destroy ourselves anymore. I was done, played out. Confused, exhausted, angry, hurt and everything in-between.

I’d always assumed that we’d carry on the way we were forever, you know. We were Monica and Rachel, Blair and Serena. A team. We’d walked the same paths together, lived the same things, carried each other and stood side by side and hand in hand for most of our lives.

But we began to fade. Slowly at first, but then we spiralled deeper and deeper out of control and out of love.

Maybe it was your fault.

Maybe it was mine.

I’m sure we’d blame each other.

You spoke a different language that I was tired of having to translate. Somewhere in the labyrinth of your mind, I lost my way. You changed the route – the one I was always so sure of- and I was left alone. That’s when I decided that I couldn’t fix you, and that part of me didn’t want to.

In each other’s eyes we saw different things, and I wasn’t sure I liked my own reflection.

So I gave up: on you, on us. On everything we had and hadn’t yet become. It seemed easier that way, like ripping off a plaster in one go, to just get it over with. They do say a clean cut heals faster. But ours was far from clean.

We had everything, and yet nothing to say to each other. Always hidden behind screens, terrified by the bruises we might leave. I wanted you to hear me, but the words caught in my throat and left a bitter taste on my tongue. Like disappointment. Cutting myself off from you, I thought, would stop me from getting hurt, but those same cuts ran deeper and frustration spilled from them and stained my clothes.

For the first time in my life you made me vulnerable. I was scared of myself and the things I was thinking, the way I was feeling. But most of all, I resented you. Because you didn’t do the thing I thought you would. You didn’t act the way I wanted you to,

I pushed you away because I expected you not to let me. I wanted you to choose me, to choose us.

But you didn’t.

So I stopped trying, and tried to stop caring. My wires were exposed and your hands were made of knives. It was too risky for me to take another chance and I didn’t think you were worth it anymore. You weren’t the same person, but what I failed to realise is that neither was I.

Do you know what made me come back to you? You were just as surprised as I was to see me, so suddenly and out of the blue, holding a white flag in the midst of no mans land, carefully treading over the growing cracks in our relationship and trying to build a bridge.

I remembered New Years Day, waking up alone in the bed we were supposed to share because I thought you were going to throw up from all the vodka jelly and jager you promised my mother you wouldn’t have. How you read the message from the boy I’d told I loved him the night before because I couldn’t bear to do it. The sadness in your eyes when you said it’s lovely, but I don’t think it’s what you wanted to hear. You hugged me and we drank tea and chatted over hazy memories of laughter and buttered toast on my kitchen floor. I remembered that and thought, you were the person that was there for me in one of my weakest moments. When the illusion I’d created for myself came crashing down, it was you stood with the dustpan and brush offering to sweep me up. And it made me wonder why I could do the same for you just one more time.

I’m sorry I put you on pedestal and then punished you when you couldn’t reach.

I’m sorry that I expected too much of you and I’m sorry that I left you when you needed me the most.

When we’re young, everything is so clear cut, so definite. Good and bad. Right and wrong.

But as we grow older, that line merges. The sea of morality becomes murkier, dirtier, and we can no longer see our toes in the sand underneath. We become uprooted, unstable, swept away by a tidal wave of emotion. Because we’re human. We make mistakes. It’s what we do best.

We were a tropical storm, you and I. But we passed.

I promise you that, slowly, I’ll try and fix us, but only if you promise to let me.

-Amy Beecham
To read more of Amy’s writing, visit her blog The Girl and the Words.

There Is Nothing That Doesn’t Touch Us

Light refracted and infused with life. Intricate colors pour out onto the canvas of my sleeve-worn heart. There is nothing that doesn’t touch me. Things that seemingly have nothing to do with me grab at my soul and demand my attention. I am the man who just lost his wife. I am the girl who cries because the guy she loves doesn’t love her back. I am the giver and the taker alike. There is nothing that doesn’t touch me. I am found in the quiet solitude of a just-ended summer rain. I am found in the noisy roar of a city that’s wide awake. Every time someone dies, I lose. Every time someone is born, I rejoice. There is nothing that doesn’t touch me. I am woven into the fabric of every life that has come and gone and yet to be. You and I…we’re the same person. There is nothing that doesn’t touch us.

Lee Brown

Love Letter

I have collected all our letters, notes and diaries, which were written by ourselves, since high school. It has been 9 years. It’s more than one month since she leaves. She’s holding those papers, wishing she will forgive my stupid things. Leaving my hometown just for her. Now in this huge city, it’s strange that I am so lonely, but true. She will make up my days, enjoy street foods with me, hug me… hopefully you can do something magical.

-Minh Phan

Nobility

What is in a word, in this word, in any word for that matter? We speak and think and consume these words, this endless being of expression, but they always seem to fail us. We can’t even trust the dictionary. It gives us conflicting ideologies of “Well… the word means this, yet it also means this, depending on the context, of course.” One is truth, honor, goodness even, while the other leads us to negativity, to falsity, to that dark place we are all trying to escape with too much medicine.

So I am proposing a new idea: no longer shall we express ourselves and the world around us with words. Let’s sit in silence and speak with colors, with music, with weather and seasons. Let’s finally take advantage of the commodities around us and eliminate the noise. No longer should we accept the archaic acts of words when there is so much more out there to utilize our emotions.

Cry in color, write in harmonies, speak with the sun.

Stacey Renberg

Beach Bums

Let’s go to the Maldives. We can get a hut. It’ll be one of those huts surrounded by water on three sides with a long bamboo dock to lead us back to land when we’re ready. We can relax. You’ll finally be able to breathe and sleep. I will be tan, thin, and happy. You’ll sing me lullabies and we’ll eat fresh mangoes as the sun sets and the ocean waves us into slumber.

Stacey Renberg

Time To Write, Time To Right

Every few months I have a crisis. Whether it’s an existential one or a melodramatic one, it happens nonetheless. Most people might seek professional help or prescribed medication, but talking to strangers and doping myself up with mood relaxers have never been particular interests of mine. I deal with this so-called existence of mine by writing. It might seem too simple or too easy to fix my many problems related to death, fear, failure, and loneliness, but the truth of the matter is that yes, writing is the only thing that can truly help a person deal with their demons.

For writers like my classmates and myself, writing is an unconscious activity. We could do it in our sleep and in fact, sometimes we do, but why is it that for the average person writing is considered a chore when it could prevent a depressed, stressed, or possibly even mad person deal with their problems in ways they have never even considered?

The answer is that everyone is so damn afraid to be honest, to say what they really mean. With writing, you can tell the truth, you can use words and language to state exactly what your mind wants to say. Stop writing off writing as a pedantic activity. You don’t have to be an ivy league graduate to write something intelligent, something sincere.

To paraphrase J.D. Salinger, “I’m not writing for the critics; I am writing for myself.”  Whether you want to share your writing with the world or you only want to keep your writing to yourself, put your thoughts down. Go back and re-read it all. Learn from your mistakes. Go out and make new ones. Write down everything you can think of and then go write some more. It’s therapeutic and it will help you.

Writing is important and ignoring it won’t make it go away. Don’t let the man get you down and even if he does, write about it. Fill notebook after notebook with complaints, poems, stories, and desires. Release the crisis from your body before it has the chance to take you over. Whether you are feeling too much or not enough at all, purge it all onto the keyboard or through your favorite pen. I promise you’ll feel much better, if only for a few moments.

-Stacey Renberg

Note: This post first appeared on the University of Nebraska Omaha MFA blog. Check out their blog for posts by some of the program’s writers and professors. You can visit it here.