Hamsters

On teaching, university, writing, and hamsters.

I need an attitude adjustment.

The kids in my class had swimming lessons on the first day of my first teaching practicum last semester. The hamlet I was placed in (yeah, it’s so small it doesn’t even get to be called a town) didn’t have a swimming pool, so the teacher and I loaded up the kids onto a school bus for an hour’s ride to the Bumbleton pool. I sat next to a cute little blonde girl on the bus, and she proceeded to tell me about her pet hamster while the immense flatness of Southern Alberta passed by out the windows.

I went into this practicum with an acute fear of small children. No, the words “acute” and “fear” are not hyperbolic. Children are terrifying.

The last time I interacted with more than one child, I was a child. Even back then, I detested most them, much preferring the company of older kids, adults, or best of all, books. This, as well as the fact that social interactions drain rather than energize me (which seems detrimental to succeeding as a teacher) made me incredibly nervous to embark on such a strange and uncomfortable adventure to a grade 2/3 class. My cohort spent the semester before the practicum reflecting on our feelings and why we want to be teachers. I existed on the periphery of the group, thinking, “I don’t have feelings, and I’m not sure if I even want to be a teacher” and, “I don’t like humans, I like books!” But I was optimistic, still high from my escape from Bumbleton even though my practicum would be sending me right back home; I thought I could do it. Maybe I could like little kids if I tried really hard.

So I sat on that bus next to that six year old girl, and I asked her about her hamster. I thought that if I asked, if I showed interest, that this would create my first real connection to a child. They’re all about making connections in the ed program–something else that is really hard for me.

So she told me about her hamster and a hamster that died and her horse and her dogs and do I have any pets?

I told her about my dogs, and we chattered a little bit back and forth, but eventually,  not knowing what else to possibly talk to a miniature human about, I let the conversation die peacefully. I was proud that I had tried so hard, reached out and showed an interest.

But she revived the conversation. Like Frankenstein’s monster, she sent violent intermittent bolts of lightning into the corpse over and over again; she just wouldn’t let it die.

Did I have a hamster? She asked.

Nope! Just the two dogs, I told her, raising my voice above the yelling of the other kids on the rolling yellow tin can, feeling my energy draining.

Oh…Well her hamster did this thing that was cute one time.

Wow, that is cute!

And also, more about her hamster. And also this fact about hamsters. And do I ever want to have a hamster? I should get a hamster. Hamsters have wiggly noses. Hamsters, hamsters, hamsters.

I was stuck, blocked in on the seat by her and her fucking hamsters. And it had only been ten minutes out of sixty on the bus.

I didn’t know if asking her for quiet time or if I stopped answering would do irreparable damage to her delicate child psyche, so I persisted. I continued to engage with her longer than I would ever have tried to were I not so desperate to succeed at this career.

Eventually, despite all of my efforts, I ran out of cools, and neats, and wows.

But the bus kept going. And so did she.

Hamsters!

And I thought on my very first day, “I can’t do this.”
But now I’m here in the first full week of my second semester, and I did do it.

Barely.
Since classes have begun, I’ve been debating a lot about whether I want to finish this program. There are fifty-one students in every class this semester, and we’re in a windowless room with a heating problem for seven hours every single day. There’s also another practicum at the end of the classes; the thought of it horrifies me.

The date to drop out and get my tuition back is swiftly approaching, and I’ve been trying to consult with friends and family for advice, but nobody’s input has drastically impacted my view of the program or my options. That’s very likely because at my core, all I want to be is a writer, and my friends know that, but they’re taking into consideration that whole needing to eat and pay rent thing too.

I decided today that I’m going to finish the program. Not because I want to be a teacher, but because I want to be a writer.

Since my third year of my first degree, I’ve turned into a high strung straight A student because I wanted to get into an English masters program. This still might happen one day, but realistically, it’s off the table for at least five years. I loved studying English, so devoting every waking hour to it wasn’t a chore.

But I don’t love education.

