An Open Letter to My Anxiety

Dear Anxiety,

You know, our relationship has always been a funny one. For a long time, I believed that you were all in my head. I mean, after all, you are; but that doesn’t make you any less real.

We’ve had a rocky relationship the whole time I’ve known you, and how long has it been now? 2 years? 5 years? Or perhaps, have you been around since the day I could form a conscious thought?

I think you have been.

You hid from me for a long time though. But one day you just decided: I’m going to make Carole notice me, and I’m going to make her life an absolute hell.

The funny thing is you did it in a way that made me feel like I was going crazy. It was small things at first, like overthinking and overanalyzing. Your voice was quiet, discreet, and small. You snuck into my head, whispering softly in my ear.

“Did you lock the door?”

I did. I did every time. But I’d think about it all day. What if I was responsible for someone robbing my family? What if they killed someone who was at home?

Why didn’t I realize how irrational you were being?

“Why did you say that? They probably hate you now. Everyone hates you.”

You made me afraid to talk to anyone. You scared me into thinking I was pathetic and that no one would ever like me.

You were wrong. So very wrong. But I couldn’t see that. I couldn’t hear anyone telling me otherwise. You told me that they were lying and that the truth was written all over everyone’s actions.

You lied to me.

And you didn’t stop there. You crept into every part of my life, filling in the ripples of my brain and flooding my veins with fear and irrationality. You took hold of my perfectionism and pushed me to work myself half to death. You promised I would feel better if I just did everything right. That people would love me more if I got good grades, if I looked a certain way, if I was nice.

“You’ll never be enough Carole.”

But I’m not perfect, and I never could be.

When I noticed you, things got worse. Did I offend you by discovering you hiding out in my brain? When I tried to evict you, did it hurt your ego? Did it hurt you that I didn’t want you anymore? Were you going to be lonely without me?

For a long time, you’ve ruined my life. You kept me awake at night, staring at the ceiling, making me relive my day over and over again, begging me to listen and critiquing everything I said and did. I remember feeling so lifeless. The hazy yellow light from the lamp post outside my window would streak through the shutters and onto my face, right into my eyes, but all I could see was darkness.

I remember closing my eyes and seeing a warped reality. I remember you asking me why I was such a failure and why was I like this? 

I didn’t have an answer.

You made me feel like I had nowhere to go. You would wake me up with a tight grip around my throat, taking a hammer to my heart, and laughing while my lungs screamed and screamed.

But you’re a smooth talker Anxiety. I would beg you, I pleaded with you to stop. I walked ditches into the floor, I tapped my fingers against the walls until my nails hurt, I repeated to myself over and over again to “stop stop stop”, and you told me that this was all my fault. You weren’t doing anything to me.

And I believed you for so long.

I believed you when I would sit quietly and my mind would seize up with dread for no reason at all. I believed you when you convinced me I would die if I left my bed in the morning. I believed you when you pumped my lungs until I was heaving from hyperventilating. I believed you when I was scrambling to hide tears with my shirtsleeves.

And you know, sometimes I still believe you. There are weeks when you handcuff me by the arm and tag along with me all day. There are days when you set up shop in my skull and hand out doubt, fear, and tears to my naive brain. There are hours when you sit beside me on the floor while I cry and try to convince me everything is my fault in that sick twisted way of yours. There are minutes and moments I can never get back because all of my focus was on you.

But you are no friend to me, Anxiety. That much I’ve known for a long time. I don’t think I can ever fully let you go, and you know this very well. So for now, we have to live with each other, fighting to occupy this brain of mine. But you don’t control me. You’ve taken the reigns from me enough times, and I know there will be days when you grab them from my hands when I least expect it. But I am not done fighting with you. You will not wear me down. The thing is Anxiety, you underestimate just how strong I am.

And that was your first mistake.

Love,

Carole Lynn

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The Day After – A Short Written Piece

The Day After

By Carole Palattao

She sat, the next day, at the kitchen table. The light whispered through the tissue paper curtains, while silence hummed in her ears. The cold morning air tickled the tip of her nose, as she sipped on warm milk and ate cereal out of a little white bowl. It was strange, she thought, how normal everything felt, there was so much noise in her heart but she couldn’t make a sound. The fridge creaked before beginning to whine, and she watched her cheerios float as they tried to sing along. How odd, to notice all the small things, she’d felt blind to for so long.

There was only so much time she could spend in the kitchen. Her stomach was in knots, and everything was cardboard. She pushed away from the table, and the thin curtains shivered. She gathered her things, shuffling quietly across the creaky wooden floor, slipped on her shoes and was out the door. Outside the air was crisper and biting, but she inhaled deeply and the taste was delightful. Each step she took felt less and less real, until she was walking on clouds, with the sun at her heels.

In this world she created, there was no pain; just sunlight and fluffy white clouds with no rain. She wished she could stay here forever. He had been her happy place, or one of them at least. But now with him gone, she felt somewhat incomplete. She knew she’d be fine without him, but it was hard to say at that time. So she kept walking and walking, trying to put a spring in her step. She remembered memory upon memory because that’s what she did best. Of sweet whispered words, and kisses in the dark. All those things she remembered, like they were just yesterday. And suddenly, they were all whisked away. What once was a memory for her heart to hold dear, her brain snatched them away to turn them into something sad and surreal. Her head felt like it was spinning, like taking a shot in the dark and she prayed and she prayed but Lord, it didn’t stop.

And she realized then she was halfway down the street, toward the bus stop of new faces she’d meet. She wondered if people would see her puffy swollen eyes, or her wobbly steps, or the tears that she’d cried. But to just anyone she was a normal girl, swallowed in a sweater of her favourite colour like she could conquer the world. But really, the rug had been ripped from right under her feet.

