Tag Archives: seen

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

Seen.

For the most part, the room was quiet. I had timed it perfectly to miss the rush, which was also great because then it didn’t look so weird that I was sitting by myself. I was eating, slowly. Something weighed heavy on my shoulders; my entire body felt tired. I did my best not to think too much.

One of the workers came and wiped down all the empty tables around me. He sang softly as he worked. Normally, that would find a way to annoy me but today I found myself leaning into the sound. Every once and a while he would switch to humming and I found myself wishing he would start to sing again. Wishing I could sit there all day and just listen to him.

He was too quiet for me to hear the words of his song. He was too quiet for me to even hear if he was any good. But he was soothing. And I needed soothing.

I stared out the window, thinking about his voice when someone spoke to me: “Hey. How are you doing today?”

I turned and he was down on a knee, looking up at me, an empty chair between us.

I smiled, politely, though I could feel it didn’t reach my eyes. I felt too heavy. “I’m good.” I replied, “How are you?”

Before I finished, he had interrupted me. He asked if I had just answered ‘good’ because society told me to, or something along those lines.

I hadn’t realized he’d been watching. I probably looked miserable. If I had known I’d be questioned, I would have put on a more socially acceptable face. I smiled again, explaining I hadn’t slept well last night. This was true. I hadn’t. Lies work best when they contain the truth. “I’m just tired,” I reassured him.

We talked for another minute or so. I shocked him by revealing how old I was- four years his senior. He was very clearly surprised. I reassured him again: I’d looked the same since I was fifteen.

“Well, I have to admit something to you,” he said, “I didn’t want to come talk to you.”

Flattering. My thoughts were along the lines of, ‘of course you didn’t. I probably looked like I wanted to kill someone.’

“But I came over because God kept prompting me to.” He went on, saying that, the entire time he was washing the tables, God has been convincing him to come check on me. His voice was still soft like his singing; comforting. “So I was just checking in.”

I thanked him; he didn’t realize how sincere I was in that moment. A real smile lightened my face for a moment as we finally introduced ourselves before he walked away and continued his work.

I could feel tears coming on so I was quick to leave.

‘I don’t need this right now,’ I prayed as I left, ‘I don’t have time to burst into tears in public.’

I explained to God that it didn’t make sense for Him to do that. I made a list of reasons why. He knew I was bad at kindness to begin with. And what if it wasn’t even Him?

But what if it was? What if He was reminding me that, yes, He had heard the prayer I had uttered this morning and He cared about the pain I was in. And He cared so much about the pain I was in that He decided to reach out to me in a way He never had before. What if He hand picked the sweetest soul, someone He knew I would be receptive to, just to remind me that He saw me? What if the pain I imagined carrying around on my back He could see and wanted to let me know that He saw it and He cared?

Because… Well, that does sound like Him after all.

-Melissa

Bitter.

I’m in the middle of writing a five page paper that I really don’t want to  write. And not just because I don’t want to write it and homework is stupid and all of that. I don’t want to write it because it’s been causing tears to swell in my eyes for the past two hours.

Maybe that sounds ridiculous. It probably is. But I’m having to write about an experience I’ve had for the past semester. It’s not that it’s bad. Not really.

It just makes me sad. I’m so disappointed. And I’m frustrated. I’m just so frustrated. Because this paper wants me to write about what I’ve learned and I’m sitting here typing up all of the things I’ve learned that aren’t important to me. That aren’t hard. That don’t make a bit of difference. That I could have learned on my own without this experience.

And maybe it’s good for me. Maybe it’s good to have my patience tested like this. Maybe it’s good to do work that is so boring I feel like my brain will fall out. Maybe it’s good. It will strengthen my endurance. It will give me more experience to know where other people are coming from. It will open my eyes to all the behind the scenes work that no one ever sees.

But maybe… maybe it will make me bitter. Maybe it will make me hate where I am and cause me to hate what I’m learning. Maybe it will keep me from learning things that would be of so much more value to me. Things that I would find relevant to life and to the work I hope to accomplish someday. And that’s what really scares me.

So what have I learned from this experience? Nothing I couldn’t have learned, and would have learned elsewhere. What did I gain? A longing for what I don’t have, yet a forced self-imposed, forced acceptance for what I do. What are the positives of my experience? I’m made to exercise patience I don’t have.  The negatives? This isn’t what I want. And I’m so bored. And I’m missing out consistently on all of the opportunities my peers are given.

Also, clearly I can answer his questions in a paragraph. I have no idea why he’s requiring a five page length.

-Melissa