Too Full, Too Shallow, but Always Drowning

I’ve been thinking a lot about my past recently. It seems like I’ve simultaneously lived a deep, full, and rich life, and lived a life that is nowhere close to being complete. What I mean by that is when I look back, I see so much. So many memories and experiences, it feels like I’ve lived more than I deserve. But then I look ahead and I see all the possibilities in front of me. Everything I could be and everything I could do, and my life suddenly seems to be lacking in its completeness.
And this is when I have to remind myself that every single day is invaluable. So often. So. Often. I am caught in a rut in my own mind. I mentally pace over something over and over, and before I know it my feet have carved an inescapable cavern in my mind. Sometimes I sink so low into this canyon that I cannot see the bigger picture, the brighter sky. I forget that I can choose my mood, and it’s crazy to not choose a good mood. I lose sight of the fact that every interaction that I take too seriously, every game I become too invested in, every glare I shoot at someone is a misused opportunity. A misused opportunity to not only spread some goodness, but also an opportunity to have no regrets. My psychological ditch prevents me from seeing that I can and should be working towards a bigger picture sometimes. It prevents me from seeing the things I could be doing, and so it fills with regrets.
My regrets pool with me in my rut. They burn and they hurt. Maybe smoulder is the best word. But they also allow me to float above them and see the bright sky again. They serve as a reminder that I should be giving my best to everyone, day after day.
I need to believe in that bigger picture, and keep its idea in my forethoughts, so when I am dragged down to pace beneath my regrets again, I might tread a little lighter.

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Friends

Outside recognition and approval of accomplishments and growth always feels good.

But never have I experienced outside recognition and approval of my accomplishments and growth that I am most proud of. The accomplishments and growth that cannot be encapsulated by a piece of paper with a signature and stamp, and that move me to tears.

My loved ones.

How lucky am I to have met such brilliant people. How humble am I to have shared a little of my broken world with such kind people. How thankful am I to have grown with them.

I will rejoice in the moments I share with them, and I will hold them close in the moments I cannot.

Respite

         

          It’s only darker. What’s the problem?

 

When the faded sun is sinking fast

And its tendrils of light no longer drape over the horizon,

Lingering on for the dulcet afterglow of dusk,

It slowly evaporates into hollow night.

 

          You can do this. Just focus.

 

My tongue sours.

My eyes blur.

My head is immersed in a fog.

 

          You’re not making good decisions.

 

When the darker days set in,

Like a harbinger, crier of winter with his deadened bell—

I am tired.

 

          You’re just burnt-out. Go to bed.

 

When the sky dims and I have not yet finished my toil,

A whirling coil engulfs my frame—

Wearing me thin.

 

          You can’t just not do your work.

 

When my exertion is under a numb bulb,

Unaccompanied by the world alight, with darkness enclosing the earth—

I grow cold.

 

          Stop being lazy. Let’s go.

 

But listen.

Let us rise from our dens and melt this ice from our spines.

Let us see the late sun set and the early rise.

Unshackle our ankles. Uncuff our hands.

Set your soul ablaze. Fill your chest with air.

 

          Let me help you. Let people love you.

 

Heels flying, souls stomping, toes soaring.

We have fought the blackest winter and won.

Seasonally affected no more.

Brighter days await.

 

          What’s wrong now? Sad, again?

 

This is not the “good cry”

Releasing that guttural knot and making everything better

This is not catharsis

 

          No. Please don’t cry.

 

This is not bitter-sweet sadness

Simply relieved by sweet tea and a warm blanket

This is not alleviation

 

          All teens go through this.

 

This is not lamenting fantasy

Helping ease the floods of yearning

This is not nostalgia

 

          Just give it time. You’ll grow out of it.

 

This is not listless demeanor

Telling of a slow, boring day

This is not apathy

 

          Why don’t you choose to be happy?

 

This is not imagined pain

Fabricated by the mind

This is not delusion

 

          It’s all in your head. Just don’t think about it.

 

This is not just angst and emotion

That every teenager faces

This is not youth

 

          Grow up. You’re being immature.

 

This is not intense anxiety

Causing cold sweats

This is not panic

 

          You’re just stressed. Relax.

 

This is not sleepy lethargy  

Solved with a good night’s rest

This is not indolence

 

          You have to do this. At least try.

 

This is not a defense mechanism

Built to stay the hurt

This is not meant to protect

 

          Other people have it worse. Be thankful.

 

There is no respite

It does not abate

There is no solace

 

          Why are you even sad?

 

This is Depression

 

          We miss you. This isn’t you.

 

On this crooked brook,

Lucid waters ease past my bow,

Crumbling before me as I progress

 

          You talk too quietly. I can’t hear you.

 

And the pebbled bed of the stream,

Sprawls out like carpet for the spent water to rest on,

Rolling in its slumber

 

          Wake up. You’re already behind.

 

On this crooked brook,

The trees breathe,

Churning the air into a honeyed elixir

 

          Everyone has problems.

 

And the birds swirl and spin with the leaves,

Vitalizing the branches,

As the breeze wanders

 

          Others don’t need extra help.

 

On this crooked brook,

A fading reflection,

A broken person

 

          You’re hurting my feelings.

 

Who has made caustic mistakes,

Who has hurt,

Who has been hurt

 

          You’re bringing everyone else down.

 

Lo, all along this crooked brook,

A past of shattered glass,

Snapped chains lying cold in waters deep

 

          Everybody feels bad sometimes.

 

Darkness arches away from light,

Sinister fingers wean away from deathly grip,

And a new light emerges

 

          It’s okay.

 

Ahead on this crooked brook,

It is not so crooked,

For my God awaits