Idealist

I am an idealist. That’s what I was told on a personality test. It is so true though. I fit the mold. Constantly daydreaming, wishing, hoping for a better, easier life. I obsess over the perfect life. Perfect house, perfect boyfriend who will soon be a husband.

I yearn for the ease of life. A world where technology drowns my every worry about my future. Self-driving cars are my latest obsession. Technology has done so much for us already and taken over so much of our lives. It’s been our brains, robbed us of mundane tasks and jobs. It wouldn’t be so far off to think about a world where technology took over the roads. We are so close to it. They’re already being developed and versions of the fully-immersed automation are already in use. It will happen.

The personality test my strength was idealism, but it also said MTV weakness is excessive idealism. I know it’s not realistic to strive for perfection because it does not exist, but I have to hold onto sole hope that half-perfection, something to ease the struggle will nestle its way into my life for my sanity. My idealism keeps me sane, and my idealism becoming at least half a reality would be ecstasy.

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Imaginary Friends

I smile and greet those who lock eyes with me. Introductions and the shaking of hands, going through the motions of normal social etiquette in American culture, my motivation and courage solely stemming from the fact that, unlike other situations I have been in in the past, this time I have been provided with a little social nudge. Ice breakers, a surefire way to strike up an interaction. Where are you from? What school do you attend? Are you billingual? I find it funny that while most of these topics are normal ice breakers in an initial introduction, my social anxiety logic tells me I need special authorization to utter these questions to another human being. This official permission in the form of a game of ice breaker bingo actually gives me the courage to…approach people, something that feels like trying to walk through two feet of snow otherwise. I won’t lie, my social anxiety still lingered as I did this, but once the interaction was underway I tried to hide my introversion. They were short interactions because it was mere small talk and, after all, the object of the game wasn’t to chit chat for hours on end, but to find people who alligned with the characteristics on our bingo cards and once we established if that was the case, we moved on to the next person. It wasn’t that bad; it was actually kind of fun. I got this, I thought within the first twenty minutes.

Then, thirty, forty minutes passed of roaming around the restricted area among the chattering crowd. I have not completed my bingo card, but I begin to feel the familiar drained feeling. I slowly made my way over to a bench to call it quits. How many people have I exchanged introductions with? One person broke the pattern of introduce, shake, exchange cards for review, next, by engaging in admittedly off-topic conversation about his long commute up here in a rental car because he had totaled his car, proceeding to then pull out his phone to show me a picture of the moderate damage. I listened attentively and expressed my shock, a learned social cue. That’s what I am really, a listener, an observer. I am not one to engage in small talk, and this small talk I engaged in with each person did not last long, but the small talk with everyone as a whole, and I didn’t even talk to everyone, was enough to give me my daily dose of social interaction.

Despite this, I did end up making one friend. In fact, because he was so nice to me, I managed to be able to break out of my shell enough to ask him for a favor, no two actually, in the same sentence! The vibe that I received from him was that he would gladly do me any favor, and he also said it bluntly as if we were good friends already.

However, I still only call us acquaintances because we still need to get to know one another. As arrogant as it sounds, trying to get to know someone to gradually establish a friendship is hard work for me as an introvert, someone who needs and chooses to revel in ample time to herself.

Of course, amidst this need for me time, I can get lonely and crave human interaction, as is normal for any human being as we are social creatures by nature, in spite of the introverted personality type. So, to remedy this need, I look for friends virtually. No, I don’t mean through social media in which you chat and get to know one another, although I am no stranger to the online dating world. Of course, that is a whole other social realm, despite the inevitable connection relationships have to friendship in order to be healthy.

