Monday, November 23, 2015

The Messy-Roomed Mantra

I will clean this up. I will be motivated and won't put it off any longer. I will have a spotless room.

It doesn't matter how many times I repeat encouraging lies to myself, I know that I will never pick up my shit.

I have always thrived in mess, surrounding myself by papers and sticky notes clinging to multiple books cracked like an open-faced sandwich. Where is my draft of this poem? In the pile of stuff to my right, near the bottom because I haven't looked at it in a while. Where is this text book? Under my bed because I needed somewhere specific to place it so I wouldn't forget where it was! I have a system.

There is a distinct difference between messiness and filth. I am in no way dirty, just unorganized. I attempt to sound deep and say that it reflects how my brain works, but in all reality it is probably some combination of comfort and laziness. Filth is when there is trash, dirty dishes, crusty tissues, food crumbs, and moldy smelling towels piled on top of a brush that badly needs to be cleaned of broken hairs. Messy is the innocence of being ignorant of organization. Things, although clean, exist in piles and cracks. You constantly surprise yourself by finding a knick knack that has been tucked away under your mattress or in a shoe. Every day is a treasure hunt, finding notes from a middle school friend that you haven't talked to in eight years, or being frustrated because you can't find the new hair accessory that you JUST bought the day before and would look awesome with your work outfit--but you are five minutes late and five minutes can mean fifteen minutes late with traffic. Life becomes a live-action I-Spy book that you never quite finish.

Besides the normal stuff that one usually keeps in a room, my mess is mostly comprised of small "collections" of things that I find interesting. For example, I have specific places where I store tags from clothes. If a tag is super cool, or happens to have an awesome sticker of a sassy looking girl with pink pigtails and bell-bottom jeans surrounded by flames, then I want to save it. I might use it someday, or an archaeologist could be searching my room 200 years from now and learn about how clothes were priced before society all magically got dressed like in The Jetsons or Cher in Clueless. Early 2000s "junior's" departments from JC Penney and Kohls shouldn't be forgotten. And so they live strongly, in my jewelry box.

I also have a rock collection, coin collection, a quarter-specific collection (which totally differs from my coin collection because it has a portfolio where I can collect a quarter from each state), a glass doll collection (that I actually tucked away because they were actually scary as hell), a pez dispenser collection (I didn't even mean to start collecting these, like, I am not that kind of collector. I think that people just assumed that I would be the type of person to have pez dispensers and began giving me Disney Princess and Star Wars themed ones), a Wizard-Of-Oz novelty item collection complete with the Madame Alexander dolls that McDonalds gave out in happy meals, all of my Pokemon cards, puppets (hand, marionette, and finger), well over one hundred Beanie Babies, and a playbill collection--which seems pretty normal overall. I have also been recently acquiring pictures of scenes with anthropomorphic dogs and tacky holiday decorations. I'm still open to expanding with whatever else piques my interest. I have the room.

While sitting wrapped in my bed comforter and staring at my kingdom of junk, I am reassured by what I have. It shows that there is life here, that there is life in me. During my senior year of college, there was a period of three nights where I slept with a McDonald's bag full of empty trash. Okay, I know that sounds like it is spilling over onto the filthy side, but I was elated that I had driven to the fast-food restaurant by myself and gotten food when I had been scared to drive anywhere alone or even leave my bed just a few days before. It was a reminder that I could do things, and plus it became so hilarious to me that I felt that I couldn't part with my McDouble cheeseburger wrapper that had become my new teddy bear.

I have tried to clean my room. To label boxes and shelves, to neatly fold and color coordinate, to throw away things that I no longer need. Every time that I try, I am surged with panic, or sadness, like I am throwing away parts of my life. Parts that I will never live again, and the only things left over are in the backs of nightstand drawers and mason jars on closet floors. I regularly donate my clothes, but when it comes to the tiny bits of the mosaic that has become my life, I am hesitant. As I packed up my stuff to move out of my childhood home into my first apartment, I cried. I saw things that I had, things that should not have been transported, organized, or thrown away, because they have their space in my old room. They co-exist, breathing and insulating any fear or wisp of hope that I had ever had by nightlight. If a human body can be so compact with guts and muscle and bone, then why can't a space that is just as alive?

I am slowly starting to become "cleaner". My work desk functions well, and my apartment is coming together hesitantly but surely. I have gotten rid of many items and also have learned to let things go. But I want you to understand that it has never been a matter of having physical things, for I am not a materialistic person, but rather holding onto them and having control over the nest that I have built. An actual sculpture and interactive scrapbook of a life that can be hard to live, but a smile that will be brought on by a craft that you made in the first grade that still hangs over your bedroom mirror.

I will clean this up. I will be motivated and won't put it off any longer. I will have a spotless room.

Maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Call Of The Void

See this on Stigma Fighters at

"You know when you have so much stuff to do, but thinking about it makes you stressed out, and then that stress keeps you from doing anything? Well you have anxiety, you know what I'm talking about right?" my coworker asked me while leaning against the beige wall of my cubicle. Her big eyes were swimming with possibilities, while I was thinking about how to get through the rest of my day without feeling sad.

 "Yeah, I know exactly what you mean." I smiled back.

This same coworker spent time teaching English in Latin America and Malaysia. At 18, she ran away to Canada for a weekend. Somewhat recently, she dated a boy from Australia. A boy that she still video chats. A couple of weeks ago she convinced me to play pool in the middle of a semi-crowded bar. That was my equivalent. My Malaysia.

It's not that I am not spontaneous. I like to do things, I have done cool things--I don't even need to justify my small yearning for adventure that is sometimes poked here and there. But I live inside of my head and the worlds there. I see my imagination, while she has seen the actual world.

I laugh when I think of how she looks at me and my interests. We have little in common, and my twitter followers like to see when/how she hilariously and accidentally insults me next. She sees me as someone that sits around in cosplay licking Star Wars VHS tapes that I hold in one hand and playing a RPG with the other while Sailor Moon plays in the background. I like this visual. At least it's interesting.

Talking to her allows me to reflect. What have I done? More importantly, what am I going to do? It is easy to entertain the idea of traveling, or "at least trying something once". When I was a freshman in college I convinced myself that by my senior year I was going to have interned in Disney World, living out my childhood dream. I graduated 6 months ago, and haven't been to Disney World in five years. I ask myself if I regret not trying, and I am not sure if I do. By staying at my school I was able to go to Ireland, and have a memorable senior year with friends that I love. It could be a fair trade.

I always have thought that I don't want to be on my death bed asking, "What if?" (although honestly, I contemplate three different ways daily that I could end up in this position sooner than expected, and I have a few things that I would like to do if it were to happen, well, now). I have sent out a few pieces to be published since I graduated college, and they were rejected, which is expected. I want to be published by May of next year (one year out of school), so I need to keep trying. I also have a website in the works that I haven't officially launched or paid for. There are small goals. Stepping stones to my new dreams.

"You know when you have so much stuff to do, but thinking about it makes you stressed out, and then that stress keeps you from doing anything? Well you have anxiety, you know what I'm talking about right?"

I think about it every day.

In the spring, I went hiking with my boyfriend. We had tried to go to a different park every weekend, and successfully did this for a little over a month before the rain started, or we became too tired to think of new places to go. While in Hocking Hills, we paused at a cliff. We were alone on the trail, with the type of silence that you can hear if you listen closely, and I was feeling an ocean in my stomach while looking at the ground below.

"What happens if I jump?" I asked him. "You couldn't stop me. Part of me even wants to, though I know that sounds completely crazy."

He laughed, knowing that I wouldn't do it. "I was thinking the same thing," he said. "It's called "The Call of the Void". I read about it recently on reddit."

He went on to explain that it is an unexplained psychological phenomena that almost everyone experiences. When we are driving, we could briefly think "What if I ran my car into oncoming traffic?" or while holding a knife "I could hurt myself or someone else right now if I really wanted to". These thoughts are fleeting, and as long as you don't dwell on them or contemplate seriously acting them out, then they are not a problem. The weird impulses are merely a fun little part of the weirdness that is being a human.

I often think about the conversation, about how it felt to look into the open air, and wonder if maybe I could've flown if I really jumped. Maybe people really can fly and I could've been the first one. My boyfriend would have been scared at first, but then would have seen me soaring upward, and smiled, thinking Wow, she looks really happy, and eventually the other hikers would have seen me and been glad for me too. I could have looped through the trees, and took off to see elsewhere, creating ripples in the ocean with my fingertips and then zooming back toward the sun because unlike Icarius, I wouldn't have had melted wings. I would have flown around the world, and yelled below to my coworker's ex-boyfriend, telling him that she asks me questions in my cubicle and makes me play pool in bars. I could have if I tried.

But here I am, on the ground, thinking of the opportunity that this void has given me to speculate metaphorically. What if I send things off to be published? What if I just finish my stupid website so that people can see the work that I love to do? What if I plan a trip somewhere, or run off to Canada too? I can't let the amount of exciting things that I want to accomplish paralyze me. I need to try flying, We all need to take a deep breath, and try flying.

So we can start now. We can form plans, set goals, or at least talk about dreams. We can speak of fake dreams, ones that will never come true, but realizing them will be just enough. We can get through the day without being sad, because for each chance that we lose out on, we have an infinite selection of more.

Basically, The Void is calling.
And you might as well jump.