Rye Meetings

can't forget the how or why

I burned myself a few weeks back. The burn was on my forearm. It was small and linear, because I met the side of a cookie sheet. I was making cookies. Not homemade cookies, just some pre-made dough you pull out of the fridge.

Usually, I don’t think twice about burns. I only noticed it when I realized a nearby scar from my senior year had just about faded into my regular complexion.

Scars take a while to fade on my skin, but I don’t really care about marks on my body. I tried to cut my wrists when I was younger — being a suicidal teenager and all. But I could never do it. I’d start, and then I’d get freaked out about the sensation. At that point in my life, I didn’t want help. I wanted people to know I hated myself with a passion. I wanted people to know I felt repulsive. And I still feel the same way now, repulsive. Medication dulls that feeling, though. Medication enables me to feel a lot more than just hate (or at least make it easier to feel something, anything positive), even if hate is an underlying emotion.

The mark from my senior year is the one time I successfully did mark myself for people to see. In short, I felt stupid, numb, and worthless. So I took the end of a wooden pencil where the eraser gone — only the metal ring was left on the end. I took that end of the pencil and started scraping the skin on my forearm. It wasn’t until my friend noticed and grabbed my hands that I stopped. By then I had already scraped off enough skin to show the pink of my flesh.

It could’ve been a larger mark — it only took up a couple of centimeters. And it might’ve been a larger mark, but I didn’t really care about that then. I only noticed the size of the scar now because my burn was half that size and in the opposite direction.

Years later, part of me still wants to burn and mark myself on purpose. Part of me always wants a distinguished scar or scab there on my forearm. But doing that now, no attention will come of it. Adults generally keep to themselves. I’m no teenager under the microscope with teachers watching my every move, making note of success and social deviance.

I guess it’s enough now to know and accept that that feeling will always reside within me. The majority of my being sees little point in marking myself like that.

That’s progress.

. . .

''...How do I look?''

— Faded by Homeshake

#ContentWarning #Personal #Music #Monologue

Senior year in high school, I had a teacher that I wanted to “adopt” me.

She was everything that I was not. Clever, well-spoken, conscientious, cultured, a master of grammar and literary criticism. Blonde. Beautiful.

I’m not sure if she ever considered me a daughter. I know she considered my friend and classmate at the very least a daughter, a friend. This friend actually came to visit her when we were out of high school and this teacher moved to another state. I was incredibly jealous when I heard this. I didn’t say anything, of course, but I made a mental note that that was not me with this teacher.

I never had a teacher I was that friendly with. Maybe that’s because I always set the boundary somehow. I had teachers I called mother, but I never had a teacher like her that I called a mother. And I wanted that and I wanted her to know that

This friend, I was jealous of her. She often camped out at this teacher’s office during free periods. I did too, along with a few other classmates. This teacher was quite popular with our class because of her willingness to talk about her life and share her often humorous, but loving perspective on our young lives and the troubles we faced. But I noticed how this teacher talked to me and then how she talked to my friend. Sometimes I was met as an equal in conversation. But when I wasn’t equal, she’d talk to me like a child. Not necessarily talking down to me, but talking to me as if my view and reach of the world were limited. She’d always talk to my friend as an equal in consciousness. My friend was much more mentally sound than I was at the time, I knew this. But it didn’t stop from me feeling like I was loved less. That feeling sat with me for a long time, and it sometimes comes out even now, years later.

Before my junior and senior year of high school, I was your model, overachieving student. I was rough around the edges socially and my mental health was questionable, but with my grades, I was in the top 25% of my class. Then my junior and senior year came, and my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder kicked in with full, unapologetic force. My grades slipped. I was committed to a children’s psychiatric ward. I barely graduated.

Since then I consider myself a woman now, not because I’ve had sex or anything like that. But rather because I’m more aware of myself, who I am, and the conditions that challenge me to become something greater. I think if I transferred my consciousness to high school me, she’d consider me an equal like she did my friend. But that was then. And this is now.

