“it’s been a year.”   —greg laswell

Actually it’s been longer, a year and a couple of months since my last post. You wanna know the really sad thing? Not a lot has changed. I was re-reading some of the posts on this blog (including the dozens that I started and didn’t finish. So many drafts full of words I thought but couldn’t—or didn’t want to—think through…) and it’s painfully obvious to me that I’m the same person I was a year ago. I’m in the same place. I’m still at home, I’m still not working, I’m still going through periods of feeling inspired, like Things Will Be Okay and applying to jobs and feeling optimistic… only to suddenly feel like it doesn’t matter, everything is pointless, I’m not going anywhere, I can’t go anywhere, I’m worthless, my life is worthless and I don’t matter, I am just a blip on the radar screen of life and if I never existed nothing in the world would be different.

I’m driving my mother crazy (random aside: this sentence feels okay to me even though most of the time I hate the word “mother.” I find it creepy for some reason, idk). “She’s going to be 25 years old,” she says to my sister. “25 years old and she doesn’t have a job.” It is no secret that I am a pathetic waste of life. I hear her switch topics (kind of, but not really, because it all still comes back to me) and talk about kids at her school who come from bad backgrounds: financial instability, absent or drug-addicted parents, no family support. It reminds me of the approximately five thousand times she has reminded me that I come from a good family: we aren’t rich, by any means, but we have money; we live in a nice area; neither she nor my father have ever been physically abusive to me; I did well in school and went to a good college—so why am I broken? What right do I have to say I’m depressed? What do I have to be depressed about? What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just be grateful for all the blessings in my life?

I don’t know.

Most of the time when she asks me these questions I just say that it’s not that simple. Depression doesn’t work like that. People whose lives seem fine can be depressed, too; it’s not necessarily dictated by a poor quality of life. But then there are times like this where I think that a year ago and two years ago I felt the same way as I do now and I’m not better, I’m not getting better and even when I feel like I want to be better and I can work towards being better I don’t know how to start to be better and maybe there is no such thing as better. Maybe this is just life and and this is just what it will be like for my entire life. And that makes me feel tired, because I don’t know how I can keep living if this is as good as it gets. If I can be happy occasionally but for the most part I’m lost and sad and broken. So I’m sitting at the table, writing in this blog for the first time in fifteen months and crying because a week from today I will be twenty five years old and nothing is different and I don’t know if it ever will be and that really scares me.

I DON’T LIKE IT HERE

I FEEL STUCK

AND I CAN’T MOVE

I DON’T KNOW HOW TO MOVE

AND I DON’T LIKE IT HERE

“good morning fire eater”   -copeland

I woke up sad. This is partially because it was 6:15 when I woke up (which, for the record, makes this my fourth day in a row of waking up needlessly early. I hate it bc I’m not going to sleep early enough that I feel ok in the morning. everything about me is tired… obvious solution: sleep earlier. But gahhh. no. ugh.) But also I dreamed that Rachel died and it was just like heartland. A car accident. Quick. Nothing I could do, lots still unsaid, the wooden wedding photo I made still unsent. Brian called and told me, and I cried and cried. I sat at the kitchen table staring at the photo, thinking that I couldn’t send it now because Rachel was gone and wouldn’t it be cruel to send a picture of their wedding day to Brian and then I got mad at myself for making it about me and cried some more.

And then I woke up and felt sad and a little unsettled and I wish I were better at friends but it occurred to me when I was skyping with Tracy last night that I’m bad at keeping in touch with people and yeah, I always kind of knew that but last night I just felt it in a big way. It sucks it sucks it sucks and I hate it and I want to be better but I don’t know how to even begin.

“let’s all think back on what brought us here.”   —a day to remember

Okay, so last week was bad. Friday was especially bad, because I took to the internet to whine about how bad it was.

I consider this a low point.

So on the one hand, I find that last post very embarrassing–and also very much in need of a rewrite. Well, actually, that’s an assumption; I’m too afraid to actually look at it and realize that I was an incoherent sobbing mess when I wrote it (although if I’m honest with myself, I don’t think anything I ever write is particularly well-written, so)… which incidentally, is the same way I feel about my senior thesis. Okay, story timeeee.

