The Intern

I’m applying to be an intern at RVA Mag, a super cool publication about arts and community in Richmond.Admittedly, I’m probably the only one that isn’t in college (and hasn’t been for awhile) but they said that wasn’t a requirement.

I’ve been floundering for awhile as far as future-type things. Unsure if I’m stagnating or drowning or treading water or coming to shore. Sometimes, I love what I do; other times, I can’t imagine another five years of this.

And, then my distracted brain makes writing the one thing I want to do and yet so impossible to actually accomplish.

Well. Fingers crossed.

night terrors

I got almost no sleep last night. And now, I’m not sure if I’ll sleep well for four years.

It’s not anger that keeps me awake (not that I’m not angry because I’m furious). It’s fear. I’m shaken by terror when I think about the targets painted on my back and on those I love. I think about the queer kids forced into conversion therapy and the trans people looking over their shoulder every time they use the restroom. I think about black communities who know that having their hands up won’t make a difference. I think about sexual assault survivors who are dragged through the mud but their attackers are given free passes and more. I think about my fellow latinos who are threatened with being pushed over a wall. I think about my Muslim boyfriend and how he had to walk around with brass knuckles after 9/11 in case he got jumped.

I’m terrified because people like us are no longer welcome here.

I’m terrified because I don’t who’s safe to turn my back to, because they might be one of the people who did this to us.

I’m terrified because I don’t know how we’ll survive this.

100 Rejections

So, I’ve finally committed. I’m going to get this goddamn novel published. I set it on the back burner, tidied it up, sent it off to a beta reader, tidied it up some more, and now it is officially ready to get out there and meet some agents.

I’ve already sent it out to the first fifteen agents and already had one person ask to read it. Of course, that person just told me it wasn’t a good fit, but it was a still a read! I’ve gotten two more rejections since then, but each rejection is a step closer to getting it accepted.

I mean, I think the statistic is out of every 100 rejections there is a novel accepted.

Alright. 3 down, 97 to go.

Feeling Foggy

Here’s a fun game. Am I just in a rut or is this depression?

Motivation has been bleeding from me for some time. Not all at once, like arterial spray. Just a slow, sluggish leak that I barely notice until I look down and see all the blood. But, I can’t tell what caused me to bleed in the first place. Is it the grinding frustration at my job? Is it the stressful conversations about the future with the beau? Is it the fear that I don’t even know what I want and I’m counting down to thirty?

Or is it more insidious than that. It could be that creeping fog that clouds up my vision and makes my limbs weak, that saturates everything until the whole world is grayspace. Until I feel like I’m drowning even when the air is clear.

Regardless, writing these words is like typing on pins and needles. I keep trying to write (because I have to–it’s not a choice), but every syllable is a struggle.

I just have to keep waiting for the fog to clear.

The Chosen One

The old man, who had lived too many long years to see the prophecy fulfilled, reached his hand out to her, palm wrinkled and waiting.

“You are the chosen one,” he informed her, “and the fate of the world rests in your hands.”

Those words hung between them; a crescendo of anticipation vibrated in the silence–like the whole world was holding it’s breath, waiting for her to speak and accept her destiny–before she grimaced and said:

“… Yikes.”

Guidelines and Deadlines

Have you ever been so stressed out that it stresses you out that you’re stressed?

My work just dropped a huge bomb on the staff, basically changing the nature of our jobs and increasing out workload under the guise of “making your jobs easier and more efficient.” My job has gone from one clear purpose to muddied with several other roles and responsibilities that were never supposed to be mine. No one is sure what to expect or what their job is anymore. This isn’t supposed to take effect for awhile, and that makes it even worse, because we have no idea when the ax is going to fall. My coworkers and I left that meeting like a bomb had just gone off.

In a way, this is why I love submission guidelines and publisher deadlines. There’s a clear list of what’s expected and what’s required. Some of them can be broad but they’re rarely vague. They let the writer know how the work should be shaped and formed, how it should be organized and submitted. And, deadlines are a thing of beauty. It’s a clear and concise date, a day later is too late, an hour later is still too late. I can set up my workload based on these deadlines and can move ahead with a clear goal.

Right now, I’m staving off a quiet panic attack by drinking Tension Tamer and reminding myself that all things can be weathered, even with unclear instructions and fuzzy due dates.

Gardens

I’m trying to exorcise the ugly inside me.

No one does right all the time. There are times that I well up with it, rage like splinters beneath my nails, doubt like claws running down the back of my neck, fear sour and dripping from my tongue. Humans are gardens, but even the most beautiful of gardens have weeds within, root systems poisoning the soil.

Recently, I’ve encountered the successes of people I love. Not just any success, like getting their dream job in nuclear physics or buying a dream house on the coast. These are successes in fields that are tangential to my own dreams or long-denied desires. The kind of success that I wonder what it tastes like, that I have spent nights curled in my bed trying to stem the cravings.

And, now I find myself choking on jealousy, scraping my throat and burning holes in my smile as I say “Congratulations.”

I know that their success doesn’t mean my failure. I know that my path is different from theirs. I know these things. But, I still feel nauseous, like if I purged myself that blood and nails would pour out of me. I feel diseased and rotten and unworthy of those successes, and it burns like a cancerous hole in my gut.

I’m twenty nine years old. I’ve done so much this decade, and yet it feels like I’ve let it pass me by, that I’ve done nothing. And, I have all these dreams that have been set aside for survival, and when I see my loved ones (who never gave them up–who never pushed their dreams away) achieving what I long deemed impossible, it makes me want to scream because I didn’t have the courage.

Not that I have nothing. I have money in my bank account and food in the fridge; I have a car that works and rent I’m able to pay. I have friends I adore and a man that I’m making a life with. This is the garden I have nurtured, and it’s a good one.

I just have to pull some weeds. And maybe (maybe) it’s time to plant new seeds.