I can’t say that I want a mother-daughter relationship with her like I had in high school. But part of me wishes I was still a part of her life because I’ve become closer to my old friend in most regards. I could stay jealous and spiteful that I wasn’t “ready” and now that I am ready it’d be weird for me to reach out with overbearing friendliness. But I choose to be happy that she was in my life to guide me, even if for a moment.

This all hit me now because I checked my social media for the first time in forever. She’s currently pregnant and excited and joyful in all ways possible.

I don’t know if she considered me a daughter like how I wanted to be. But I did and do consider her a mother — a woman to look up to and take notes on how to be and live in this world.

She’s already an amazing mother, so that kid’s gonna be lucky as hell.

#Personal #Soliloquy

It's one thing to enjoy a song, and then it's another to hear that same song again and have everything click.

It's an odd serendipitous feeling of being exposed and recognized by a higher something — to be called out by a voice (you quite often) don't know personally.

It's never a slow realization.

It's always a faint tap on my shoulder. And as I turn around to see who or what tapped my shoulder, I get punched by the spiteful being that got my attention.

And it growls,                   “Don't you dare look back.”

And, at that moment, I understand that if I look back, I'll get punched again.

Sometimes I listen to them, let the music sink in, and stay in the moment. But sometimes I run toward what got me to turn around in the first place. Haphazardly staggering to connect the dots of my past into a story that so happens to parallel what I'm listening to.

I want to know — how did they know that this was the right time to get my attention?

But before I get too close to this creature, they vanish. And their laugh echoes all around.

I looked back.

Part of me is satisfied to connect dots in my life, even if for a second. But there is another part of me that is left uncomfortable and gnawed at.

Why can't I look back?

The only possible reason I've come to is this: There is a horrible, cruel, spiteful part of me is self-aware of my entire life's story, every possible outcome, choice. And that part just wants to see me struggle and suffer in trying to make sense of its sudden attention.

Because why entertain the idiot?

#Music #Personal #Monologue

I first heard this song while I was working one weekend.

This is one of those droning songs you can bob your head to and bounce your sole to. A good bassline in sync with drums always makes me smile a little too. I tried listening to more of their work, but I wasn't really intrigued. I imagine though I'll come back to their music in a few years' time and enjoy the majority of it — or at least come to appreciate it.

I can't say much else besides I love the fact that it's buoyant while being vacant in delivery. That's a feeling I'm well-acquainted with.

“I'm no longer alone I don't sit on my own Still there's the echo of laughter”

#Music #SongFeature

So one of my new year's resolutions was to read at least 30 books by the end of 2020. While I could totally say I've “read” 30 books, I really mean read 30 books start to finish. And in that case, I haven't finished one. I have a terrible habit of picking up a book, starting it, and then setting it aside. It's not that I get bored or disinterested — I think it's more I give myself excuses to not finish that book. Why? I'm not sure, really. Every time I try to pinpoint why and try to do something about it, but I end right back at starting but never finishing books. I love short stories, articles, essays, but something about books prompts me to be noncommittal.

I love writing, but I honestly haven't read books voraciously since my middle school days. I don't know if that's a me-thing, an adult-thing, or what.

I do know, regardless, it's important as a writer to be listening and experiencing stories outside of yourself along with your writing. I've been able to write or world build somewhat consistently, but what I've been writing down feels stagnant in a way these past few months. When I don't make an effort to experience stories and worlds outside of my own I get creatively congested. I had this fantasy of establishing a story and universe that's completely self-reliant. Creating a story and universe that doesn't significantly lean on another work as a precursor or inspiration, but that's pretty much impossible. Because even if I'm not outright referencing something else in that story and universe, all those little references add up. So ultimately, I'm just screwing myself over if I take that route in writing.

So I'm revising my new year's resolution. I plan to experience 30 stories that can be books or video games by the end of 2020. Those are works of art that I have to actively step outside of myself and experience.

And I'm going to list what I've experienced so far, in no particular order, just to keep myself somewhat accountable.

Here goes.

Games completed: 1. Hotline Miami 2. Hotline Miami 2 3. Final Fantasy VI 4. Final Fantasy VII 5. Portal 6. Undertale 7. Pokemon Shield 8. Katamari Damacy

Books read: 9. Warriors: Into The Wild 10. The Golden Compass

So, so far I've experienced ten stories in 2020.

