Certified Classified.

I’m currently at “my” desk at work–well, I use quotes because it’s not my desk. I don’t have a desk yet. But it’s the one I’ve been assigned as of last week. I’m not gonna lie, I spent the majority of this day on Wikipedia, hell, I’ll say it: I even looked at pages of hippo GIFs on reddit. It’s been 12, 8 hour days of reading, taking notes, “training” exercises, slideshows, videos, etcetera, etcetera, and I just can’t do it today, man.

It doesn’t help that I am left entirely up to my own devices so any questions or confusions I have about the material–and I have a few today–kind of just have to be left unanswered until the next time I see my supervisor…whenever that is. With this training being so drawn out I’m actually more anxious about truly beginning my role here than I was when I first got hired. It’s like a prolonged torture before an execution. Just get the axe and get it over with.

It’s very isolating here, with the cubicles and the mostly-silent office, that silence only to be interrupted by low voices and the clacking of keys. I don’t see people interact much with one another; a total of 5 people have spoken to me over the past two weeks. I’m not used to it. I’m used to utilizing my vocal chords almost every minute of a workday.

I don’t even think I would’ve ever been asked to get coffee with this one coworker (the one with the strangely arousing voice) if we hadn’t matched on tinder.

I know it’ll get better here. But right now I don’t even feel like I work here. I feel like an extraterrestrial; an impostor. But no, I have all of my own logins and passwords and a badge to get through the doors and a legal pad full of notes.

Oh and of course a blue Bic that was given to me my first day. How could I forget that?



Am I Unattractive or Unapproachable?

I’m sure a vast number of women (and men) have asked themselves this at some point. Honestly, I think I know the answer for myself–both.

Yes, I have pretty severe body dysmorphia; I spend copious amounts of time inspecting my face in mirrors, going over what I think is wrong with it. One of my eyebrows is slightly higher than the other, my nose is too wide for my face, I have low cheekbones, no jawline, my eyes are too small, my upper lip is too thin, my skin is flawed. The discrepancy go on and on with my face and my body. What I would give to not have the shoulders of a linebacker…

My self-esteem has gotten worse with each year. With each week, really. To be honest, I thought it couldn’t get any worse, but 23 has been the age I’ve experienced the lowest self-esteem of all time. When I look for books to possibly aid me, they really don’t delve into physical self-esteem issues; it’s almost entirely about emotional self-esteem issues. And no, I am not one hundred percent confident in that area either, but I am extremely confident about who I am as a person. I know my values, I know I’m intellectual and intelligent. I’m rational yet also emotional. I’m good at communication. I know I’m talented and capable, and I’m a great friend. I know my self-worth.

Except not when it comes to how I look, which seems to trump everything else.

It’s difficult to feel confident in how I look for a lot of reasons. I’ve analyzed my appearance with such scrutiny, and I’ve found “rational” explanations to explain why I’m so unattractive. And yes, my friends occasionally try to tell me otherwise, but they’re biased because they think my personality and who I am is attractive–not necessarily how I look. Also, throughout my entire life, no one ever told me I was attractive. Distant relatives and friends of my parents would comment on my brother and I and they would automatically declare that he was attractive. Me? I honestly can’t recall ever hearing that from anyone. It probably didn’t help that throughout childhood and adolescence, my brother actively berated me about being unattractive.

No one’s ever really complimented me (and it happens very rarely now–although I do have one friend to thank for telling me I look nice ever now and again), so I find it hard to believe.

I also know I’m unapproachable. I definitely have “resting bitch face.” In fact, I’ve had multiple people tell me I actually look like I’m on the verge of murder. At the very least, I know I look angry a lot of the time. Everyone I’ve ever become friends with has told me that before I actually talked to them (and sometimes after), they thought I didn’t like them and that I would be an unpleasant person.

Last night my friend and I went out for St. Patrick’s Day–sort of. I got looped into it, but I was glad I was sober for the multiple and extensive interactions with new people.