In fact, it makes me rather miserable. But I got straight A’s last semester in education, so I don’t need to worry too much about my GPA unless I start getting C’s (which let’s be real, even if I’m not wholly devoted to it, I’m too much of a spaz to let that happen). So I’ve decided that I’m going to be a writer and a student and focus equally on both goals rather than prioritizing school as I usually do. This plan is foreign to me; all I’ve identified myself as for a very long time is a lover of being educated, of being a student. But other students have families and careers and life stuff that take priority over their studies. So maybe I can make school not be number one for once either because A. I’m miserable, and B. writing is that important to me.

I’m going to create some happiness for myself while doing something tedious. At least until the practicum begins.

My first practicum experience never got better after that first day on the bus. In fact, it’s the reason why I’m so discouraged and pessimistic about the whole program now when before I was so optimistic and motivated.

A moment that perfectly represents how it went was when the teacher addressed the class after swimming lessons and said, “Alright! Everyone in the same seat on the way back!”

Writing Exercise

On Chinooks, Alberta, and an exercise to cure writer’s block.

It’s actually nice outside.

There’s a wind, but there’s always wind here. But there’s sunlight too. I’ve missed the sun so much. We’ve been in a deep freeze for the last two weeks and without a car, I’ve been confined to my little basement suite looking mournfully out at the sunless sky above. I went for a few walks outside and even a run during the deep freeze, but when I came back inside I felt like my skin had been pierced through my double layers by shards of ice.

Apparently there’s few other places in the world that get Chinooks like we do here, which is strange because it just seems so normal. According to Global News, a Chinook is when, “moist air drives up against mountain ranges. Once it rains or snows, the air is ’emptied’ of that moisture, and is then a drier air mass. The dry air then moves downhill on the lee side of the mountain range.” That creates a warm wind that melts our snow and a line of cloud that looks like this:

Chinook
Global News

The picture above is a very typical view in Southern Alberta. It’s very flat here, but you can usually see the mountains out to the west bragging about their tumultuous plains, trying to make me jealous. It works.

And no, Chinooks have nothing to do with Global Warming. *squints at Leonardo DiCaprio*

I can’t wait to get out there.

But in the meantime, I’m here to share some examples of the writing exercise I wrote about in a previous blog. It’s the exercise where you put a song on and don’t let your pen stop until the song is over. If my pen works faster than my brain, I repeatedly write the last word until my brain can catch up. You’ll see that in my first example; these are unedited and exactly like they are in my notebook.

Saturday, Jan 14 2016

Hallelujah – Michael M. Moore 3:20

She gazed out at the water. The sound of blaring car horns echoed across it, skittering across its smooth surface like a skipped stone. She couldn’t remember how she’d found this haven, this small pond in amidst the new and the steel and the crunch of of of tires on glass and trash. It was green here. And old. The trees clambered up, reaching towards the sky to scrape a puff of silk from the bottoms of the clouds.

Le Trouble – White Knuckles 2:43

She approached the tall door, a sense of impending dread clenching the inside of her from her womb. Her empty womb. She suddenly felt like laughing. Or Screeching. Maybe both. She wanted them to escape from her body and shake her into a million little pieces, falling to shards of herself on the doorstep. Shards that bitch inside would cut herself on.

Even though the grammar isn’t perfect and the writings are over all quite messy, look at what I’ve pulled out of my brain. There’s a setting and someone’s perspective of it in the first one, and there’s a glimpse of a character and tension that could easily lend itself to the plot of a story in the second.There’s also some wonderful metaphors.

All because I forced myself to write and not stop.

If you want to be a writer, do this. Do this all the time. Get a notebook and dedicate it solely to your timed writings, and if the song stops, but your brain wants to keep going, then keep going. Just write. It is without a doubt the best way to annihilate writer’s block.

An Unpleasant Discovery

On NOT feminism and submitting stories to literary magazines.

I’m not a feminist.

