Rye Meetings

Personal

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

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

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

I had a balls-to-the-wall stressful day at work today.

But my day started nicely, and now it's ending nicely as well.

It started out with good music, which is always awesome.

The music system for our store had just booted up. My co-worker was getting the store set up, and I walked up to the counter to grab things for the day. We usually shoot the shit while we get the store ready, but the original version of this song came on.

My co-worker, who's close to 9 to 10 years older than me, started humming the lyrics. I joined in as soon as I recognized the lyrics. Her eyes had that flicker of “Oh?” when she saw me hum with her — Then we started singing together and dancing. And then my other co-worker walked up and joined in too. We all had a fun few minutes of dancing, shaking our asses, and just being free.

She was surprised I even knew the song after.

“You must've been a baby kindergartener when this song was out! I was in middle school.”

“I probably was. I actually first heard this song through a bluegrass cover, when I was younger.”

“Ohhh, okay. I see.”

My other co-worker chirped in to affirm that she's heard of the cover I was talking about.

I have almost always gotten along with kids and people older than me. I say kids now, but honestly, I just mean any late-20-something, which is a millennial. And I usually blend in with this generation until historic moments are brought up like Y2K, 9/11, etc. With shit like that I mention, I was seven months, two years old, and so on, and the game is over. I'm singled out as an outside baby amongst these big bag oldies. And it remains that way until the conversation's reset.

(The only time I really get a chuckle out of poking fun at me and a friend's age difference is when Smells Like Teen Spirit comes on, and I let them know I was -8 years old when that came out. Their eyes widening and seeing me as not even a li'l embryo during that time — That's fucking hilarious.)

It felt nice to know that we shared that bit of culture together, even if through a slightly different messenger. It's nice pleasantly surprising people that you share something with them.

I loved starting my day with that.

#Personal #Music #SongFeature

“Daddy, I have a cool idea for a story.”

“What is it?”

“So you know how people live in shacks and it's just one room?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, I want to write a story about a homeless girl who can't find a place to stay, so she finds an empty garbage can, cleans it, and makes a home out of it with electricity and everything! She has friends, and she goes to see them but each time she sees them she's a little bit different and that's 'cause the garbage can is eating her soul, and she's transforming into garbage.”

“That's... very dark, sweetie.”

“Dark?”

“It's very... macabre.”

“Maca... what?”

“Y'know, like relating to death.”

“Oh...”

I stopped walking with him and looked at my feet. Thinking about what was wrong with what I said. I looked up and around and saw a few other people near us eyeing me through their peripheral. I was 10 or so and lost sense of my “inside voice” when I was excited. I guess I couldn't talk about my stories in the grocery store anymore.

Not too long after this, he gave me my first MP3 player and a pair of earphones. It was an all-black ZEN X-Fi Style. I used that thing every day and night until it broke.

I have a wide array of artists that I've come to listen to since my MP3 days, but I rarely really listen to the whole gamut of genres I like within a short period. Rather, I go through cycles with each genre or artists, spending days to months listening to songs and albums on repeat and discovering new ones. I've circled back to the Pixies recently. I was listening to Ed Is Dead, actually. Earlier today, it clicked in my head that their songs have a tendency to be pretty morbid or wild. I've always understood that about them, but I had never thought about this in the context of my transition into adolescence.

I'd like to think my father was conscious in steering me toward the Pixies. Even though I wouldn't understand some lyrics and themes in their music until I was much older, I'd like to think he nudged me toward them in hopes I'd identify with their storytelling and morbid imagery.

I'd like to give my dad the benefit of the doubt too because I often think back to when I told him I was suicidal for the first time. It had to be at least the third mental breakdown of my sophomore year. I missed the bus home because I fell apart not being able to complete all of an assignment on time because for a reason I can't recall. Because of this, he had to pick me up and leave work early. I know he'd be upset because he didn't like us interrupting his workday. He was a single dad with four kids and a dog to support. I was scared he'd be angry.

I sat talking out all my feelings with my school's high school counselor in her office. I did my late work while she called my dad to pick me up. She wanted to talk with him about my frequent breakdowns. I was not part of their talk.

The walk to his car was quiet, and it was quiet for most of the ride home.

“Dad, I want to die,” I whispered. My head was against the window, but in my peripheral, I could see him turn his head slightly toward me.

“Sweetie, what you're feeling — all teenagers go through this. You'll be okay.”

I wanted to say, “But dad...” and tell him I'd felt this way for a long time since I was little little and playing with dolls. But no parent wants to hear that. But maybe he was right. I was 14. Maybe all this would go away, eventually.

The optimist in me wants to believe that every suicidal person gets to a point eventually of, “Suicide is not an option.” But that's not how people work.

I'd like to think he consciously raised me to seek solace in music. But even if he didn't, who knows where I'd be without the Pixies. I can't say that I've ever listened to any of their songs while I was on the brink of trying to decide my fate, but they are featured one way or another throughout the soundtrack of my life. They are the unmoving pillar of my music foundation.

I remember talking with someone a few years back. I think it might've been a co-worker or a regular customer; I don't remember exactly. We were talking music. I'm not one of those people that's huge into music history and culture, seeing as how I never really fit into any group or culture anyway.

We were talking about alt-rock bands in 80s and 90s. I mentioned my love for the Pixies. The person I was talking with didn't really care for them. I wasn't offended, but me being curious, I asked why.

“I just don't. They're weird.” “Everyone's weird.” “Yeah, but they're weird.”

I remember raising and scrunching my eyebrows, trying to understand what they really meant. I shrugged it off, and we started talking about something else. I still tried to pin down what they thought was weird in my head.

Suffice to say, I get it now. . . .

“Cease to resist, giving my goodbye Drive my car into the ocean You think I'm dead, but I sail away On a wave of mutilation”

#Monologue #Personal #Music

I've never come so close to killing myself before. I had the means to do so tonight. Well, I've had the means to do so for a while, probably ever since I started wearing cinched clothing. But I never realized I had the means until this afternoon.

It almost feels like suicide would be the expected ending in my narrative. If my life up to now were a book, I'm certain that most readers would shrug at this ending. “I could see it coming from Chapter 4,” they would say. The part of my soul that's sensitive and pessimistic, wants to give into this ending.

I always thought the way I'd end up dying (if by suicide) was either through carbon monoxide, hanging, or a chemical concoction of sorts. I suppose what I tried tonight isn't too far off from hanging, but there was no hanging involved.

I experimented with several objects, getting close, but still able to take a breath even if I had to struggle to take it. Then I found the right setting. I felt my face get tingly, the music fade, and my vision start to blur. A part of me felt incredibly victorious that after so many years of inner turmoil, I'd found my own way out.

But then I became concerned with the nature of asphyxiation. Is death from asphyxia certain? With carbon monoxide, the levels have to be just high enough, and your oxygen source restricted just enough. I know with pills, it's always a gamble — death is never guaranteed. Even with hanging, I know it can take more than five minutes to slip into unconsciousness, depending on the circumstances.

With asphyxiation, you can lose consciousness and die within five minutes. I've never been that close.

It was odd. I didn't want to die die in that moment. I just wanted people to really know that I want to die. While I hate people looking at me for a lot of reasons, I want someone to look at me.

I want someone to look at my neck and know: “This person was serious about death.” I think that's all I've ever wanted. For someone to look at my face and not necessarily understand what I've been through, but understand living is not natural for me.

The object is inside my nightstand. Right now truthfully, I feel numb just from the fact that death is literally beside me. All my life is now is a decision. My plan is there. My death has become simple — if I take this route.

It's calming.

#Personal #Monologue