Soon after sitting myself down outside, I lit a cigarette and silently observed my over-stimulating surroundings: two very drunk girls standing next to me, a group of well-dressed men smoking a blunt on the other side of the picnic table, a man climbing a hardened snowbank to write something in chalk on the cement wall. A guy sat down across from me, and we made eye contact, so I gave him the inverted head-nod gesture. You know, when you quickly jerk your jaw forward in recognition? That’s usually what I do.

He was also silent, and out of my peripheral vision I caught him shooting me glances quite a bit. Eventually he asked me, “How are you?” I replied with, “I’m alright. How are you?” to which he responded, “Are you sure you’re alright?”

I laughed. “I’m alright,” I assured him. I knew why he was asking–I looked fucking pissed. “I use anger as a defense mechanism.”

We sat in silence again until I asked what was going on with him. It didn’t take me long to realize he was plastered. At one point he asked if I was single, to which I said yes. He asked why and I said, “Have you seen my demeanor?”

Nevertheless, I was happy to have talked to my new and very drunk friend.

Later in the night, my friend and I sat around the fire pit. Two of her friends had joined us as well. A bearded man in a short-sleeve button-up sat down next to my friend.

Listen, I actually love meeting new people, but I’m usually unwilling to break the ice–mostly, if not entirely, due to how I feel about the way I look. This guy eventually broke the ice for us by asking my friend what she studied at school. Then he asked her female friend. He didn’t ask me. So my friend came to my rescue and told him which school I go to, and then he asked what I studied and what I wanted to do.

It’s being an afterthought that really makes me feel hurt. It’s a pattern, and it’s a shitty one.

Soon it became just myself, my friend, and this man. The three of us talked, and we were both enthralled by his personal life for a few very specific reasons. I thought, “This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to speak to a man like this” so I decided that no matter what, I would ask for his phone number. I ended up asking to add him on Facebook, since that seemed more approachable (ah! That word). He seemed to happily agree to this and added the two of us. He also invited us to a party he’s having this weekend.

As the three of us were talking, a young man, extremely plastered, sat down next to our new friend. He asked the names of us “ladies.” After my friend introduced herself, he repeated her name and said “pretty” and licked his lips. Then I said my name. Boom. Not a person of interest, clearly.

We parted ways with our new friend as the lights of the bar came on and the bouncer shooed us out (although he seemed genuinely pleased that I wished him a good night; I’m sure it was a tough night for him). As I stepped outside, a dude said, “Hey girl” but I honestly don’t know if he was talking to my friend or myself.

As I pulled the car up, a man driving by honked at my friend.

Okay, I’m not wishing for myself to be sexually harassed in any way, but I’m the only female I know who hasn’t been (insert laugh track here).

And now I have this party to figure out. My friend actually can’t go, so I have to fly solo. And there’s no fucking way I’m gonna be sober for it, so I’ll have to shell out money for an uber. But that’s not the problem. The problem is, I’ll be alone. I’ve never been to a party myself. That’s terrifying enough, but even more terrifying is the fact that I barely know the host.

However, I’m very much into the host. It may be a little rash to declare that, but the more we talked with him, the more I realized how much I was aroused by him. It didn’t help that he put on an incredible red velvet blazer as we exited. What a dreamboat. Viewing his Facebook photos sealed the deal. Well, for me anyway.

Basically, I can’t determine if he was more into my friend than me. I would guess that he probably was. I just imagine him being disappointed that she didn’t show up. Also, I don’t flirt well. I never do it consciously and when it does happen inadvertently, I’m usually extremely aggressive or become a little self-deprecating to try and avoid actually becoming flirtatious.

This is a conundrum. And I don’t have therapy again until after the party happens, but perhaps that’s a good thing. I don’t know how to end this post–I guess my original statement still stands. The answer is both.

“You don’t believe in yourself.”

I believe in myself, I just don’t believe in anything else.

