A cardboard box of make believe
Empty pockets full of dreams
And you are everything I need
Do you ever feel too small, too constricted, too inside your own body to contain everything you feel? Lately, I’ve been feeling so much. So many emotions, longings, dreams, all built up inside of me until I feel as though I’m about to burst. There’s no release either, because I can’t just jump on a plane and take off somewhere. I can’t drive and drive to an unknown destination just for the heck of it. I can’t not go to college, put off four more years of school and testing, rules and expectations, just to get out there. To see the world, to explore, to have adventures. I love to learn, I really do, but I’ve felt stifled lately and although I don’t affirmatively not want to go to college, I don’t completely want to go, either. The trouble is, I think, that I could do all these things. I’m eighteen now and adulthood brings about many more legal liberties. But this sense of liberation has bound me in an unexpected way, because part of me wants to be young and reckless, yet I just can’t do it. I can’t turn my back on the expectations, on the sense of duty, on my planning for the future. I can’t make my parents worry, or miss exams, or… Anything.
I have the AP Statistics exam tomorrow and I can’t remember ever feeling less prepared for an exam in my life. I am the queen of preparation, of overthinking, of double-checking everything and then double-checking it all again. But the truth is, statistics is an incredibly dull subject for me, I don’t know what to study, and I don’t want to be prepared enough to force myself to do it. Perhaps that’s where the root of my anxiety lies this time around: not in the possibility of failing, but in worrying about why I don’t care so much about it and knowing that I probably should. Care more, that is.
Back to feeling though. I go back and forth like a pendulum between two extremes, between feeling so much that it hurts and not feeling much at all. I used to be really sensitive to the world, to its pain and injustices. I remember going to a pet store as a young child and seeing a group of crayfish attacking a little pink fish in one of the tanks. They ripped its feathery fins apart and I begged my mom to help it, to let me help it, to tell the manager to keep the creatures separated. I remember crying on a pink beanbag later that night and asking to visit the pet store again, just so I could make sure that little pink fish was okay.
Yet I could be incredibly cruel, as well. A few years later, I had a purple beta fish named Lilac. I had wanted a pet so badly when I was younger and my dad finally caved and won me a fish at a golf tournament. I took care of Lilac for over a year. Until she (or he, we never really knew) stopped eating regularly. And I, the curious, cruel, beastly little thing I was, decided to stop feeding my fish altogether. Because I wanted to see how long it would take. For my pet. To die.
I hate myself for that. That I could be so… Disgustingly sadistic. So unfeeling. That story reminds me of Victor Frankenstein, and I don’t tell it often. Yes, Lilac was on her way out. She was losing coloration, she was old, and she wasn’t eating much. But to withhold sustenance from a creature, especially one so entirely at my mercy… It was awful. And I felt absolutely horrific when, about a week or two later, Lilac really did die.
Overall though, with a few glaring exceptions, I felt a lot when I was younger. I felt a lot until high school, when, in many ways, I decided to stop feeling. I used to pour everything I had into my friendships and it hurt so much when I finally, finally realized that my friends just didn’t care. They either didn’t notice the sacrifices I made, the kindnesses I did for them, or they’d become so accustomed to them that they meant little to nothing. But what killed me the most was that I needed kindness, I needed someone to check in on me and ask how I was doing. And my friends weren’t there.
Fortunately, I have really good friends now. Ones who, to be completely honest, I probably don’t deserve. Friends who, unlike my old friend group, are better friends to me than I am to them. And I love them for it, for bearing with me, as I try to work myself out and find a balance between giving everything and giving nothing at all. Regardless of my friends, however, I definitely have trust issues. Especially with males.
xx. Until Next Time.