Oh, No.

Well hello (she said, a streaking shout in a void of emptiness).

It’s been a long, long while since I’ve been on here. Oh no, oh no.

I’ve been reading over what I posted (almost a year ago now!) and it seems that I’ve apologized a lot. And that didn’t seem to work out well for me, so maybe I’ll just start saying some thoughts, and then post them, and then see what happens.

Oh no, oh no.

I’ve been having a lot of thoughts about terrorism, recently, and who is to blame, and who is not to blame, and what we should and shouldn’t do about it. I made these thoughts into a story. That story is written below.

***

Karma

“I can’t feel my legs anymore,” said Milo.

Shay looked down at the blanket choking her legs, suffocating her feet. “Yeah. Me neither.” She pressed her ear against the door of the basement. “I think they’re still outside.”

Milo shivered. “Are we going to die?” he asked.

Shay pressed her ear harder against the door. “I think I hear sirens.” It was either that, or the ringing in her own ears.  Milo shivered again. It was cold, and dark, and they were alone. Alone together.

“You never think it’s going to be you,” said Milo. “You build the basement, and you listen to the procedures, and you hear about it on the news, but you always think: It’ll never be me. They’re never going to reach my town. My house. It’s your house. It’s supposed to be…I don’t know. Safe.”

“Safety died a long time ago,” Shay said. Her words condensed on a cloud of vapor and floated, fairylike, through the room to slap Milo across the face.

“You know the craziest thing? I can’t even figure out who the terrorists are. Them, or us.”

Outside, there was a large crash. Neither of them flinched.

“We’re the ones sitting in the bunker.” Shay rubbed her hands together. “We’re the ones getting bombed. We’re the ones that might—” She didn’t finish.

There was another crash, and then a long silence. Then Milo whispered: “Do you believe in karma?”

Shay stared at her knees in careful concentration. “Not anymore.”

“I didn’t believe in it either, before all of this.” Milo furrowed his brow. “I used to be a big Wall Street goon. Like, the kind of guy that politicians are always making noise about. The amount of…greed, and violence, and hatred that I was constantly surrounded by…I mean, you can’t believe in anything except for money, when you’re around that. And—and after the first attack, I remember one of my buddies came over to my apartment, and he was saying all of this racist stuff about them—you know how it is—and I could hear my own voice in his. Like, I had said that stuff before. So, I mean, who can blame them for trying to annihilate us? I worked for a firm that screwed them over daily—we would buy oil from them for dirt cheap ,turn around, and make money hand over fist. It’s disgusting, the way we use people here. So this—we deserve this. We deserve to be here.” He held his palm up against the metal wall. “I deserve this. So, yeah. I believe in karma.”

“So, what? We just all deserve to die?” Shay asked.

“Sure. Every last one of us.” Milo shifted his weight and winced. “Aren’t you tired of humanity yet?”

“I don’t believe in karma,” said Shay, “But I believe in goodness. I believe that people have goodness in them.”

Milo chuckled—a raw sound that grated on Shay’s ears. “We live in a reality of evil, kid. Goodness is a pipe dream.”

Another crash. The bunker shook. Neither of them flinched.

“Who says dreams aren’t real?” Shay whispered. Her words were shrouded in golden desperation.

Milo snorted.

“The earth is round, right?”

“…Sure?”

“But have you ever seen it?”

“What?”

“Have you ever seen the earth? Actually seen it. With your own eyes, not just a picture.”

“Of course not.”

“And have you seen radio waves? Or—or your spleen?”

“Kid—”

“Of course not. Neither of us have ever seen any of those things. They’re dreams. But we believe in them, and that’s what makes them real. And—and if goodness is not a reality, then I hope that the earth is flat.”

Then, it was quiet. So quiet that Shay and Milo could both hear each other’s heartbeats—a reminder that they were nothing more than churning typhoons of blood and flesh, bone and muscle, heart and soul; thrown incessantly forward into inevitability.

