Dear Daddy

Life is fear. And lots of it.

When I was little, I was scared of the monsters under the bed, Santa getting lost and missing my house, and spiders. Now that I’m older, I’m scared of the future and spiders.

I have a rose from my Grandfather’s funeral to remind me that death and sorrow are real. This was the first time I cried at a funeral, which was the same day that I realized that there would be one less hand to hold mine when I needed someone there.

The most painful thing I’ve learned so far is that no matter how much love I wrap my family members in, no matter how many ropes I weave from their hearts to mine, they cannot stay with me forever. The ones that I hold most dear to me are growing older as I am. And it terrifies me. Because one day, the wind will carry them home, and they won’t be here with me to dry my tears, to hug me and tell me it will be ok. Even though a heart can be the home of memories, a home can’t be a heart.

And I’m scared of growing up and moving on.

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Daddy, I miss you. And I know break just ended, and I saw you a lot; but I miss you. I miss our talks, your hugs, cuddle sessions on the couch. And even though I’m in college and still live under the same roof, I never see you. And it’s hard, and it’s painful.

I’ve given this whole “growing up” thing a shot, and I’ve decided that it isn’t for me. I want to go back to when I was five. I want to go back to the days of playing airplanes, back scratch wars, sitting in your fort, curling up next to you and falling asleep. I want to go back to the times when putting a Band-Aid on a cut was enough, because now there’s pain that you can’t fix even though you try so hard to do so. I want to go back to the days when you held my hand to cross the street, and to teach me to walk. I want you to hold my hand forever, because I’m scared of tripping and falling. These shoes of adulthood are too big for me.

And I can’t help but think if this is how I feel now, how am I going to feel when I don’t live with you? How am I going to feel when you’re not there every day for a hug?

And while I’m sitting here trying to figure it out, the world keeps spinning. People keep breathing, and while my mind is stuck in a corner, refusing to let go, I’m getting older and closer to moving on.

I know I’m only 18, and I have my whole life ahead of me to ‘figure it out,’ but that’s what scares me the most: not figuring it out.

Because life is a mystery. Life is pain, fear, and love. And when you love someone, pain is involved.

And Daddy, I know I’m growing older, but I’ll always be your little girl.

Right now I’m just confused about why life must hurt so much. Right now I’m just scared about what the future holds.

And I don’t know if I’m ready for it, any of it.

I want to be five again. Then I can say “tay me bit more,” and it might actually work.

 

Continue Reading: A Father’s Response

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Human Life

What does it mean to be human, to think, to feel, to breathe? Is it being born with nothing, trying to become something? The first cry, that filling of infant lungs with its first breath, its soft feet and sleeping breaths are the beginnings. It is a mother’s tears and a father’s steady hand. It’s the moment that a child takes its first step, and the moments that it falls to the earth. It’s the scars, a nightmare, and the first fresh reality of dreaming. It’s being there, simply being there when someone needs you. It’s the meaning contained within music, the hope after a rain. It’s the first step to breaking boundaries between people, to seeing beyond skin and tongue and bone, to seeing within. It’s the giving of good ideas, good thoughts, and the modest reception of another’s kindness. It’s the smile in a stranger’s eyes as they watch life unfold, in the way couples who have been together forever become one. It’s the sound of violins in the summer, and the patience to listen to their song tell a story. It’s taking baths in the running currents of a river, running colored pencils on fresh paper, and writing your soul on a cloud. It’s learning to make a mess, clean it up, and then learning how to make messier messes. It’s the moment when the seasons change, and you do too. It’s in the way that trees learn to let go of their leaves as they swirl around like helicopters. It’s in the work of the small ants that carry mountains on their backs. It’s the beauty of a sunrise, painting the sky with all the colors of the wind. It’s yearning for the moon, letting it guide you back home again. It’s the joy in learning to write, in writing letters, and then mailing them. It’s the company of other people, and being other people’s company. It’s in the happiness of food. It’s in clean water, clean air, and a place to sleep, but not all humans have that luxury. It’s the first death, and the next. It’s the never-ending cycle of one birth and one death. It’s the desire to leave something behind, and the desire to take something with you. It’s leaving with nothing when you were once something.

