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02/01 Direct Link
The diary of a perfectionist: why can't every day be perfect? Let the day run according to schedule. Let is run without a hitch. But, the run doesn't always happen on the track. It doesn't happen on even surface that's easy on old joints and weary feet.  Sometimes it takes place on a trail.  The footing is rocky and there are roots that grow from the ground like hands placed specifically to trip you. But if you take a moment to look at the scenery, you'll find there's a heck of a lot more to life than perfection.
02/02 Direct Link
Most days I miss my horse. I miss him so much that the ache in my chest blurs my vision and I have to not move, not breath, not think until the sensation dissipates.  
But then there are days like today.
Days I step outside and the cold air bites my nose. The wind whips my hair and I fear it might turn to dreadlocks if I don't get to class fast enough. Days I feel as though I might blow away with the leaves.
I don't miss him on days like this; leaves are a horse's worst nightmare.
02/03 Direct Link
Why do we call it love sick?  As if love is some disease that can be easily caught during flu season. Love is more than coming down with the common cold. 
Why is it frowned upon to be love sick? Falling in love is the most promoted idea in our modern culture. Between the "happily ever after" Disney films and chick flicks, why should it be unacceptable to pine after one you hold so dear?
Whoever coined "love sick" was right about one thing: when your lover is gone, dizziness conquers and you ache to embrace them.
02/04 Direct Link
I wake to a man standing over me. I smile at him.... wait. We moved yesterday. My man is hundreds of miles away. This man is holding what... a pool floaty?
No, I think, no, no, no. How can this be happening?
He leans closer. I can feel his beard through his ski mask.  
"Don't. I hate it when they scream."
So, I scream. Quietly, then louder. "Mom! Dad! Help! There's a man in here!"
He shoves the floaty in my mouth. I punch, kick, and scratch until he is on the ground.
I am no man's prize. 
02/05 Direct Link
Where is home for you? I never know how to answer this question. I have four places I consider home, but they are also not home.  
To me, you are home.
We could live in a cardboard box or a studio apartment. You are home.
The way I fit perfectly in the space between your arm and your chest. The way we tag team cooking dinner. The way we support each other even when we're angry at each other. 
Your musky scent brings me comfort.
The twinkle in your eyes when you smile and whisper: "I love you."
02/06 Direct Link
Track meets are a funny business.
They're like horse shows, but less chaotic. There's a safer feel to it--even if I get trampled, at least it'll be by sprinters and not horses (though similar in build).
Everyone has their own pre-race rituals. Some kneel and utter a prayer. Others have to stretch and do yoga before they can race. Some must jump up and down precisely three times before lowering onto the starting block.
Yet, there is not always time for these. Sometimes mistakes happen and you have minutes to prepare. 
These are often the best races.
02/07 Direct Link
"I love you," he says. "You are my entire happiness."
Being a people pleaser, one of my favorite hobbies is making people happy.  But this statement gives me pause.
I should not, nor do I wish to be, the entirety of someone's happiness. It's not a healthy relationship for one person to be so completely dependent upon the other.
"No."
"What do you mean no?" This was clearly not the response he was hoping for.
"I can't be responsible for your happiness.  No one can except you. You have to find something besides me that make you happy."
02/08 Direct Link
She glides out onto the damp bridge. Her fingertips trail along the wooden railing and it moistens the tip of her sleeve. She hugs her arm close to her chest. It's not her sleeve, but his. His musky aftershave is already fading and, over the shouting of the fall, she can still hear his voice in her ear, see his lips forming her name.
 
Cassandra.

But it's not his mouth; it's the cave entrance. And it's not her name, but the sound of gallons of water crashing into a still pool. It's akin to two vehicles colliding head on.
02/09 Direct Link
They say the real world sucks. You have to worry about paying bills and getting a job to pay them. You've got to be independent.
And yet, I can't help myself from wishing I were already there. A year and a few months from now I will have graduated college and be "in the real world."
Whatever that means. I pay bills now. Maybe not monthly, but I have to pay for college. I have to pay in homework and lost hours of sleep.
I have to pay in restrictions to my freedom because of the stupidity of my peers.
02/10 Direct Link
I make the world's best banana bread muffins.
This is fact, not braggary. It's a recipe my dad and I used to make together. Actually, it was one of the first things I had ever baked. See, my dad bakes everything from bread to his own pizza dough to the richest chocolate cake I've ever tasted.
Anyway, he taught me this recipe. It's actually a rather generic one, but it's the extra stuff he tosses in--I'll keep those secret--that makes this recipe so great. 
On sad days, I whip up Dad's muffins in a bowl of happiness.
02/11 Direct Link
So much can happen in a mere five seconds.
Words of hate can be spewed, relationships can be severed, bones can rupture, ear drums can shatter, lives can catch fire, opportunities can come screeching to a halt, and life can extinguish in the blink of an eye. 
Five seconds is all it takes for a life to derail and track in the opposite direction.
I've experienced countless moments like this. Leaving for college. Buying my first, and second, horse. Telling my boyfriend I love him. Studying in England. Traveling the world, losing my way, and finding myself.
02/12 Direct Link
The funny thing, is that I was a confident writer before I took three creative writing classes simultaneously. I used to write carefreely. Without feeling self-conscious. Without pressure. Without the crushing burden of overthinking each word that I type. 
 