During my early years of university, I was a feminist as is often the case when young women are first exposed to Women’s Studies and sociology. I burned bras, yelled, “Fuck the patriarchy!” and stopped shaving and all that jazz. Just kidding. I still trimmed my mustache.

I currently no longer go by that title, and I intentionally avoid discussing gender issues because when I did carry that F word on my back, I faced not only resistance, but hatred. It wasn’t hatred inspired by anything that I had said or done, in fact, I was relatively soft spoken even back then, but I felt hatred because of the bra burning stereotype that I just poked fun at. Worst of all, I had the misfortune of meeting two people who are with out a doubt the worst humans I have ever and will ever encounter in my life. They identified themselves as feminists. Every time I spoke up for feminism, I was defending those monsters. And it wasn’t worth it anymore. So I laid down in the stream and let it carry me away rather than standing waist deep with the current bashing against me. Now I float in this weird untitled grey area where, sure, I think everyone should be equal, but if someone says a sexist joke and I open my mouth in response, it will be in laughter. And maybe laughing makes me a bad person or even a traitor against my own sex, but my laughter will never even brush the same realm of cruelty of those feminists. So I will not feel guilty for it.

I’ve been working really hard on the goals I made in this post about my delusions of power.

It still baffles me how much work it is to find just one literary magazine that MIGHT be a good fit for my writing.

But it’s enjoyable work. I mean, I’m in school to be a teacher. Or whatever. At my core, I’ve always wanted to be a full time writer, and since I’ve been working on my mental health too, I’ve actually been going out of my way to make time for my writing goals.

So far I’ve submitted my story called “What Counts” to five magazines(my goal is 50). Along my literary travels, I’ve also come across two magazines to submit a piece I wrote for a creative non-fiction class called “Contagious.” For some reason I always discount that story. I always think it’s bad, but every time I read it, I’m always impressed by it. Calyx magazine even gave me a really encouraging rejection letter when I submitted it to them. You’d think that would inspire some sort of faith in the quality of the story, but no. That’s too logical for the likes of me.

However–it makes me cringe in anticipation of the backlash I may get for writing this–one thing I’ve noticed in my travels through digital stories is an overabundance of literature by men (excluding those ‘zines that are dedicated solely to women’s works), and very little by women.

It wasn’t in every magazine, but it was enough that I noticed it when my anti-feminist brain wasn’t even looking for it.

I’ve read about an imbalance between men and women writers publishing success before, but I’ve never really noticed it until now. Even when I was a feminist, I always kind of assumed that it wasn’t as bad as it was being made out to be.

But this is something I’ve been seeing with my own eyes. Which makes me think that maybe I should take on a male or gender neutral pseudonym like George Elliot (AKA Mary Ann Evans) when I sign my cover letters to magazines.

To use a term that my boyfriend often says, it “chaps” me to think of doing that.

I’m selfish.

I want credit.

I want compliments.

I want writing fame.

I want cake.

Mmmm.

Cake.

A lot of people have discouraged me from writing throughout my life. If I ever do make it as a successful full-time writer, I want there to be no question if my work is mine. I want my name on it so I can smush it into the faces of my doubters and go, “SEE?! YOU TOLD ME I COULDN’T, AND I STILL DID IT. I’M THE BEE’S KNEES.”

But if my name really will decrease my chances of publication, the question then becomes, which is more important: my name or my dream of being a writer? Obviously the latter.

But it’s been two hundred years since Mary Ann Evans hid her identity to get published. Maybe it has changed and I’m simply over thinking it and seeing the imbalance in only a small sample of literary magazines when overall it’s really quite equal. But if I’m not, it’s a risk. My name could hold me back.

It’s something I’m going to keep in mind for now. I’m not quite ready to surrender the face smushing of my doubters yet.

In the meantime, I think I may pull a J.K. Rowling and submit stories only using my first and middle initial with my last name. It’s a fair compromise.

Chapped indeed.

Transcribing

On optimism and working for nothing as a transcriber.