I’m a human, and I’ve lived for 18 years. I was born to two people who were strangers when they first met, but fell in love with time. I have walked on the earth, and I have tasted it. I have dangled my legs into a rushing river, and I’ve touched creation. In the beginning, I couldn’t say words, and now that I can, I sometimes still don’t. But in the beginning, I made sounds. When I grew old enough to walk, I learned to hide away from everything. Music and writing became my confidantes. I would be loudest when no one was listening (the same is true now).  My hair has changed. I have told lies, and I have been told lies. I want to save other people. I have wanted to travel and see the world, but for now I am content with searching for pictures. My mother taught me that life is what you make of it. My father taught me not to take life too seriously. My grandfather taught me that hard work is important, and so is school. My grandmother taught me how to cook. My aunts taught me how to read. Words have been the lifeblood and spark that have kept my heart beating. I can read a book in a day, and then thirst for more. I tell myself not to fall in love with fictional characters, and then I do anyway. My books and my notepads filled with stories are my treasures. I have been aware of how words can pull people all my life. When they’re thrown like sharp knives, people get hurt. How words can make people laugh with their whole being. I have lived 18 years, and I’ve seen death before.

Death and Love

We’re lonely people. But that shouldn’t be a surprise. From a distance, we’re all just specks. We’re tiny and insignificant. We are floating on this rock, in orbit around this giant ball of gas, in a solar system, in a galaxy with balls of gas that are bigger than our sun. These balls of gas are incomprehensible in size, and are located in a universe that spans to infinity and beyond, which contains an infinite number of galaxies, with planets that could be just like ours. And nothing lasts forever. When we are born, the world is a different one; we are unaware of our own mortality. But we see death around us: in the death of an ant because of our deliberate footsteps, in the death of days, seasons, and years. We witness the death of people we hold dear. One day, you will understand what death really means. This is when the air is sucked out of your lungs. That is the day when the music stops, the world tilts upside down, and the realization of your own mortality hits you. That is the day when you are scared of going to bed, because you’re terrified of not waking up. Perfectly still on our beds, we cry at night because we feel so alone; we want someone to hold us. That is when the nightmares set in—our past and what the future holds haunt us daily. Our dreams are the hands that hold on to us, the people who stay. When they are there, we are no longer alone.

Is that what love is? Another person to hold you in the dark when you feel like you are disappearing; a life whose heartbeats move with the same melody as your own; a way for everyday to mean something? We wake up in the morning, get ready, and sometimes try to impress someone. But for what? You shouldn’t have to dress nicely to impress someone. Is the way to someone’s heart nice clothes? But for years we have the same routine. Until one day, the loneliness claws at our spine once again, and we are left with a self-inflicted paralysis. But there’s always someone there. We create perfect, fairytale love stories in our minds because we think we don’t deserve real love. And one day we find someone that fits this fairytale, or at least pretends. Then they leave us broken and bleeding, convincing us that this is what we deserve. They come back, convincing us they have changed. And so it goes.

We accept the love we think we deserve.

No more. No more.

One day, you will find someone who loves you for who you are.

Because you can’t keep running away from everything, and wondering when you will stop this and just find the person, the place where you are ok existing, where you are ok being in love—mostly where your heart doesn’t need protection from anything, anyone (especially not yourself).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Out of Sync

The world doesn’t stop for you when yours starts rotating the other way. The waves keep touching the seashore even if your moon is gone. The day still awakes somewhere even if your sun is gone. You walk down your school hallway with a smile painted on your face even though you’re breaking inside. But nobody knows, because nobody ever cares enough to take a second look, to give it a second thought, to peel back the clown mask you are wearing. Your home room teacher won’t question you when the jacket you’re wearing reaches further than your fingertips even though you’re not supposed to wear coats in school. You’ll turn in last night’s homework, and you’ll fail. Nobody will tell you that it’s okay that you put yourself before a paper on society’s pressures on teenagers these days. You know society’s pressures well—they are haunting you.

You’ll cry behind the door of a bathroom stall. Somewhere between the tears, deep inside your heart you’ll hope that someone will care enough to look in from the beneath the closed off wall and extend some sort of life preserver. But everyone only washes their hands to get rid of their own dirt. Someone will nudge you in the middle of your history lecture because you fell asleep, or because you fell into something you still can’t find your way out of. The teacher will say your name and shake his head, and you think that the weight you carry is entirely your fault.

Things will stop moving for a while. Your emotions will freeze; your brain will stop processing the day to day tasks. You’ll reach home and won’t remember how you got there. There will be lead in your chest and oceans held back in your eyes, and you’ll walk into your house without being home. And as you crawl into bed that night, you’ll pretend the last 14 hours didn’t happen—the time between eyes open and eyes close isn’t ripping your hope apart. Morning will slither across your eyelids, and you’ll have to wake up. But you never really do. You’ll keep everything inside, because you don’t want to be that kid with the messed up life. And it’ll build within your walls.