My skin is at an all-time low now that I’ve, once again, increased my dosage of Lithium. I don’t know if it’s helping. It might be. I don’t feel so full of despair, or at least it’s not overwhelming. But I start my last year of undergraduate school tomorrow and that could be change. I’m not ready to wake up at 6:30am, to drive 45 minutes to campus, to block out the sounds of young, obnoxious voices droning on and on. I’m not ready to be so physically and mentally exhausted, and so drained. I’m not ready to read four different books at once and struggle to retain the information.

I’m not ready for any of it.

I dyed all of my hair teal and this seems like the opposite thing for me to do, considering I don’t want to be seen. At all. Ever. By anyone. Encouraging attention is the last thing I want at this point in time.

My friends have too much faith in the world. Or too much faith in me. Maybe both. I’m not capable of much. I can barely scrape by while doing the bare minimum.

I want to land a teaching job without needing a PhD. Or, if I need the PhD, I want it to be worth it. I want to be held in high regard. I want people to know my name, to read my writing in various magazines and papers and yes, books too. I want my talent to be recognized. I want a modest house in the Pacific Northwest and a job at a modest college. I want a dog and gardens in the yard. I want my friends to always be by my side, even if we separate physically, and I want someone to love me. I don’t want to succumb to suicidal ideation. I want to eat healthy and go hiking on the weekends and have a good dentist and decent health insurance. I want to feel good about myself. I want, I want, I want…

I had a dream the other night that I shot myself in the chest with a revolver and a giant bloody hole was left, and then I told the person in front of me to shoot me in the head, and then I woke up. I don’t know what this means.

I do believe in myself.

I do.


It’s all confusing all of the sudden. I don’t know what I want. Or maybe I do, but I feel like an asshole for admitting it. I want a relationship without the work. Dating is tedious and expensive and, most often, a waste of time.

I don’t feel like I belong anywhere now. I have no structure within myself, no sense of security. A giant part of what I thought I knew about myself collapsed and I feel lost and bewildered, and grasping at the air for answers.

If I were a Deadly Sin, I’d be envy.

I envy those who are happy. Those who don’t have crippling mental disorders. Those who don’t need to take medication after medication. I envy heterosexuals. I envy homosexuals. I envy people who know their place. I envy people who have the confidence to flirt, to smile disingenuously at another person and get their shit for free just for passing as objectively attractive. I envy people who simply fuck, just fuck someone because it’s what they wanted. I envy people who get what they want.

Tomorrow I will wake up and be the same as I am now. I will not have a book, or even a novella, or even a single story or poem, in publication. I am not going abroad, ever, in my entire academic career. I don’t have money, but I do have a spending problem.

I’m going to wake up and make tea, eat a banana, fall asleep on the couch, and smoke cigarettes on the patio by myself, all the while wishing for something, anything. Water to close over my head forever. A mouthful of blood. A new self.


Letter to My Mother


I suppose I don’t even know where to begin with this. I’ve written about you in essays, poems, and stories, and admittedly, the essay was the hardest to write, because I’d rather keep my distance from myself. Fiction allows me to do that, and fiction allows me to change certain things so an unknowing reader would never be any the wiser. But what happened is not fiction, as much as it may feel like it sometimes.

At the time, you were upset with my brother and I that we found the evidence to incriminate you. When confronted, you lied over and over and swore on everything that you, claimed, anyhow, to be precious to you that none of it was true, that the email was a misunderstanding. And we gave you the benefit of the doubt. I remember actually believing you and now I’m not entirely sure why. But one cannot misinterpret texts which you, indeed, left open. But you got angry with me for snooping and “invading in your privacy.” Blake and I did not believe you this time, and I threatened to take the pictures I took of the messages to our father. But we softened–I because I was worried about what actions my father would take against himself, not against you. Blake because he didn’t want the family to fall apart.

