On A Thursday.

Woke up from the ear-assaulting noise of the dying box fan. 10am. Fell asleep on the couch by 11:30am. Woke up from that hot and irritated by my own lack of motivation. But motivation for what? I got up to make a meager cup of coffee. I had said goodbye to coffee, cut it cold turkey, but then I drank it every day for a week so…I’ve given up on giving it up. Tea just doesn’t have the same effect. That being said, I’ve been unreasonably anxious for the past two days and caffeine is probably the last thing I need, but I also need my mind to become even somewhat alert.

It’s oppressively hot outside, but decidedly better than being inside. It’s muggy and grey–the sky threatens rain. I pray I don’t have an anxiety attack on the patio. They’ve been known to happen.

I manage to kill hours and hours by doing…absolutely nothing. By the late afternoon, cabin fever is setting in. I have nowhere to be and nothing to do. It’s too hot to masturbate. My room is like a sauna. My boyfriend is a shitty texter. It begins to rain hard.

In the early evening I go outside for my fourth cigarette but after a few drags, sitting on the back step, I feel like I might panic, and instead of just letting it happen or whatever the hell that book tells me to do, I put out the cigarette and vacate the area, retreating back to my room. I put on makeup for no reason. I sit in front of the fan in my father’s office, which used to be my old bedroom. I go back to putting on makeup. Sit in front of the fan. Do my hair, which just gets fucked anyway. Sit in front of the fan again.

Finally I manage to smoke the rest of the shorted cigarette. I write a shitty poem. I can’t write these days. I text Megan to see if she wants to do something. She’s “going out” with her chemistry class, which pisses me off, what most people would see as an overreaction. I just want to get out of the house.

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The Internal Argument – Intimacy

I’ve been dating my partner, boyfriend, whatever you want to call him for two months. The first time we were physically intimate, beyond a mere kiss or subtle touch, occurred when I grabbed him against me and made out with him. The second time happened when I straddled him on the couch and we made out, again, for a long time, and I completely explored his body and eventually gave him oral sex.

My boyfriend is actually less sexually experienced than I am, but he’s more open to engaging in physical acts than I am. When we were fooling around, I refused to remove any article of clothing.

I know everyone deals with body confidence issues, but it angers and upsets me how deep mine go.

Yesterday we were sitting on his bed and he touched my shoulder and I recoiled in quite a volatile manner. I apologized, and we discussed it briefly. I was feeling depressed and although one part of my brain wanted to accept the touch, deeply desiring and enjoying it, the other, more dominant part of my brain, told my body to retreat, that I didn’t deserve to be touched, and to avoid it.

This toxic, argumentative part of my brain is always the part that wins, and I don’t know why.

Again, everyone deals with body confidence issues. We’re not thin enough, not toned enough, not muscular enough. We have cellulite and scars. Our stomachs aren’t flat. We have hair in places we don’t want hair. Whatever it is, it’s an issue. I guess my issue is, there’s not one part about my body that I like. Even when I was in shape and 75 pounds lighter than I am now and could actually be deemed “attractive” by the average person, I hated my body. But gaining the weight back has made my self-hatred even more severe.

The idea of not being in control scares me. If I let my partner dominate the situation, I lose control, and I won’t be able to enjoy myself amidst all of my worrying and self-hatred.

And don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate myself. I’ve come a long way, and generally, I quite like myself. But I only like the inside of myself. In fact, I love who I am as a person. However, that love and respect does not translate to my physical form, and for whatever reason, my disdain for my body trumps all self-love I do actually have.

I feel guilty because I don’t want my partner to think it’s him. I feel guilty because I can’t change how I feel about my body. I feel guilty because I can’t give my partner something he wants, and deserves.

I’m not sure how others, as uncomfortable as they are with their bodies, can take off their clothing and be okay with it.

-Zara

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 10

I skipped day 9, which is asking my thoughts on ageism. As a 22 year-old, I don’t feel as though I am in the position to talk about it. Forgive me.

Day 10 is easy: a fruit you dislike and why.

Blueberries.

I think blueberries are cute. I like their color. But I’ve never been fond of them. Unlike raspberries and blackberries, I can’t just sit there and eat them by the handful. If I found a bush of wild blueberries, I’d be excited but I wouldn’t eat them. I don’t even like blueberry pie. I do like blueberry muffins, though, but who doesn’t?

My favorite fruit, even though no one asked, is bananas. They’re portable and delicious and make for really good smoothies.

This has been insightful, I’m sure.

-Zara

 

The Plague of Anxiety (I)

I’ve been an anxious person all my life. Even as a child, I never felt truly capable of relaxing. I worried about school constantly, despite how easy elementary school was, looking back now.

My anxiety has worsened with time and especially with a particular drug experience which I can’t remember if I’ve written about in length or not. Anyway, in 2012 I started taking Klonopin to help ease my anxiety. As much as medication can help, I feel like it has more of a placebo effect than anything else. When I start to feel anxious, these days, I take a pill, and my mind is eased. Usually.

I’ve been reading this book titled Don’t Panic: Taking Control of Anxiety Attacks by R. Reid Wilson and though very dated (it was published in 1996), there is a lot of useful and interesting information. Just seeing what I experience in writing, in someone else’s words, is validating. As I’m reading the book I’m thinking, “Yes, yes! This is me. This is exactly what I do!”

