Monument Pier (Part One)

Jakey had enough. The relentless screaming matches followed by forced tears and attempted apologies from his parents had finally broken him. He took nothing but the clothes on his back as he marched determinedly towards Monument Pier. 

It was late, Jakey was unsure the exact time, but the sun had already set. The only light source was the streetlamps intermittently illuminating the sidewalk. He was lucky, well, lucky was one way of putting it, to live only a mile from Monument Pier. Lucky because that was his escape, he felt free at the pier. He could sit with his legs dangling off the edge of the boardwalk and listen to the tide push and pull, the commotion of Boston Harbor echoing softly. The occasional horn of a boat leaving the harbor would carry down towards Monument Pier and Jakey would daydream about what the boat had planned. Were they a rescue boat out to save someone drowning? Or were they a transportation boat, just making their rounds? 

Jakey liked to imagine it was pirates. He was always fascinated with pirates. He had his own spin, though. They were never bad pirates. They didn’t steal or loot or kill, they just lived at sea. He was always interested in pirates, ever since he was a child. Before his father turned to alcoholism and was forced to retire, he was a ship captain for the Monument Pier Security. He would tell Jakey about the criminals they caught and Jakey would imagine they were pirates because he was 10 and what other criminals are out at sea besides pirates? Jakey loved hearing his father’s stories and he wished nothing more than to be able to hear one again, but the most his father does now is complain about the TV not working or the alleged rude cashier at the liquor store. 

His father was lucky enough to have the savings to retire, Jakey was too young to understand how hard that is for people nowadays. His father had been in the Marines for ten years before being ship captain, he was discharged when Jakey was 5 and struggled a lot. That was when the yelling started. 

Jakey made it to the pier, fighting off tears along the way. His head swimming with angry thoughts and suicidal ideations as he sat down at the end of the dock. A few fishing boats lined the dock, Jakey wished he brought his phone so he would know when to expect the fishermen. The last thing he wanted was to be around anyone, never mind his nosy, upbeat fishermen neighbors. 

The dock was wooden and uneven, various nails sticking up and loose boards throughout. Jakey knew sitting here for too long would get uncomfortable, but he didn’t have anywhere else to go. The coffeeshop he frequents closed at sunset and this was the only place he could ever truly be alone. 

He sat and listened to the waves crashing, looking out at the city skyline. It was beautiful, he couldn’t deny that. The city at night was incredible. Almost enough to stop the recurring thought in his head that uttered those two words repetitively. 

“Jump in, jump in, jump in,” his depression echoed. 

“Stop,” He spoke, tears welling up.

“Jump in,” It didn’t even sound like his own thought, as though coming from a demon possessing his body with strictly bad intentions. 

“I can’t.” His voice cracked, mouth going dry.

“You must. It is the only option.” The voice hissed. He couldn’t argue any more, his voice of reason gone, all he could think of was how cold would the water be? And his clothes would get all wet. Should he take his shoes off first?

It seemed to happen in slow motion. Effortlessly, like he was being dragged in by an invisible force. Before he knew it, he was completely immersed. He didn’t even take his shoes off.

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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.

Down again

It’s not that I have no one who cares,

it’s not that no one would comfort me in a moment of despair,

it’s the overwhelming feeling of not being able to reach out

in fear of being too much or an inconvenience.

I don’t want to burden anyone with my depressive episode;

when I’m sad, no one should have to deal with me than me.

They tell me I’m not a burden, that they really do love me,

but when I’m so deep in a pit of self-loathing depression,

it’s hard to believe anyone could ever care enough.

These fits of depression come out of the blue full force sometimes,

it’s not always easy to catch before I’m lying on the floor at 2 am,

headphones in, lights off, self-deprecating thoughts accumulating rapidly.

I want to believe I’ve gotten better at catching myself before it’s too late.

Some days are harder than others,

but I know I’ll pick myself up again.

I’ll survive this no matter how hard it gets,

I won’t let this sadness swallow me whole.

When the sun shines, I’ll let it

and when the rain comes, I’ll bring an umbrella.

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.

Relief

The warm evening summer sun

interrupted by gentle breezes,

flowing through the trees

and through your hair.

The breeze is a relief,

the sun, though setting, burns bright.

When the wind blows,

it takes with it any sense of doubt

and any negative feelings we once had.

 

We stand in the forest,

surrounded by trees and bushes,

a plethora of greens and browns and yellows.

We’re barefoot, but only for a moment,

just to sink our feet deep into the soil,

root ourselves in the same dirt these trees use,

and maybe understand how they can stand so tall

in a world that doesn’t seem to want them.

 

I feel connected to the forest,

in the summer at dusk.

I feel as though I, too, will soon become cold and restless,

mischievous creatures will stir within me.

But there’s a beauty in the silent forest nights,

though most fear to approach the darkened woods,

those who do will find it’s calm and eternal;

it’s not out to get you, it just wants to survive.

It just wants to grow, to thrive

and as far as I’m concerned,

that’s all anyone else wants.

invincible

There’s something beautiful about a big open field; I used to dream about them. The endless green grass, wild flowers growing arbitrarily, wandering around them aimlessly. It’s a kind of calm bliss only achievable in a big open field, unaccompanied on a sunlit day. Maybe it’s something to do with how I spent my childhood, often around fields of lush grass and the soft sound of people just out of sight. Maybe that’s why I have such an affinity for them, they bring back fond memories from a time I only vaguely remember.

A gentle breeze passes, I feel sempiternal, unbreakable, invincible. Laying in the grass, I listen to the birds sing, the faint sounds of cars and people, just far enough away to not be bothersome, but still close enough so I don’t feel alone. I’m at peace, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

(not) rock bottom

I exhaled and found myself

twelve feet deep,

surrounded by seaweed and crabs.

They say not to sink too low,

but if means I can breathe again,

I’d find Atlantis in the abyss.

I’m sitting on the ocean floor,

not too deep that I’ll drown

just enough to feel the waves pull me around.

I’d kill to feel anything these days,

a little clarity is all I ask.

They told me I need to cleanse my soul

so, I sank to the sandy floor.

Now I can’t breathe or think,

and time is running out.

This isn’t where I wanted to be at 21,

drowning in stress and loneliness.

I feel the seaweed wrap around my legs,

tighter every second

until I accept defeat.

This isn’t rock bottom,

but I can’t sink any lower.