I wake up in the morning and do not feel like myself.
My body aches in unfamiliar ways.
The joints in my hands crack,
my right thumb somehow feels unnerved.
The muscles in my back and neck haven’t
been the same since experiencing multiple panic attacks.
I look in the mirror and do not recognize myself.
My cheeks are puffy, resembling a chipmunk,
reminding me of when I had my jaw surgery.
My eyes are strange, for my top lids are pulled back,
giving me an unwanted stare I don’t realize I have.
The puffy pockets underneath my eyes indicate
swelling that somewhat subsides by the time I say goodnight.
I look out onto the day and everything has changed.
My vision has been on the decline
for the last two months and has suddenly
taken a nose dive into the great unknown.
I can’t see much beyond twelve feet,
it’s like looking into a fish bowl,
everything is fuzzy or blurry or double.
I see double if I look up and tilt my chin down.
My reality shifts into two, pulling apart from one
another like something is breaking from being
overstretched, people often look like their souls
are leaping out of their bodies like fading ghosts.
This has been occurring since October, it seems like
a lifetime ago and yet it’s still jarring every time
I watch something transform into perspectives
no one else can see. People often have four
eyes, which is always the most alarming.
I haven’t felt like myself in a long while.
This temporary normal that’s constantly shifting
will never feel normal. I woke one morning
and everything had changed without a warning.
I’m still process everything that has happened,
it’s overwhelming and terrifying to have no
control over what is going on with your own body.
I just want to see again. More than anything,
I want to have my vision back.
I want to be able to see things far away
without fuzziness or double preventing me
from appreciating the beauty around me.
I want to walk around without feeling
my depth perception being off.
I want to be less sensitive to bright lights.
I want to look up with my eyes
instead of craning my poor neck.
I want to not feel my eyes focusing.
I want to no longer feel eye strain.
I want to no longer feel like my eyes are buzzing.
I didn’t realize how much I took my eyes
for granted until things unexpectedly shifted.
Though my viewpoint tends to focus on
the negative since they’re more overwhelming,
there are a few shining spots in all this chaos.
My eyes are not budging out of their sockets.
Though my eyes are sitting in different places,
it can go unnoticed if you don’t know it.
They may look a little different and certainly I can tell,
it’s not my biggest problem by any means.
I have a prism on one of my lens that corrects
the double vision when I look forward.
I don’t know what I would do without it.
The support I have from my family is unconditional,
they continue to help me through this process
as we figure out the best avenue to take
to relieve the discomfort so I can move forward.
The mind is at war with itself.
Tugging back and forth
between what is rational
and what is emotional.
Foreign emotions ride the wave
of overwhelming intensity,
crashing into reasoning
before the mind can
comprehend what is happening.
Thoughts are left swirling
in madness as the heart shutters
like it’s surrounded by blowing snow
in the middle of a blackout blizzard.
The rational part tries to gain control,
but is met with the feeling
of not breathing while swimming.
Eventually, rationality takes the reigns,
stopping the pain.
I woke up thinking the time on my phone had automatically switched forward. It had not. I spent the first hour or two of my day thinking it was a different time. Fortunately, I realized my phone’s problem when I looked at the time on my computer. Unfortunately, the medication I had meant to take earlier was taken later than expected. My body’s clock was off too, it’s okay.
Lesson learned: you can’t always trust technology has everything figured out before you. Thank god we still have some control on what happens on our small devices, even when it completely messes up your perception of the day for a good five minutes or so.
I laid in my bed for a good forty-five minutes, allowing my eyes to rest. My eyes were screaming at me in silence for pushing them to look up their own without craning my neck up to see a screen that was about twenty feet away from me. Swollen muscles were pulled in directions they didn’t want to go. A fan was blowing air and my phone was blasting the sound of rain in springtime. I was focused on my breathing, hands on my belly as I felt the air drift in and out of my lungs. My eyes eventually calmed, enjoying a moment without needing to stare at anything or completely drift off to sleep. I couldn’t remember the last time I was this still for this long.
I was reading a book I could not put down. I told myself I would read one more chapter three chapters and thirty pages ago. I hadn’t been that into a book in quite some time. I was reminded of why I love telling stories. Those moments where I’m transported into someone’s mind have always been my favorite. The fan was still blowing air.
Emotion washed over me like a wave I didn’t see coming. I couldn’t articulate words correctly because I had a difficult time trying to comprehend this unexpected feeling. It’s like I ran into a wall without looking and now I’m conflicted within myself. It’s difficult to feel something and have no idea how to articulate it. Tears fell from my eyes. These tears were more intense than I’m used to, so I hunched over and cried more. No one understood what was happening, neither did I exactly.
My eyes were screaming at me in silence for crying. So I cried more because pain has no limits when I’ve already unlocked the box of tears. My eyes felt heavy like they’re experiencing dual migraines. I didn’t know this feeling was possible. Maybe it’s not, and I was just overthinking things as I often tend to do.
I had been waiting all day to eat this cookie dough ice cream, and after taking my fifth and final pill of the day, I was slurping it down while finishing a New Yorker article I had slowly been reading for the last couple of days. The springtime rain blasted from my phone once again as I tried to comprehend the words on the page as best I could. Names often bleed together when so many are mentioned in the course of a single section. It’s crazy to read about what people choose to overlook and how things could have been different if someone was brave enough to speak up.
I was reading a chapter of another book before falling asleep. The more I looked at the lines, the words began to float off the page, detaching from the original text to become two. My eyes were done for the day, signaling through a pretty frightful message that I had gone numb to, that whatever was on the page wasn’t worth it. I took off my glasses and turned off the light. I snuggled into my comforter as a horn from a train travels across the night air into my ears as I gave my eyes what they wanted: rest.
