1 Day Left

One day left of first semester. Two finals left. And because I’m depressed and exhausted I… don’t care? Right now I don’t care that break’s gonna be a thing, or that there will be less actual work, because there will still be more work later and I’ll still have to do things. Which is kind of concerning me, objectively, because I know that that kind of feeling is very depression-esque, and I’ve been having a relatively un-depressed semester, so far?

But I haven’t sunk into the depths of misery and executive function hell yet, so I can’t really make myself care.

Other things that I’m not caring about now, shockingly, are my two exams tomorrow! My brain kind of burnt itself out stress- and responsibility-wise this week already, and so I’m sort of nonchalant about the whole “failing my Lang exam” prospect. All this semester I’ve been like “wow, I wonder if I’m failing Lang! That sure would be bad!” But there are a lot of things that I never properly checked up on or even made up and so many grades are missing from infinite campus that I can’t even clarify the extent to which I should’ve been doing damage control.

All I know is that I have an unweighted B, and that’s not safe from dropping with a failed final. When I think about this, I get extremely stressed out, and that part of me is working very hard to combat the part of me that wants to just let it go. The idea of not having to worry about what my Lang grade is or isn’t is so enticing that part of me disregards the final, because it won’t matter what I get once I can’t change it or do anything.

I’ve been worrying so much about this all semester, and suddenly I have this radical notion that “maybe it’s fine if I get a B” and it’s not, it’s really not, but there’s such a release with inviting that possibility…

The fact is, I’m drunk on the idea of having a fresh slate in all my classes, without acknowledging the fact that the set in stone grades I get this semester will continue to eat at me for the rest of the year. I cannot actually turn my back on the world crumbling around me. I can, however, apparently turn my back on the ability to combat this miserable demise.

 

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5 Relatable Songs of the Semester

1. I’m Not a Good Person by Pat the Bunny

This song came to me at a time when I was feeling a lot more depressed and generally useless, like, all the time. It was kind of amazing listening to a song that was just like “I don’t know why I suck so much at everything, I just do, I never follow through on anything I mean to commit to.” The tone helped? It wasn’t overly dismal or anything, just kind of an “eh, fuck it” sort of vibe, but with a really raw, honest desperation in it.

I’m not a good person
No matter what I do
My exhaustion will consume me, and – I’m too tired for the truth
I’m not a good person
I’m sure you’re not surprised
It must be pouring out my sweat glands, it must be someplace in my eyes
I don’t know why… I am this way. It’s been like this since I can remember.
I try to keep up with everything I know I should do, but then I – fall to pieces, anyway.
I don’t know why I am the way.

              I don’t actually believe that I’m genuinely a bad person, but there were a looooot of individual lines here that really hit home.

2. Dream by Imagine Dragons

Existential angst! Oh boy! This expresses a similar kind of hopelessness and confusion, but put in a different light. It’s more of a sort of “I don’t know what I’m doing, I thought there’d be more by now, aren’t I supposed to be doing great things by now? There was supposed to be more.”

And I watch from a distance seventeen
And I’m short of the others dreams of being golden and on top
It’s not what you painted in my head
There’s so much there instead of all the colors that I saw

             It’s more than that, though – there’s a general sense of sadness and loss in the world around us, just how numbing the world can be sometimes? Unlike the previous number, this song is built like a release of tension. It’s a much gentler, more graceful cathartis. I like listening to it when driving around at night, and just kind of letting it wash over me.

3. Eet by Regina Spektor

           So I first listened to this song like five years ago and I was like “This is so vague??? And I’m so confused??? Literally just tell me what you’re singing about I don’t understand what’s supposed to be implied here at all and it’s making me sad and frustrated.” And then like last year I listened to it again and it was like WHOA LOOK A SONG ABOUT DEPRESSION right off the bat. I don’t think it was meant to apply strictly to depression, like, at all, and it could probably apply to a tooon of stuff about just growing up in general, and other issues that develop as Life Progresses, but this song is 500% my vibe.