I'm listing video games and books because, when I'm playing or reading these I find myself attentively subject to another creator's pacing and every choice they make in presenting the story. Music, film, and television do the same but it's less of an outright commitment. I like listening to and experiencing music all the time, it's honestly like air for me. I create my own stories by listening to music. And TV drones on in the background while I eat or clean. You can't really do much else besides read when you're reading. The same goes for video games.

I'm not going to list what I've been meaning to read or play and what I'm currently working on, because I think that'll just make me anxious about reading and finishing those stories as fast as possible. And then I'll be less motivated to actually read and play those things because of the anxiety I get from them.

Most of the titles listed so far I've played and read when I was a lot younger. However, I still count them because my experience and understanding of them now are wholly different than when I was a child.

Here's to experiencing at least 30 stories by the end of 2020.

#Personal #Writing #Goals

This little boy came into my store with tears yelping how he couldn't find his dad. I forgot what I was doing before that, what I was supposed to be doing. But as soon as I heard his cries, nothing else mattered to me at that moment.

I was able to comfort him somewhat, we did some breathing exercises, but he was pretty hysterical the whole time. He tried to get me to call his dad, so I ran to get our wireless store phone. I gave him the phone, which in retrospect, wasn't the best idea, but he tried to remember and key in his dad's phone number anyway. He got frustrated, saying he couldn't remember and handed the phone back to me. He murmured how his dad could already be gone and tried to run out of the store and I had to stop him. I'd like to think the place I work at isn't prone to child abduction, but getting an Amber alert that morning didn't really keep me at ease.

At the store entrance, I lightly held him by his shoulders and kneeled to his level. I asked him his name, and through sobs, he told me. I told him mine. I said everything is going to be alright. I hugged him and patted his back. I told him that we'd find his dad. The boy stopped crying suddenly, and quite serendipitously, I turned around to find his father outside of the store's entrance. He wasn't even facing his kid. His back was to him, only his face was craned to his son with an unforgiving look and flared nostrils.

Part of me felt happy to see him reunited. But part of me wanted to be with him longer and have him calm down and maybe make him smile. I think he was wearing a Spiderman t-shirt. I wanted to ask him what he thought about Spiderman. I wanted to show him we had cool spiderweb shoes and a Spiderman backpack. Did he want to be Spiderboy or his own new superhero?

I remember my parents giving me that look when I was that age and even into my adolescence. I would always feel so unwanted. But even though I felt like shit, I felt better seeing them because they were home to me.

The boy didn't say bye to me — which is fine. His father said thank you. But I didn't want a thank you from either of them. I wanted to know that this man would be a loving father.

I wonder if this kid will remember me when he's older, or if he'll wake up tomorrow morning and forget my name and the breathing exercise we practiced.

I hope he's okay. I hope he'll be okay.

#Monologue

This doesn't really mean anything nowadays, but this song was a part of the first album I bought with my own money from my first job. I always heard my mom, and other adult people in my life talk about the first DVD they bought, the first cassette they bought, the first PlayStation game they bought, etc. And how they associated certain feelings and memories with said firsts.

The way they talked about these firsts reminded me of how I thought my first kiss or my first time would be like. Since I really couldn't control the timing of either of those, needing another human and being an awkward teenager and all, I knew I was able to control my first album. And I decided it was going to be special. I wanted to support an artist or artists I believed in and loved whole-heartedly. I didn't want my first album to be a random pop artist who I'd forget about 10, 20 years later and only remember when they came on the “Oldies” station. I wanted it to be an artist that meant something to me, or at least their music meant something to me. So that's what I did.

I actually remember waiting for it to come out and then buying it as soon as my paycheck hit that week. It feels surreal to think about it now, years later.

After it finished downloading on my phone, I remember taking a long deep breath. I needed to prepare myself for possible disappointment before I hit play. I laid down on my bed closed my eyes. Having run out of weird spur-of-the-moment rituals to complete, I hit play. I heard the opening notes to “And That, Too” on my three-dollar earbuds, and I don't think I've ever experienced anything so achingly perfect in my life since then.

