Through the Roof

November 13, 2012 § 2 Comments

Heart rate: through the roof.

It’s only Monday and already it’s been a pretty uncomfortable week. So uncomfortable, in fact, that I’ve got that “I need to bail” feeling already and I’ve only been home a few months. Maybe it’s childish, but my first impulse when things start to go seriously south is to just peace out, move away, detach myself from everything. “I don’t need this. I don’t need you.” keeps running through my brain. I don’t have the money to get out of the state, much less get settled in a new one, so I’m stuck for the time being. Go to your happy place, alexa, go to your happy place. Waves crashing, the sound of sea gulls, the feeling of sun on my skin. Go to your happy place.

Really what’s even more concerning than the elevated, irregular pounding heartbeat is that my chest constricts to such a point during these irregular beats that I feel like I can’t breathe. Breathing is necessary for stress reduction. And life, too, I guess.

Honestly, this month has just been a complete disaster. Work is a nightmare, but I know I’m doing my best to get through it. My dad informed me that he doesn’t think I’ll get in anywhere I’m applying, so with that vote of confidence my new backup school is NYU. “But you hate NYC!” Yeah, I know. I do. But it’s a great program and the museums the museums the museums. I don’t know. I might just say fuck everything and move to Alaska. Oh right, snow…

So no one thinks I’m going to get into a PhD program and the few professors I’ve talked to just act like I’m wasting their time. A country bumpkin from Alabama couldn’t possibly make it in the Ivy League. What was I thinking, right? My response is to include a bit about my “context” in my personal statement so they’ll put my accomplishments into perspective and to remind them that they need a diverse class. Yeah, I’m a little white girl and we’re a dime a fucking dozen in the art field, but I’m from Alabama, not only that I’m from *rural* Alabama like where there are enough cars in the front yard to fill a parking lot and people will miss church before they would ever miss a kickoff, and I guarantee they don’t have someone from that background in their program. Diversity, bitches. It ain’t always about skin color.

Best case scenario is I offend someone, worst case is still the same: I’m paying $120 for a rejection letter. Worth a shot, though, right? Yeah, I don’t know either.

Even though I deleted my Facebook, somehow my life is full of drama, tension, and confusion again. [Wow, there goes the heart rate.] Just this week I’ve heard from three guys who I have semi or definite histories with, and they all want to reconnect this week. I guess it’s just curiosity that has me agreeing to drinks and “catching up,” but really, how bad could it end up? ::knocks on wood:: My life is a borderline disaster anyway, so it’s not like I’m risking a lot. At least my apartment has heat now. It’s the little things in life… I just feel like I’m on the verge of totally going off track or off the tracks, whatever the phrase is.

One of my favorite poems since high school:

Not Waving but Drowning


Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.
Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.
Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.


Just ten minutes ago I realized next week is Thanksgiving. That means alec will probably be home, and the question will come up again whether I’m ready to see him or not. How has it been four months? More than four months, you say? My how time flies. Counting has never been my strong suit. I can’t imagine seeing him without falling apart, but it’s impossible to predict how you’ll react in those situations. Even if I don’t see him now, Christmas is just around the corner and no doubt he’ll be back in town again. The last time he was in town, I felt painfully anxious the entire time even though I didn’t see him. Knowing he’s in proximity is upsetting for some reason. I’m not sure I understand it. But I’m not sure I need to either.


[kat-uh-ton-ik]  Show IPA


1. having catatonia,  a syndrome characterized by muscular rigidity and mental stupor: The schizophrenic remained in a catatonic state.
2. appearing to be in a daze or stupor; unresponsive: She had the catatonic expression of an avant-garde model.

Sometimes I feel a bit like a mental patient or a child. I can’t decide which because one I’ve never been and the other I haven’t been in a long time. Childhood seems so distant and not at all nostalgic like people say it should be. Being in DC, I could ignore a lot of things. Voices seemed weak when spoken from such a distance, they were easy to ignore. But now that I’m home, everyone has an opinion on what direction I should go in, what choices I should make, what my options really are. People are so busy telling me what I should and shouldn’t do that no one has really stopped to say “Hey kid, how ya feeling?” No one seems to trust my own judgment. Sure, I’ve made some bad choices in the past, and even recently when I moved home I made a series of risk assessments that could have ended badly. But I’m a tough kid, I got over it and moved on. And looking back on it, taking into account how I was feeling and what I was thinking, I know that I would have made the same choices. I do the best that I can, but no one seems to trust in me. No one seems to think that I can make it on my own.


News flash: no one knows me like I know me. No one knows what my heart is saying unless they’re inside my fucking chest. No one knows what I think, but everyone would rather tell me what I should think or what they think I think instead of just asking me. But you have to care to ask, I suppose. It’s certainly easier not to care.

Oh right, eating and sleeping. I haven’t been doing much of either lately, which is probably exacerbating my irregular heart beat. I’m tempted to become significantly more reclusive so I can avoid the questions of “When did you last eat?” (though honestly, I’m getting more “Are you eating?” than anything these days) and “Why aren’t you sleeping?” My body does what it wants, people. My heart makes its own decisions, whether that’s to love someone new or to have an uncomfortable, pounding, irregular beat. My appetite appears according to its own mysterious will, and whether or not I give into that will is my own business. Sleep I would like, but my subconscious has other plans. Wake up every hour? Oh, why the hell not. REM cycles are overrated. Really my conscious brain is on a runaway train.

Reminder: I retake the GRE next week. Next week. This week: andrew, riley, chris, austen, mark. Next week: the alec question. The GRE. Applications. Work. Seminar papers and presentations. Oh yeah, why can’t I sleep again? Why don’t I have an appetite? Well, gee, let’s think about it. Heart beat elevated.

Honestly sometimes I feel like saying “fuck it” and waiting another year to apply to PhD programs. But I think that’s me just being weak, feeling like I can’t handle everything I bit off, that somehow I can’t find the muscles and brain power to keep chewing without choking. Everyone else seems to think I’m weak, but I think they just don’t understand my decisions and don’t care to take the time to try to. My mother reminded me of our family motto the other day, saying “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” but I didn’t have the heart to correct her. Our actual family motto is this: “Pain is just weakness leaving your body.” a phrase I’ve heard over and over since I was a young child and first asked the question “What is pain?” (no really, I actually asked that question). The mottos are similar, I’ll grant you that, but they are still distinct. I think I’m stronger in a lot of ways, a lot more ways than people give me credit for. Which is why I’m still applying to the Ivies for PhD, why I’m agreeing to catch up with old flames, why I keep putting myself in shitty situations to see if I can get out of them or not. I guess I am testing myself. I guess I don’t believe in myself either.



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