No, I am talking about establishing an alleged friendship from my own perspective with popular social influencers who are not even aware I exist. It is a one-sided relationship for this reason, but I don’t care because I am still getting gratification from it and I don’t even have to do any work to maintain the friendship. I already know about them because of what they share. Yes, I know that technically who they portray themselves as in the public, digital world is not necessarily who they are after the camera shuts off. Because I don’t know anymore about them than the rest of the world, they are not real friends. I am aware they are imaginary friends. They only exist in my world on my screen, in my own mind, but I don’t care because these “friends” benefit me. They relieve my anxiety, they make me laugh, they make me feel good about myself and help me to improve myself. I don’t even care that I have no listening ear. That is one thing they cannot provide me, but I provide them. As I said, I am a listener, and I don’t mind. I am the open ear when they vent about their problems or just tell me a funny story. I even show them personally my support in the only way I can, leaving a comment, not knowing if they wil notice or acknowledge it, feeling happy and special when they do. That is my way of actively “maintaining” the relationship. It may seem crazy, but I guess I like this kind of relationship because I am afraid of relationships fading because they have for me in the past, but with imaginary friends, I call the shots on the friendship. With imaginary friends, friendship can be eternal, and I can effortlessly and endlessly make as many as I want while real, true friendships are rare and hardly last. It is my ideal world because my imaginary friends help me forget this sad truth.

Overwhelmed with Possibilities

So many possibilities roaming through my head.

My confidence is a roller coaster.

I convey it and then it sways

My youth and inexperience like molasses, slowing me down in my journey.

I ended a chapter in my journey,

Clearing some of the muck.

I had a plan

But I’m trying to let other possibilities in.

And I am swept up in waves of overwhelm.

I try to snatch and soak up all I can on my way, in the hopes that it will lead me somewhere down this windy, exhilirating, yet dizzying path.

I am looking at the big picture though so no matter what happens, I’ll be happy wherever I end up.

My future is a little uncertain right now, but, no doubt, it burns bright.

 

Bittersweet Freedom

“I want to drive,” I say.

“You can’t,” they say.

“I will drive!” I insist

“Too many risks.”

So I start believing it,

Fearing the act,

Petrified

As I ride down giant hills.

“Oh no!” I cry.

“Too dangerous!”

“I’ll surely crash and die!”

“Or get lost,” I worry as I ride the expansive streets without a single clue where to go.

“My sense of direction shows no hope.

The route is out of my mind.

Why would I need to know when I’m not behind the wheel?”

So I accept that it can’t happen,

Won’t happen.

I learn there is freedom in aid.

Tell myself it’s one less bill to pay.

“Lots of people don’t drive,” I say.

“Don’t limit yourself,” she says.

“You have the right.

Take advantage.

All you have to do is try.”

Tears prick at the corners of my eyes as I realize she is more encouraging than them,

The ones who are supposed to be my biggest cheerleaders.

But I’m still afraid.

And what if I’m not qualified?

Well at least I’ll have tried.
The thought is more and more appeasing,

As I sit here,

Waiting for my ride.

As I plan out a time frame for a simple trip to the salon.

I can’t run errands,

Go to the bank,

Go through a drive-thru.

Sure I can take an Uber

That’s what I’ve gotten into the habit of doing.

It’s so convenient.

But as I scroll through my expenses and see how the rides of varied prices take up the majority, I begin to stress.

My life feels a mess.

So complicated.

I’m frustrated!

I always have to rely on others.

Lately that’s been my mother.

I’ve been thinking about, predicting a world where no one drives.

It’s not a new concept.

Self-driving cars do exist.

It’s not far off in today’s technological world to think that they will run the roads in the near future.

But even that is complicated.

I will still have to know how to drive.

“What if I can’t?” I wonder apprehensively.

I guess that’s why I’ve put off the test for so long.

I don’t want to know.

 

I know though that no matter what’s happens, everything will be okay.

My future is bright and I will be alright.

Why I’m Glad my Ex Turned Out to be Gay

I think it’s needless to say that I was not at all thrilled at first when I learned this news. We had broken up two years prior, but I was still very much in love with him for the reason that I wasn’t given a chance to really process that it was over between us. When we had broken up, vulnerable and needy sixteen year old me begged and pleaded him not to leave me and as he tenderly had me wrapped in his arms in an attempt to comfort me while I soaked his shoulder in my tears, he told me “I’m not leaving you. We’ll still be friends.” There was the cliche reconciliation after a break up, except his next words were what started me into a self-defeating, downward spiral of unrequited love and no room to move on and properly heal. He told me that we wouldn’t just be friends, but we would be more than friends. Now looking back I realize that was a nonsensical and foolish way to reconcile because the whole point of breaking up is so you’re not together anymore in a romantic or sexual way. However, after briefly grieving the loss of my relationship, I soon entered a denial phase that he played along with. That the attraction and love was mutual was very much apparent to me. We would still kiss, which he requested because my “kisses were soothing” and for a brief time we would still be intimate. In my mind, although I knew we’d broken up, we weren’t really broken up. Even he admitted to me that it still felt like we were a couple.