As kids, we are taught that being different is a negative. We try our best to fit in with our peers. Sticking out can cause unwanted attention we try to avoid. In the last couple of years, our society has become more accepting. We’re nowhere near an inclusive society but over these last couple of years, steps have been made to become more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community. There’s still a lot of hate towards people who are deemed as different but there’s also been an overwhelming amount of love too.
The United Methodist Church I’ve attended over the last thirteen years has always been welcoming to people from all walks of life. Regardless of where you’re from or who you love, you’re welcome. For me, my faith journey has evolved over the years and while I haven’t believed in God in the traditional sense in quite a few years, I like the messages my pastors’ share. How it’s okay to question things about your own beliefs. Everyone is on a different path and no one is right or wrong. You don’t have to have it all figured out or believe one thing to attend a service. For me, my church is a place I can disconnect from society to make sense of current events and the thoughts swirling around in my head.
I’m saddened by the events that took place that caused headlines to read that United Methodist denomination isn’t inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community. There should not be a disconnect between us and them and making that stance clear as a denomination is damaging. Thankfully, I’ve always felt loved and welcomed at my church when I was questioning things in my life and parts of myself that make me different. And after yesterday’s service, I still feel that love from my church regardless of what the global denomination wants to say.
Two people share a connection
when their eyes meet.
Everyone who is watching
wonder what could be going on.
Is this fate or planned?
Are what we seeing an illusion
or a true moment?
What is authentic
and what is for the cameras?
People who don't understand acting
can't comprehend what they're seeing
as anything less than true love.
Coincidences are the universe
trying to tell humans the truth
through simple observations.
Keep your eyes open.
I'm driving down familiar streets hours after the sun has set.
My eyes cause the lights to shift beyond the darkness.
Streetlights drop below the actual light and hover,
falling in mid-air. The lights at the intersection
have the same motion, falling into two without
dropping to the road below. The brake lights on the car
in front of me look like they're melting off onto the bumper.
The headlights of the cars heading in the other direction
appear to be reflecting off a mirror on the dry road.
The more lights I see, the more my reality feels
like a weird dream out of Dr. Seuss' mind.
The lights unable to stay whole in my eyes
cause an illusion to occur that only I'm seeing.
An uneasy feeling arises in my stomach.
I realize if I focus on nothing in particular,
the lights calm a bit as they continue to hover in the night.
Underneath the surface of your skin
lies truths about yourself
that you refuse to acknowledge exist.
Character flaws, irrational fears,
bad habits, annoyances, troubles letting go,
many more I can think of
that make up who you are.
We all want to be the reliable
narrators of our own stories
but we're the worst narrators,
especially it comes to ourselves.
We're biased and only want to
focus on the things that make us look good.
Instagram profiles and Facebook feeds
only highlight the best parts of our lives
because no one wants to share
what's really happening on
the other side of the screen.
Fake smiles are never genuine,
photographing to get likes
takes away from your actual life.
This trend has become an epidemic
in our society, everyone loves the
highlight reel and loathes stories
longer than six words or 280 characters.
Taking everything we see as we scroll
on social media with a large
grain of salt is a good first step.
Building awareness of your own story
by acknowledging the truths underneath
the surface of your skin is the first step
to changing your own biased of who you are.
You will never be a reliable narrator,
but you can be more accepting of who you
actually are instead of who you want to be.
Unexpected events can often spark
the flight or fight response.
Overwhelming thoughts that present
the worst to the extreme
come barging into your head when the universe
takes you down a road without
giving you a heads up before the decision is made.
In those moments, the only thing
you can control is how you react to those shifts.
I've always been someone who either
ignores the shift to process it later or panic
with uncontrollable emotions.
I'm trying to change this by beginning
to embrace meditation,
taking time to settle my thoughts
and focus on the now
instead of taking a negative thought
and running with it into the fire.
The ways in which you conduct yourself
when unplanned things occur
says a lot about how you control nerves.
Finding ways to calm
your emotions before they become heightened
is important for your mental health.
I used to be uncomfortable
with silence among others.
Sitting and not saying a single
word was my personal hell.
To be honest, it still can be.
Why aren't they saying anything?
Is it that hard to start a conversation?
Say, hi.....no, that's too much.
I once went on a hike
with my family, and my sister
pointed out how much
I was constantly filling the air
with my own voice.
Stop talking and enjoy the silence
was her advice to me as
we were descending the
I didn't know how to do
that, for I didn't realize
how much I was talking.
I was resisting the quiet
humans often label as
Since that eyeopening
moment, I've become more
comfortable with hearing nothing
when with a group of people.
The natural instinct is to say
something because we deem
it's better than saying nothing
and feeling uncomfortable
about losing precious time.
I've been building awareness
about feeling comfortable
with the uncomfortableness
that comes along
with the construct of silence.
Silence in my car
alone with my thoughts
is another monster I have yet
When the radio doesn't work,
I become annoyed.
I'd rather hear something
with a beat than listen
to the same worries
My thoughts are jumbled,
writing allows me to straighten
Conquering silence is a lifelong
battle between being
unaware of how much you're
saying to fill the air
to being too aware
that any sound
can make you question
who is actually there,
listening to the buzzing
in your brain when the radio
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
As a country, on this day,
we must remember the steps
that have been taken in order
for us to move forward.
No matter how we get there,
we can't move back into the past,
we can't let harmful rhetoric
divide us even more.
They want us to focus
on our differences to the point
where our similiarities don't matter.
What we can bond over
will be the foundation we need
to progress into the future
instead of sinking back
into the past.
Let the markers in time,
fictional entertainment from decades ago,
mirrors in thoughts that predicted
where we are now
be the motivation to continue
working towards a hopeful future.