i stood before you, in my big winter coat. just trying to keep the darkness at bay. hiding away from the cold…
my breath turning to steam. and i think these days, we both cling to things that we can’t ever truly hold.
but what are you supposed to say, when it all goes wrong? when the flowers wilt, and my hair turns grey, and you look up at me, with eyes so wide, and beautiful. and how in god’s name am i supposed to see your face and still be able to disappoint you?
and last night, i dreamt that i had once last chance to hold my younger self. and i told her to be happy. i told her to read books and write stories, and go to playgrounds because there’s onlyso much time left. because it’s over now, isn’t it? i’ve got to fend for myself.
and i just want to love you. for as long as i can. because i don’t know, if i’ve got eighty years or two minutes until the end, but i do know that… that you’ve always been there. and you’ve been such a good friend…
maybe… we could run away. pack our bags, and use our whole life savings just to board the nearest plane. because we’re young, and irresponsible. and maybe that’s okay.
maybe we could get lost, in a city of blue, and green, and grey. watch the world dissolve before our eyes in the sea of people, and the blinding speed of the subway.
maybe we could be happy. for a change. maybe you could go to college, and tell the most beautiful stories. maybe you could start a cafe. maybe i could stand up on stage, and say it like i mean it, to the roaring crowd. maybe i could be brave. maybe i could be loud.
maybe i could rent a shitty place, just off the city, by a river. and dance in the pouring rain. and i hope you know that despite everything… i would choose this life in an instant. all over again.
After I graduate, I have a dream of getting to go on tour, for, like, this blog? A book? I’m not really sure. But I’d do a bunch of speaking events, and travel somewhere. It’s just a dream right now, and I have no idea the direction my life is really headed, but it’s a really nice idea, and something I like to think about sometimes before I go to sleep. Which is, obviously, what inspired this poem. I should have more thoughts on this poem, but honestly at this point I am mostly just tired, because it is really late and I have been procrastinating for far, far too long on this piece, but I don’t know, I… really like it.
So as I’ve probably discussed before, I’m overwhelmed very easily. A couple months ago, sensory overload started to become a really huge problem for me. The littlest sounds would send me into a full-blown panic. Although I haven’t struggled with that in a couple months now, it is still a feeling that’s come and gone throughout my life and impaired me from doing a lot of things over the years. I think writing this poem might actually be the first time I’ve ever really tried to wrestle that feeling down onto paper. I’ve talked about this poem’s inspiration in its original post, so today I thought instead I would discuss some more of the process editing this, because I had a lot of fun with it, and I think it’s one of the most creative editing jobs I’ve done in a while.
I grew up around a lot of classical music. Actually, okay, no, I really didn’t, because to be honest I didn’t grow up around much music at all, at least compared to what most kids seem to have. But when there was music in my house, it was always classical music, played on CDs my parents bought in the 90’s. There’s still a whole one of, like, Gregorian chants that was weirdly stuck in my head for a while. And since my childhood was full of so much sensory overload, I thought, what better music to use than the iconic Beethoven’s fifth, a song that was weirdly influential for me growing up, and also is just so chaotic and sad and angry and just a little panicked, which embodied the exact feeling I wanted this piece to have.
The screaming children
It’s actually really funny, when I was little I always complained to my parents about how there were no other kids in my neighborhood, and back then I wanted nothing more than to have a best friend who lived right next door. And now I’m at the point of not really wanting that kind of connection… my entire neighborhood is full of screaming children. You can hear it pretty much 24/7 in my house, even with the windows and doors closed, and sometimes it can feel like I can never escape it, and definitely that sound has sent me into my fair share of panic attacks. So that was definitely something I had to include. (It’s the same story for the little clip of dogs barking you might have noticed.)
The alarm clock!
Growing up, I had this really shitty alarm clock, that I literally got so fed up of a couple months ago that I just unplugged it, and my parents had to convince me not to smash it because over the years I have built up so much hatred for the thing. I don’t know how to turn it off, even after owning it for eight years; I only know how to set an alarm, although even that I only barely understand. So sometimes it would literally go off for two hours straight, and I would just have to shove it under a pillow, and lower the volume until it decided to stop. It had the most irritating bleep; sometimes it would go off at the wrong time, sometimes the radio would randomly turn on at two in the morning, because, yanno, nothing better than Katy Perry songs from 2010 to get you in a good mood–and I didn’t even know how to turn it off, since the buttons didn’t work, so I’d just sit there for hours willing it to stop. It was essentially just a scourge to humanity. So, since it caused me so much stress and anxiety and usually signaled the start of a school day, the place where I most frequently felt overwhelmed, I thought this would be a good thing to include.
I’ve always been weirdly fascinated with static, I don’t know. Not, like, in an active way, but when I hear it I always have found the sound really interesting. I remember, when I was a toddler, my parents had this ancient TV that only took cassettes, and right before it finally broke down it would play this screen of endless static, which I always loved watching. I think when you hear or see static, it’s usually because the thing it’s coming from is either falling apart or broken, and I really wanted to allude to that feeling in this poem,m like it was only holding together by a thread. (Also, we all know I’m a trash for some lofi/vintage vibes.)
During quarantine, I swear everyone in my neighbourhood has just decided to redo their entire home. Like, almost every day I swear, someone is building a deck, or cutting down a tree, or hammering loudly and, like, I get it–but it’s also really not a fun sound to hear when you’re already stressed and on edge. Like I said, it’s not something that’s bothered me in a while, but this was one of my main triggers when things were really bad, so I wanted to include it.
The sped up voice in the intro
When I’m anxious in social situations, my voice gets really, really fast, and in general I just tend to overdo things, which I wanted to allude to. I guess overall, my goal with this piece was to kind of harness all these triggers and anxieties and turn them into something I can control, which is honestly weirdly therapeutic. This was also why I included that racing heartbeat that fades in and out throughout the poem.
Anyhow, those are all of my main decisions editing this piece I think! I hope you found this somewhat interesting; I’m really proud of this piece, and I love hearing other people’s thought processes, so maybe you liked hearing mine? Anyhow, it’s late, and I am tired, so I’m going to go to sleep now, and hope this post is somewhat coherent.
the humid air snuggles up close to me. and stays there. and my blood starts to come to a boil as i look into your eyes, because i hate you even more than i hate myself tonight. furious tears, dripping off my chin one. at. a. time.
and you know, they say the skies are rife with disease. say it’s never going back to normal. not completely. and some days, i can’t help but wonder. if this step could be the butterfly that causes the tsunami. if this is going to be the last time you get to see me…
they say i’m withering. like a parched august flower. and you know, maybe it’s time to empty out the vase. rather than just changing the water.
they say i am parched soil after a long, hot wildfire. crumbling under the slightest pressure.
and the steam seeps into my lungs, air too thick to breathe. and little girl, is this too much for you?
because if this is enough to scare you… then you haven’t seen anything.