It was because of this relationship that we had that caused his sudden coming out to me to be a devastating shock, a needle to my swelled up heart. He had been distant the past few months and when I wasn’t taking the hint, out of sheer desperation he bluntly blurted out the secret he’d been keeping from me for a whole year. I had already mourned the loss of my relationship to him once, but the difference now was there was no possibility of us being more than friends now. My whole world fell apart that day. I felt overwhelmed with emotions, pain and anger. I felt lost and confused, used and led on, like the last three years had all been a lie, that I had not really had a real relationship. I now know our relationship was not a lie because if it had been, he would not have stayed with me for a whole year and then still after that remained so close with me. We really did have a special connection and I feel special now, thinking that I am the only girl who had him and who will ever have him. Out of every girl he chose me.

The fact that he won’t have another girlfriend is what makes things easier for me now as I remain friends with him. It did take a bit of time for it to be easy for me. When I found out about the first guy he dated when the news was still fresh in my mind, I won’t lie, I was jealous despite my denying so when he was hesitant to show me a Valentine’s Day card because he didn’t want me to get jealous. I was jealous when I had to listen to him yearning for the presence of this boy before their relationship had officially started and who he later confessed to me was his future husband. Spoiler alert: He wasn’t. My point, though, is that I look back now and realize how silly it was for me to be jealous of a guy having my ex’s heart. Obviously since he is gay, I cannot compete with a guy. The answer to the question, what does he have that I don’t is pretty freakin obvious in this scenario. So, my jealousy has melted away and I can calmly and happily think about not just my ex (my friend is actually a more preferable title) in a relationship with a man but I have actually pictured him getting married with a smile on my face. I just want him to be happy.

Also, as I think about him in a relationship with a guy, in my mind, he is not the same guy who I was in love with. In my mind, he’s become someone new. That is why I can relate to Leah in Love Simon when, after finding out  that the guy she loved was gay, she had to “kill her mental image of straight Simon.” That is pretty much what I did and it was a necessary therapeutic action that I took to heal and maintain a healthy friendship with my ex where I can talk to him about his attraction to other guys. I even excitedly brought up the idea of him living with a guy in his apartment. I’m proud of how much I grew in eight years and I’m thankful for the learning experience having him in my life has taught me.

Thin

That’s all I want to be. I can’t stand to look in the mirror because all I see is a giant monster staring back at me.

I eat too much and am ashamed so I don’t let my body digest but then, why, even after I have thrown up all that food, do I still look like a monster and why is everyone around me so concerned that I am too thin?

This is a response to the word of the day writing prompt by thedailyprompt

Ashes to Ashes

It was the summer of 2011 when Rose was diagnosed with stage 3 leukemia. Clearly Laura and Steve were devastated. She was only four years old. All the same, they were thankful they’d finally found an answer after over six months of nose bleeds, countless bruises that appeared out of nowhere, the sudden weakness in their normally active little girl, and the significant amount of weight loss despite eating adequately.

The good news was the doctors would begin treatment immediately at no cost to them although they would have emptied out their entire bank account if it meant their little girl would survive.

Unfortunately, there was bad news. They had to wait at least five years until it was safe to say the leukemia had disappeared. It was standard procedure for leukemia.

So, for the next five years they had to live on edge with anxiety, wondering if and praying for their little girl to wake up the next day. It sent both of them into a deep depression they and their loved ones feared they’d never escape.

“Come out tonight, let’s have dinner, get your mind off things,” offered Laura’s good friend and coworker who hadn’t seen her at work for weeks.

“No,” Laura declined. “I need to be with Rose.” The thought of leaving her daughter’s side was enough to send her into a full blown panic.

Steve gave the same refusal to his friends who offered a night out. His daughter was his whole world and he would be absolutely devastated if something happened and he was not there holding her hand. It was as if they both felt that by never leaving Rose’s side, they could prevent the unspeakable. Neither of them could say it but they thought about it each and everyday.