Something I found particularly interesting is how chronic anxiety can manifest itself in other ways than merely just feeling panicked or anxious from time to time. These symptoms, linked to anxiety, caught my attention because I experience them: headaches, the need for frequent urination, cramp-like pains in the stomach, difficulty becoming sexually aroused or achieving orgasm, irritability, and impatience.

Anxiety literally rules my life. I’m constantly on edge, just waiting for the next panic attack, wondering how I’m going to get through it, and sometimes my constant vigilance and preparation actually causes me to go into a panic. My mind is its own worst enemy. My mind likes to play tricks on me. My emergency response is miswired, for whatever reason.

When people ask me how I deal with anxiety and panic, I wish I could offer better advice. I’ve heard meditation helps. I was unable to commit to it. I’ve heard yoga helps, but any green-juice-drinking white yuppie will tell you that yoga cures all ailments. Medication can help immensely, but you have to find one that works for you (and have health insurance). Many people with anxiety use drugs and alcohol (hello, self) to cope, which just really backfires because of the physiological response that occurs. I don’t have better advice because I’m still constantly struggling.

I will leave you with my favorite quote from the book: “No one has to earn the right to be loved; we are already loveable.”

-Zara

 

 

Current Jams XII

  1. Mika – “Emily.” I am totally addicted to this catchy, upbeat pop song. Mika never fails to impress me. Favorite lyric: “You never make no sense, screaming at me in French / Pourquoi tu gâches ta vie?”
  2. Radiohead – “Burn The Witch.” I am still trying to decode this song. I’m assuming this has some political message behind it. Although I haven’t heard the entirety of their newest album, I am beyond excited for it. This song has a really interesting sound, with its use of string instruments, and the lyrics do not fail to mystify. Favorite lyric: “Abandon all reason / Avoid all eye contact / Do not react / Shoot the messengers / This is a low-flying panic attack.”
  3. David Byrne & Fatboy Slim ft. Candie Payne & St. Vincent – “Every Drop of Rain.” This has also been on repeat for me. I love the contrasting female vocals, and I think this song has a transparent, but well-crafted, message. Favorite lyric: “But I had kept my dignity / Some things cannot be killed / I smiled and kept my head up / All the wild days, I was still.”
  4. Eddie Murphy – “Party All The Time.” I don’t know why I just discovered this song, but I heard it on the radio one day and immediately thought of my friend Susanna. I hope the rest of you have already heard it. Favorite lyric: You give your number to every man you see / You never come home at night because your out romancin’ / I wish you’d bring some of your love home to me.”
  5. Fujiya & Miyagi – “Uh!” My partner and I started watching Breaking Bad and for whatever reason, this time around, this beat-driven song really caught my attention. It’s really good driving music. Maybe even sex music. Favorite lyric: “I guess i wasn’t feeling ok / I thought that space & time went back & forth & sideways / I’m putting out fires all over the place.”
  6. ZAYN – “Pillowtalk.” I already know what you’re thinking. But I genuinely like this song, even if it is totally autotuned. Favorite lyric: “So we’ll piss off the neighbours
    In the place that feels the tears / The place to lose your fears / Yeah, reckless behaviour.”
  7. Makeout Videotape – “Exercising With My Demons.” This is a side project of Mac DeMarco, whom I love dearly. The sound is definitely more grunge-rock than Mac’s usual stuff, but still gives me that summer-vibe that I oh-so love. Favorite lyric: “And she thinks I’m in love / But I can barely see past me.”

30 Day Writing Challenge – Day 8

A book you loved and one you didn’t.

I’m using the classes I took for reference, since I normally love all the books I read on my own time.

The one book I’d like to discuss in terms of loving is Orlando: A Biography by Virginia Woolf. It was one of the first books I had to read for my British Literature course and I immediately fell head over heels for it. Wikipedia’s quick take on the plot is it is a novel about a “eponymous hero is born as a male nobleman in England during the reign of Elizabeth I. He undergoes a mysterious change of sex at the age of about 30 and lives on for more than 300 years into modern times without aging perceptibly.” This book focuses on deconstructing what gender identity is, what sexuality means and how it ties to gender, ancestral and home-country pride, and how time, for lack of better words, changes us. This book is incredibly beautifully written. Every line is like poetry. For example: “He sighed profoundly, and flung himself–there was a passion in his movements which deserved the word–on the earth at the foot of the oak tree. He loved, beneath him; for such he took the hard root of the oak tree to be” (19). I absolutely love the style of writing, even with it facading as a biography but not being one in actuality, and the level of detail given. And I of course love the theme of gender that is challenged in such an astounding way. This is a book that deserves multiple reads, and I implore you to read it at least once.

One book I did not enjoy reading, although considered a classic, was Little Women. I found it too long for what it’s worth, pedantic, dull, and transparent. There is nothing interesting about the plot, and hardly anything redeemable or interesting about the characters. Beth’s death is drawn out chapter after chapter, and the unwelcome romance between Jo and the German professor is borderline creepy, in my opinion. I found it to be a vapid and underwhelming novel, and every page was a struggle.

What books have you enjoyed (or not enjoyed) recently?

-Zara