SCENE — 7:00am on MONDAY, JANUARY 2020 in OJAI, CA. SHE WAKES UP IN DISTRESS FROM A LONG AND GLORIOUS SLUMBER.
- It is absolutely freezing but it’s only 50 degrees.
- This shower should only take five minutes. Jump in, jump out.
- I found myself praying earlier this week but I don’t remember why.
- I find serenity when I look up at a blue sky underneath an oak tree to see the sun peaking through the branches. It reminds me of home.
- Gold is definitely my color.
- I can wait another day to wash my hair even though it’s been two weeks since my hair has seen shampoo.
- Clouds are still wild to me.
- There is another bruise… woah.
- My body hates me this week.
- I wish I was better at sewing.
- I love his song “Call it all for nothing, But I’d rather be nothing to you, Than be a part of something, Of something that I didn’t do”
- Periwinkle is an underrated color.
- I hope they are okay.
- I love that feeling of being completely out of breath after climbing up a mountain and getting to look out at the view = the feeling of accomplishment.
- Is she okay?
- I cannot be that person for her, I need to be that person for myself.
- This soap smells divinneee.
- There is nothing better than hot water.
- I am really gonna miss her.
- Jellyfish have a place in my heart.
- How long have I been in here?
- I really gotta go.
scars never go away.
no matter how many dollars you spend on Mederma.
they fade, but their reminiscence will always remain.
cuts, bruises, scratches, and blisters hurt
but cuts will heal. bruises and scratches will vanish. blisters and sores go away,
scar takes a different type of hurt. a different type of stab. a scar is a much deeper pain.
happiness, anger, regret, remorse, and fear burn.
but anger will simmer down, regret will turn into acceptance, remorse will turn into forgiveness, and fear will be overcome.
but love is a different type of burn.
love is a different type of hurt. a different type of happiness. a different type of pain.
just like a scar, love fades.
just like a scar, love will never go away.
just like a scar, love is a weakness that can be cut open at any time.
for better or for worse…
Let me be your beacon,
let me be your guiding light.
I know you’re scared, tired, and broken,
but I’m here to hold you tight.
I know you hide your fears from me,
you get ashamed when you let them show,
I’ve cried in your arms many times,
so please just let me know
what’s going on in that beautiful mind of yours,
your wicked, twisted, brain
filled with lies and awful times,
but babe let me be your change.
I just want to love you,
you’ve been through so god damn much,
your beautiful soul deserves the world you know,
I wish you thought the same.
I’m sorry for everyone who hurt you,
you’re scared to let me in because you fear I’ll do the same.
Everyone you’ve loved has done you wrong,
but darling I’m not the same.
So let me be your beacon,
let me be your guiding light.
I know you’re scared, tired, and broken,
but I’m here to hold you tight.
Recently I had a dream no different from most, I was at a grocery store with an old friend of mine. It used lightbulbs that just made the store appear sickly (obviously not LED), the flickery hospital lighting that evokes the smell of latex gloves from nowhere. Anyways, apart from the lights that bothered me a lot, the shelves were only partially stocked, but they were all stocked wrong and without any tags. This made it especially difficult to find the ramen that my friend and I had gone in there looking for. After wandering through rows of of tall, black, and poorly built shelves with pretty much anything thrown on them, we finally came upon the milk section. Now this was a bit of a problem because we had gone in there looking for ramen, and I was now browsing cartons of milk that looked as though they smelled like goat urine. After my brain had somehow remembered that the dream had begun with the task of looking for ramen, we began to move away from the milk and towards the rest of the store.
Now, personally I do not know why I so vividly remember this dream. I can only attribute it to me having had a boring day, and the dream being the only interesting thing that had happened to me since the morning.
When we finally came across the ramen, it was behind some boxes of Chinese snacks that I can only describe as milky bread sticks. The ramen was also sub-par because it was the off-brand Korean kind that was made to burn your eyebrows off that once made me sneeze chili powder. I was upset but still willing to take it, because after an extended period of time in a poorly managed grocery store that I have dreamt about many times before, I was getting fairly irritable. However, this is when my hulking, pigmy of a friend decided to grab it and run off.
I was furious, I had just wasted so much time staring at milk, wandering through aisles of nothing, and putting up with stress-inducing incandescent lighting, all to have my crappy ramen stolen away from me. Normally, this is where I would wake up, barge downstairs, and make myself food, but my dream-self was feeling particularly determined tonight. I continued searching for ramen, I spent hours searching the shelves of the store, running into half-asleep janitors, and many soulless patrons, destined with the same fate as I was.
After my search of the store came up empty, I somehow stormed myself to the loading dock in the back of the store that for some reason was also the location of the dumpster. It was beside this dumpster that I had found almost exactly what I was looking for, garbage bags full of contaminated ramen noodles. I do not know why I thought to look in the trash bags, I do not know how I knew they were contaminated, and I also do not know why I eventually took two bags home, but I do know that the story did not end well for me.
I don’t remember exactly how the dream ended, I eventually woke up, and I remember being fairly put off by the end, but as is common with dreams, I quickly forgot it. I didn’t find much meaning behind this dream. This is by no means the first dream I have had about grocery shopping, those have always been quite common for me. I didn’t think about the dream again until I came home that day from school, and saw that among some of the things my mother had bought from the grocery store was a few packets of ramen. Needless to say, I did not eat the ramen. That was the night I discovered that perhaps store bought ramen wasn’t for me, that was also the night that I discovered I was clairvoyant. So if there’s anything you should take away from this experience, and I seriously doubt there is, I’d say it’s probably to use LED bulbs, because they won’t cause irrational and dangerous decision making like incandescent bulbs do.
