Tag Archives: challenge

Letter.

To the fixers:

Maybe you don’t know what else to do, so you give a suggestion. Maybe my problem seems easy to you. Maybe you can’t relate. Maybe you see an easy solution and you can’t imagine why I haven’t seen it. Maybe I have. Maybe it’s not as easy as you suggest. Maybe I can’t do what you can do. Maybe your solution is just a step in the right direction, but that same solution is surrounded by obstacles in my life. Maybe I don’t need a solution. Maybe I don’t need you to fix this. Maybe you want to help and you want to take control and fix this. Breathe. Just take a breath and be here with me. This can’t be fixed so easily.

To the challengers:

I see my flaws. I know there are many things I need to change. I’m probably more aware of them than you are. You challenge me to have perspective. You challenge me to think in different ways. You challenge me to think passed this. I can do those things. And nothing you are saying is wrong. But you’re invalidating what I’m feeling. I’m in a vulnerable place and you’re telling me, “Hey. I know what you’re feeling. But stop feeling that. Because you haven’t thought about it in this way. You just need some perspective.” I am allowed to feel what I’m feeling. You make me feel like I’m bad because I’m feeling this way. Just stop. Just hear me. Empathize with me.

To the uncomfortable:

You asked me why I was crying. So I told you. So you made a face that said you understood. Then you looked away. And you looked back and talked about something else. You tried to make me laugh. You ignored what I said. I know you’re not comfortable. I know you don’t want to help me carry this burden. Then please don’t ask. If you can’t handle it, please don’t ask me why I have tears in my eyes. Please don’t ask me how I’m doing. Because watching you see my pain and then ignore it? That’s something I can’t handle. So if you want to engage in my pain with me, then please do. But if you don’t want to–if you can’t– then leave me alone.

To the distracted:

You heard me. You not only heard me, but you said all the right things. You are the closest I’ve gotten to feeling a bit of relief from the sadness inside of me. You have gotten my hopes up that maybe, just maybe, I’m not alone. But you are busy. And the hours and the days and the weeks pass by and you seem to forget everything I said to you. When you see me, sometimes I can see you still remember, but you’re hurried. You have to move on to your next task, your next meeting. You say we’ll connect again soon as you pass by. Or you are so busy and distracted that you never follow through. In any way. You don’t even ask how I’m doing. Either be one thing or the other. Either be my friend, or don’t. But do not get my hopes up.

To the listeners:

Where are you?

-Melissa

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Professor.

The sky is turning black and the page is blank.

My eyes locked on the darkening window as soft voices drifted in from the open door.

Can you accept something and still be sad?

Ah, yes. Wow, that just connected to far too many parts of my life.

You see, professor, I can’t finish my paper. I can barely lift my hands, let alone a pencil. You see, professor, my head leans against the back of the couch and it’s hard to lift it again. You see, professor, I’m finding it hard to concentrate.

No, professor, I am not tired. Yes, I’ve been getting enough sleep. Yes, I’ve been paying attention (when I can) in class. Yes, you will get your paper on time. No, professor, it will not be my best work. And you see, professor, I can’t care.

You see, professor, this classroom becomes too small. I feel suffocated by the lack of…I don’t know– life? in this classroom. You see, professor, my classmates keep talking about how challenge needs to be paired with support. But you see, professor, they’ve forgotten to pair support with challenge. Professor, their challenges weigh down on me and I fight to not grow bitter against them. Because, you see, professor, they don’t see into my life. They don’t see my loneliness or these days (and days) when I’m unbearably sad. You see, professor, I’m not really close to them. They forget about me. They don’t ask me how I am. And you see, professor, that makes the loneliness so much stronger.

But professor, you don’t see.

And I’ve accepted that this is the way it is for a while. For a while, I will struggle to breathe. I will passively drown. But I wonder if I’ll ever swim again.

I used to be so good at swimming.

Don’t worry, professor. I’ll finish your paper. I’ll make something up. You’ll get it in time.