I’ve always wanted a work from home job because A. I could work in my jam jams all day and B. I don’t really like people all that much, and the less I have to interact with them, the better (said the future teacher *Sobs*). It would also be awesome to be able to pick up my life, and wander off somewhere and be able to take my work with me.

However, most of the work from home opportunities I’ve come across have seemed too scammy for my liking. In fact, my research showed that the best stay at home job is running a successful blog, but I’m just not there with this blog. In fact, I may never be because the principles of Search Engine Operations are like Klingon to me.

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while are aware of my struggles with finding relevant work after graduating with an English degree, and well, any work at all. I couldn’t even get a job in retail after 10 years of experience. The economy is really horrible up here in Alberta. So I’m back in school to be an English teacher instead, and right now, I’m on Christmas break.

Yesterday, I finally got a “job” (I’ll explain why I put the word in quotations later) doing something that’s relevant to my skills and I can do it from home. I bet you’ve guessed what it is from the title of this post. That’s right blogosphere, I got a transcription job at Scribie!

Scribie is a transcription website that pays from $0.50-$0.90 per every six minutes transcribed (all audio files are all broken down to six minute increments). You choose the files you want to transcribe and when you want to do it (as long as the file is completed within two hours of you selecting it). When you submit your transcription, it is then reviewed and assigned a grade out of five for accuracy. As someone who gets a high off of good grades, I really like this system.

Considering that I have a week off before school starts again with no job, no car (RIP Kia), my boyfriend out of town, it being too cold to play Pokemon–yes, I’m that one person who’s still playing–this was an awesome time to get started.

I did my research before applying and accepting a job with them too: it is not a scam! However, it’s biggest accusers call it a bit scam-like because of the low wages, and I thought, you know what? It’s still money and it’s something I’d like to get experience in.

Now that I’ve been doing it for a couple of days, I’m understanding that their complaints weren’t hyperbolic.

At first I thought that $0.50 per 6 minutes wasn’t too bad, but then I realized that it’s $0.50 per completed 6 minutes. To complete a transcription, I listen to every file twice to double check my work, so that’s 12 minutes of work, and I can type about 80 wpm, but that’s still not enough to not have to pause the recording to affirm what was said every now and then (I’m brand new at this!). So in total, it takes me about 20-30 minutes to complete $0.50 of work.

I’ve been doing it for two days, and I’ve only accumulated $3.60 USD. Yeah, ouch.

However, Scribie is completely honest about their low wages, and I was well informed going into this. On their page it says that for an average transcriber spending 8 hours each day, 6 days per week, could only earn about $200-$300 per month. 

But you know what? I think it shows integrity that they’re honest about it, and for someone like me with zero experience, it’s a really good place to learn the ins and outs of transcription. Plus I get to get paid for writing something. That’s important.

And no, I’m not writing this because Scribie paid me to or whatever. Like I said, I don’t really get that making money off of blogging thing. This is just my opinion, and it might change after another day.

But as it stands, I have a week off to learn a new skill in my own time when I choose, and make a bit of small change. I’m totally okay with that. I’m thinking I might put away all of the money I make from Scribie into some kind of small gift for myself.

For transcribing virgins like myself, I’d definitely recommend checking out Scribie and getting some experience and a little bit of cash if you have some extra time on your hands.

 

Delusions of Power

On cognitive behaviour therapy and creating rational writing goals.

My car accident really put into perspective the fact that I have a problem with control (see My Lucky Day to read about how I almost died on Friday). I never recognized it before because I thought of someone with control issues as a high strung busy body who needs to be the boss of everyone. That’s definitely not me.

My problem manifests itself differently: I beat the crap out of myself mentally for things that aren’t in my control. Especially if they are things that don’t work out. This in turn, often results in horrible depression and low self esteem.

