God I’m such a f*** up. I really need to get my life together. I really do. My life is just spiraling down the drain. My grades are slipping, and I can’t seem to concentrate anymore. I’ve been spending my time daydreaming and living in a fantasy instead of staying steeped in reality like I should.
Sometimes I just want to shut off my brain. Seriously, can my brain just stop? It’s gotten so bad now. I can barely study. My mind is filled to the brim with all the lives I could have lived and all the things I could be doing. I can’t seem drag myself back to the real world, can’t force myself to read lines of text over and over of things I don’t give a s*** about. I used to be able to, but my will is crumbling. I think I’m getting weaker.
You know what I did last night? I talked to my friend for what seemed like hours because I was super excited to tell him all about this book I had read and how interesting and detailed the characters were. I was helping him work on a character he created and the character reminded me of one of the characters in the story I’d been reading. I should have been studying engineering, but it just made me so happy to talk about this sort of stuff with someone. Usually I can’t. Usually no one cares. After going so long without feeling anything, it can be hard to stem my enthusiasm.
Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m really living. I feel like there’s a cloud over my mind that’s keeping me from thinking, feeling. A fog that wraps itself around my brain and blankets my thoughts, it blinds my eyes and chokes my throat, holding me in a cold embrace of impassivity. And I’ll gladly stay there, content, because it’s in those binds that I am most productive. It’s so easy to go home and study for hours on end, fingers clicking tirelessly on the keyboard, eyes straining against the dim light above my desk. It’s so easy to solve math problem upon math problem, answer inane question after question when your head is so empty, when invisible hands press up against your mouth to silence that creative spark in you. Day in and day out, 365 times a year, till you get so used to the restraints that you forget you’re supposed to struggle against them. You fall into that stupor that so many are prey to, and forget all about silly, childish things like individuality and passion.
So that’s why I was so excited to talk, to tell him everything down to the tiniest detail. I had finally, finally regained my spark after what had felt like months of nothing. It may come as a surprise to you, but before coming to creative writing class I hadn’t written anything more than a few lines since the spring of 8th grade. I hadn’t written a short story since that time either. I wasn’t in the practice of dreaming up characters, willing something out of nothing into existence. I probably would have never written another word had I not failed my first trig test and was pressured to switch out of the class. I would have continued my cycle of emptiness, my cycle of half-living for who knows how long.
And that’s why I was typing away furiously, sending paragraphs upon paragraphs of Skype messages, engineering papers scattered about my old wooden desk haphazardly. I was racing to get all my thoughts down, so afraid that they would evaporate like smoke dispersing in the air. Engineering be damned nothing could beat the sweet giddy feeling rising in my chest or the smile that played at my lips as I typed. Somehow my suggestions for his character turned into a full in-detail analysis of the characters I had been reading about. And so it went on message after message until he sent, “Hey can we talk about this another time? This stuff’s kinda heavy and it’s getting kinda late.” I froze, and realized just how one-sided our conversation had become. Long, rambling blocks on my end and short clipped one or two word responses on his. I felt something akin to a punch in the stomach.
Of course, of course. Really it’s beyond me how I could have thought anyone would have been interested in what I had to say. No one really cares about the long dead authors of the 19th Century. No one really wants to hear in minute detail the latest bit of writing I’ve read. Because talking about some fiction that’s full of more truths than most realities is far too heavy a topic of discussion. Because no one likes a story that hits them too close too home, makes them feel a strange ache in their chest as they sift through the pages. No, its better to get quick gratification from a cheap romance and a happy ending now isn’t it?
And so that’s why I probably flat out failed engineering. Because I was too busy indulging myself in reveries to actually do something that would benefit me. When people think of f*** ups they usually picture some kid who always goes out partying, drinking his or her life away, popping rainbow colored pills like candy. They rarely think of the kid who sits in the back of the classroom, reading a book on her laptop instead of paying attention. No one thinks of the kid who writes quotes and doodles in the margins of her math homework while the teacher drones on and on. They don’t see the kid who didn’t finish her homework because she spent an hour or so staring at the wall of her bedroom contemplating the perfect scenario for a story that she’ll never write, stringing together words like delicate pearls in her mind that will never make it onto paper, hard work all gone to waste within seconds.
And yet, that’s who I am. I can go to a class these days and leave having absolutely no clue what was taught. I can feel time slipping away from me; I can feel it tangibly sliding though my fingers never to be seen again. Days are blurring into weeks, weeks are blurring into months, and eventually those months will blur into years. And yet, I am living in more clarity than I have been for a long time. I’m beginning to realize hopes and dreams that I have been suppressing since perhaps middle school.
I am standing at the edge of a precipice, unable to decide: do I stay where it’s safe? Do I go back to living in a fog? Or do I dare put my efforts into something other than school? Do I dare jump off that cliff and hope to God I’ll land somewhere soft? Well, the ground is beginning to crumble underneath me so I better make a decision soon.
My daydreams tell me I have wings, that if I jump I won’t fall. So I pretend that’s the truth. I don’t want to face reality so I let it slip farther and farther away. I guess I never had much resilience.
I have a biology lab due tomorrow, but I can’t stop thinking meaningless thoughts, and my constant inner dialogue won’t shut up. My brain just won’t shut up. Even though I desperately need it to. Even though I can’t concentrate on anything for less than a few minutes at a time. Even though my grades are lower than they’ve ever been and I really should be doing something to get them up. But my brain just won’t stop, and I can’t make it stop.
I’m simply watching myself drown; I’m letting the water rush over my head, letting myself sink farther and farther down to the bottom. I know without a doubt that I absolutely need to get my life together. I need to figure out what I want; I need to throw myself some sort of life preserver, but I won’t. I’ll just let myself down. Because I’m a f*** up.