It’s like forgetting the words to your favorite song
You can’t believe it, you were always singing along
It was so easy and the words so sweet
You can’t remember, you try to feel the beat

4. I’m a Ruin by Marina and the Diamonds

           So… this is my breakup song. It basically perfectly described a lot of my feelings regarding the whole matter? About how I wasn’t doing enough, even though I probably could if I just tried harder, and how I still cared very much about my partner but all in all it would be a release to be free of the pressure altogether.

I played with your heart
And I could treat you better but I’m not that smart
You still mean everything to me
But I want to be free


And I’ve tried to say
Babe, I’m gonna ruin you if you let me stay
You still mean everything to me, to me
But I wanna be free


It doesn’t feel right and it doesn’t feel fair
When I’m planning to move on and you’re still standing there
Don’t wanna keep a secret but I don’t know how to keep it fair, yeah

           And of course there are individual lines like “It’s difficult to move on when nothing was right and nothing’s wrong” and “It’s difficult to say goodbye/And easier to live a lover’s lie.” Not only did the lyrics resonate with me intensely, but the vibe of the song was perfect to help me regain confidence. It’s a release – there’s a mournful quality to it, and a pensive somberness, but the chorus is fast-paced and vibrant, and it just felt like I was shedding anxieties to listen to it.

5. Why Worry by Set it Off

            Ending on a happy note! Why Worry is about anxiety, and how stupid it is, and how paranoid we all are all the time. I relate highly to both the descriptions of anxiety itself and the reflections on how pointless and awful it is. This is a really helpful song to listen to! Like it’s actually helpful steps. Therapeutic and a total jam. A lovely confidence boost for any occasion!

           I suggest you give the whole song a listen, but here’s a really solid chunk of relatable, encouraging lyrics to close out!

Why do we insist,
On crossing bridges that do not exist?
Let’s take these issues
Step by step by step, to work it out,
Day by day by day we’re falling down,
But life goes on.
I’ve got some questions,
Are you sick of feelin’ sorry?
Uh huh,
And people sayin’ not to worry?
Uh huh,
Sick of hearing this hakuna matata motto,
From people who won the lotto,
We’re not that lucky.
Have you noticed that you’re breathing?
Uh huh,
Look around and count your blessings,
Uh huh,
So when you’re sick of all this stressin’ and guessin’ I’m suggestin’ you turn this up and let them hear you sing it.

Unnoticed

(This is a writing I found on my computer from a while ago. I thought it was nice enough to share.)

A small child steps onto spongy grass and laughs as wisps of dew paint her bare feet. The laugh is a light cascade that wind snatches and scatters like fragile mist across the lawn. The flowers buffeting in the breeze take no notice, too immersed in their own struggles. The trees are equally unmoved, and remain as stoically apathetic as ever. The child’s laughter goes unnoticed by the world around her, and time moves on without it.

A young girl has learned many things about her voice. She can talk to her friends and talk to herself and talk to even no one at all. The girl is teaching herself how to sing. An abstract, lonely melody twines around her and floats into the trees. The crackling of leaves in a relentless autumn wind smothers her voice before it can reach the sky. The clouds never even knew it was there. The brittle grass pays her no mind. Her song goes unnoticed by the world, and time moves on without it.

A young woman sits hunched against a stone wall, running her fingers compulsively along veins of moss. She is so very tired. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the world. The world blithely forgives her for her discomfort. A bird chirps and the young woman smiles slightly. It is a rare and beautiful sight upon her lips. Smiles are not frequent, when the world has bleached out your laughter and your song. It is all she has left to give, but the world doesn’t bat an eye. The smile goes unnoticed and time leaves it behind.

A woman, not as young, walks briskly down the street and bites her lip as winter nips her cheeks. She doesn’t smile or sing or laugh, just emits a low, anxious hum as she paces, clutching a purse closer to her chest. It would hardly make a difference if she did show signs of beauty, youth, or happiness. The world wouldn’t care. The stars can’t distinguish between fretful humming and joyful tunes, and the stars are so much bigger and more significant in the scheme of things. The woman can see stars peeping out from between clouds, and knows that they can’t see her.