But now, nearly two years later, I fantasize about what would have actually happened if I had taken it to my father. It would have been a mess, sure, but what happened regardless was undoubtedly a mess as well. I don’t think you realize how wrong it was of you to request that your children keep such a vile secret from their father, and pretend as if everything was the same. And last July, when it all became unraveled…I don’t even remember what exact emotions I felt. I remember repeatedly calling Blake but he was working. I remember texting him, and being exiled to the garage while you and my father talked for hours. In the days and weeks to come, I could barely function. I spent most of my time furious and upset, often crying. I remember sitting on a bench on Park Avenue and wondering which men walking by you had slept with. I wondered if you had slept with any of my professors, or any faculty at my school, or anyone I might have known. It filled me with disgust that I had to wonder that. I could not function as a normal person.

Blake told me not to tell anyone, but of course I did. I told all four of my closest friends, because why wouldn’t I? I was hurting, and am hurting, and I do not regret doing so. Bennett spent many hours with me as I cried and cried over your actions and your complete disregard for said actions. You played innocent and tried to downplay all the things that kept getting regurgitated, all housed on your computer and phone. I cursed you, called you a whore, said you deserved nothing, and although it has been a year and I know you have all of your meetings and therapists and other “sex-addict” friends to support you, I still stand by what I said. Whether or not sex addiction is a real diagnosis, I honestly do not care. I don’t think it excuses anything. If an alcoholic collides with another car while drunk and kills another person, they are held responsible, so what is the difference when it comes to your so-called addiction?

Speaking of therapy, I suppose I am glad you’ve found a support system, but I think you (and my father) forgot about your children. You roped us in from the beginning but decided not to take care of us like you’ve taken care of yourselves. Every time I saw Dr. Kumetat I would talk about you, my mother, and also my father, and cry, and become angry, and I had no solution for myself. He was right that hanging onto anger is toxic and only hurts me and no one else, but what am I to do when I live with you? And your marriage counselor’s suggestion of me moving out felt juvenile and petty. You took us to one single meeting with a woman who invalidated our feelings and basically told us to get out of your lives when, in fact, we are not the problem, you two are.

I do not know what to think of you as. You will always be my mother because you did, in fact, give birth to me and raise me, but you also committed a series of acts that demean your position. Would a mother really do such things? That is up for debate, I suppose. I am still filled with rage, rage that overwhelms me with just the very notion of your existence. I can’t stand the click of your nails on your laptop or phone (perhaps it reminds me of dirty activity, now that I think about it), or even the mere sight of your face. I hate that we resemble one another physically, because I am nothing like you. I will never be like you. I am so glad I do not want to have children, for many reasons, but one of them being that they will never have to, also, be deceived by their grandmother. You anger me. You anger me so much. And I do not have any idea what to do about it other than leave the room when you appear.

Going back to how I told my friends, I’m sure that would upset you. Don’t worry–I don’t think they had any opinion of you before, anyway (aside from Bennett). I wish I could have told more people. I wish I could have broadcasted it all over the internet, but I am somewhat sane and have somewhat decent judgment so I never did. But it, frankly, pisses me off that you received no punishment for what you did–you did not lose your husband, not even temporarily, your dog, your house, your kids, nothing. You kept it all. And you kept the respect and love of friends, colleagues, and relatives because it was all swept under the rug and kept a secret. You even post photos of bouquets of flowers for hitting “personal milestones” to Facebook–so clever! But god forbid anyone actually know why. Sure, maybe it’s unreasonable to request a widespread wildfire of shame to be bestowed upon you, but I am still angry because absolutely nothing has been done. You can claim to feel bad all you want, and while I’m sure that’s valid, I think you are unaware of how horrible a person you actually are.

I could go on, but there is no point. This is a futile situation. It’s not like I want you dead, or even gone, I just want you to know exactly what you have done and to suffer even a little. To suffer the way I have suffered. The way my father has suffered. I stand by everything I said–I think you deserve nothing, no matter how many times you have apologized and will apologize in the future.

Email to Psychiatrist II

Long time, no speak. Or see.