Is this word adequate? No, not that word! Adverbs are the devil reincarnate. Spat, inquired, no. Reduce it to said. Present tense? So unprofessional. Past tense is the only way to go.
 
I despise the way that the world of writing I have been introduced to has morphed from my own personal paradise into the highway to hell.
02/13 Direct Link

Mike leaned back against the rough bark, letting the rough pattern imprint itself into his skin through his thin T-shirt. Cara ran her petite fingers over weather worn initials carved into the tree's trunk. The way she tucked her dark hair behind her ear and kicked her legs fearlessly over the open air hurled Mike fifteen years into the past. Smuggling Dad's pocketknife from the garage and pulling his little sister into the tree after him. Even after hearing that initials in trees were usually reserved for couples in love, Nikki insisted on leaving her mark on the world.

02/14 Direct Link
Mike lunged for the shutting silver teeth of the elevator, squeezing through them before it ascended.  Only one other passenger was aboard this ride and the combination of her colorful skin and deep, infinite eyes were transfixing—even more so when she flashed a set of perfectly aligned pearls framed by Cupid’s burgundy bow at him.  He had seen this girl before and it was entirely possible that her parents also worked in the building.   Minutes later, when Mother inquired why he was in such a good mood, Mike just hoped that he didn’t have lipstick smears on his neck.
02/15 Direct Link
Mike’s head shuddered in declination.  His friend popped open the door to his car—a car so beat up that each piece was a different shade of blue.  His friend was a good driver, but that wasn’t the problem.  The problem was that Mike kept picturing the spinning wheels, the skidding vehicle, the haunting shriek of the little girl skipping from her brother.  He clenched his fist so that the bejeweled bobby pin practically impaled his palm—Nikki had given it to Mike just before the accident; save the nightmares, it was the only thing he had left of her. 
02/16 Direct Link
Sleepless Nights Part 1
There are times when I miss England so much that my chest hurts, my heart throbs as I recall the emeralds stretching across fields and the charity shops on every corner. The mist brushes my cheeks with crisp color and attacks my hood. The path along the river coated with leaves like a layer of scum atop a still pond.  The freedom--there are no adventuring restrictions in the heart of the UK. The drafty Victorian house, scent of baking biscuits, and the consistent bubbling of the tea-kettle--ready to be the next person's cuppa.
02/17 Direct Link
Sleepless Nights Part 2
And yet, there are times when I fall asleep first.  When he's still in the living room. When I listen to music before I drift off and wake, frantic, in another world. I am transported to the past by the melody of the song that accompanied me through all of my travels. The past was a lonely time. I would reach out in the early morning light and grasp nothing more than hostel bed's railing. But now, when I shudder in empty remembrance, his hand closes around mine and I clutch it like a life-life.
02/18 Direct Link
The snow crashes upon the ground, conquering everything in its wake. Nothing is safe from the explosion of ice crawling about the earth like a parasite.  Not cars, nor trees, nor streets. If it is allowed to continue its reign of terror, everything will turn to nothing. Life as we know it will cease to exist. We will be buried in our homes.  If we leave, we will be exposed to the virus it has unleashed--a chill that sucks liquid from our eyes and noses, then freezes it to our faces. Will we be able to defeat it?
02/19 Direct Link
When I was a child, I loved snow. The possibility of a lazy day at home drinking cinnamon hot chocolate with marshmallows.  Bundling up any exposed skin and sledding down the dusted slopes. Tying a sled to our shaggy black dog that, in my mind, was an Alaskan husky for the day. Building rotund people and wriggling about in some semblance of an angel. The pins and needles licking my fingers despite the waterproof gloves. The shriek of distress that follows not only the crash of the sled, but also the snow sneaking through the folds of my clothes.
02/20 Direct Link
I am a wanderer. My soul obeys the wind like a catching sail--always unsure which direction it will take me. 
 