Proof of my control delusion was posted right here on my blog under the heading, “The Write Goals” pictured below. I can now see that these goals are not “write” at all, but very wrong indeed. Oh the irony.

wrong-goalsSince sliding out into oncoming traffic and realizing that whatever would happen to me and my car was completely out of my hands, I’ve been working really hard on my mental health. This has included Cognitive Behavior Training which is essentially recognizing irrational thoughts and correcting them. A lot of my irrational thoughts revolve around things that aren’t in my control.

A few of the goals listed in the picture above are rational goals (ie things in my control), like attending a writer’s conference, starting a creative writing club (someday I will actually do this), and even publishing Joe, my novel, but only if I take the self publishing route.

However, the majority of the items on this list are things out of my control, like getting an agent, going to a writer’s conference as a guest speaker, writing a best seller, and getting 1000 followers on Word Press. Even getting my novel published if I were to take the traditional route is not in my control. Every single one of those things sounds awesome, but the problem is that for them to happen, it’s in the hands of other people. It’s the agent’s choice whether to take me on as a client. It’s the writer’s conference who chooses their guests. It’s the the world that decides what becomes a best seller. It’s the people of Word Press who choose which blogs they want to follow or not follow. It’s the editor’s choice to either accept or reject my manuscript. Of course there are things I can do to direct my life towards those dreams, but the reality is that if they happen or not really wouldn’t be up to me. They’re not rational goals; they’re evidence of my delusions of power over things I’m not the boss of. Maybe I am a bossy pants after all.

Recognizing that has really been a huge breakthrough and to set myself up for success, I’ve crafted new Rational Writing Goals:

  • Create a system to organize queries and short fiction submissions
  • Query 100 agents about my manuscript
  • Submit my short story “What Counts” to 50 literary magazines
  • Have my serial killer story peer reviewed and polished
  • Submit the polished version of the serial killer story to 25 literary magazines, especially looking into ones with a mystery focus
  • Write my story about the convenience store
  • Write a new story specifically for the magazines that haven’t published me, but have asked to see more of my work
  • Write 24 blog posts (that’s two per month)
  • Research self publishing
  • Read 30 books in 2017 and continue to catalogue books finished in the 50 book pledge

Unless some sort of catastrophe happens (catastrophic thinking is also another form of irrational thinking!) and wipes out all technology like a belated Y2K bug, these are goals that are in my control. These goals (aside from the 50 book pledge) don’t have a time bomb attached to them, like they need to be completed in 2017 or I am a failure. Life happens. Car accidents, medical problems, and depression happens. Sometimes it can’t be avoided. That’s also why I’ve only pledged to read 30 books instead of 50 for the one goal that does have a time stamp. If I do more than that: awesome. But if I meet my goal, I’ve completed what I’ve set out to do. I’m setting myself up for success.

I am so proud of myself.

My Lucky Day

On almost dying and getting rescued by Scrooge.

I don’t know if there is some sort of latent adrenaline that can kick in almost three hours after a stressful incident, but if there is, that’s what I’m currently experiencing. I suppose I have always been rather slow to process things emotionally. Perhaps that really is what’s happening to me right now. Or perhaps it’s this second glass of wine.

But I hope not. I hope that what I’m feeling is beyond this external stimulus and is simply, well, me.

I feel supercharged. Everything I’ve ever wasted my time stressing over–how my family perceives me, getting lost, picking up the phone, unfamiliar men, my depression–all of that seems so trivial. And I want it to stay trivial. Small. Far away. That’s why I’m writing this right now because if this feeling goes away, I want to be able to come back to this and read it.

I left for my boyfriend’s place at about 2:20 pm today. At about 2:30, I lost control of my car.

The roads were slick, and snow was steadily falling, but it wasn’t blustery angry snow, pounding against my windshield. These were big fat flakes that lazily drifted from the sky and turned into beads of water as soon as they touched my warm windshield. I got onto the highway and maybe I was driving a little too fast. Maybe the road was a little too icy. Maybe my music was too loud or maybe I should have been paying closer attention. It doesn’t matter because the end result was the same: I lost control.

