I Used to Laugh at the People Who Watched Birds
Exhaustion is real. The chronic kind that doesn’t seem to dissipate with sleep, the kind that lingers beneath my exterior that is bubbly, caffeinated delirium.
I remember everything. I don’t remember anything. Every other heartbeat contradicts the one that came before it, challenging my status as a living being, calling into question everything that composes the little thing I call reality.
Sometimes, the past doesn’t feel real; sometimes, the present is nothing but autopilot in gift wrap with a bow, watching myself go through the motions like I’m watching me, the movie.
What a story…if any of it really happened.
I doubt myself until I doubt the spelling of the very word, asking why a silent b feels more freedom to take up space than I do to breathe. My breathing feels heavy. I stress about the feeling until my blood pressure is the real cause for alarm.
Just stop being stressed.
As a child, I was the one to look out the window on long drives, getting lost in the fabric of blurry trees for hours at a time, writing my own stories. Still, I laughed at the people who watched birds. I thought them hilarious.
When I was younger, I had the kind of potential that other people said would take me places. I was smart in a past life. I can still hear my father asking me what my summer job at a nature camp would accomplish.
Um, peace, dad.
But I was named for hope, not peace, and he had hopes for me. A doctor or an engineer, so the observation of fauna of any variety was clearly off the table.
Now, me, myself, and I are off the table. All the way off.
In kindergarten, our teachers asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up.
A 21-year-old divorcee…said no one, ever.
I think I wanted a farm, back then. Aside from denying the pain that I was feeling, I wasn’t that different from most kids. At seven, I believed in the magical power of my model horses.
At ten, I wanted to be a veterinarian, just like all the other girls. I also wanted to pet dolphins and marry my…