I had had my thesis planned out and outlined since junior year. The beginning of senior year was pretty good. I had just returned from Korea and was feeling really motivated. A summer working abroad alongside State Department employees had made me really enthusiastic about joining the foreign service and I felt really good about what I was studying and where I would be after graduation. First semester was rough. I had switched to Int’l Relations so late that I had a lot of coursework to make up, and somehow still had a bunch of GEs to fulfill… I don’t know, somehow it was just a really rough semester. I took a lot of politics classes and figured out that I really really don’t like politics, and I started to worry. That doubt just kept growing, though, and at some point during second semester, I hit this really low point where I stopped caring about school and just wanted to drop out. I remember I had the paperwork to withdraw on my desk. I dreaded going to classes and put the bare minimum effort into most of my work. I talked to my friends less and I avoided my thesis advisor, and then at some point I realized that graduation was in a few days and my thesis was three weeks late and I needed to actually write something otherwise I wasn’t going to graduate.

And part of me thought that I didn’t really care if I graduated or got a degree but at the same time it was like if I actually didn’t graduate then what the hell was everything for? All the financial aid drama and loan bullshit and nights spent stressing about papers and exams… it all would’ve been a complete waste of time and wouldn’t I be pissed at myself for wasting four years of my life being sad about my financial aid issues (that are still haunting me, 2 years post-grad)? So I might as well get a degree and a diploma, if only so I had something to show for all that time. So I wrote my thesis in 24 hours and it wasn’t nearly as long as it should have been and it wasn’t as well researched or as well written or as polished as it should have been but I DID IT and I submitted it and my reader gave me the lowest possible score I could get and still graduate but I graduated. Of course, even on the day of my graduation I can’t honestly say that I felt happy or relieved or.. anything, really. And I still feel like I wasted all that time and money and I don’t even KNOW where my diploma is anymore and my thesis is online and accessible to any student at the 5Cs and every time I get an email saying someone has downloaded it I die a little inside because I looked at it once and immediately noticed sentences and pages that were out of order and oh God I can’t think about this anymore it’s too shameful I can’t believe I submitted anything of such low quality oh God oh God oh God–

So anyway, thats pretty much how I feel about that last post. It is the blogosphere equivalent of my senior thesis. I want to fix it but I’m scared to even look at it (hey I wonder if they would let me resubmit my thesis. I mean, I doubt it but..)

ANYWAY. I think that hitting that low point last week is the reason that THIS week didn’t go as badly as I thought it would. I made it through the actual anniversary in one piece, made it through the LiNK fam reunion video chat without feeling too down or like I was faking interest, didn’t even get (too) upset that I couldn’t go to LBC the day before for Karo’s mass and the staff trip to her gravesite. I think a lot of that composure came from totally losing my shit on Friday, so, even though there’s evidence of my low point on the internet now, I’m glad I got it all out then.

I didn’t write it in that post, but I had dinner plans with Katherine and Brianne on Friday. I was 1,000% not looking forward to dinner after the day I’d had, but we had made those plans weeks in advance so I didn’t want to bail. Going out to dinner actually made me feel a LOT better about a lot of things. Even though I was dreading it a lot, it was good to get out of the house and be around people and laugh and talk and hear how people are doing. The day before that, Kaylaann had proposed that we apply for the Peace Corps together and I was still in that afraid place where I just felt like I couldn’t do anything or go anywhere and didn’t really even have a desire to, but on Friday at dinner when Katherine was talking about maybe getting a job outside of San Bernardino I told her I’d move away with her, haha, but they weren’t just empty words. I really felt it, like it’d be okay if I left and did something and I don’t know something changed for me that night? Somehow after all the crying and freaking out and despairing I was okay. I felt okay. Even days later, I feel okay. More okay than I’ve felt in awhile. Like, I was looking at not-in-this-area jobs and not even internally freaking out about it it was i n c r e d i b l e I don’t know I don’t know how it’s possible but I feel okay about things right now?

It’s hard for me to explain. I mean, I still feel kind of like I’m floating and pointless and I still don’t think have any reason to be alive right now and I don’t know if I ever will but it doesn’t feel as… dismal? I wish I were better with words so I could explain this mindset.

