Summer of running away

Echoes of gas stations,

shitty coffee,

sunken eyes and unkempt hair

swarm my mind

as I drive down a desolate road

in the dead of winter.

My coffee, hot as all hell,

stains my shirt and burns my throat.

I was homesick

for an imaginary place.

I had been searching for my home

but nothing stuck,

nothing but loneliness, empty roads

and the taste of burnt coffee grounds-

maybe that’s my home now.

At least they can’t break my heart.

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Album Recommendations: Act 1 – Morbid Stuff / PUP

Just before writing Shan’s story, I listened to Morbid Stuff, an album by PUP on my record player. I listened to it all the way through and it struck a chord deep inside me. I related to it on a personal level to the point I knew I had to write something about it. When the album ended, I turned the record over and listened again, typing urgently. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a nihilist, but I have my moments. And this album brought those moments out.

I recommend listening in full, but my favorite track off it is the second track Kids.

Birthday Ramblings

Today’s my birthday. I’m 22 today. I’d like to take this time to reflect on all the things 21 taught me.

In no way do I consider myself a fully-functioning adult, but I’m a hell of a lot more mature than I was last year. This year has been a year for self-reflecting and personal, internal growth.

I’ve learned to speak up for myself. Though I’m still not perfect at it, I’ve managed to avoid a lot of distress and suffering by noticing when something isn’t right, and fixing it.

I’ve gotten better at managing stress, anxiety, and depression. Of course, I still fall into my old self-destructive habits sometimes, but they’re a lot shorter now, and I can bring myself back to reality sooner than before.

I can notice what I need to work on within myself and actually begin to work on it. In the past, if I know there’s something I need to work on, I’d get stressed out and fall into a spiral at the thought of having to actually try– you mean I’m not perfect?! Nowadays, I don’t worry about that kind of thing. Knowing there’s something I need to work on just means I’m one step closer to bettering myself.

Today, I just want to take it easy. No schoolwork, no work-work. I’m going out to breakfast with my family then spending the day with my boyfriend. It’ll be a simple day to relax after a long year. A good year, but a long one.

Monument Pier (Part 2)

Missed part one? Check it out here!

Cold. A bitter, gruesome cold spread throughout Jakey’s body. He couldn’t feel his fingertips, but he was less concerned about that than where he was. He opened his eyes to find himself laying on his side on a damp and uncomfortable bed. He could just barely see a bedside table next to him, illuminated by a single dim and flickering lamp. The lamp looked to be something from an old movie. His mind jumped straight to pirates. 

Where am I?Jakey thought to himself. The last thing he could remember was jumping into Boston Harbor after that terrible fight with his parents. Was he dead? Was this what the afterlife was? Why did he feel like he was rocking back and forth? Jakey thought he would be sick. 

His eyes slightly adjusted to the darkness and noticed a window behind the table. He could barely make out a light far in the distance. Then the light was gone. It reminded him of a lighthouse, but he couldn’t think straight enough yet to wrap his head around that.

It’s freezing.Jakey thought to himself, sitting up in bed and placing his feet on the ground. Where are my shoes?His feet felt a cool breeze as he noticed he was no longer wearing his shoes and his socks were damp just like the rest of him. It was a terrible feeling, he couldn’t stand it any longer. Without thinking, he took his socks off and felt a sudden relief. 

I’m not dead, but I wish I was. This is awful. Where the hell am I?Jakey attempted to stand, lost his balance, and fell back down onto the bed. Why can’t I stand up? Is the world rocking back and forth? Or am I losing it?He squinted and looked around. At the bottom of the bed was another light and one on the opposite side of the bed, too. He was in a small room with two doors on each side of the bed respectively. Everything was wooden. 

Jakey felt delirious. He couldn’t wrap his head around what was happening until he heard a loud crash, a sound he was all too familiar with after spending years at the pier. He was on a ship. He understood that now. How he got here was unclear, but he was here now. He didn’t feel threatened, as if he was kidnapped. Hell, even if he was some prisoner on a pirate’s ship it’d be better than his old living situation. At least then he’d have something to live for. 

His mind was finally coming to. Jakey had never been on a ship before besides the time he toured his father’s boat many years ago. He knew boats rocked back and forth, but he never knew the feeling until now. Seasickness was something his father always said was for the weakhearted, but he could feel something rising in his stomach. Oh, no, he was going to be sick right now. He couldn’t see well enough to find something to throw up in, but he stood up and searched anyway. As he stood up, much too fast might he add, he uncontrollably bent over and let it all out. 