At the same time, they could hardly bare to watch their angel suffer brutally through treatment, the continuous sleepless nights of nausea and sickness. This was just too much for a child to bear. But something even more terrifying happened one night.

Rose had been going through a year of treatment, which began to seem like more torture for her parents than Rose herself who seemed to develop a sort of strength against and immunity to it, treating it like just part of her daily routine, and she said something that scared her parents into not wanting to leave her side even more.

“Mommy, I heard God’s voice. He said I am going to Heaven.”

Laura felt tears trickle out of her eyes and down her cheeks. She shook her head and then embraced her daughter tightly.

“No,” she said. “The doctors are taking care of you. You’re going to stay here with Mommy and Daddy. You’re going to be okay.”

Rose shook her head. “I’m going to Heaven and I’m going to come back a beautiful rose.”

Laura and Steve were confused and heartbroken. Why was their little girl saying these things? She was too young to be talking like that. Yes, they were religious and told Rose about Heaven and God but she shouldn’t be thinking about going to Heaven now. She wasn’t ready. Denial. That was the first stage of their grief. They ignored their daughter’s words. They were nonsense. She wasn’t dying, the cancer was. They even found her dying wish endearing. Of course, her name was Rose so that’s why she wanted to be a rose. But the more she kept talking about Heaven and her request to be turned into a rose, the harder it was to ignore.

Steve went for a drive one night, speeding down the freeway, feeling anything but. He screamed, he screamed at God, wanting to know why He was taking his daughter away.

“You just gave her to me and now You’re taking her away?! Why are You doing this?!

Laura took her anger out on others and her marriage with Steve began to suffer because they were both angry. They needed to be coming together at a time like this but instead they felt isolated, comfortable alone in their grief, selfish and unaware that the other and not to mention their loved ones were all going through the same depression.

More months went by and Rose began to look even more frail, her skin pallid and clammy, which made it all the more real they were losing their little girl and the treatment the doctor’s promised would work clearly was not. Nevertheless, Rose appeared mentally stable, not at all afraid of what awaited her. One night Lara and Steve witnessed her talking to herself, or rather talking to God.

“My parents don’t understand that I have to go with You. That’s where I belong. Can’t You help them understand I’ll still be here? I tried to tell them they have to turn me into a rose and I’ll still be with them.”

After they realized there was no turning back, the bargaining stage began.

“Please let her stay and I promise I’ll quit drinking,” Steve had a bit of a drinking problem that he used to cope with the pain. It left him numb.

Laura promised she would do more charity work and go to church more often.

When their prayers weren’t answered, they went back into depression and Steve did quit drinking because he was already numb from the depression. They were both so numb they couldn’t cry anymore. Their minds had chosen escape from everything.

Before they knew it another year had gone by and by this time the doctors had stopped treatment because all it was doing was making Rose sick. The cancer was winning and Laura and Steve knew that. There was nothing to be done now. The final stage, acceptance. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, they chose to now focus their preparations. They wanted to have the funeral soon after so they made the reservations and they requested their daughter be cremated. When they did research on planting flowers in human remains though they found it was almost impossible. The contents of the ashes would be too deadly, a far from optimal environment for new life to form. Of course, it made sense. It was a paradox what they were trying to accomplish, growing life in death. Well, at least they would still have the ashes. That gave them comfort but should they tell Rose she couldn’t have her dying wish? They were afraid it would break her heart. That was all she wanted. This thought encouraged them to not give up. They prayed for a miracle. She had to come back as a rose and the more determination they felt to try, the more they believed it was possible.

So, when the day came when they had to say their goodbyes to their little girl, of course it broke their hearts but their determination numbed the pain slightly as they believed their daughter wasn’t really going to be gone. They had her cremated and within the ashes they planted a single rose seed. They put the ashes in a brightly lit window and watered it daily. The ashes were kept in the window every day except for the day of the funeral where they transported the pot of ashes to the funeral home where thankfully there was a brightly lit window up by the alter. They told of their daughter’s dying wish, which everyone thought was beautiful. They knew everyone thought it was impossible though just like they once had but something told them there would be a miracle one day and a rose would blossom out of those ashes.

Months went by with no luck, which turned into years and by then they had stopped watering the ashes. They had now lost hope.

