Insomnia

It’s three a.m. and all I want to do is sleep.  I told myself, tonight will be different.  Tonight I will not lie awake until the wee hours of the morning distracting myself until I finally, eventually, exhaust my mind and spirit enough to drift into a weary slumber, tears paving painful trails down my cheeks.  Tonight I will be okay.

I was wrong, of course.  I can’t shake thoughts of you, no matter how desperately I will myself to do so.  It doesn’t matter how many times I remind myself that you’re sleeping peacefully wherever you are, undisturbed by any worries or sadness about losing me.  You’re fine, and I’m not, and I cannot force myself to feel differently.  Wanting to be okay does not make it so.

I hate myself for hurting, hate myself for caring.  Missing you fills the background of every moment, despite my best attempts to shut you out.  When I end my day and close my eyes, my defenses collapse and thoughts of you flood into my psyche.  It’s too much to bear, so I exhaust all the options.  I do everything I can think of to get to sleep, and nothing works.  Sometimes hours pass before I toss my blankets aside with utter frustration and search for some new method of numbing the pain.

Now it’s four a.m. and I’m contemplating simply staying up the entire night.  Why not, at this point? Once I do fall asleep I won’t want to wake again.  After all, a dead slumber is my only respite from missing you horribly, and sometimes even then images of you creep into my dreams.  The worst of all is waking up from a lovely reverie in which we are exquisitely happy, only to realize that it’s an illusion.  I lie there like a dead weight, wishing the world would let me wither away. 

This is why I’ve decided I’m done with love, for good this time.  It’s too much, this weight that I bear, every new heartbreak that I carry along with me crushing my spirit a bit more.  It isn’t worth it.  I’d rather live a thousand lifetimes with my walls securely guarding me than go through even one more exhausting disappointment.

I’m done.  Once I finally let go of you, the one who I thought was a true match for me, the one who I thought would stay … I won’t do this again.  I’ve accepted that finding true love is not in the cards for me, no matter how desperately I yearn for it.  Neither of my parents ever captured it and it seems that neither will I, and maybe I won’t be able to stand that.  I don’t know.  Maybe I’ll finally exit this earth that’s never felt like home to me in the first place.  The last little bit of hope I had is unequivocally smashed into oblivion.

The idea of sleeping, never to wake, never to feel another moment of despair, comforts me.

Let me rest. 

My Feminism Is None Of Your Business

The word “feminism” gets thrown about and misused frequently.  The movement itself is also misunderstood, misappropriated, and maligned – much like any underdog throughout history trying to rise up above the bullshit.  

The literal dictionary definition of feminism is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes”.  That’s it.  No matter what anyone says, it’s not about man hating.  It’s not about women ruling over men – though honestly, why shouldn’t we get a turn at it?  Men have had the power for what feels like eternity.  It’s hilarious to me that after all these years of the patriarchy, anyone has the audacity to bristle at the idea of women desiring equality with men.  How appalling, indeed. 

It is unfortunate that there are those out there who misuse feminism for undesirable motives, but it happens with everything in this world.  To damn the entire cause because of a few outliers is laughable.  

The best part about displaying my feminism openly is that everyone has an opinion about it.  It’s incredible that so many people feel comfortable judging me and telling me who I am based on one facet of my being – and one that is completely inarguable.  If anyone can honestly say to me that they do not believe women should be on an equal level with men, I immediately disqualify them as having no relevant input at all.  The irony is that this is part of what feminism is all about – fighting the desire of others, particularly men, to assign us their own idea of what a woman should be. 

I have an idea – if anyone has a problem with my feminism, stay away from it.  That should be quite simple, right?  The fact is that they don’t want to back off because those who oppose feminism are so afraid of the the strength of women that they come at us head on.  Why else would they even bother?  I don’t impose my views on others, I just live my life in my own truth.  There is no reason for anyone to care unless they either feel threatened by me as a presence or they want to impose their views on me.  

Truthfully, if a person is against feminism – if they really believe that women should not be equal with men – I want absolutely nothing to do with that person.  I want them as far away from me as possible.  We women are fed up and I refuse to hide my feelings to maintain a status quo that is unjust, unfair, and horribly outdated.  