I am emailing you tonight because…well, there’s not a simple reason, I suppose. To start, my new therapist is fine, I suppose. She obviously doesn’t really compare to my relationship with you since we have four years of that and you know me very well, and you know I like to put up fights and you tend to deal with my bullshit pretty well. I actually skipped my last appointment with her. Most of it had to do with scheduling, but I also just felt no desire to go. The other woman, the one who deals with my medications, I have only seen once and she has failed to fill out my prescriptions for Latuda and Klonopin so I have been kind of floundering. I called to see what was up the other day but the receptionist never got back to me like she said she would. But I see this woman on Wednesday, so let’s hope I get my meds.

I was actually doing okay for a couple weeks, and then Monday I woke up and immediately was hit over the head with all these stressors (mostly expenses I don’t have the money for), so that was a shitty start to my day. Tuesday was worse. I got stuck in traffic on my way home from work (which I am quitting, even though I have no backup plan. Whatever.), for 45 minutes, and I was already in a rough mood so I started to cry, and when I got home I cried a lot more.
The rest of the week I have been exceptionally anxious. I’m having those feelings of derealization and it’s so unpleasant, scary, and uncomfortable…I do not know what to do. I feel very alone in this, and I feel as though something is deeply wrong with me. I have been passively suicidal, because, well, I’d rather die than feel insane.
What a cheery email.
– Zara

I can never think of titles.

I haven’t written a post in a while. I feel like these days I just have nothing to say. It’s almost April and it’s snowing. Well, it’s a mix of snow and rain. It’s been raining a lot the past two weeks, which is pretty depressing. My spring break is over. Mine was really early compared to other schools. It was decent, despite it going by so quickly. I even found a new job. It’s nothing exciting or cool but it’s a job, which I start this evening.

I drank quite a bit over spring break, but hey, it was spring break. Last night I bought more beer. I’m already really overweight so I probably shouldn’t be drinking so much. I realized the other night that I feel way more attractive than I am. I never really feel unattractive until I see my reflection or a photo of myself. I can’t believe I let myself go and I’m still so ashamed I gained all the weight I had lost back. But I feel really unmotivated to do anything about it, as much as I hate it.

It’s about halfway through the spring semester now. I’m anxiously waiting to hear from my advisor so I can sign up for classes in the fall. I have a lot of work to do in the next two weeks. One of my projects is a play for my poetry workshop. We had to have four characters and we have to make an audio recording of the play to present to the class, so mine is about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse sitting in a Starbucks, except they’re all women. I’m relying on my friends to play three of the parts, which is honestly terrifying. I don’t like relying on other people, especially when a large grade is involved.

I had to write a scene of a play over break for poetry as well. I thought it was trash, but yesterday in class, my professor pulled me outside of the room and told me how good it was and how funny and how it’s exactly what he’s looking for. This was all very unexpected and very flattering, but now I feel like the pressure is really on for my other play to be just as good, if not better. And tonight I have to finish working on this sonnet.

Scholar’s Day is also coming up in a couple weeks. I’m doing the reader’s theater for my Tolkien professor from last semester. She wrote a large script based off stories in the Silmarillion. I’m playing Sauron, which is an honor but also a huge challenge, since I have to make my voice lower and more menacing, and also Varda and “Voice 2.” I don’t entirely regret committing to this, but I have no confidence in myself when it comes to performing in any capacity (even though I’ve done reader’s theater before) and so I’m very nervous about the actual day of the performance.

I felt fine earlier today, but now I’m kind of feeling depressed. It’s probably the weather. And anyway, I’m just always depressed. I’m always looking for distractions, whether it be friends or alcohol or both, and when I don’t have them, I feel alone and useless. Sometimes I just want to fast-forward through life a little bit. I have so much schooling left and it stresses me out. I miss talking with my psychiatrist. I really do. My medications are doing nothing for me, so it seems, and there’s nothing I can do about it. I feel really alone and helpless. I can’t articulate my emotions into words so I just never talk about how I’m feeling, or on the rare instances I do, I start crying because it’s overwhelming. I feel like I’m just going through the motions without any purpose and it all feels very dismal and depressing.

Well. For having nothing to say, this sure was a long post.