Academic anxieties (written yesterday)

All of a sudden, I’m seized with anxiety. I’m fiddling with my lighter, I’m chewing the skin around my nails. My palms are sweaty, my heart rate and breathing are rapid. My whole body shudders periodically like some electrical charge is running through it. I feel trapped in a cage, wanting an out.

This could be because I’m finally starting the work for my online class that I’ve been procrastinating all week. However, the work isn’t hard and I can re-do it and improve it to achieve a satisfactory grade. These assignments aren’t life and death, yet I feel frozen to finish them. I write a sentence or two, glance at the word count, and abandon the work to light another cigarette. My progress is slow and jerky and I’m scolding and berating myself mentally for my lack of motivation, my lack of the academic perfectionism and drive I used to have. These assignments should mean more to me. These assignments are the world. They are so important I can’t breathe.

What makes me assign such importance to relatively minuscule things? I know this work is easy. I know I can do it. I know imperfect assignments can be improved upon. So why do I feel like this?

If I don’t do these assignments perfectly, if I don’t get an A (+) in this class, I won’t be able to succeed in the world. I won’t be able to write. I won’t be able to make a living writing. I won’t be able to pay rent or get into graduate school or find a job that allows me to be happy. If I don’t do an outstanding job on everything in this class, I can never be happy. That is my train(wreck) of thought right now.

I feel like a failure. This anxiety, these worries are pathological.


Late-May Happy List

(From Naoko Takeuchi’s Sailor V & magicalcompact)

  • Celestial Seasonings’ Bengal Spice tea. It’s like taking the Cinnamon Challenge every time I take a sip (in a totally non-painful way). The back of the box describes it as an uncaffeinated chai, as it uses other spices to imitate the taste of black tea. I think the cinnamon is actually burning my lips and I don’t care.
  • Blondie. Blondie is everything I want in a band on a Saturday night: glamorous, ultra-femme, and catchy as fuck.
  • Fat-positive Tumblrs. After a long time being away from Tumblr (during which time Tumblr became super popular), I decided to make a new Tumblr to follow all the amazing Sailor Moon Tumblrs out there. I accidentally found a shit-ton of fat and queer-positive Tumblrs featuring photographs of chubby people and positive graphics and quotes. I’ve been scrolling through these Tumblrs and reblogging almost everything the past couple of days. It’s lovely to find so many intelligent people with the same basic belief as me: fat people are fucking hot.
  • Bath & Body Works’ Paris Amour. The only bad thing about my Paris Amour body spray is that it doesn’t last for very long. Otherwise, it’s an amazing, spicy mixture of musk and tulips. The muskiness of it balances out a fragrance that would otherwise be generically floral. I love it.
  • Caricature by Daniel Clowes. I recently read Caricature for the first time. I hadn’t read any Clowes in awhile, so I welcomed that vaguely depressed feeling I get every time I read his work.
  • I Saw the Devil. A lovely boy recommended it and it was amazing. It’s by the same director as A Tale of Two Sisters, perhaps my favorite South Korean horror film. I Saw the Devil had the same haunting, amorphously creepy atmosphere.

Black and white

Photo taken by me at the Kanawha County Human Society Animal Shelter.

All things in my world fall cleanly under one of two categories: good or bad. There’s no Venn diagram area of overlap. My primary emotions are love and hate, neither occurring at the same time as the other. People are either perfect or despicable. Either I ignore all their flaws or any small flaw is too overwhelming. People can’t be imperfect. You’re either in love with me or against me.  

For once, I wish everything wasn’t so absolutely fucking important to me. The food I eat or don’t eat, my nails, my words, every single interaction, every decision. I wish I could say, That meant nothing. Everything means everything.

Sometimes I think this intensity of emotion is an attempt to hide the lack of real feeling. I think I’m made of dry ice.

May happy list

It’s time for another happy list. I think happy lists are going to become a regular occurrence because they’re easy and satisfying to write when heavier issues are a little too heavy.

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Summer vacation

Thanks, PostRejects.

I wish I could hand my parents a toolbox containing all the tools they need to deal with a daughter like me. I wish I could erase their preconceptions about mental illness or how it is to be a twentysomething or how it is to be Claire.

I think they look at me and are disappointed because I’m not who they expect. I’m failing in some ways and succeeding in other ways every day, but it doesn’t matter if I’m not inhabiting the life they want for me.

I don’t know how I can expect either understanding or acceptance from my parents when I don’t give myself that understanding or acceptance.

Today I slept until five in the evening. I couldn’t get out of bed. My mental fatigue translated into physical exhaustion. Coffee couldn’t lure me, phone calls and texts didn’t matter. Getting out of bed is more than the physical act of placing feet on the ground; getting out of bed means accepting the challenges of the day. Showering, talking, thinking, eating — all these things are challenges. The weight of yesterday and tomorrow is hard to deal with today.

Single and ready to…mingle?

(Thanks, Toothpaste For Dinner!)

On my worst mental health days, I run through a mental list of everything that has ever been wrong in my life. The really bad memories and thoughts I try to block out most days — relationships, insecurities, times I’ve been blind drunk — are dredged up and contribute to a scary downward spiral of “Everyone hates me, I hate me, everyone’s going to leave me, I’m so gross.” It’s like I’m gluing a collage of bad memories to my brain against my will, all the while screaming “Stop, stop, stop, stop.”

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An end-of-semester playlist: or, I never sleep

(Animated .gif found on Tumblr. Comment if you know who made it!)

It’s 5 AM. I have therapy at 9 AM and an abundance of nervous energy and scattered thoughts. Instead of working on vital end-of-semester projects or watching episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (I’ve only been watching episodes with Spike in them, shhh) on Netflix, I decided making a playlist sounded like a great idea. Here’s a list of songs I currently have on repeat!

What’s a Girl To Do? — Bat For Lashes
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