I am the stray cat standing outside the doorway--the house is tinted in a warm, orange hue and yet I cannot help but feel the ground in between my hind toes. I cannot help but roll in a patch of grass. 
 
Out there, I am free to roam--free to explore--and I am tethered to no one. Inside awaits what is probably a nice, loving family, but as an arm reaches for me, I retreat--already smothered.
02/21 Direct Link
I am the pestering cat that meows at either side of the wooden door.

There is no greener grass, only a painting of rolling hills on one side and a mirage of a groomed lawn on the other. When I am purring in my human's warm embrace, my mind wanders to catching butterflies and bathing in dirt. And yet, as I explore the yard, my food bowl calls out to me. Of the squishy bed I steal from my humans.
  
My claws penetrate that which separates the two worlds.
 
What if there were no door?
02/22 Direct Link
Why must I demand such perfection?
Of myself, of my boyfriend, of the world?
I don't have to be perfectly on time to everything.
I don't have to give 110% on every assignment.
I don't have to lose that hour of sleep because I must ensure total perfection of my essay.
Or have the perfect body with a thigh gap. Or cook the perfect dinner. Or have the perfect shampoo. Or car. Or zit-free face.
Not everything in the universe is going to be perfect. 
The moment you stop forcing perfection is the moment your life can begin.
02/23 Direct Link
As I hunch over my laptop, I can feel the knots forming in my shoulder blades. There is such tension in my head it drums a steady beat as I concentrate. The lack of time does nothing to calm my nerves. 
I'm wasting time. If I can't think of anything, then I'm just wasting time that could be spent elsewhere. I could be sleeping or laughing with friends, or watching the end of House of Cards, or running a few miles, or--
but none of that matters. What matters is that I am overthinking again. Not everything demands perfection.
02/24 Direct Link
Even as I run, I feel as though my legs are weighted down with chains of anxiety, demands of perfection, the need to perform better than last time.
It's like one of those gut-wrenching dreams. The one where you're being chased, but your legs have disappeared or turn to stone. Either way, they won't move and you will find yourself in the hands of a serial killer. At least, until you wake up.
But this isn't a dream. No, I'm not in danger of being sliced to pieces, but as my opponent grows distant, I know I have failed.
02/25 Direct Link
Things I have lost:
-a sweater in the Seattle
-a water bottle in Dublin
-a scarf in the Venice airport
-3 friends and a boyfriend when my mother moved me from my elementary school
-10 lbs during a particularly perfectionist summer
-40 pounds because of a Internet mistake
-my dignity when texted the bastard again
-my confidence when I was thrown into a fence by my horse
-a chunk of flesh from a piranha masquerading as a horse.
-thousands of dollars to compete doing something that I love.
-the need to regret losing that which did not serve me
02/26 Direct Link
Things I have found:
-$20 in the street
-a wooden tote for my brushes
-coffee
-British tea and biscuits
-alcohol
-the best kind of Dad
-vegetables
-the dolls that I originally used to tell stories
-running--not fast or slow, just running
-my voice
-5lbs of muscle from joining track
-Pokemon and Legend of Zelda games
-a little black dress
-a love of baking
-a wish to travel the world
-multivitamins 
-my great-aunt's wedding band that is exactly my size
-the ability to love
-jeans that fit just right
-85,000 words of a novel
-my other half.
02/27 Direct Link
Your arms encircle me, your silky skin stroking mine like the flames of a gentle fire.
My heart clenches--I cannot believe how stupid I had been. I blamed my own anger and my own depression on you. I needed everything to be perfect--my essay, my race, my tutoring, myself, and worst of all you. 
But perfection is not the goal. It is not an essential game player.
Life is the goal and life is full of bumps and imperfections.
Your heart thumps against my ear, laid across your strong chest.
And you are my favorite imperfection. 
02/28 Direct Link
Are you happy?
This is our anchor question. Our way of insuring that the engine doesn't need more oil.
A week ago I was terrified of you asking me this. I wouldn't have been able to say yes. 
My own unhappiness was clouding our relationship, hanging over my head. You were not, and are not, the problem. I blamed you because it was easier than blaming myself. Than seeing the world for what it actually was. Than seeing me for who I actually am.
But I am finished.
You aren't why I am happy, but you definitely contribute.