All day, during the video chat, on Facebook and Instagram and wherever else, everyone was talking about how they live with Calvin, Karo, and Shane in mind and live every day to the fullest and I haven’t been doing that but I think I’m ready to start? Idk. I admire that everyone was able to do that right away but I think I had to take some time and I don’t know if it’s true but I have this feeling like things are going to be okay

“don’t get me started on what it means to be alive.”

A Day to Remember—This Is The House That Doubt Built

This week has been really hard. Sometimes I think I’m getting better and seeing things more optimistically and I feel happier and more energetic, even, and then I’ll have a week like this one where I don’t have it in me to do anything and I just feel really down and I keep thinking that it doesn’t matter because nothing matters nothing I do matters–I could lose weight and it wouldn’t matter I could get a job and it wouldn’t matter I could take classes go on walks start eating better reach out to my friends but it won’t matter it wouldn’t mater it doesn’t matter because there’s no point. What am I doing here why am I even living it’s so hard and it doesn’t matter and there’s no point and I’m so tired of looking for reasons to make things matter when nothing does

I was in line at the store and there was a girl and guy in front of me and she wondered if they’d still have the same weekend routine when they were forty and he said something and they laughed and I was just stuck on that one part, about being forty, and oh my God I have to live until I’m forty? I have to be like this for that long? Time seems to pass so slowly and I’m not doing anything I don’t want to do anything I don’t know how to do anything life has already been so long and pointless and exhausting and I can’t even imagine still doing this, still going through the motions when I’m forty that’s such a long time to be pointless

I don’t know I just feel..

insignificant. But in the worst way. Not in the way I did last week, when Ana and I were on the freeway and I was looking at all the cars around us and all the little lights in the hills in the distance, thinking about how many people there are and how that can make a person feel really small, you know? because there are so many people who are all living right now and dealing with their own lives and friends and crises and next to all that collective happiness and heartbreak my own personal whatever is pretty insignificant. No, this kind of insignificant is more like… no matter what I do, it won’t matter. No matter what I don’t do, it won’t matter, because I don’t matter. People who have nothing to live for don’t matter. I am a waste of space on this earth. I shouldn’t be here, and yet here I am, wasting space and oxygen and water and life.

I feel like I need to talk but there’s no one who will listen. No one in my family ever wants to listen to me when I’m being “negative” like this (lots of awkward laughs and clumsy subject changes) and I’ve always been really bad at keeping friends so I feel like I have no one to talk it out with and I think I need to but if I’m honest I don’t even know where I would begin so maybe it’s okay that there isn’t anyone to talk to because the conversation would just amount to them letting me wallow in my self-pity and that’s not good for anyone so

Anyway I was driving yesterday and the song at the top came on Pandora and I started crying because it made me sad. At one point, it goes:

in the end its not about what you have
in the end its all about where you want to go
and the roads you take to help you get there
i hope you think that’s fair
because you’ve only got one life to lead
so don’t take for granted those little things
those little things are all that we have

I’ve always been really really jealous of people who know what they want. My mom has a friend who’s son was in school studying engineering for something like eight years, and whenever anyone brought him up all I could say was “at least he’s working towards something.” I (barely) graduated in four years, but what did that give me? A degree I didn’t really want from a school I didn’t really like in a field I’m not sure I want to pursue. Two years of being mostly unemployed and more than a little unmotivated to make big changes. A lot of indecision and uncertainty and tears.

God. Sorry. This has been a really depressing post. I think.. ok. I’m fairly certain that this funk I’ve been in this week has something to do with the fact that we’re coming up on a one year anniversary and I’ve been trying really hard not to think about it. Last week Chelsea messsaged everyone asking us to write letters to their families and I wanted to say something but didn’t know what to say so I didn’t say anything and just ignored the rest of the messages I got. I was stuck in traffic three times in as many days because of really bad accidents that made me think of my friends, but I pushed those thoughts away. Almost every time I think about how pointless I am I think about how special they were, and how if any of them had this last year instead of me they would have done a hell of a lot more good with it. I don’t want to think about it and I keep trying not to think about it but they’re creeping into my mind and taking over my headspace and I feel like the more I try not to think about it the more I can’t stop thinking about it and I feel sad and insignificant and pointless all over again

blogging is hard.

i actually plan out a lot of posts in my head; they just never get written.

this is partially because I’m lazy, and partially because my computer keyboard has been 65% non-functional for almost four years and have you ever typed with an on-screen keyboard? it is hard and slow and frustrating. so if i want to write i either have to struggle with my computer or use my phone, like i am now. this is also annoying because i have to go back and change every other word, which also makes for a very slow and frustrating process.