You’ll find a silver lining in a blade. And count the ways you could end it all. But you won’t, because you want to stand tall. Instead you’ll climb to the edge of a cliff and stand, looking down at it all. You’ll pierce your heart with the knives of your own ribcage. You’ll whisper your secrets to the wind in the hope that someone will hear and lend a wayward ear. You’ll attach your hopes to the wings of a migrating bird and dream of spring.

You’ll sit with your journal at night and pour your heart out with blood, because you reached that point where there is so much distance between you and yourself. People can’t begin to comprehend the weight, the war inside your head: the war for your soul. Neither can you. Everything, you think, is out of your hands. You can’t trace your hope back to a name or a face or a place, but the pain is easy to blame. You’re alone—so consumingly, hauntingly alone, or so it seems. You want so badly to believe in that reflection, to respect your own skin. But you’ve reached that point, and don’t know where to go from here.

You don’t know how this story ends. It remains to be written. It takes years and lives and bloodshed before you realize that the blood you’re writing with is not yours alone.

 

Learning to Love…Myself

I don’t like people.

I, er… What I mean is… I guess… technically that’s a lie. I don’t do well with big groups of people (and by big, I mean more than 5). I’m fine one-on-one. I can make eye contact, have an intelligent conversation and really connect to people. But as soon as you stick me into a room with more people than I can count on one hand, I turn into this socially inept creature. I stumble over my words. I play with the rubber band around my wrist. I twirl my hair around my fingers. I bite my lip. I look everywhere but at the people around me. I don’t make eye contact. It’s as though my brain completely shut down. 

Sometimes, if it’s a really bad day, I will be louder than I wish to, or I’ll trip over my own two feet.

This whole social anxiety, introverted-ness thing makes college kind of difficult. I’ve never made friends easily, and I’m not that trusting. I feel uncomfortable in my own skin—almost as if the skin I wear isn’t even mine, as if it’s on loan from someone else. But I’m trying really hard to fix this. I really am.

And yet, I still hideaway in the library among the books, because that’s where I feel the most comfortable. The written word has always been better at communicating what I want to say better than my spoken words ever could. The books don’t judge me. The notebooks filled with my words don’t judge me as I pour out my inner thoughts, struggles and questions. Books and notebooks just soak it all in.

And that’s where I sit, day-after-day, wanting to meet people, but being unable to–two sides of the same coin that’s never in harmony.

I prefer to be alone, because it allows me to ponder and think. But I still thoroughly enjoy talking to people. I like connecting heart-to-heart, soul-to-soul, one-on-one, without the fear of judgment.

But I don’t know how to make friends.

Is this all a product of my past (besides the obvious introverted part of me)?

I feel as though I’m completely useless and broken, pieces that don’t fit together as they should. I have been hurt in the past. People have left me broken and bleeding, again and again. My heart heals itself, but my brain doesn’t. And I’m trying really hard to step out of my comfort zone, leave the library, talk to someone new. I’m just scared that I will be judged, or worse, not liked. Because, more often than not, that’s how I feel.

…because in that moment, I had never been hurt so harshly by anyone before. It was as if all my flaws had been impeccably arranged in front of me for the world to scrutinize. There was no gray area, no pointing out the things that made me special, admirable, or wanted. It was all the things about myself that I hated, all listed out. They were a despicable finger pointing at me, ridiculing. My ego had never been bruised in this way before. There was not a drop of self-confidence left in me after that. I have searched introspectively for things that I could grasp, hold on to for dear life, thing that once gave me a reason to love myself. I don’t always find anything.

But I’m trying. I’m learning to love myself. And slowly, but surely, I’m gaining my confidence back. Some days, I’m more confident than others. But sometimes, I wish I could be the mysterious and fascinating girl with long, flowing hair that you read about all the times in novels; the girl who always becomes the love interest of some amazing boy. They share lovely memories and talk forever of nothing and have a sweet relationship. Sometimes, I wish I could be the girl who is always sure of herself and who always has something interesting to say.

I want to be that girl.

“I’m quirky, silly, blunt, and broken. My days are sometimes too dark, and my nights are sometimes too long. I often trip over my own insecurities. I use music to speak when words fail me, even though words are as important to me as the air I breathe. I love hard and with all that I have… and even with my faults, I am worth loving.”

I just don’t know how.