Every time I put the world “feminism” in the title of my writing, there is a social media troll backlash, and I expect nothing less this time.  I don’t care.  The point is that we aren’t going away, we aren’t backing down, and we aren’t going to put up with this shit anymore.  The haters can get over it, and if they don’t like it, that’s their problem.  All I want is to be treated like a human being on equal footing with any other person.  Maybe they should try meeting that idea with consideration instead of vitriol, defensiveness, and small-mindedness. Their insecurity is showing.  

(Originally published on Thought Catalog)

Coping With The Realities Behind The Millennial Fairytale

Once upon a time, there was a girl who was told she could have everything. She believed what she heard. The world was there within her reach, waiting for the moment she stretched out her small, optimistic hands.

There were dreams and schemes and fairytales, all very well in concept. Praised constantly but given no practical tools, she floundered in unfamiliar waters. Ironically, she’d done much the same when actually learning to swim, forever traumatized when thrown in and expected to fend for herself.

She was a product of an era that encouraged children to dream big and shoot high, but which gave them no clear path that enabled success. Some got lucky and found a way despite the lack of foundational stability. Most did not, and many stumbled into adulthood with jaded hearts and a sense of desperation at inheriting a world not particularly kind to dreamers.

Whenever she had the courage to express her doubts and fears, she was told she’d figure it out. They all seemed so sure of it, she supposed that she must behave in kind. The path she chose had only a marginal chance of success but she had no idea what else to do. No one sat down with her and helped her determine other possibilities. She was out there on her own, a tiny boat tossed amongst the waves of an uncertain economy, with a brain that was capable of much but could not settle on any one thing. It was both her greatest asset and most tragic undoing.

It didn’t much matter what her passion was because no one taught her how to overcome her fears. Every time she conquered one, a thousand more arose in their wake. It terrified her. She was always sensitive as a child but circumstances forced her to squash her emotion, to push it down, to forgo curiosity in favor of chasing perfection.

A parent must never underestimate the effect that their every word and action has on their impressionable offspring. Perhaps if she wasn’t paraded around by her mother when she was young, bragged about for this and that, then she wouldn’t have felt the need to constantly achieve more and more in order to matter at all.

When she reached adulthood, she was still stubbornly chasing the same “passion” despite having lost her ambition and drive long before. There seemed no alternative. How could she devote so many years to one goal only to forsake it? She did not know how to do anything but pursue excellence, and to let go of something that clearly no longer served her still meant failing. If she did that, she lost all sense of self.

No one ever told her that there’s no shame in failure – in fact, it’s necessary in order to learn. Most consider it crucial to their eventual success.

But that little girl – no, she was given no whisper of the notion that mistakes were normal, even welcome. She was promised that she could climb to the highest heights, but when she readied herself for the journey, there was not a path to be found. Faced with a shadowy chasm full of the unknown, she faltered. This wasn’t part of the story. No one explained the guidelines. All she knew how to do was follow the rules as closely as humanly possible. That was supposed to guarantee her success.

It was all a massively horrible lie, she soon discovered. There was no magical path and the rules no longer got anyone anywhere. A special kind of creativity was required to keep afloat in the world she entered.

She began slowly, confusedly carving out a route for herself, but without any idea of who she really was or what she wanted. There were countless missteps, dead ends, and return journeys to familiar ground. She cried into her pillow frequently, and on the nights that she felt particularly alone, life forced her to get uncomfortable and dive into intense self-study. It became the only way she understood how to grow and change, little by little, in the most necessary of ways.

Today, she is still resentful of the world left to her and her peers by the generation prior, the parents who promised the moon and then left them crumbs. She’s well aware that her path will never be a simple one, but she’s learned to appreciate the joys along the way. The fleeting instability of life is not lost on her. It may not always be easy, but better appreciate it while it lasts.

She’s far from alone, and this gives her a morbid sense of comfort. Everyone she knows was spoon fed this Millennial fairytale and most face the same predicament of confusion and groundlessness. For what it’s worth, they will muddle through together, and eventually perhaps discover their own iteration of a happy ending.

(Originally published on ThoughtCatalog.com)