“i’ve got a bad feeling about this”    —taking back sunday

I just got home from dropping Ana off at her apartment. On our way there, we suddenly hit maaaajor traffic. At first we wondered if it was just the holiday weekend, but it wasn’t just a lot of cars on the road; it was a lot of barely moving cars on the road. I got this… i dont know. It was a really bad feeling, like something bad had happened, or was about to. I opened up Waze on my phone to try and figure out what was going on, but it wasn’t working. My GPS was having a hard time finding me, which is a problem I’ve been having a lot lately. The same thing happened on Saturday, actually, but then I chalked it up to the fact that I was driving through San Timoteo Canyon and I didnt even have a steady data connection.

So anyway, after fifteen minutes of “finding location,” the GPS still can’t find me and since my location isn’t being reported Waze is refusing to work properly. The map won’t load fully, so I can’t see traffic or accident reports. I started to get frustrated. I quit the app, shut off GPS and start again. Same thing happens. This upsets me more than it should upset any reasonable person. I am literally fighting back angry tears and screams of frustration because it’s not working and it should be working and why isn’t it working (which was bizarre. I didn’t expect to react so strongly to such a non-issue?) Eventually, part of the map loads. My phone still has no idea where the hell I am but I can at least scroll down the 91 and see that several people have reported an accident up ahead. I share my findings with Ana, and we wonder what hapened that would a) be reported on the app as a “minor accident” but still b) cause a good 10 miles of heavy traffic. We hear a siren. We see one and then two firetrucks and an ambulance. We decide that the user who reported it as minor was just wrong, and then notice several new reports of a “major accident” up ahead.

To make a long story short(er), we passed the scene which took up most of the freeway (glass. everywhere.) and made it to her apartment not much longer. She couldn’t find her keys, dropped a plate of food she had packed, said, no, she didn’t need help carrying things up, and told me not to worry because Esther would be around to let her in and to drive safe. She left and i just say in the car for a minute. A couple of not-so-good things had already happened, but i still had that feeling that something was going to go wrong.

I stay the car and still have that feeling. I get in the freeway and still have that feeling. Pandora plays 5 songs related to death and funerals on 3 different stations. I skip all of them and still have that feeling. There’s no traffic on the way home, not even on the other side of the freeway.

I get home I walk inside I lock the door I come upstairs I sit in my bed I wrap myself in a blanket. I still have that feeling.

Maybe I’m just being paranoid? BUT. If something does happen, this is just me saying “I TOLD YOU SO” in advance.

“i wish i could do better by you.”   —city and color

I’ve been trying to figure out how to write this post. I wanted to write it immediately, the day of, but I was too emotional and I couldn’t make the words that I wanted to make. Even now, I’m not really sure how I want to say this, or even what it is that I want to say, exactly. I have this feeling that there’s something… something that needs to be said, something that needs to come out… I just don’t know what it is.

This is going to be a long one.

So last week (has it really been a week? Time, lately, feels fast and slow at the same time. I can’t believe it’s been a week so quickly but at the same time each hour minute second has dragged on excruciatingly slowly, so it’s like, it’s only been a week? it felt longer)… right, so last week, on Thursday morning, my mom told me to pray for my sister’s roommate (H) and her family, because her 19 year old sister had died that morning. It was completely out of nowhere, and it seems so far removed from me, but somehow I was instantly transported back to last May: me, Brian, and Yoona, driving down the highway through Arizona, still on that post-event high, moods buoyed by the thought that we had just spoken to a group of high schoolers about something really important and that they had cared and that we were contributing to the overall good of the world in our own little way. We had ignored, I think, one or two calls from our managers by that point, because we had been presenting. I don’t remember all the little details. We might have listened to a message on someone’s phone or maybe we called back, I don’t know. Somehow it was agreed that, since we were in the middle of nowhere, Arizona, we would get to somewhere with a good internet connection and call them back. There was a thing with a quick pitstop we decided to make (we saw signs for an ostrich petting zoo and couldn’t NOT stop) and an hour later we were back on the road, happy (happy doesn’t even cover it) to had another completely random, and insanely great tour experience. I just remember being insanely happy that day. It was the last week of tour, we were finally done booking, we had a couple more events we were really looking forward to before reuniting with everyone back in LA.