But on that fifth year, on a warm summer day, they came home to find a rose bud poking its head out of the ashes. Laura saw it first, sure her eyes were deceiving her but Steve saw it too although he was skeptical when his wife had told him. There it was plain as day. They had to tell people of the miracle. They invited friends and family over and they had a celebration of life. In no time they ended up on the news, which they didn’t mind. The world needed to know of their miracle. Soon, the rose started to blossom rapidly and it was the biggest most beautiful rose they had ever seen. It was their Rose.

Happy Oblivion

This is a writing prompt by The Poets and The Peddlers about a society who are overly happy about everything but it’s also going to be loosely based on Katy Perry’s music video for her new song Chained to the Rhythm because that’s what it reminded me of.

“Will you go out with me Anastasia?” Dan asked, a big goofy grin on his face.

“Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!!” Anastasia barely let him finish, wrapping her arms around him and they began to kiss passionately, surrounded by happy couples, skipping, kissing, and taking selfies. Finally, they were riding on the bandwagon of love with everyone else. They posed for a selfie with big smiles, posting it on Facebook and Instagram with the caption “Danastasia is now officially a thing!” Within a minute, the likes and comments came pouring in: “OMG that is literally the perfect ship name! It’s fate! That was totally my ship name for you guys! I’ve shipped you guys from the beginning! You guys are so cute! Cutest couple!” As they read each comment, their faces lit up more and more.

“Oh Dan! It is fate! We’re perfect together!” They embraced lovingly and shared in another passionate kiss. 
“Sarah, will you marry me?” Greg asked, with a wide smile on his face, pulling out a ring.

“Oh my God, yes!” Sarah cried happily and Greg eagerly placed the ring on her left ring finger.

“I can’t wait to tell my friends and family!” She squealed, admiring the huge shiny rock on her finger that symbolized her initial Union to Greg. 

They got together and posed for a selfie, Sarah sticking her left hand out to flaunt her diamond, posting it to Facebook, pleased with all the likes and comments they continuously received within minutes congratulating them.

They had taken the first step on the road to a perfect life!

Within six months Sarah had found the perfect dress! 

“You look perfect!” exclaimed her maid of honor. 

“I know!” Sarah cried and she and her bridal party squealed with delight! 

Sarah pulled out her phone and took a mirror selfie with her bridal party photo bombing in the background.

Every aspect of the wedding was planned with joy. The cake was perfect! The decorations were gorgeous! The flowers were beautiful! 

The wedding was a year later and it was perfect! Smiles were on everyone’s faces, including the priest who married them and everyone erupted into thunderous applause when he announced them husband and wife and they eagerly shared in a passionate kiss. Everyone danced to every song, and smile widely as they watched the bride and groom dance to their first dance with wide grins on their own faces. The food was delicious! Everyone had a wonderful time! And Sarah and Greg couldn’t have been happier now that they were officially a married couple. 

After their honeymoon, they moved into their dream home with a little white picket fence and wrap around porch, which was identical to all the surrounding houses in the neighborhood. As they made their way through the neighborhood, they were greeted warmly and congratulated on moving into their new home. 

Within a year they had a baby and they were now the perfect family. 

Greg read his paper while Sarah cooked dinner and their daughter played with her dolls with the TV on in the background announcing an immigration ban, sending all the foreigners back to their home country and keeping them from entering. They all just kept smiling, content in their own lives. 
Yes, I know the last part was very similar to a scene in the Katy Perry music video but I said this was influenced by it. 

The Light of Darkness 

It was supposed to be an ordinary day. We never expected to find ourselves lost in such an eerie yet calming paradise.

“Let’s go on a picnic!” My sister Emily cried.

I groaned. I did not want to get up. I was perfectly content and comfortable here lounging on the couch.

“Come on get up lazy bones!” She teased. “Let’s go on an adventure!”

I rolled my eyes. I had all the adventure I needed right here on my game of Temple Run.

“Come on, I found this really beautiful place online. There’s a lake and a garden full of flowers that surrounds the picnic tables. It’s so magical! Come on, it’ll be fun! It’s far too beautiful of a day to waste inside.”

“Ugh,” I groaned.

“Please!” She begged.