#Music

Lots of thoughts in my head tonight. I've been trying to write a cohesive entry about a friend of mine who died a few years back. She killed herself. I always think about her when I teeter between wanting to live and wanting to rest forever. Everything I've written has been wholly therapeutic. I might not even share what I've written on here anyway. But I am writing a little bit each night. I feel guilty because I don't feel like I'm really developing myself as a creative writer when I write these personal pieces, but some writing is better than no writing at all. I've been trying to write something with an easy-to-follow structure all night, but I think this the closest I'll get tonight. So now I might just go and do some sudoku. Might just sleep.

Here's a song by my favorite band that I've been listening to almost all night.

This dude's voice is beautiful. And I've legitimately never heard a BBNG arrangement I don't like.

“All I know is I can never go back...”

#Personal #FridayNightFeels

My sister was a huge One Direction fan. She had posters all on her walls and had various branded merch from them. She had a fanpage on Tumblr too I think.

I would hear her gushing about Harry, Zayn, Nial, Louie, and Liam, and it made me feel weird. Those dudes didn't care about her. They might, but they weren't aware of her singular existence. I understand that it's pretty much a norm to have a celebrity crush or fantasies as a tween. But I always wondered if she saw them what would she actually do? Act like she knew them? Because she didn't. That would alienate them further and keep them from being “friends.” But maybe she wanted an idol.

But maybe she wanted friends more. Friends telling her she was pretty and at the same time, allowing her to be her goofy, fun little self. Generally, people want that. And that's why some baby-faced boys made kids squeal “What Makes You Beautiful,” they fit that image and they and/or their agents catered to it.

I have artists I'm deep fans of. I have artists and authors who've kept me from dying, and I'm thankful for that. I'd like to think they're authentic because the experiences I've had by consuming their content are authentic to me. But they are not an active part of that experience. They're a catalyst sure. But at the end of the day, I'm projecting my own personal meaning onto their work.

Honestly, I would probably freak out a little bit to see one of my favorite artists in person. And a part of me would want to take a selfie or something with them. But they don't owe that to me. They don't owe that to anyone.

At that wonderful summer school I went to, one of my teachers told us, “Someone can say they love you, but you'll never know if they really love you.” That fucked me up when I first heard it.

Now I'm a huge believer in the saying: “Assuming makes an ass out of you and me.” I do think a degree of expectation or assumption is required to live in this reality. To just know that particular actions communicate dedication like love and so forth. That's how we develop relationships and understand others. But there never seems to be a clear line. And that's what makes assuming go round, I suppose.

This video by Renegade Cut had me thinking about all this.

I'm still thinking about this video and will continue thinking about it for a while. So this is all very rambly as I'm processing that still.

But yeah, parasocial relationships...

#Monologue #Personal #Philosophy? #Sociology? #Psychology?

You shouldn’t be ashamed of growing up.

I do this thing every few years where I scrounge the internet (of what I can control) to see if any horribly cringeworthy artifacts of my tweendom remain. I’ve gotten rid of almost everything and saved everything I needed to.

I’ve made amends with most of that, though. Nothing will be as cringy as me reviewing hentai. And trying to start a damn meme page on Facebook when that was cool. God, I’ve come a long way from that. I am forever thankful for that.

But even now, I want to smack myself when I see how I phrased something not even a week ago.

I’ve already accepted not being cool. I think that’s Step One™ to living with any kind of self-esteem shit for a lot of people.

(Accepting that you’re not cool or you’re not anything of note naturally is a better alternative than actively hating yourself, my teachers helped me understand that.)

But I guess now it’s more that I should be ashamed that I wasn’t that smart already. Smart enough to not phrase something a certain way or react a certain way. I’m not a child anymore in the eyes of most. But I guess I feel silly being self-aware but also not being self-aware enough to stop the little blunders and stumbles I’ve made, make, and will to make. It feels wasted on me. It’s sort of a paradox.

I wonder if our ancestors knew we’d struggle with our blessing/curse of conscience and made the deal anyway. But I know this pain and the ability to feel it is better than being docile. I wonder if they knew that too, or if they even understood anything about the deal they were making.

#Personal #Monologue

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