I felt my car slip and I pumped my breaks as I knew to do, but this was the first time in my life that I did this and my car didn’t jitterbug slightly from side to side before snapping into line like an obedient dog. Instead when I pumped the breaks, the back of my car swung out wildly. I could see the cars just a bit ahead of me and behind, my companions on the road. Even though I couldn’t see their faces, I could feel their anxiety as they watched me skittering around, likely worrying that I’d slide into them.

I turned my steering wheel to try and correct my car’s overcompensation, but the car just skidded along, so I pumped the breaks again. It swung wildly again in the opposite direction. I was approaching a curve in the road, a low concrete median separating myself from the veichles headed in the opposite direction at 100 km an hour. I pressed my foot down again and again, but still I got no traction.

There was a horrible thud and I was jostled around in my seat as my car hit the median like it was nothing more than the sloped curve of a sidewalk. My car may have slowed down when it hit it, but it didn’t feel like it to me. I was too distracted by the three lanes, a vehicle in each one, of oncoming traffic that my car was spinning out into.

Frantic, I hit my breaks repeatedly as hard as I could, yanking the steering wheel to try and garner even a fraction of control. But everytime I pumped, my car swung more violently, and I became disoriented, distracted by the lights and metal hurtling towards me. I no longer knew which way was the right way to try and pull the steering wheel, the safest way to escape unharmed. Even if I did, it wouldn’t have mattered. If I slowed down and suddenly gained control of my car, it would be too late to avoid getting hit by the oncoming traffic. All I could do was feel my car spin and stare at the approaching headlights. In that moment I thought of two things: the circle of control and suicide.

The circle of control is a tool that therapists use (mine included) to help their patients accept that the things they can control exist in a very miniscule sphere, while the things they can’t control exist in a sphere that takes up the whole page. We often exist in the giant circle of things out of out control. And in that moment,  I finally understood the circle of control. My car and the cars of the people hurtling towards me were all out of my control. Even if magically achieved command of my car, I couldn’t stop the others from hurtling right towards me. Whatever happened was going to happen.

This was when I thought of suicide. My descent into the opposite lane of traffic hadn’t been intentional by any means. But I have previously struggled with suicidal ideation. In fact, the whole reason I went to therapy (where I discovered the circle of control!) in the first place was because I didn’t want to die. I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. However, in this moment, the voice in my head said, Well, you were thinking about dieing anyway, weren’t you? And somehow, this comforted me.

I wasn’t terrified anymore. As I said, whatever happened was going to happen.

My car whipped around one last time, skidding to the side of the road, untouched by the other vehicles. It finally stopped and was facing the same direction as the lane of traffic that was whizzing by next to me.

I reacted quickly, worried that someone else may lose control of their own vehicle and slam into my now roadside and stagnant car. I backed my car off the road, down a little snowy slope that it could easily escape from. Shaking and hardly breathing, I got out to inspect the damage.

At first glance, it looked okay and I could have laughed. To have gone through that and my car not even have a scratch… I couldn’t fathom it.

However, after kicking some of the snow away from my front right tire, I saw that it was flat. This was still such a small price to pay when I’d been prepared to die only seconds before.

Before I could call AMA, a sturdy but greyhaired man in a white truck pulled off the highway a little bit ahead of my car and hopped out. The kindness of people like this baffle and overwhelm me to no extent.

Still in shock and with leaking eyes (I am a tough woman and do NOT cry), I told the man the situation.

He told me that AMA would take hours to arrive, and he could change my tire for me. I think I thanked him at least fifty times. He deserved a million more.

While the man toiled away on my little gold car, I stood beside him uselessly with my cotton grey dress billowing around my knees in a whirlwind of snow. I offered to help countless times, but he waved me away, and I knew I’d be completely useless anyway. I know. I was a stereotype in a dress.

It wasn’t until later, well, now actually when this supercharged feeling struck me.