Groaning, Jakey laid back down on the bed, legs dangling off the edge and hands rubbing his temples. Voices came from behind the door behind him followed by footsteps and the creaking of an old door handle turning. Without sitting up, he watched a light illuminate from the other room. A figure appeared carrying a lamp identical to the ones in his room, but much brighter. 

“Well, I’ll be. You’re awake!” Said a deep voice in an accent he couldn’t quite place.

“You alright, boy?” A second voice said. Two figures now stood at his bedside, upside down from his perspective. 

“Mnm, got sick.” Jakey croaked. 

“Where didja get sick, now, kid?” The second voice said. The two piled in and Jakey sat up.

“Over here, sorry, I couldn’t find a place to go. It happened so suddenly. Never been on a boat.” Jakey mumbled, gesturing to the mess on the floor next to him.

“Well, that’s alright, nothing a mop can’t clean, right?” The first voice said as they inspected Jakey’s mess. 

“What’s your name now? And what were ya doin’ out at sea? We thought you were a dead man. Scared us, didn’t it?” The second voice asked, taking a mop and bucket out of the cabinet at the end of the room and began cleaning.

“Jakey. I don’t know, was trying to end it, honestly.” Jakey admitted sheepishly.

“Well, that’s not the way to go, now is it? How old are ya? 16? That’s a bit too young to be wanting to end it all, wouldn’t you say?” The second voice said.

“I’d do anything to get away from my parents.” Jakey said solemnly. 

“Is that right? They’re abusive? Guess we can’t bring you back ashore then, can we?” The first voice said, nudging Jakey. Jakey chuckled.

“Sorry for rescuing me. I really don’t want to overstay my welcome. You can bring me back to shore, I don’t care where. I’ll get out of your hair.” Jakey mumbled.

“Nonsense. Jakey. We were just talking about how we need a new shipmate, weren’t we, Artie?” The second voice said, peering up at Jakey and Artie as he finished cleaning.

“Aye. We’ve got a crew, but we could use another person.” Artie said, “Tell me, Jakey, what do ya know about the ports ‘round Boston?”

“I know a little.” Jakey lied. He knew Boston Harbor better than he knew himself. He’d spent hours a day as a kid memorizing the paths of ships and tides from his father’s charts. He would draw them on spare pieces of paper from memory in class when he’d get bored. The margins of his math homework were riddled with maps and boat designs. He could tell you where the captain’s quarters were in every boat that belonged to the harbor. 

“Don’t be modest, kid, we want to give you a safe place to live. All we ask is you help us take back what’s ours.” Artie said.

hey, maybe that’s too harsh.

I catch myself before it’s too late. It’s probably a talent. I catch myself thinking, “stupid, stupid, stupid” because I forgot to do that one thing I said I would do. Mid self deprecating thought I stop and go, “hey, maybe that’s too harsh.”

I find myself doing this all too often, and it usually is a sign that I’m falling into a pit of depression yet again. If I catch myself soon enough, I can manage to escape that deep, dark pit of emotional turmoil that is a depressive episode and continue on as a normal human. Sometimes, more often than I’d like to admit, I don’t realize it until I’m a month deep, surrounded by isolation and self-destructive tendencies.

I find myself laying on my floor at 1 am, lights off, listening to a playlist of mopey songs singing about how terrible everything in their lives are. It’s usually in a moment like this that I come to the realization of, “oh, right. I’m depressed again.”

I’ve been down so many times, I know how to deal with it. When you’ve been depressed for nearly a decade, coming out of a depressive episode becomes a regular practice. Everyone’s brain works differently, but for me that’s usually taking a day or two for myself. I’ll do whatever it is I want to do that day and not feel guilty for it. Because once you’re that deep in it, you should not feel guilty for taking a day to just watch your favorite feel-good show on Netflix or sit outside with a cup of tea and watch the wind blow through the trees.

Coming out of it isn’t always a pretty sight, either. It takes time, just like it took time to fall into it. I’ll catch myself along the way isolating or overreacting and I just take a step back and rewire my brain into Positivity Mode again.

Writing, School, and my Mental Health

Writing in my free time

As I have mentioned, my ultimate career goal is to be a published author- preferably a self-sustaining one. I have a lot of ideas ruminating for what genre I want to be my main focus, and that’s something I’ve always struggled with. There’s so many types of fiction and they’re all so fun to write. I’m working on a few different stories right now, and they’re wildly different from each other.

With the summer coming up, I’m going to be working more, and that will probably hinder my writing. Summers get incredibly hectic and exhausting, leaving me braindead with little motivation to write. I’ll be setting aside a day or two a week just for writing, though, and that’s really what will be getting me through the chaos of tourist season.