I sighed, pausing my game. Obviously she wasn’t going to give up and she couldn’t go without me. I was older with a license so I had to drive to wherever this supposedly magical place was. “Alright,” I acquiesced. “Where is this place?”

“Yay!” she squealed in delight.

It was not a short drive. The GPS took us through mountains, past rivers, over a long rickety bridge and through a dark tunnel. It seemed like an eternity. Then… I saw it. A tall golden gate entrance with security guards dressed in all white standing guard in front. They motioned for us to roll down our window.

“Welcome to The Garden of Haven,” one of the guards said warmly. “We hope you enjoy your stay. We just please ask of our newcomers to first bathe in our lake before entering into the Garden. He gestured to the lake that sparkled in the bright sunlight.

Emily and I gave each other a look. Strange request. We hadn’t even brought our swimsuits.

“Policy,” the guard explained. “Only those who agree to these terms are permitted into the Garden of Haven, he pointed beyond the lake to a garden of endless flowers of every color imaginable. I couldn’t take my eyes off them. It was like they were glued to them.

“See, I told you it was beautiful!” Emily exclaimed.

“You weren’t kidding,” I said, still gawking in amazement. I was eager to park the car and surround myself in those luscious flowers. I had been pretty hungry and tired on the way up here but now it was like just the sight of those flowers had fueled me with energy and nourished my very soul. Yet, I still wasn’t satisfied. I needed more. It was like they were a drug.

However, at the same time, I knew I wasn’t allowed in the Garden until I had bathed in the lake. I wanted to get to the Garden, I needed to get to it, and the only way was to enter the lake. As I looked at the crystal clear blue water, I felt dirty and unworthy of this place. I needed to cleanse myself. Emily and I headed towards the water. We looked around for anyone to make sure no one saw us as we stripped ourselves bare in public. Although it is considered unorthodox to do so, an assuring voice told us it was perfectly acceptable here since we were cleansing ourselves, making ourselves worthy of the Garden of Haven. So, we went ahead and stripped down first to our undergarments, then we slipped out of those too and stepped into the lake. I would say it felt like silk but that would be an understatement. It wrapped us in its sweet warmth and created a feeling of euphoria all over our entire bodies. They tingled in pleasure as we waded deeper into the water. We sunk under, wetting our hair, which shined in the sunlight. We felt no draught as the air hit our skin. There was only warmth that tingled on our shiny fresh newborn-looking skin. It was so soft and looked cleaner than from any shower I’ve ever taken. This was a special kind of water, not like the kind that falls from the skies or runs out our faucets. This was not water from Earth. Where were we? Surely not on Earth any longer.

As euphoric as the lake felt, as much as we could not get enough of its sweet embrace, we knew there were more pleasures to be discovered and we could hardly wait. We rushed to the shore, our bodies instantaneously drying in the warm sun. Our hair was completely dry when we reached the shore where we found our clothes had disappeared. That same assuring voice from before told us to swim to the other side towards the Garden and there we would find white robes to adorn our newly born flesh. We eagerly retreated back into the liquid bliss, our bodies again being wrapped in indescribable pleasure. We swam effortlessly to the other side where, indeed, two white silken robes lay neatly folded in front of the entrance to the Garden of Haven. They smelled and felt as fresh and clean as we felt. We put them on, eager to be wrapped in the sweet softness of the material. I cannot explain how but when we put them on, they were as cozy as a robe made of soft cotton yet they were indeed made of silk, combining the aesthetic pleasure of silk and the sensational pleasure of cotton.

The garden of flowers beckoned us in. Flowers of all kinds and colors, some we’d never seen before surrounded us in an endless frenzy  and they were all here for our pleasure it seemed. This was our garden and no one else could have it. The flowers seemed to go on forever but yet we could not get enough. We soon realized we were lost in the Garden. It was so beautiful and part of us wanted to stay, desperately trying to soak up all the beauty of our garden, never fully satisfied but another part of us felt we needed to leave immediately. This was wrong.

“Stay,” said the assuring voice. “This is your garden.”

But the more we walked, the stronger our apprehension became.

“We have to get out of here,” said Emily. “I don’t like it here anymore.”

“I know,” I agreed.

“You can’t leave,” said the voice not so assuring anymore.

I suddenly had a thought. Was this Heaven or Hell?