 

Life is scary, but  I think we’re all getting better at it. Who knows? Maybe I’ll finally figure out how to run a blog.

Yours truly,

u&o

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How to: Deal with Stress

I find it interesting, that I’m writing this during the holidays. I should be relaxing right now–school is out, finals are over, and I don’t have any homework–but I always get the most stressed out during breaks. All the things that I’ve been putting off (such as, ahem, blogging) come crashing down on to me the second I lie down in bed to binge-watch American Horror Story. So, yeah, I’ve been pretty stressed recently, what with holiday shopping, finding the time to hang out with old friends, catching up on projects I’ve forgotten, and studying things that should have been studied long ago. And because of that, I thought it would be fitting to write a blog post all about how to deal with it!

1. Take a deep breath.

I feel like people say this all the time, but it really does help. Sometimes, when your mom is yelling at you and the textbook in front of you seems like gibberish and your best friend is frantically texting you about the plans you made for tomorrow and the music on your laptop is impossibly loud and yet not there at all, it really does help to just take a deep breath and Redeemer that this is a moment, a pinprick in your life, that won’t matter in a year, a month, tomorrow. Just breathe. 

2. Move on to something else for a little bit.

If you’re really stressed about something that you’re doing, you’re probably not doing it justice. So stop doing it, and come back to it later.

3. Listen to some music. Watch a little bit of TV.

Sometimes, you just need to rest. Crank up some tunes, turn on the TV and watch five back to back episodes of How to Get Away With Murder without even thinking about all the things that you have to do. Relaxing is not a crime, and it shouldn’t feel like one.

4. Make a list of all the things you’re stressed about. Break them into little pieces. 

I find this one really helpful. Sometimes, when I get stressed, I work up all the things that I have to do into this huge, undefeatable monster. But when you write all the things down, in order of most important to least important, you’ll often find that they’re managable things, wether it’s just “Ignore Mom so she dosen’t get on your nerves” or “Finish that huge lit essay before Monday.” When you write them down, they become conquerable. When you make lists, you have thngs to check off, and that makes whatever you’re doing seem way easier.

5. Talk to somebody.

What else are friends for? And if you are in a place where you don’t have any friends or family, or you can’t reach them, talk to yourself. I know, it seems dumb, but it works. Talk to a wall, talk to a fictional book character, or go online and talk to the internet. Venting is the best medicine.

So, there you go! How to deal with stress. I hope this really helps you during this holiday season, and during your entire life!

sincerely stressed out,

u&o

Rejection Letters: a short story.

Rejection letters smell like rusty nails and gas station bathrooms. They taste like stale saliva that you choke on when you wake up at four thirty in the morning for tennis team.

Funmi thought these things with the shaky confidence that comes from those who are not often wrong. She thought these things while holding her very first rejection letter in shaking hands.

Rejection letters feel like starchy pieces of paper held between two twelve year old hands.

When Funmi was a sixth grader, her name was written on a ballot amidst shallow giggles and smiles shared with temporary friends, and she was elected president of the elementary school student government. Not quite so coincidentally, it was when Funmi was a sixth grader that she also came to the startling realization that she had potential. Unfortunately, what Funmi did not realize then is that this wondrous potential everyone is always talking about is a very, very slippery thing.

Rejection letters sound like poisonous words wrapped three times around throbbing brains. They sound like silent screams of not understanding and gears churning in the dusty crevices of the worn-out mind.

Funmi realized that she was not smart in the ninth grade. She realized it when she could not answer math questions as fast as the girl sitting two seats down, she realized it when her essays got graded down because she did not put her I’s before her e’s, she realized it when physics flew over her head and she could not tell you how fast something fell. Funmi was not smart, but she had potential, so no one ever dared call her dumb.

Rejection letters are proof that you are not smart, even if you crumple them up and throw them against the wall.