That was probably the most painful part about everything. The thought that everyone was supposed to be together again later that week. Just a few days and we were supposed to see everyone.

Our manager called us again, but of course, thanks to our impromptu petting zoo adventure, we weren’t really near anything. Then Justin piped up and asked if there was anywhere we could at least stop, because they didn’t want us driving while they told us. Yoona and I looked at each other. Justin was always in the office, but he was usually busy with important Vice President-y stuff. He didn’t usually join in on Chi’s calls to us. I pointed to a sign announcing a gas station nearby, saying we might as well go there. I had to go to the bathroom, anyway. We exited the highway and pulled over at a gas station. I think we were expecting them to tell us something good or exciting. We had a successful mission, we broke some kind of tour record…

“Today is the darkest day in LiNK history,” Justin began. Yoona and I looked at each other. Something about the general euphoria of the day made it harder for me to take him seriously. He kept talking, and he sounded serious, and sad, but I thought it was a joke. I really, really thought it was a joke. I kept half smiling, looking at Yoona and Brian thinking “When’s he going to tell us why they really called?” and kind of wondering when he was going to say just kidding! and everyone would laugh. He was talking about an accident, one of the other teams, that we lost them. It didn’t register right away. I stupidly kept waiting for that Gotcha! moment, suddenly desperately hoping that it was a joke, a really, really bad joke. But then he was saying that we had lost the Heartland nomads and that the rest of tour was cancelled and that we should find somewhere to stay for the night and head back in the morning, that they were taking care of everything. Working with the police to figure out what happened, exactly, talking to the families, calling our remaining venues and explaining to them that something tragic had happened and that the nomads wouldn’t be able to come, after all.

The next two days felt unreal… from the merciless, unnerving quiet of the remainder of that first day, to having to be the first one to drive the next morning, on our way back to the intern house, to being overcome with tears and sorrow as we crossed the state line and were once again in California and feeling like everything in the world was wrong because we weren’t supposed to cross that line for another two days and we were supposed to cross it knowing that everyone would be waiting for us at home.. pulling up to the intern house, realizing we were the first team back and wanting to run away, reuniting with the interns and sitting in the house waiting for each team, every team but one to come back… It didn’t feel like it was real. I kept wondering if it was really happening, kept waiting, even days later, for Justin and Chi and Chelsea to call us and say “Just kidding, guys!” kept waiting for the last van to pull in through the gate, kept waiting for Karolina with her big smiles, Shane with his bad jokes, Calvin with his easy laugh… kept waiting and waiting and waiting

I got a few more details about H’s sister as the day went on. She had been in pain, she went to student health… at some point she took pain killers, she called her parents, they went to get her… very late at night or very early hours of the morning, they lost her. We learned more in the next few days. Internal bleeding, multiple organ failure. I saw a post on reddit about an ER doctor going outside after losing a 19 year old patient and the coincidence of the situation and especially the time it had been posted haunted me.

I feel kind of selfish? This isn’t about me. This is about H and her family. This is about my sister and her roommate, who is hurting. This is not about me. And yet, all I can think of is how sudden H’s sister left, and how much it reminds me of my friends. This isn’t about me yet I spent last Thursday and much of Friday feeling subdued, remembering my loss. This isn’t about me. This isn’t about me. This is not about me, and yet…

On May 5, 2014 I lost three amazing, incredible, irreplaceable friends. Sometimes I think that after people die, everyone who is left attributes all this good to them, whether it was there or not, like we all want to remember them better than they were, as idealized versions of their realities. But that wasn’t the case for those three. They really were incredible, the epitome of good in the world. I swear it. I’ve never known anyone as sweet and genuine and unfailingly positive as Karolina Mora. I’ve never met anyone as effortlessly cool and real and unafraid to be 100% himself 100% of the time as Calvin Voneravong. And even though we didn’t always get along, I’ve never known anyone able to joke about everything but still somehow be completely serious and genuine as Shane Wagers. They were really special people. They each had so much to offer the world. In the grand scheme of things, the five months I knew them wasn’t very much, though it was enough that I can say I’m lucky to have known them, and a better person because of it. I don’t know if I would’ve gotten through training without Karo and Calvin. They were always there, and if not for the conversations I had with them on some of my lowest days, I might have actually taken my family’s offer to just come home.

