which is ridiculous now that i think about it. i had just taken the effort to die, and now they were telling me ‘nothing exists beyond the void of the life you knew’; yet their very existence defied their own claims. who knows who or what they were, but they clearly didnt want me there, and so they sent me back. what kind of place we were in, i don’t remember – maybe a room, maybe an empty plain – but somewhere filled with a white fog beyond which you could see nothing.
no, maybe that was it. maybe it was all nothing except for them.
rather than expose their disinformation by pointing out the fact of their presence, i only felt a dull disappointment at the time. they faded from view as time rewound (even though time wasn’t supposed to exist there. curious). as the memories return of that place, surely one of them was God? and He had said that He did not want me.
i found myself back on earth. a younger version of myself might have found the void beyond death a great reason to die, but now with firm confirmation of the absence of any kind of afterlife, the existence of life became much more beautiful and endearing. it would be the only thing i would experience, and that made it all the more precious.
dream logic is something that will ever elude us.
i’m glad these last moments are at least spent with you. i’m glad it’s under this godforsaken sky, littered with stars unnamed as we once were. though who’s to say if they too are named; it could be we just don’t know what to call them by yet. we’ll know soon enough.
i’m glad this can be with fresh air in our lungs. with the soft grass beneath us, ready to embrace these receptacles our souls will no longer need as they might birth new life as we move on. will we meet in another life? even if not, a fragment of you will always remain wedged in between the old crevices of my innermost being. one day it might reach out in some invisible force to pull us together again gently and spark a reminder of what we once had, but until then, echoes of a connection stronger than death will still ring in the backs of our consciousness.
i’m glad it’s for a cause like this. one where we calculated the risks and counted this a war worthy of every ounce of our beings. the death of a life fully lived cannot be sad; mourned, yes, but with the knowledge of what was gained, it cannot be grieved for long.
if we don’t survive the night,
i cannot help but be glad
these last moments
have been spent
it’s lying. i know the feeling: a yellow sheet begins to fog over the room as a deepset sorrow takes hold in in the innermost parts of your soul. fantasies begin to swim over your eyes — you may as well be drifting between multiple worlds in which any reality could easily be the real one, and the only thread that keeps you tied to this ground is the one with the little ba-bump, ba-bumps of a steady rhythm that you sometimes take for granted at this point.
‘why can’t everyone be happy?’
it reminds you of how lonely you feel because there’s no one to talk to; not anyone real at least. today doesn’t feel real anymore either, even if you may have been experiencing it only minutes ago with someone else. now that that person’s gone, you wonder if it was a dream, or if this is the dream, and if you can just wake yourself up with that hard enough tug that things will somehow turn out to be the way that they feel they’re supposed to be.
‘you should be happy too.’
the visions are far more beautiful than they should be, and are here just beyond your fingertips. if only, whispers the voice, and its fingers begin to reach out to you; but this is why i’m telling you it’s lying. the pictures it shows aren’t real, aren’t instances you can grasp if you just hold your breath for long enough. the door it promises is not as seamless as it’d have you think, and the visions of utopia that you see never waited that close by — not that effortlessly, not without time or energy. it would have you lying on the floor alone, but just wait; wait, you know what lies beyond.
the words were just in my mouth,
but something just snatched them away so that
all the screaming
and the pointing fingers
and the crying
and the self-hatred
stop suddenly and leave me with nothing.
the abrupt darkness is a blissful emptiness.
then your words echo back with a lag after you stop to think,
and all that comes to mind is a bitter resentment that
apparently has lasted over
four years now;
not toward you
maybe toward you
but mostly toward someone who was close to everyone
except me when i needed Him most.
and the voices are back.
and i hate them all.
static begins to play in the silence in which you expect an answer. an answer won’t be given; i’ve forgotten the question at this point, and the thoughts have been fleeing from my head. maybe they’re trying to protect me by keeping it blank. is it blank? no, there’s a song playing in the background, and the voices have been changing out in fragments like there are five people inside talking at once. what are they talking about, i wonder. the blood pounds in my head. what started as a bit of tiredness has evolved into the beginnings of what i know to be a battering headache. i put a cold hand to my warm forehead.
corona, says one thought ironically.
i think i was happy yesterday. i think i was even happy today, but then it’s not my happiness anymore. it’s a stranger’s, and warm liquids are threatening to spill out. my eyes. my nose. my head just banged against the table. what do i even feel right now.
uh. nothing anymore. the tissues are warm on my desk and there’s a stain on my jeans.
f- f- f- f- f- a word repeats in my head until i don’t remember what it means. i think my fingers aren’t working anymore. the feelings are gone and instead of a sniveling pity party inside, there’s just a cold corridor filled with spiderwebs. is this body mine? i don’t think so. there are even soundwaves beating against my eardrums that should maybe make something happen inside. it used to sometimes. the tears are long gone now though, and my throat didn’t even get to scream.
i never liked you.