The stars move on and the world moves on and people move on and time leaves the woman behind. The woman is no longer part of the world, and it doesn’t remember that she ever was.

Re: Leaving the Nest

Recently, whenever I’m spending time with my brother I’ve started feeling kind of heartbroken? I mean me feeling emotional about leaving him to go to college is certainly nothing new, but it’s just been hitting me pretty hard lately.

He needs me? Like he really, really needs me. Because he fights with my dad, and gets in trouble more than I do, and it has always, always been my job to go after him and bring him out of his room or snuggle with him and make him feel better. He is inclined to sulk, and I need to be there to cheer him up so that he can have happy memories of home. It’s not like my parents would ever mistreat him, but I get so worried that without me there to smooth things over for him, he’ll end up having a lot of rockier memories with dad? Which is a problem, because I love my dad and have lots of happy feelings towards him, and Benjamin deserves to have just as many happy feelings in the dad department.

He’s not as lonely as he used to be, because he’s in a smaller school where he’s started a nerdy Magic the Gathering club and has more friends and friendly people to interact with regularly. But I’ll be gone his first year of high school, when he’s dumped into a bigger pond, and I’m not going to be there to make sure he has enough happy memories as he deserves.

And I look at him and I think about how close we are and how nice he is to me and how much he needs me, even though I’m not as good to him as he deserves, and I feel terrified that we’ll never get this relationship back again. Sure, when we’re older, we’ll keep in touch and call each other and write and all that, but like… our relationship has never before been “checking in” and providing summaries of everything that’s happening in our lives. Our relationship is hugging and cuddling and wrestling and we’re losing that, and I’ll just be left with this other, unused mode of communication with a person whom I love very much.

And so recently I’ve been reflecting on this and I’ve come to a bit of an epiphany:

It feels like I know I’m going to die? It feels like I’m going to die, that’s how much it feels like I’m abandoning him. It’s like “oh god, I’m not going to be around any longer to make sure he’s okay all the time, how can I prepare him for that?” And I’m just imagining all the times where dad will yell at him and he’ll go up to his room and be even more upset just because I’m not there and sometimes it’ll feel like no one’s one his side, and I just want to be there in his corner for him.

By the time I’m out of college, he’ll be going, and so it feels like I’m leaving him forever, it feels like I’m leaving him forever. He’s going to be so sad, I can’t do it, I can’t leave him, I hate this.

A Troubled Teenager

You clip your briefcase shut with a perfunctory snap – clear-cut, direct, and orderly. The entirety of your adult career could be summarized in that single, routine click of the briefcase clasp. Everything in place, everything succinct. The epitome of a stable lifestyle.

Not everything is as tranquil, you often lament, as the reassuring clack of a briefcase. The insurance workers in the office suite across the floor, for instance – oh, that can get messy. That sort of squabbling, bickering pursuit really isn’t for you, not at all. You stick to your cubicle, with the calendar and the bulletin board and the lap top, the magnets and the pushpins and the sticky notes… Orderly. Beautiful.

You are satisfied; on the continuum of chaos in this life, ranging drastically from insurance to accounting, you are smugly perched in the tier of secretarial realtor work. You live in a world where adventure is the morning spreadsheet, serenity is the air you breathe, and order is inherently woven into the very fabric of your universe. Every sticky note has its reminder, and every coffee cup has its saucer. Even the squeaks and grunts of the elevators making their way to the third floor have a regulated charm to them.

You have always loved working on the third floor. Three, the most stable number, the basis for efficient structural support. It’s easy to forget, sometimes, that there even is a fourth floor.

It’s easy to forget, sometimes, what lurks in office suite 450.

A shiver runs down your spine unprompted, but you shake it off. Briefcase securely latched, held loosely by your side, you nod to your well-groomed coworkers and make your way over to the fogged glass door. Polished black shoes click against the stone floor with every step – further reassurance. The sound is snuffed on the hallway carpet, but even the rustling of high grade suit fabric brushing against itself serves to calm.