School

School has been going well so far, it started the first week in May and I really don’t have many complaints so far. It’s my first class after transferring and it’s a very simple history class. It’s been easy so far, and that’s coming from someone who has never really excelled in any history class. I didn’t necessarily do bad, I just never put in much effort.

The class is taking up more of my time than I’d like, though. I’ve always struggled with writing while I’m in school and I was hoping since I’m only taking one course, I would find the time to write more. So far, I’d like to think that’s true. This website has been a good motivation to continue creating, and I’m glad I have yet to slow down too much with my writing. Not to mention, it feels good to finally have my work out there and not just crowding my documents folder on my laptop.

Mental health

For the last year, I’ve been focusing a lot of my free time on bettering myself mentally and emotionally. I’ve been learning my limits, knowing when to give myself a break and when I just need a little push. It’s been mostly successful, but I still have moments where I feel overwhelmed and just want to start everything over or go live in a cave for a month or two.

When I get to that point, I know I’ve pushed myself too far and need a break from it all. I’ll typically give myself a relaxing night in with a cup of tea and a good show and restrict myself from doing anything too strenuous. I’ll let myself do something that I typically wouldn’t do because it doesn’t feel “productive enough.” I won’t get upset with myself for needing a day off because there’s nothing wrong with that. As someone who has had mental health problems for years, I just need a little extra cushion sometimes and that’s okay.

Knowing myself and knowing my limits has been the biggest help on me getting healthier. Listening to my body when it needs something, whether it be more sleep, something to eat, or to relax and not overwork myself, has made me a generally happier person. For a while, I never thought I’d make it to the point where I feel okay most of the time, and I’m proud of myself.

Summer Nostalgia

I live by the beach, on the little peninsula of eastern Massachusetts known as Cape Cod. I have mixed feelings about living here; it’s expensive, summers are hectic and infested with tourists, winters are slow and dull. I’m not a huge fan of the beach, either, but the other night I was driving home from work, windows down since it’s finally warm enough for that, and I smelled the salt water marsh. It brought back a flood of memories and an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia.

I’ve been dreaming about moving off cape for years now; it’s not exactly plausible, but it’s a dream of mine. But when I smelled the salt water, a part of me hesitated. I vividly remembered sitting on a towel on the crowded beach as a child. I remembered playing in the hot sand, picking up handfuls of it and letting it soothingly, slowly trickle off my hands and back onto the beach. I remembered the smell of the ocean, the salty air, taking that first step on the beach in my flip flops. The sand tough to walk on, so I quickly slip my shoes off and feel the hot sand on my bare feet, my brother and I running to an open spot, perfect for us to put our blankets down on.

I reminisced on the hot beating summer sun, soothed only by the winds that come and go. Laying out in the sun until we were sweating, bored, and needed to cool down in the ocean. Taking that first dip in the water, finally cool. Crouching down in the knee-deep water so as to submerge ourselves in the water as soon as possible, holding our heads just above the water as we crawl deeper into the ocean. Finally, we can stand comfortably in shoulder-deep water, laughing and splashing each other.

We’d plug our noses and dip our heads under the water for as long as we can, holding a contest for who can stay under longer. My brother shows me how he can do a flip under the water, and I show him I can do a handstand. Our mom tells us to be careful. We laugh and play for a while, until our hands get wrinkly and our stomachs are rumbling for lunch.

Lost in daydreams of my childhood, I came back to real life and realized I had already driven all the way home. I shook my head at the fact that one smell can bring back memories I haven’t thought about in years. Sure, I still want to move off cape, and I think more seriously about it every day, but I’d be lying if I said I won’t miss it. I’ve lived here my whole life, my entire childhood was spent on the beach, baseball fields, the bike path, and my own backyard. When I leave, I’ll be leaving all these memories. Though I don’t have set in stone plans to move any time soon, I’ve been extra nostalgic lately as I drive down the streets I know by heart, worrying someday I might forget them.

Someday, I’ll be coming back to visit my parents, after living somewhere else for years, and I might need directions to go to the grocery store that I currently go to on a weekly basis. I might not remember the name of the street the baseball fields I used to spend summers at. I might be reminiscing with a friend on our childhoods and I won’t be able to remember the name of that park we had so many picnics at, the one that was a dog park for a week a few years ago. We brought our dog Lily there and she made so many friends that week. What if I forget that even happened?

I get that it’s a part of moving on, growing up, I know I’ll make more memories wherever I move, and I’ll know those streets like I know these ones, I just can’t help but feel nostalgic. All these memories made me into the person I am today, part of me worries I’ll lose the childlike wonder I still have if I move away and forget my past.