I forgot to exist here for a good while. I’m back~
I just wanted to let you know how hard you’ve been on yourself lately. Yeah, it’s pretty obvious and you’ll probably skim over this the way you usually do whenever anyone mentions self-love; but bear with me for a second and imagine what would happen if you said half of the things you told yourself to a student of yours. ‘Wow, that was really stupid.’ ‘You should have just ______!’ ‘Why didn’t you do it this way, dummy?’
No wonder you hate yourself. No wonder you don’t like to be with yourself. No wonder you want distractions from your own thoughts. But this isn’t a reason for your bully self to beat you up more and pummel you down deeper into self-pity. (‘You’re so stupid you can’t even not hate yourself.’) It’s not saying you can’t laugh, ‘Wow, I did make a pretty silly mistake,’ because there’s a difference between recognising a mistake, laughing, and moving on versus latching onto it and hitting yourself over it.
This is just a little reminder that there’s this gentle side of you too — the one that tells students, ‘Hey, it’s okay that you messed up. Let’s just try this again; I know you can get it’ — and it’s not inaccessible to you. The only thing keeping it from you is the mean side of you who’s betting on you forgetting that you can be nice to yourself. It’s okay to mess up. It’s okay to cry, to be frustrated, to not get something right away. It’s not because you’re not enough, or you’re too stupid, or you’re incompetent; it’s just that you didn’t get it on the first try, or maybe the second or third. But don’t let your coach beat you down because of it; let yourself learn from it, shake off the dirt, laugh a little bit, and try again. Tell yourself that you’re okay. Tell yourself how okay it is to make a mistake.
Be gentle with yourself. Handle yourself with care, because you’re a human just like everyone else you talk to. Don’t let anyone talk to you in such a berating way — including yourself.
You’re doing great. Just keep trying. Keep doing the best that you can, because that’s all you can do and that is enough for now. Just do your best. Keep going and do your best.
The Gentle Side of Yourself
to the rain of the night
as it taps gently on the windows,
asking allowance into your comfortable abode.
sit and listen to the sounds
from the businessman splashing his way home,
to the farmer praising the sky,
to the poor man shivering by a pail of dripped water,
to the slipping of the earth as it crumbles down to the abyss.
sit and listen to the pain;
sit and listen to the peace;
sit and listen to life.
just sit. just listen. just live.
you may have a fragmented thought for a cent,
but the rest is going to cost you more:
it costs the willingness to listen.
There was a flashing light that he looked forward to seeing any day, whether it was playing music, skateboarding, gaming, dancing — whatever it was, the light would flash in and out, a smile, a delighted laugh, a skillful stroke that painted art and created and redid whatever it touched.
You can think back to it now, and you know it was beautiful, which makes today worse when you look at what remains: the broken shell of someone who still holds the power for so many things if she only knew how to live, if there was just a manual to help someone who used to find joy in everything but now breaks off in conversations to stare at something like she’s thinking, ‘maybe it’s a mistake for me to be here or anywhere anymore’; at which you try to distract her but at the end of another day you can’t help but wonder if she’ll be able to hang on until the next time.
I forgot how much music would express anyone in the right hands, and her music is screaming, so how can anyone doubt the endless void she plays her soul hoarse into, how can someone doubt a darkness that cups its hands over the listener’s ears and still only conveys a fraction of what she’s been battling against day after day after day?
When he asks what she’ll do, she mocks herself for not finishing her work; you know she might be mocking herself for not finishing herself every day she has the chance.
But someday that darkness begins to be pierced, if it begins with the smallest light of a star. It can be gradual. It will get to the point where music becomes a joy again, not a necessity to say something at last. Let her hold on.
There’s a kid in my class who comes to school in a bus all by himself. It’s not a school bus, either — it’s just a big old green bus that drops him off right in front of the school. And the driver never acknowledges him, even though I’ve seen my classmate wave goodbye to the man plenty of times.
Everyone was scared to ask why he came in a bus by himself, or who he really was, or who the strangely rude driver was, or why he walked home after school instead of being picked up by someone. We would just comment about it when he wasn’t around, or act like we never saw anything, or like it was completely normal. Even when he made a scene of running off the bus with a terrified yell one day, none of us ever mentioned it.
He didn’t do it again.
I don’t know what prompted me to bring it up today. Maybe it’s because it’s almost the last of school, and I knew most of us wouldn’t see each other again after tomorrow; or maybe curiosity finally got the better of me and decided on its own that it wanted some kind of answer. Whatever the reason, I caught up to him as we were getting ready to leave in the hallway and I finally brought it up: why doesn’t the bus ever pick him up? Why does he come to school in a bus anyway?
He just looked at me for a second, so I began to wonder if it had been a mistake to ask after all, until he finally shrugged and answered with one word.
I haven’t seen him since that day. He didn’t show up for the final day of school, and I never heard of or from him since. It’s still haunting me now though — him and his green bus and his bizarre reply. I think about it a lot late at night when I can’t fall asleep. Sometimes I think it’s going to drive me crazy…
What does ‘genetics’ have to do with coming to school every day on a green bus??
I was going to make this serious but then my brain told me no and my heart also told me no so here we have a masterpiece.