The elevator doors open as you step up to them. Out walks a man on his way to the insurance suite. You exchange nods. The lobby button is waiting for you in the elevator. It illuminates with a familiar glow when you press it, a friendly, industrial wink to all the inhabitants of the Mayflower Office Suite Building. 3, 2, L…

The doors open. You take one step, lift your eyes, and –

Oh.

Oh lord.

It’s a girl, a teenage girl. Dulled brown eyes under an unbrushed swathe of dark hair, shoulders slumped under a low-hanging blue backpack, paint-smeared jeans, ratty tennis shoes with holes and dirt splatters of epoxy coating, earbuds trailing out from a loosely clasped fist…

You could’ve smell the adolescence before you’d taken one look. But you were distracted, and now you’re rooted to the spot. She glances up at you, intelligent eyes clouded with lethargy and exhaustion; she’s waiting for you to leave the elevator, you realize, but you’re frozen rigid. Your eyes flicker to the plaques in the lobby, listing the businesses on each floor – you see it now, all too clearly, what you never should’ve allowed yourself to forget – Lena Franklin, Psychiatry, MD. When you look back at the girl, you sense the Teenage Angst rolling off of her in tangible waves, prickling at your skin and raising the hair on the back of your neck. It’s burning at her, you can see it now, piercing every bone in her body.

The longer you look, the more you see it, the harder it is to look away – you see the angst in her, festering underneath her skin like a mottled bruise permeating her entire underdeveloped existence. You see the smoke behind her eyes, the embers smoldering within her skull. Suddenly, you are inclined to doubt that she’s a girl at all – that she is anything, anything at all beside pure, undiluted adolescent suffering.

Your gut lurches and your throat constricts. Ever last shred of tranquility is snatched forcefully from your fingertips as her gaze traps you. You are suffocated by a merciless, unrelenting question:

Has she lived life?

There is an aged quality to those eyes, to the corners of her mouth. There is a depth there that you couldn’t have anticipated, ragged and murky though it may be. How much validation does her suffering merit? How much must one suffer, must one endure to have lived? Does she even have the capacity to qualify as a Person, underneath all the standardized testing and the procrastination and the screams of her comrades?

You are now beginning to realize that they have always been screaming, they have never stopped screaming, not once even since you left high school yourself has the screaming stopped -you can hear it now, from across the park, and oh god, you can’t escape the wretched shrieks. You had blocked it out for so long, warded it off, but your shields are crumbling. The angst is with you now, as present in your world as you are in hers, and the insatiable vines of pain and confusion creep up your mental battlements and tear them ravenously to pieces, laying waste to the marble walls that for so long have obscured from you huge expanses of Hell…

A Hell that burns not with brimstone and demons and lakes of fire, but a dark room, murkily illuminated by shreds of light filtered under doorways, through windows – a prison, and the walls are constricting, closing in on you, crumbling around you – something is there, something waits for you in this pinnacle of torment, you see it in her eyes, you see it in the void opening up before you, something is there-

And suddenly you are running.

 

Emerging

by Pablo Neruda:

A man says yes without knowing
how to decide even what the question is,
and is caught up, and then is carried along
and never again escapes from his own cocoon;
and that’s how we are, forever falling
into the deep well of other beings;
and one thread wraps itself around our necks,
another entwines a foot, and then it is impossible,
impossible to move except in the well –
nobody can rescue us from other people.

It seems as if we don’t know how to speak;
it seems as if there are words which escape,
which are missing, which have gone away and left us
to ourselves, tangled up in snares and threads.

And all at once, that’s it; we no longer know
what it’s all about, but we are deep inside it,
and now we will never see with the same eyes
as once we did when we were children playing.
Now these eyes are closed to us,
Now our hands emerge from different arms.

And therefore when you sleep, you are alone in your dreaming,
and running freely through the corridors
of one dream only, which belongs to you.
Oh never let them come to steal our dreams,
never let them entwine us in our bed.
Let us hold on to the shadows
to see if, from our own obscurity,
we emerge and grope along the walls,
lie in wait for the light, to capture it,
till, once and for all time,
it becomes our own, the sun of every day.