Funmi had had a plan. Get good grades, go to an Ivy Leauge school, become a doctor, make lots of money, die. This plan was what had gotten her through the late nights spent screaming raw nothings into stale carpet when she didn’t understand Calculus. This plan was what got her through going to sleep at one in the morning and then waking up at four to go to tennis. This plan was why she stayed after school until six for every single club and participated in everything. Funmi was Well-Rounded.

Rejection letters feel like identity theft.

Funmi was The Girl Who Was Going To Go To Harvard. She was the girl that was culturally diverse, she was the girl who was good at studying. Funmi was the girl who was good at school. Well. Funmi was the girl who used to be good at school. She stopped being good at school when she unlocked her mailbox on a slightly sunny Saturday and opened her first rejection letter. She stopped being good at everything when that rejection letter came. She stopped being Funmi when that rejection letter came.

Rejection letters look like blank pieces of black paper with nothing written on them. Not one thing.

Rejection letters look wrong.

Funmi had done everything right.

Soccer, tennis, swimming. Yearbook, debate team, math team, eco club. 4.0 GPA, 2300 on the SAT. Her skin tone was the perfect shade of burnt chocolate, her teachers had written her glowing recommendations. Funmi was a master artist who had painted herself with meticulous strokes, and now the paint was peeling in great big long strips and there was nothing, nothing, nothing, underneath. Nothing but a blank sheet of paper.

Rejection letters feel like despair. They feel like falling into dark pits or jumping into endless oceans. They feel like hopelessness.

Funmi had a headache, and she opened her medicine cabinet to take three Advil. She wished that Advil took away the pain in your soul, not just your head.

Unfortunately, she knew how Advil worked. She knew because she had taken AP Bio, and she had gotten a 5 on the test. However, she gotten that 5 in AP Biology because a week before the test, she had done nothing but cram. Funmi would never tell a single solitary human being on the planet this, but the simple truth of the matter was that she did not really understand Biology at all. In fact, she didn’t really understand why she did anything that she did. She didn’t really understand anything at all.

Rejection letters taste like saltwater tears and choked back screams that burn the throat.

Funmi did not have the faintest idea what to do. She had always, always, always, had a plan, but now all she had was a rejection letter. Black words printed with poisonous cordiality onto white paper. She had never quite realized how powerful words were. She had never realized how easy it is for a single sheet of paper to shred the entirety of your world into pieces.

Funmi climbed into her bed and pulled the blanket over her head. Unfortunately, pulling the covers up over your eyes so you can’t see anything—nothing at all—will not make your problems go away. Funmi herself knew this, but it did not stop her from trying. Does it ever stop anyone?

Funmi’s future had become a stark white road filled with uncertainty. Doubt.

Funmi did not sleep all night. She watched the sun go down and then come back up. She watched the sky fade from black to purple to blue, she watched people get in the car to go to work for whatever reasons they had, she watched the little kid from across the street run out to grab his basketball and then go for the dunk. When the ball went through the hoop, the kid punched his fist in the air and opened his mouth in a silent cheer. That was when Funmi’s heart shredded and scattered itself onto the floor.

She unraveled herself from the covers to pick the pieces of her heart up and put it back together. Then, Funmi took the rejection letter and ripped it into a million paper pieces that fluttered lightly through the dark air of her bedroom. Her plans fluttered down with the paper. When they reached the floor, they became nothing, nothing, nothing. Nothing at all.

A shredded rejection letter smells different. A shredded rejection letter smells like curiosity.

Funmi did not have a plan anymore. Funmi had nowhere to be, nothing to do, nobody to become.

Rejection letters feel like liberation.

Funmi did not know who she was. Not one bit.

And suddenly, that was perfectly okay.

************

(two posts in one day? I’m crazy.)

This story was sort of inspired by my life right about now. College is scary, and rejection letters from college’s are even scarier. And if you’re in the same boat that I’m in, just remember this: it’s going to be fine. You don’t have to have a perfect plan, or know exactly what you’re going to do or who you’re going to be. You don’t have to know anything, anything at all.

love,

u&o

hi.