-Melissa

Parallel.

I don’t think I believe in coincidences.

I mean, to a certain extent, I do. But, mainly, I think everything happens for a reason.

Today, I got distracted by the facebook page of a friend that I haven’t talked to in years. It’s not that there was any sort of painful break that caused us to part ways. Actually, she moved away and we just drifted. At first, we tried to keep in contact. But our lives kind of swept us away and we just… faded out.

We were supposed to become roommates my sophomore year of college but she called me two weeks before and told me she couldn’t come back to school. I haven’t seen her since.

She was, I mean, probably still is, one of the good ones. You know what I’m talking about? She’s one of those people that… I don’t know. Made me better somehow. Just by being around her. I think I was always a little intimidated by that– by her goodness. I think, maybe not in a bad way, but that it kind of held me back. Maybe actually in a good way.

It’s just interesting to think of what my life would have been like if she had come back to school and we had been roommates. I don’t think I’d be the same person I am now. But, maybe I’m wrong. But, being her roommate might have impacted me more than I can imagine. For that semester, I ended up rooming alone, which was during an incredibly painful time in my life. That space might have helped me heal in some ways, but it might have just enabled my isolation. And if she had been there, would I have gotten to know who is now my best friend who lived right down the hall? Or would she have become my best friend and would I have spent most of my time with her?

I don’t know. I’ll never know. I think that’s what’s fascinating to me about the concept of the parallel universe. One simple change and the course of my life, your life, our lives could be completely different. Maybe that’s not something to waste time thinking about.

I just think it’s fascinating.

-Melissa

Absence.

Our arms wrapped around each other and held tight for a moment before we let go. I didn’t want to let go. I never do. Walking away from each other, we were still talking, raising our voices as the distance between us grew.

Soon of course, we were too far away and I was left alone, my feet hitting the snow covered pavement, carrying me away from him.

I hate goodbyes. I already said goodbye to this friend once. I had turned away from him and his red-rimmed eyes, listened to the door shut, and made it five steps across the room before I burst into tears.

Not wanting to think about the ache I was already feeling with his absence, my mind stopped almost all thought, only keeping a steady stream of my own narration. I focused on the feel of the cold slipping through the thin layer of my admittedly cheap boots. There was no support in them- I’d forgotten to put in my insoles. The sun was too bright; I couldn’t lift my head. I stared at my feet. Hitting the snow covered pavement. Careful enough to not slip on the snow and ice, but still quick.

I hate missing people. I hate that slight emptiness you feel, as if you left a part of you behind. I’ll see this friend again. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel his absence when he’s not around.

You know how it is. You miss someone. And when you miss someone, you just want to be near them. You just want their presence beside you.

I used to see this friend twice a week. Now I see him every few weeks. I just miss him when he’s not here.

Growing up isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, you know?

-Melissa

Weight.

My mother has lost a bunch of weight lately.

I’m happy for her. Honestly, she didn’t need to lose it, but she’s happier with herself now so I guess it’s a good thing.

There is one problem though.

I’m thin, okay? I would say pretty averagely thin, you know? I’m not a toothpick or anything.

The problem is that I feel like I should work out. Or diet. Or just not eat if we’re being serious because I don’t haveĀ  the determination to actually work out or diet. I don’t need to do any of these things. But I feel like I’m overweight. I’m not even kind of. But I feel like I am.

I feel like I am.

I can’t get the feeling to go away.

This is ridiculous.

This is really stupid.

I know I’m not over weight. I know I’m actually pretty thin. I know I don’t need to lose weight. I know this sounds extremely petty.

This is so annoying. What do I do?

Seriously. What do I do?

-Melissa

 

Blind. (Three)

The challenge was over soon after that.

I tried to steady my hands enough to pull off the blindfold. I didn’t look at anyone as I gained my sight back but I quickly looked around and observed my surroundings. Knowing where everyone was again gave reassurance.

