Tag Archives: friendships

What I Think About When I Think About Sleep

I can’t sleep because my heart is beating too loudly. The beats are steady and average but with every passing second, the cacophony as they open and close, open and close becomes consuming. There are no other sounds in the room and, in the silence, that organ beneath my ribs may as well be screaming as it works to keep me alive and breathing. And awake.

I can’t sleep because I have too many bills to pay. My paychecks are abysmal and they barely stretch to cover my credit cards, insurance, cell phone, loans, and expenses. I have a birthday present to buy, due dates are approaching, and what about food to feed myself? What about going out next weekend? Do I still owe him money? I hope I can pay him next week. Living paycheck to paycheck is terrible. One day I won’t have to. One day.

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I can’t sleep because I’m agitated about work. I’m tossing and turning and with every movement, the inner recesses of my mind are swimming with unknowns. Is my job is secure? Do my coworkers like me? Am I doing well? Am I what they want? Am I exceeding expectations? Am I underwhelming? The more I sink into my thoughts, the harder it is to breathe. I beg sleep to come to take it all away, if only just temporarily. It doesn’t.

I can’t sleep because I want too many things. I want to have a place of my own. I want to have a life I’m proud of. I want to see my grandparents more. I want to travel. I want that dress from Anthropologie. I want to go to grad school. I want to pay off my loans. I want to not want everything.

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I can’t sleep because I miss you. I miss the way you look when you wake up in the morning and how you play with my hair before we go to sleep. I miss drinking copious amounts of wine and telling each other how much we’re in love. I miss seeing you at the end of a bad day and feeling like everything is suddenly okay. I miss feeling the scratch of your beard on my cheek when you hug me tight. I can’t sleep when I know you’re not going to be next to me in the morning.

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Oyster

How did this happen? How did I become this twenty-one year old college graduate? Here I am, this pseudo-adult entering the real world equipped with nothing but a piece of paper and a mountain of debt. It seems so preposterous that this can be the scenario – that I am by social standards ready to be pushed from the nest and willed to fly. But perhaps, it’s not so preposterous that I’m here but rather, how I got here; this is what confounds my mind.

And I know. It’s horribly cliché to reflect on your “college years.” There’s been far too many Facebook status’, dramatic speeches, absurd photos, and Tweets from outside parties that have made this whole reminiscing process wildly redundant, annoying, and utterly nauseating. Yet, despite all of that, I still sit here with my head in my hands – trying to shake these sober spins – thinking of what these past four years really meant.

The seventeen-year old me would have never recognized this girl, (woman? Am I supposed to call myself that now?), that looks back at me through the mirror as I brush my teeth in the morning. And I know that that’s a great thing – change. But no one really prepares your seventeen year-old self for the changes you’ll undergo in college. And I think I love that there are no preparations because it forced me to jump into the lion’s den with no armor. Where high school is awkward, pubescent, and wildly dramatic in all the most humiliating ways, college is raw, emotional, and absolutely incredible in all the most I-want-to-be-young-forever ways.

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Lightening Strikes The Heart

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There are dozens of proverbs and worn-out clichés about how every person you cross paths with in this life – friends, lovers, one-night stands – is supposed to be there. The reasons why they are there are unknown. Are they to teach us a lesson? Are they to help us to grow? Or are they there simply to prove we aren’t alone? Whatever the reason, there are always those people that you come across that change your entire world, if only for a moment. They make you question everything you know or have known and in a flash, they’re gone. These people rattle your mind and leave you opening door after door in search of them but as ephemeral as a puff of smoke, they’re gone into the wind.

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The Year of Magical Thinking

So, I had to write a response to a book published in the past ten years that is in the non-fiction genre and I wrote about Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking. Here it is:

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I’m not sure if it is because of my mother’s avid reading habits or my early devotion to (read: obsession with) the Harry Potter series but, at twenty-one years old, I identify myself as a voracious reader. I’ve read the classics, I’ve read the satires, and I’ve even fallen into the fad books raved about on the Internet, much to my own intellectual detriment. Most of the time, I find myself immersed in pieces of literature that lead me out of my own life and into ones that are much more complex than my own. Rarely do I find myself with a renewed sense of life or thought, post-turning of that final page. However, rarely does not mean “never” and when I finished Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, I found myself swaddled in the clichéd cloth of a life-changing epiphany.

If you’ve never read the piece, it follows the emotional journey of Didion after her writer husband, John Dunne, suddenly dies of a heart attack at the dinner table after visiting their only daughter, Quintana Roo, in the hospital. Quintana was battling septic shock at the time. The entire work is not particularly long but as a first-hand account of dealing with grief, it is an exhaustingly beautiful novel to finish. At the end, I found myself drained, tired, and suddenly hyperaware of what it means to live.

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Flashbacks and Futures

I’m not afraid to break your heart. I’m not afraid to break anyone’s heart, really. I’m even fairly certain I’ve already done it before. It wouldn’t be too strange to do it again, I suppose. You’ve already broken my heart once before so why shouldn’t I return the favor? I guess because I know I really don’t want to return the favor. I want to keep you and hold onto you with every fiber of my being because, oh god, I don’t want this to end like it did last time.

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I’m not putting any weight on this, whatever this is, this time. I’m not going to hem and haw and berate you with things like labels or titles. A title won’t bring you any closer to me and if it pushes your farther away from me, then I don’t want it anymore anyway. I’m trying not to invest myself or jump in too deep because I know what lies at the bottom of this well and I need to stop praying for a soft water landing. There can’t be expectations but, dear lord, you make me want to make a thousand plans for today, tomorrow, and every day after. Continue reading