Wow. It’s been a while.

I should say I’m sorry. But I’ve never been good at apologies.

I’m rusty. At blogging, I mean.

I’ve been slacking off. Most of you guys probably even forgot I’m alive. But here I am! It’s the end of the year, it’s nearly christmas, finals are over, and I’m finally (sort of) getting control of my life again. Yay!

I’ve finally reigned in the beast that is called AP Calculus and I am approaching AP Chem with a wary caution. School is over, I made it out with a 4.0 GPA, my friends don’t hate me, my social life is shakily centered, and so I’ve come back to this blog with a scary optimism and a new drive to make something out of this little website.

I promise, I will try and post at least once a week. If it’s just a quote, maybe a Thoughts from a Lonely Soul, a short story, or a Thing Worth Sharing. I PROMISE. starting now!

So, this post has nothing substantial in it. But my next post most certainly will.

I love you all, and I love this blog,

u&o

to the boy sitting across from me at dairy queen with the sad eyes

It’s very loud in here.

Extremely so.

I am smiling and pretending to have a good time, but I am not. Can you see that? Of course not. You are too wrapped up in your own sadness.

I think.

I’ve adored you for a long time. Maybe a week, maybe a month, maybe a year. It’s probably because you’re tantalizingly out of reach. I’m friends with you, but not quite, and that is what makes you so dazzling.

It is very loud in this Dairy Queen. It is also very hot in here. Just like the hot gym we were just in, you and I. The gym where we stood up for an hour and a half and screamed our throats out as we watched our volleyball team lose.

We laughed together. We danced badly and made fun of your school, and I adored you. But now I am sitting across from you in this Dairy Queen, and I’m wondering–I can’t help it–why your eyes are so sad.

Or maybe…sarcastic?

No. No, they’re sad.

I wish you wouldn’t look so desolate. I wish you would take your feet off the table and maybe smile when I talk to you, I wish you would laugh with the rest of us, but you’re not, and you must have a good reason for it. You have a good reason for everything, everything.

Your eyes made me break, when I saw them. When I saw them and you didn’t think anyone was looking. Because when people look, you glaze them over, but when they don’t look, you become something different. Older, maybe. Sadder, definitely.

So I say to you, boy sitting across from me at dairy queen at eight pm, I say to you, I adore you. And I pray with all of my heart, I wish with every eyelash I posses, that you would stop looking so sad. Because maybe you don’t realize it (you probably don’t realize it) but you’re really, really amazing.

Love,

me.

u&o

mozart was crazy.

I’ve taken piano since I was four, and so I have known since I was about five that Mozart is a musical genius.

What I never knew until about a couple weeks ago was that Mozart is crazy. Completely off of his hinges.

Isn’t it funny that everyone knows that Mozart was “the music guy”, but no one knows him as “the insane guy?” Mozart might have been off his rocker, but that doesn’t matter to anyone. All that matters is that his music isn’t crazy. His music is perfect. No one ever says, remember the crazy guy Mozart? They say, remember the musical genius Mozart?

This is beautiful to me.

Maybe beautiful isn’t the right word. It’s not truly beautiful to me, it’s just infinitely reassuring. People only remember the good things you do–as long as the good overshadows the bad. Sure, Mozart was crazy, but his music was so good that no one cared that he was crazy. Maybe I have self-esteem issues and deep rooted discontent sitting in my soul, but as long as I please enough people and keep myself just together enough on the outside, no one will remember the bad part of me. People will say, oh, she’s the girl that was sort of okay at writing! 

No one will say, oh, she’s the crazy one. 

Mozart was crazy. I’m allowed to be too. And so are you.

 

u&0

 

It was a bit of a shorter post this week, but it was just something that was sort of on my mind. If you liked it, maybe you could show your appreciation by subscribing. Maybe. If you…wanted to. (Please.)