So… What the heck is wrong with me? The other kid who had been blindfolded had not freaked out. He’d felt limited, sure, but he hadn’t been dangerously close to a panic attack.

My lack of trust is simply astounding. It’s quite amazing actually.

Where do I go from here? Knowing that?

The only thing I know for now if next time someone hands me a blindfold, there’s a good chance I won’t be taking it- whatever the reason.

-Melissa

(Part Two: https://allthestuff7.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/blind-part-two/)

(Part One: https://allthestuff7.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/blind-part-one/)

Blind. (Part Two)

We then walked to the forth challenge.

Before the leaders got there, I surveyed what was set up before us. We were standing behind a row of wooden beams. About eight to ten feet in front of us, there was a wooden pallet at the foot of a tree. On either side of it a few feet away were two more pallets. In between us and the three pallets was a rope swing. I understood the challenge before they explained it.

We had to all get on the wooden pallets only by using the rope swing. We couldn’t touch the ground. We had to somehow get the rope without touching the ground. Then another rule was added.

Two people would be blindfolded.

And suddenly they placed a blindfold in my hand.

I actually thought it would be interesting. Taking away one of the senses is pretty interesting to me. Just how other senses kind of enhance themselves. At least they’re supposed to.

I tied the bandana around my eyes.

At first I was fine.

And then…. Then I wasn’t.

Gradually, the fact that I didn’t really know anyone in the group that well freaked me out. I couldn’t see who was around me. When I wasn’t blindfolded, it was easy to fade into the background. But now I was. Was I standing at the front of the group? Behind everyone? If I stepped backwards, would I run into a tree?! I knew nothing without my eyesight.

Then it was my turn to grab the rope and swing across to we’re others were waiting on the wood pallet. They’d catch me. Who? My mind asked. Someone pulled me forward. I thought it was one person until they spoke. Their voice startled me. It wasn’t who I thought.

Everyone was telling me what to do. How to grab the rope. How to swing across. Who would catch me. How far it was. That they’d catch me. That I’d be fine.

I raised my voice around the chaos and demanded only one person speak to me. They calmed down a little but the voices still overwhelmed me. I asked if I was facing the right way. I grabbed the swing and then was flying through the air.

Strange hands caught and steadied me. They guided me to the back of the pallet. I closed my arms around my chest and leaned against the tree. I tried to make myself as small as possible.

Someone touched the ground. We had to start over. Someone led me back to the starting point. Then they left me alone again. I tried not to move. Not to breathe. Not to be noticed. But I couldn’t tell if I wasn’t being noticed. I couldn’t tell if people were staring at me. I couldn’t tell if they’d completely forgotten about me.

They started the challenge again. I spent my time trying not dissolve into a panic attack. Tears burned just below my eyes. I tried desperately to keep myself calm. My mind was running wild. I couldn’t focus. My thoughts blurred together.

It was my turn to swing across to the tiny wooden island again. One of the people I knew the best was on the otherwise waiting for me. He was a good friend’s finance, so I did trust him more than the others in the class.

Again, I was in the air. They caught me and again guided me to a place where I wouldn’t be in the way. He was the first to kind of see I wasn’t doing too well.

“How you doing?” He asked me.

“Fine.” I tried to smile.

“You’re doing great.” He told me.

A couple other people proceeded to encourage me.

I tried not to speak.

When it was finally time for me to swing back across one more time, my friend’s finance was on the other side to catch me again. For some reason, I spun around a little bit when I swung across this time. My feet hit the wooden beam as he caught me and I almost hit the ground. He helped pull me over as I stumbled.

As I almost lost it.

My breathing quickened as my hands searched for something. Anything. My hands on his forearms, he talked to me as he led me to a tree I could rest against.

I wondered how obvious my panic was to those around me.

I waited as patiently as possible until the game was over. I resisted the urge to tear off the blindfold. To back into the woods. To beg people around me to constantly speak so I could know where they were. I was terrified.

More later.

-Melissa