The Weary Traveler and the Girl Who Fell.

Opening the door I found the monster I had drawn pictures of in my mind, but he had quite a bigger jaw than I had imagined.

They call this a process–a journey–and say that there will be missteps and stumbles along the way, but I feel I might have to claw my way across the ground before I can even hope to have missteps. They don’t tell you that there’s a good chance you’ll fall right out of the starting gate, and the soil in your mouth tastes gritty and bitter. Bruised knees. Bloodied elbows. Breathe the scent of earth and lie there, hoping to God that someone comes back and realizes you’re not moving along. It rains. It’s cold. Trying, trying to get some strength to pick myself up off the ground, but everything hurts and it’s so cold and I want to go home. Home is with you, but you’re not here.

And as I lie there, eyes closed and mind tired, I hear cautious footsteps. A gentle hand on my back and the soft whisper of, “It’s okay.” An understanding. Someone sits on the ground next to me, knowing it hurts. Knowing it’s cold and oppressive and that getting up is not as simple as moving muscles. Someone becomes something, becomes hope, becomes light, becomes a piece of the key needed to unlock the shackles that cut and bind. The road is the same for us weary travelers, you and me, and though we may travel at different paces, at the end of the day we try to make a camp in the same place so that we may share the same fire. Dark isn’t as dark when “me” becomes “us,” and something that’s bigger than me cannot be bigger than us. “Us” is big. “Us” is strong. “Us” is the fortification against a terrifying travel through a land no one can face without holding the hands of another.

Your voice, unwavering and low, cuts through the haze of pain. Your voice, kind and patient, stirs movement in my joints and I can sit. I can lean against your shoulder and feel something other than hurt. A blanket against the cold. You’re cold, too–I know you are–so we stay close together and wait for the rain to stop. I’m still so near the beginning, so near the door with the monster, that I cannot see even the first bend in the road, but you’ve been there and tell me that it’s not too far from here. I believe you because I want to. I believe you because I trust you.

For now I will sit next to you, soaking up your presence, basking in the feeling of not being alone. You can leave anytime you want to, but for now you choose to stay next to the girl who tripped coming out of the gate. You can leave anytime you want to, and I’ll make it to the next bend. Just know that the clouds are fewer and the days are warmer when you’re whispering, “It’s okay” with the confidence of someone who’s seen the dark but chooses light. And despite myself I find a voice in the back of my mind that says, “Don’t leave,” even though I should know how to walk this alone. I should. I do.

But I don’t have to, and that’s what makes all the difference.

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The Manifesto of a Girl Too Sick and Too Tired to Handle Life.

I am such a precise set of contradictions that it’s hard for me to understand myself let alone expect others to understand what goes through my head.

I try so hard to be optimistic all of the time because that’s how I choose to view life, but sometimes everything hurts so fucking much that I can’t force myself to believe that everything is okay. It’s not. It’s not okay right now, but that doesn’t mean I’m thinking that everything will be terrible forever. No. I know that there are positive things in my life and that so many people have it way worse than I do, but the more I think about that, the more I hate myself for being upset. That just makes it worse.

I am tired. I am sick and I am tired and I am overloaded and I am breaking. At any given time I have a dozen different tracks of ideas whizzing through my head, and I can’t sort them all out right now. I’m horrible at taking care of myself, yet I know well how to take care of others. I allow people to rely on me, but when I get too overwhelmed, I shut down. I can’t handle other people’s emotions let alone my own right now, yet I know that I can’t run away from people without hurting them.

On the flipside, I need people in order to cope. I know that many of my friends are the same way which is why I can’t refuse them when they need me… but I’m tired. I’m so goddamn tired and I can’t be what they need me to be. I become too stressed, and then I use other people in order to vent, essentially becoming what I’m running away from. The guilt starts to eat away at me, and I hate myself. I hate myself for running away from people who need me and I hate myself for burdening other people with my bullshit.

I over-analyze literally every single thing that happens to me when it comes to my interactions with people. I don’t ever want to make loved ones’ lives more difficult, but I can’t deal with everything on my own. I need someone to help me carry the things that weigh me down, but I can’t do so without the guilt and the worry that I’m pushing them away or making them too exhausted. I can feel when I’m pushing too much, and sometimes I know to back off, but other times I’m so selfish and so needy that I just don’t stop. I need that release–that comfort of talking to someone–so I keep talking even though I know it’s getting to be too much for the other person.

