Forgiveness

When I was debating you

and debating moving states

and cutting my hair

but I stayed stagnant

for the hollow feeling

of thinking I was wanted

I should’ve left

I should’ve been spontaneous

and I should’ve taken it as a hint

all the songs I cherished

about running away

maybe I should’ve, too.

It’s not new that I should’ve left sooner

but if I listened to the hurt inside me

just for a moment

I could’ve avoided the whole thing.

I could be better.

I get so stuck on the what-ifs

and the ways I could’ve been better

I forget that I did my best with what was handed to me

if I’d done everything perfectly

if I hadn’t stayed

if I hadn’t debated college

if I knew the outcome

and the way to get there without getting hurt at all

I wouldn’t be better off

I’d be bored

Completed | #poem

I know what love is

because I feel it

when the sun shines

and when the breeze

blew you into my life

and I know I love you

because I want to try

again.

I was so lost

I got out of bed out of spite,

now I do it so I can see your smile

and on days you’re not around

I do it because I want to.

Love is more than us

but it’s so strong with us

that I feel it even after you’ve gone

and I’ve always loved

I’ve loved the fall

and I’ve loved singing in the car

but they don’t complete me

like you do.

Creative Fiction Profile | Loneliness and Headaches

Anything to take the mind off this headache.

He lit up a smoke and slowly laid down, hands behind his head. He took a deep inhale and closed his eyes, ignoring the throbbing in his forehead and focusing on the feeling of the smoke in his lungs. He always enjoyed the feeling. Anytime someone tried to tell him it was going to give him cancer someday, he always rolled his eyes. The upsides always outweighed the downsides in his eyes. Whatever happens, happens; if he’s going to die, at least he’ll die happy.

He didn’t smoke cigarettes. That was the distinction he always made. Cigs had little redeeming qualities. He just smoked weed. It wasn’t as big of a deal. And it was legal here now, anyway, so who’s going to stop him? His mom? She lives across the country.

The weed always helped with the headaches. Even when it doesn’t make them go away entirely, it at least gives him a few hours of serenity. That’s all he can ever ask for. He isn’t one to complain about his life, he’s doing alright for himself, got a good group of friends and a job that pays well enough for his living habits.

If he has any complaints, though, it’s the loneliness that looms over him at night. It always happens around 11 PM. His friends one by one say goodbye for the night and he’s left there by 2 o’clock with a half-smoked spliff and an empty chest. When his friends ask him if he’s doing alright, he says he’s fine. He means it most of the time, too. Them reaching out to him is enough to make his heart a little warmer.

He can’t deny though, that when the last of the group leaves to go to bed, he feels a piece of his heart break more. For a while, he thought he’d be happy being single. He wouldn’t mind if he spends the rest of his days with his friends doing whatever they want every night after work. But after a few friends got married and drifted, he felt that the group was growing smaller and someday it would be just him.

The problem was, he’d been in relationships before and they always ended the same way. He had a track record for being cheated on and ghosted. After the fourth one came and went, he swore off dating for a while. He said it was only for a short period, until he regained his trust in romance. But weeks turned to months turned to years and now he ends every night with a bong rip and a sigh.

His headache started to drift away, and as did he. It was the middle of the day on a Saturday and he had plans at 7.

He awoke from his weed-induced nap with a rumbling stomach. The sun had already set. Before he had time to regain his bearings on the world, he heard a knock on the door. It was Mark. He brought a six-pack of their favorite beer and a new board game. The rest of the gang would be over shortly.


Five Years Later

Being 23 is nothing like what the movies make it seem like. At least not for me. Movie-23-year-olds are at their dream job, engaged to the love of their life, and have life figured out. I think watching movies like that did not prepare me for what being 23 is actually like.

Being 23 means you’re either still in school or you’re freshly graduated, and you’re so overwhelmed with what the rest of your life will look like that you don’t want to plan it out. You just want to nap. Or have a drink. But it’s only 4 in the afternoon and if you do either of those right now, it’ll ruin any plans you had for the night, so instead you try not to think about it.