Photo Credit: Imgur.com
I once saw myself to be a bystander in no one else’s story. I was there, obsolete, silent, watching the world unfold around me, witnessing what my peers were experiencing, but not having any of that for myself. I was tired of being a supporting role in my own life, adding to other people’s conversations, assisting people when they might need it, but never bringing anything to the table myself.
I didn’t feel like I had any identity as an individual, I relied on the people around me to define who I was and I hated it, I couldn’t stand the fact that when I was alone, I knew nothing about myself that was uniquely mine, that I had created a version of my self that was only a convoluted mosaic of the people I associated myself with.
It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t entirely a unique individual. That although I had a mixture of physical traits that made me intriguing, I didn’t have the personality that supported that. I realized it was fine to inherit these traits from those around you but to keep an eye on what those are.
I found myself adopting unhealthy mentalities that I drew from those I looked up to, these forced me to reflect heavily upon what I had become, I was no longer true to myself, I became a canvas upon which my peers could splash their negativity, and I would mindlessly carry it around, displaying it for everyone to see.
It took me a long time to rid myself of the bad habits I had accumulated. I was alright with adopting traits from other people that I respected, I realized that that process is fundamental to our growth as individuals and not detrimental to it as I had originally thought. I realized instead that the issue I had was that I was adopting traits that I didn’t like in an attempt to somehow further my personal development without considering the fallout of these actions.
I’ve started to realize it’s the little things I change about my day that make me feel so much better.
I’ve started studying outside during my free blocks. Even when I’m not doing work, I just sit outside on my phone instead of inside my dimly lit, stuffy dorm room. It feels so much better having both the sun and light breeze against my skin, keeping me warm and cool at the same time. It’s more refreshing, though I’m not doing anything more than sitting outside.
I’ve started getting up early again. I get up around six a.m. now and, despite sleeping less hours, I feel more awake than when I’d sleep in until 7:40. I get up and force myself to go running because even if I’m tired in the moment, I feel wide awake for the rest of the day. I have time to go to breakfast, less time to rush to get ready for classes, and more time to hang out with friends in the morning. I’m no longer starving by the third class of the day or falling asleep by the fourth.
It’s a good feeling finally being motivated to do the small things that make drastic changes to how my days turn out for me and I’m appreciating every day so much more because of it.
Dear stranger in Brooklyn Heights,
I don’t know much about you, but I can infer some things.
I think you are someone who cares about your belongings.
Like your copy of Spoon River Anthology, for example.
I think you care about it because you stamped it twice – once inside the front cover and once inside the back.
Maybe you just didn’t want to lose it and for it to be returned to you if it ever did get lost. But, if that’s the case, how did it end up in a used bookstore in a town 3,000 miles away?
I would want to know which poems are your favorites, but it seems like you never read them. The pages are nearly perfect, despite being printed in 1962.
I wish I could ask you some questions.
How old were you when you bought it? How old are you now? Why didn’t you read it? How did it end up with me?
I don’t know who you are, but I want to say thank you. Your book that was originally sold for 95 cents is now my book that was sold to me for three dollars.
And now I have a story within a story, thanks to you.
I’m not sure if you still live in New York or if any of my assumptions about you were correct or if you’re even a person at all.
But just in case I was right, once I finish the book, I’ll send it back to you.
On my way home today, I stopped to say hello to the mountains.
But while I originally had pulled over to say hello to the mountains, I also got to say hello to the painted ladies – the butterflies.
There are hundreds of thousands of them, all passing through and I’m lucky enough to live along their migration path.
No one knows exactly why they choose to come here, but I’m happy they do.
I heard they are headed west. Maybe they’re chasing the sun.
So, as I sat alone outside my car, I blew kisses to the mountains, to thank them for being so magnificent.
I blew kisses to the butterflies as they flew by, to wish them good luck on their journey.
It’s days like these when I know I wouldn’t be able to live in a place where the sun seldom shines.
There wouldn’t be nearly enough mountains that compare to Ojai mountains and there definitely wouldn’t be enough painted ladies.
I hope they all reach their destinations.
And if they really are chasing the sun, I hope they catch it.
I ate a piece of kale the other day.
It was growing in a garden box at school, so I pulled a leaf off of the plant and ate it.
It was a nice, sturdy piece of kale. It tasted pretty good. I continued munching on it as I walked over to the baseball field.
Kale can be a nice snack, if you’re into dark leafy greens. But, as many experienced plant-eaters know, raw kale is quite tough to chew.
My jaws were getting a little bit tired, so I switched over to eating a different leaf that I had also picked from the garden box. I’m not sure what plant this was, but it was softer and sweeter than the kale.
As I was chewing, I twirled the piece between my thumb and my pointer finger.
I started to study the leaves. The kale was dark and rough. It was much more aggressively textured than the other leaf.
It was at that moment when I stopped chewing, for I noticed dozens of very tiny, white bugs all along the sides of the leaves.
I swallowed my bite, then tossed the remnants of my half-eaten leaves aside. I decided not to dwell on it too much, because I didn’t want the thought of the bugs to take away from the otherwise positive experience I had eating them.
(I would like to apologize to the innocent lives I took that day. I didn’t thoroughly inspect the leaves before eating them, and that was selfish of me. To the bugs that once inhabited the kale: I am sorry.)
On a completely unrelated note, this morning my parents and I went out to our tangerine trees. It was time to prune them. After about an hour of picking fruit and chopping branches, my dad said to me: “This is a chore that very few other people your age have to do, but you have to remember that it just makes you more cosmopolitan.”
Though I didn’t really enjoy being outside when it was 40 degrees, I did find comfort in the fact that our work would provide more fruit for us next season.
I never realized it before, but I am so thankful that I know how to take care of citrus trees.
I live in a place where I am fortunate enough to grow my own food. I take that for granted.
I hope that I will always have this luxury, bugs and all.