I am needy and clingy and dependent and I hate all of those words because they sting with negative connotation. I don’t want to associate myself with the words, but I can’t ignore the fact that I need people. I think I can handle things on my own, but at the end of the day I want so desperately for someone to hug me for a long time and tell me that things suck but I don’t have to ever be alone. I should know the last part, but I’m filled with so much doubt all of the time. I don’t think I can trust anyone when it comes to their staying around. I can trust that they won’t tell secrets, but I can never believe that they won’t leave. (Unless they literally take my hands and say, “I swear to God I will never leave you.” That’s something I really fucking need but can’t ask for.)

I believe in the power of love and the power of standing united and in talking and hugging and crying and sitting in silence and feeling another’s presence. I believe in people more than I believe in myself, and right now, that’s okay. My love for other people is what has the greatest ability to heal me, but I need at least some of that love to come back to me. I try to love selflessly, but I can’t. I give everything I have to others with the selfish hope that I will at least get a small part of them in return. I hate that about myself, too, but I can’t love in a half-assed fashion–all or nothing, take it or leave it. (Pleasepleaseplease don’t leave it.) And I want more than I can have right now. I need to take care of myself without waiting for other people to help me. I’m incapable of asking for help without feeling like a needy burden of an immature child, so I try to get other people to offer, which is so fucking ridiculous that it pains me to write it.

I need to be direct. This is what I need, and whether or not it’s selfish or unreasonable is not something I can explore right now:

1. A really long hug filled with the either verbally or implicitly expressed notion that I am loved.
2. Someone to tell me that they are never going to leave no matter how much I cry in front of them or how much I talk to them about the same ridiculous things.
3. Someone to say, “This all sucks. I hate that this is happening to you. Is there a way I can help you?”
4. Someone to say that they love me… with so much earnestness that I have to cry.
5. Someone to hold me while I cry without asking why or judging.

Most of the time I have a hard time accepting that people like me because I have such shitty self-esteem. I just want to feel really important in someone’s life, but I can’t actually think that I am on my own because I avoid egotism as much as I possibly can. I look to other people to give me self worth a lot of the time, and that’s awful. I want to feel like I make a difference in someone’s life–that they are legitimately happy to have met me and don’t want to imagine their life without me. And goddamn, that sounds so egotistical, but I need to feel like I matter. (There are reasons for this, but I can’t go into it now.)

I should stop relying on others, but I can’t. Not now.

2011 in Summary.

It has become a tradition that I fill out the same survey every year on New Year’s Eve. I used to do it on Xanga, but now that I have a WordPress, why not post it here?

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?

  • I sang in a concert where I had a solo. I started playing flute and saxophone, and I started taking voice lessons from a pro. I became known by a different name.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

  • I never make legitimate resolutions. I would like to be a bit healthier in this next year, and I have certain academic and Marywood-related goals, but they’re not necessarily resolutions.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

  • No, ma’am.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

  • Person? No. Pet? Yes.

5. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

  • A stable relationship with a straight man, but that’s akin to asking for a flying pig to skate on hell’s ice when it freezes over.

6. What countries did you visit?

  • In spirit, I visited them ALL. In reality, I visited none of them.

7. What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why:

  • I don’t remember dates… I remember events. I will likely remember the breakups, because that’s how I am. I will forever remember the epic trip to Machu Picchu. Then there are little conversations and moments that will stay in my heart for a very long time.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

  • Getting a 511/500 average in the most difficult class in my major. Getting a 4.0 GPA. Getting a solo in Choralaires.

9. What was your biggest failure?

  • No failure, per se. Mistakes, not failure.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

  • Dislocated my ankle twice. Again. The first time in 2011 was the night before our first softball game, and the second was at the Land of Little Horses in Gettysburg. I tripped over a tree root because I was excited to pet a goat.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

  • Funny… last year it was Nikon D5000, and this year it’s Nikon D7000. Beautiful.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

  • Justyn, Bryce, Ripley, my mama, my new Marywood cohorts… and really anyone who was there for me when I needed it.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

  • There are a few people, but none more appalling and depressing than those involved with the lawsuit. It’s hard to believe that it’s been less than a year since the trial happened…

14. Where did most of your money go?

  • Camera equipment, music lessons, Walmart, gas stations, Verizon…

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

  • I got excited whenever I was going to see Adam, I got SO excited about the Machu Picchu skit, I was excited about my birthday and Christmas, I was excited/nervous about the Choralaires concerts, I ALWAYS get excited about pictures and such… IDK, I’m easily excited.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?