I remember at my high school graduation the teachers asked us where we imagined we’d be in five years. Well, it’s been five years and I don’t think I could’ve predicted I’d be where I am. I figured I’d have my degree, I would’ve transferred from my community college to a four-year, then gotten my Bachelor’s in Writing or something of the sort. I didn’t think I would’ve changed my major four times just go to back to where I started. I didn’t think I would’ve switched schools after taking a year off. I definitely didn’t think that I’d still be in school now, barely even a Junior.

I remember when I graduated high school- I remember the feeling I had. I felt so free, I had so much to look forward to, so much ahead of me and it was only just beginning. I imagined that by 23 that feeling would’ve dissipated by now. I still feel like I’m only just beginning and I’m pretty sure it’ll feel like this for a while.

I think I’m at the point where I’m getting an idea of what I want to do with my future. I think the initial excitement of “wait, I can actually do whatever I want with my life???” has died down a bit and I’m thinking more realistically nowadays. There’s still a lot I want to do in my life, and I can’t even imagine where I’ll be in five, ten, fifteen years. I just hope that I’m happy. I just hope I’m going down the path I think is right for me, no matter what job I have, no matter where I live. I just want to be happy. I think that’s what I said when my teachers asked me that at my high school graduation, too. And I think I’m getting there.

Uncertainty

Am I where I should be?

Is this what I want?

Does anyone know what they want?

Or are they just blindly chasing a feeling?

People put on a reassuring smile

and say they’re happy,

they’re doing what they want

and “don’t worry, you will be, too.”

Sure, maybe they’re right

and I know I’m still young

but that doesn’t make this

uncertain feeling in my chest

go away.

.

Days all blend together

and I wonder if they’ll ever stop doing that.

An ever-changing world

I want to grow

I want to bloom

I want to look back on this time

and think of how much I’ve changed

for the better

and be proud of myself

I’ve always been growing

I’ll always be changing

I’ll always be looking back on the past

with a hint of nostalgia

and a wave of pride

because I’m always growing

and I’m always changing

and I used to think I would stop changing 

when I reach a certain age

but I don’t think that’s how it goes.

You learn new things

you find new hobbies

you find new things to talk about 

with strangers and with close friends.

I think it’s beautiful

how the world is always changing around us

and we’re changing, too.

if ever there comes a day

where I stop growing, stop changing

I hope it is my last

because if I can’t change with the world

then I can’t change the world.

.. Lauren Hayden ..

Needs

I’ve been at my worst

I’ve been at my best

I’ve stood face to face with anger

and I’ve given in and I’ve given up

but I’m done stewing.

Now when I come face to face

with anger or despair

I’ll ask if it needs a cup of tea

or maybe more sleep tonight.

I want to believe

that these bad thoughts aren’t real

but they are,

they’re just poorly communicated needs

I just have to ask them what they are.

I’m sorry I disappear from time to time

it’s nothing against you

I’m just bad at remembering to talk.

It’s something that’s been a constant since I was a child

and I’m not sure it’ll ever go away.

I get in these moods

they’re not necessarily depressions

though maybe they once were;

they’re like riding the subway late at night

when you’re the only one on the train

and you don’t feel lonely,

you’re just there

and you’re sort of tired,

but you still have enough energy to make yourself dinner when you get home-

at least something filling, if not a full meal.

It’s not a cry for help

and I’m certainly not lonely

but I want you to know I’m still here

I’m just less

I guess

It was a Tuesday in July

I fell deep in love

while July was in full swing

with humidity and heat waves

and there I was, falling for someone like all the cliches

and it really was all the cliches.

It’s everything you dreamed about

before your standards were lowered

by all your horrendous exes

and you were eventually soured on relationships.

Then you meet someone so perfect

you thought they could only ever exist in books and movies

but they’re real

and they look at you

like you’re the exact same thing to them.