There are some days that I forget what happened. It’s the furthest thing from my mind and I don’t spare a single thought for three souls whose lives were taken too soon. And then there are days where something reminds me—a photo on facebook that pops up on my newsfeed, certain songs that now hold more meaning for me, the broken strands of a hemp cord bracelet on my desk—and it all comes back and I can’t believe that I forgot for even a second. And I feel guilty, partially for forgetting but also because I still have a life and they don’t and why should I get to live instead of them because if I’m honest any of them would have probably done a hell of a lot more with the last ten and a half months than I have so how is it fair that I’m still here and their lives are already done?

Endings. I hate endings. It’s weird and sad to think that one day someone is there and they’re facetiming with their family or sending silly snapchats to their friends and then the next day they just aren’t there anymore. Everything stops, but really nothing does because the world keeps spinning without them. The pain from losing my friends, the pain from losing my baby brother… I wish there was something that I could do so that no one else had to ever feel that way.

“so sick so sick of being tired and oh so tired of being sick”   —taking back sunday

Welllll I caught the flu last week and have been hating life ever since, haha. I don’t get really sick often. Sometimes I’ll wake up with a stuffy nose or feel nauseous, but I don’t get sick like this often, for which I am insanely glad because being sick is the worst thing in the world. Seriously. It royally sucks.

It’s like… sore throat runny nose headache dry mouth coughing fever dehydration and unquenchable thirst and nosebleeds and ugh God the blood. And as if THAT weren’t enough it’s also dry watery eyes and I’m so dehydrated that no amount of water and tea and unsweetened juice and pedialyte makes it feel better. so dry that sometimes i sneeze and the pressure on my nose which is dry, so dry that it starts bleeding and my head hurts and my right ear hurts and i can’t even think sometimes and everything hurts and i’m exhausted but i can’t sleep and

Why am I writing this? Oh, right. Being sick is awful. And I’m really awful when I’m sick. I swear I turn into the biggest baby on the planet when I’m ill.. I just want to cry and be taken care of and what’s worse is that I feel bad for myself and I want other people to feel bad for me and I hate that it’s gross. I’m pathetic when I’m sick and I hate hate hate it and I hope it goes away like three days ago because I’m so over being sad and sick and pathetic and having no energy.

Really the only thing thats worse than being sick like this is knowing that if it lasts much longer my parents will insist that I go to the doctor.

And seeing my doctor is actually the worst thing in the world.

“i don’t know what i can save you from.”

Kings of Convenience—I Don’t Know What I Can Save You From

dear courtney,

Some would say, “It takes a life to learn how to live.”
Let love be life, and let life be loved.
You have one shot to make difference.

One.

what happened to you?

i’ve realised lately that sometimes the hardest thing lies in yourself and actually taking the steps to admiting that you are struggling. these days a little bit longer than the last, and this torn feeling that aches inside is slowly eating me alive. but here i am in all attempts of standing my ground. sometimes… i just don’t understand Him. understand how he’s working in my life, how’s He’s even putting up with my constant struggles and never ending emotions. how His light even manages to tap into my sinfulness, i’m utterly stunned at his compassion for my selfishness, my doubtful heart.

‘Hallelujah’ rips through my veins.

i thought about you the other day. a girl i knew but never met, a girl so inspiring but so troubled and so introspective but so real and concerned about things—real things—that it scared me. we were so young. we were the same age, but we weren’t. if i was fourteen you were a hundred, aged by the weight of a suffering world that you seemed to carry on your shoulders. if i’m honest, i don’t think i really understood half of what you wrote then, but I saved some of your words in hopes that someday they’d mean more to me. they do, now. you are my reminder. it’s not easy and it is scary and maybe we aren’t strong  enough on our own. we’re in deep. but.

but.

even if we’re all “running in circles, heads cut off, hands in the air”—

…everythings not lost.

i haven’t heard from you since we were fifteen but wherever you are, whoever you became, i hope you found a way to feel better. i hope you’re ok.

♥b