  • Oh, man. I don’t even know. I’d say “Turn Me On” by David Guetta/Nicki Minaj, but that’s only a recent thing. I love too many songs to be able to choose one for an entire year.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder? Overall, happier.

ii. thinner or fatter? lol, fatter.

iii. richer or poorer? Richer, but I don’t like talking about it…

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

  • Exercise, maybe. I don’t know, I usually do everything I want to do? I wish I had had more conversations with certain people, but usually that’s not something I can choose to do, y’know? Like, “Hey, we’re going to have a conversation now. I don’t care that you’re trying to vacuum.”

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

  • I wish I had second-guessed myself a lot less. I wish I had a better handle on my anxiety and mood thingers, but that’s nothing that I do, necessarily. I was going to say that I wish I had procrastinated less, but who am I kidding? I think I just wish I worried less.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

  • I always come to this question and think it’s dumb because I take the survey right after Christmas is over. Instead I discuss Christmas of that year. So, Christmas 2011… the morning was lovely, the afternoon made me cry, and then the evening was great because my mom saved Christmas. Families are fun.

21. There is no number 21.  Well, that’s lame.  Guess I’ll just have to make one up.  How do you feel about 2012?

  • I am always cautiously optimistic about a new year, because anything can happen in a given second, let alone a whole year. There are lots of goals and plans I have, so my hope is that I can do everything I want to do and achieve what it is I’d like to achieve. WOOHOO VAGUE.

22. Did you fall in love in 2011?

  • Ha. Ha. Hahahahahaha. Why don’t we consider another question?

23. How many one-night stands?

  • LMAO, none.

24. What was your favorite TV program?

  • STORAGE WARS. It became my obsession.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

  • Yes, but to be fair, I didn’t know this person last year. Other than that, I don’t hate anyone I used to know, but I have felt some people slipping away, which makes me sad. However, there’s only so much you can do to salvage a relationship before it becomes too tiring and hurtful to hold on.

26. What was the best book you read?

  • It’s always Harry Potter. Let’s just assume that from now until I die, because every year I reread Harry Potter, and so far nothing has made me happier than those books. (Literature-wise.)

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

  • Ooh. I don’t even know. It’s one of my goals every year to learn new things about music. This year is no exception. Discovering the wonder that is playing the saxophone was pretty awesome. Also, finding out that I DO have an upper register when singing was pretty badass.

28. What did you want and get?

  • A place to belong.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

  • BRIDESMAIDS.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

  • I went to see “Pirates of Penzance” and then went to the cast party with Justyn. I was nineteen.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

  • I wouldn’t want to change anything. I guess it would have been more satisfying if I could get my anxiety shit together, but that’s an “always” thing.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?

  • Sometimes I dress like a teacher. Sometimes I dress like a student. Sometimes I dress like an awkward combination of both.

34. What kept you sane?

  • Nothing has kept me sane. What has kept me insane is writing, music, photography, my wonderful friends, and my adventures.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

  • Chris O’Dowd because of Bridesmaids.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

  • The whole “let’s censor the Internet!” thing did not fly with me. The fact that gay marriage is still banned in so many places makes me incredibly upset.

37. Whom did you miss?

  • I miss so many people all the time.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

  • Cannot pick just one. I have met the best people this year.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011:

  • Trust the road. You’ll get to your destination eventually.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

  • “You might’ve heard I run with a dangerous crowd. We ain’t too pretty, we ain’t too proud. We might be laughin’ a bit too loud, ah, but that never hurt no one.”

Overall, this year has been a crazy whirlwind of the good, the bad, the interesting, and the ugly. I am glad to be where I am now, and I’m glad to have had the experiences I had over the last year. I would review this all month-by-month, but it’s 1:00 in the morning and I’m exhausted. Suffice it to say that I’ve been very blessed, regardless of whether times were good or bad. I’m thankful for it all.