A little while ago, before all this happened, I was dreaming about travelling. As always, I bemoaned the fact that I have no one to travel with, no one to protect me from strange men or from my complete lack of sense of direction. But for a moment, I allowed myself to dream of what it could be like if I weren’t scared of so many things.

I thought, what if I did just leave on my own? If I got into serious trouble, trouble I couldn’t rely on myself to fix because I was incapaciatated, strangers would help me, right? My friend Shay met her boyfriend because she was too drunk to function in a night club in South Korea. He helped her get back to his place and took care of her. He was a complete stranger to her. And they’ve been together ever since.

But had that ever been my luck? No.

If it were me in that situation, I thought, that story would have a much more sinister ending.

I remembered hearing a story about a girl who travelled to a place I don’t remember where to help one another is a social taboo. This girl had an allergy attack on a bus and collapsed. No one helped her. These thoughts filled my mind, and stifled my dreams. No, I simply wasn’t cappable of going alone. This is what I had resolved until today when I almost died.

There I was, roadside with a flat tire in a storm with not just one kind man helping me in a snowstorm, but three. 

The next man who arrived was also a bit older, and also in a white truck. He told me as he was cranking the jack up underneath my car that he was playing Scrooge in A Christmas Carol later that night. The third man who pulled up (also in a white truck…seeing a trend yet?) was younger. He saw my car a little ways off the road and had thought I was stuck in the ditch. He had a towing rope he was prepared to offer, but instead ended up helping with my battery (after the men got the spare on, my car wouldn’t start because the hurtle over the median had jarred my car so much that something had come loose from the positive end of the battery).

He fixed this, and I finally made it home alive and so endlessly grateful for my life and to these three strangers who had taken time out of their own lives and had stood in the cold to help some liberal hippy girl who had often scoffed at truck drivers.

I am once again a stereotype as after almost getting crushed by oncoming traffic, I feel inspired. Supercharged, as I said earlier. I feel like now I can be a little less afraid of other people. Of men. Today, three strange men helped me get home. They didn’t have to. But they did. And they weren’t the leering wolves that haunt me. These men were nothing but kind.

After the arrival of the second man, the two men were discussing the issue with one another, and I stood in the cold thinking dark thoughts about myself. Before I could plunge into an inner soliloquy of self pity, Scrooge (obviously not really a Scrooge at all) asked if I had just gotten a flat tire and pulled over to the side of the highway. When I told him that I had actually been travelling in the opposite direction, he exclaimed, “My god, is it ever your lucky day!”

And he was so right.

His comment put a stopper on the pessimistic and self loathing thoughts that were about to flood my mind.

I am so lucky.

Maybe now, I can actually live my dream. Actually travel, and not live in constant fear.

As Blanche Dubois says, I’ve  always depended on the kindness of strangers.

Poignant

On depression and words.

My word of the day is poignant.

Poign-ant:

adjective

evoking a keen sense of sadness or regret.

“A poignant reminder that despite all appearances, nothing would stay better for long.”

Synonyms

touching, moving, sad, affecting, pitiful, piteous, pathetic, sorrowful, mournful, wretched, miserable, distressing, heard-rendering, plaintive, tragic

 

Poignant.

I’m having a hard time.

My mental state has almost completely regressed to what it was when I was ill. Even how I’ve written that sentence is a remnant of that slight glimmer of hope I had when I left this pit of a town. Was ill. Past tense. But the thing is, I am ill. As if I had never even gotten better. It seems that no matter how hard I try to struggle my way out of the grips of mental illness, it’s long warty fingers always seem to reach out and snatch me back up. It’s one step ahead of me. Always. Shut up, Snape.

Every time this regression happens, I always think back to a particular line from The Perks of Being a Wallflower:

Image result for dear friend, it's getting bad again

No line that I or any other writer could come up with so perfectly encapsulates what it is to be at the precipice of that jagged cliff of mental illness and knowing you’re falling or about to fall into the dark again. It’s simple, but strikes so true.

“Dear friend,

I’m getting bad again.”

Poignant.