Here is Not Where I Want to Be: For Those Stuck in The Cycle and Feel They Aren’t Enough

This is a short piece (one of several I wrote ages ago but never published nor shared) from September 2019. It was written at a time when my friend group – my community, my anchor – had imploded, but I was too busy trying to adjust to the routine of my brand-new “grown up, post-college” job to do much of anything except try to survive. Maybe you’ll relate.

Everyone has gone, and so, you’re lonely.

You’re flung awake and you can feel The Void pressing against your guts and it feels like battery acid and broken glass. You roll half-conscious into a sitting position in bed and vaguely wonder when voids – empty, dark nothingness, intangible by nature – became a tangible concept for you.

Voids are real – the sky is the literal void, you know. They’re those cracks between empty spaces, that feeling when you move out of mom and dad’s for the first time and you’re lying alone in your (new) bed and nowhere really feels like Home anymore, even though you’re paying a pretty penny (your own grownup salary!) for the apartment in which you now lie. The silence is too silent and there’s a gnawing feeling like crushed glass that’s moved into your stomach. Unfortunately, you know it well – the feeling of the voids taking rooms within your intestines. It’s something you’ve felt in snatches before, but they hadn’t truly gained teeth until you spent an unexpected week grieving alone in Vestal after that roadtrip, and suddenly those damn hotel walls started feeling too small, no matter how luxurious they were.

You think about the Insta Girls, the kids who grew up with you and who seem to have grown far past you, physically anyway, with their curvy bodies and stylish clothes and perfect, pretty faces. How can that compare to your plain looking features, the ones that stare back in the mirror while you furiously attempt to brush out your bedhead hair. As you ponder over the friendships you lost, you wonder if those Insta Girls’ 647 followers are actual friends, people they would drive off a cliff to save. You wonder if they still have them in their lives, or if they’re like you: floating among the flotsam of loss, of ended friendships.


As you while away the hours at your 9-5 office cube, you feel so ordinary, yet so foreign it’s like a war in your chest.

You feel like you get lost among a sea of faces, that in a crowd, you would be the last one who is approached, and sometimes this is a cocoon and sometimes it is suffocating. You watch the office clock and ponder Time, how it seems to pass so mind-numbingly slow, yet simultaneously, so very, very fast. You wish for more time to do things, to better yourself, but then you remember that you aren’t exactly sure what those abstract concepts are anymore. You realize that somewhere between your college days – the self-discovery, the old adventures at older haunts, the times you felt so Alive it was like being filled with the galaxy – and the present day, you have forgotten all of it.

It’s tough isn’t it, to move forward when every day feels like ice and fire in your guts, polar extremes to drag your sorry self to and from, day in and day out, before you suddenly wake up, look up, and realize that four months have gone by as a ghost since that midnight at your parent’s house, ringing in the new year with hugs and champaign and your silent promises that this year would be a better one. You’re aware that the great arrow of Time moves ever steadily in only one direction, and if you sleepwalk through all of your days, you’ll hardly see Time as it passes. It brings in its wake missed opportunities, not merely for personal advancement or gain, but opportunities to Love, opportunities to Do, to not live only for oneself, to make true the horseshit claim that “we have no Reason, that we are aimless.” It’s much easier to look forward to that next trip, that next Something to give voice and meaning to all of those empty mornings, than to live presently. It’s easier, this way.

You say you don’t care about your hair, which is why you cut it yourself. You hate your scrawniness and try to gain curves like those Insta teen Girls, who have astonishing beauty and bodies and boobs at age seventeen, and here you are twenty-three, but you try to remind yourself that you are an intellectual, refined, not a soulless robot brainwashed by lingerie commercials. And yet…and yet, you’ll go to Target in search of new pretty sweaters because Autumn is coming, and you recall that pair of maroon skinny jeans at the Crossings last winter and contemplate returning to purchase them as well; they made your legs look bangin’, after all.

After work, you drive across the mountain specifically to wander the mall because you think you’re looking to buy something you’ve already forgotten but really it feels more like Distraction. You don’t find anything at the mall, and this too is unsurprising.

So you go back “home” to your dark and silent apartment and do laundry and make leftovers for dinner and consume a protein shake with the absent hope that it will make your bony, straight hips less bony and straight. You go for a run at the hour of twilight and shade while cold falls upon your tiny town like a stone and the whole time it feels less like Living and again more like Distraction.

Later, you curl on the couch, waiting for the boy you desperately -and misguidedly – love to video call your laptop. And when you talk to him, the feeling of Distraction fades away, only to return anew when you are awakened by your alarm the next morning to begin the whole cycle again.


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I unpack existential topics and ask the questions people are too afraid to ask: What does it mean to Live? Why am I unsatisfied with my life? What is happiness, really? What the fuck is the point?

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