But these strangers didn’t know, so she gave them a smile. She said hi to the bus driver and looked happy for a while. But her heart was still beating like it belonged to somebody else. She was wondering how long it would take to have it all to herself.


 

Hi all! It’s been a while since I’ve been on this lil blog of mine. This is a piece I wrote about 3 weeks back, and I hope you enjoy it. It’s got some rhyming in it, but it’s not consistent LOL. It’s also a bit awkwardly paced, but that’s okay! Let me know what you think!

– Carole

One Word at a Time

I am a writer. I wouldn’t be writing this blog if I weren’t a writer. It amazes me all the time how beautiful language is. Words can be a beautiful medium for art, and tapping into the soul we keep carefully hidden away from anyone else.

Beginning in November of 2015, I started composing “microfictions”. These are little stories, or little tidbits of stories. I challenged myself that any microfiction I wrote must fit the character parameters of twitter (140 characters or less). Therefore, twitter has mostly been my means of sharing microfiction, until now, when I decided to go through my archive and pull them all out.

It’s amazing to me, to see what I’ve written in the past few months. Some of them I clearly remember why I wrote them, some I don’t. Some are based on personal experiences/emotions, some are completely pulled from my imagination. In all, I’ve written about 70 microfictions, though I’ve tapered off in the past few months. Writing this blog post has helped bring back my desire to keep writing them.

Look for inspiration all around you. It’s there, waiting for you to capture the moment on paper forever. I challenge everyone to slow down and write sometimes. It’s extremely therapeutic for the soul. I love it.

You don’t need to write a novel to write. Microfiction is proof enough of that. Hopefully some of mine reach you.

Out of the 70 microfictions I’ve written, I’ve narrowed it down to a few I love the most.

If you’d like, comment your favourites down below, or try writing your own!

Microfictions by Carole P.

1. “Ghosts rattle my windows, hoping to find a home for their lost souls. Or maybe that’s just the wind.” Microfiction (19)
8:55 PM – 12 Nov 2015

2. “Power is in numbers, but they can’t stand against rapid fire. Cold souls prevent the listless from the decrescendo.” Microfiction (19)
11:04 AM – 13 Nov 2015

3. “The echo of guns replaced by candles as we sizzle the gunpowder with tears. But we are a minute too late.” Microfiction (21) #ParisAttacks
5:44 PM – 13 Nov 2015

4. “Heavy hearts lay on the ground of those lost, weeping on the tombstones. Can you hear the people crying?” Microfiction (19) #ParisAttacks
6:03 PM – 13 Nov 2015

5. “Deep cries are never found, lost to shallow laughs. People solely scratch the surface, hoping not to break their nails.” Microfiction (20)
10:13 AM – 18 Nov 2015

6. “Disappointment seeds in my bones, sprouting doubt and intoxicating anxiety. My mind and eyes won’t stop watering weeds.” Microfiction (18)
7:34 PM – 18 Nov 2015

7. “The mirror is a crystal we stare into to find value. We are so narrow sighted, we miss the light bending into rainbows.” Microfiction (23)
10:32 PM – 19 Nov 2015

8. “One day I want to look into your eyes to see an eternity of loneliness recede like an ocean wave.” Microfiction (20)
10:46 PM – 19 Nov 2015

9. “The butterfly’s wings are shattered with rain. But once the butterfly is ready to fly again, she is too afraid to try.” Microfiction (22)
8:12 AM – 21 Nov 2015

10. “One day someone will write love on her arms, the curve of her back, at the base of her spine, but for now, she waits.” Microfiction (25)
10:33 PM – 28 Nov 2015

11. “The fluorescent sun drowns me in golden syrup. I taste the honey on my lips, and it reminds me I’m human.” Microfiction (21)
1:29 PM – November 29 2015

12. “Spin me round until I forget how much it hurts, the world is a blur, and your eyes anchor me to sanity.” Microfiction (22)
12:28 PM – 1 Dec 2015

13. “Hazy eyes are the looking glass into a muddled soul, full of fog and trying to see.” Microfiction (17)
4:59 PM – 4 Dec 2015

14. “He was music; a vibrant crescendo of sound and overwhelming dramatics. And I was so so lost in the melody.” Microfiction (20)
7:18 PM – 24 Dec 2015

15. “Frosted mirrors crystallize my sight, but hot tears burn a hole through fog, when I try and look for you in myself.” Microfiction (22)
8:17 PM – 28 Dec 2015

16. “Mr. Puppet Master I’m tired of this all. Please take away my heart and burn it with my soul.” Microfiction (19)
2:49 PM – 5 Jan 2016

17. “You’re a beautiful disaster that begs to me to keep breathing for you, but I’m suffocating in this dead air.” Microfiction (20)
11:04 AM – 19 Jan 2016

18. “Loving you was a cumulus cloud. But I was blind to the cumulating storm, until the lightning struck me.” Microfiction (19)
5:18 PM – 25 Jan 2016

19. “Wash me away in the sea until I sink into the shipwrecks. Maybe then, I won’t feel anymore.” Microfiction (18)
10:44 PM – 27 Jan 2016

20. “Each exhale expels a cloud of life from my lips. Even in the dead of winter, thank God I’m alive.” Microfiction (20)
2:04 PM – 29 Jan 2016

21. “Because she was a china doll put on a pedestal. Envy knocked her down and she shattered. But no one spoke up for her.” Microfiction (24)
8:40 PM – 2 Feb 2016

22. “Yesterday you bled into my dreams, and I woke up wishing that blood was dripping from my fingers.” Microfiction (18)
10:09 PM – 10 Feb 2016

23. “On a midnight walk on the 14th night, did you stop once to look at the stars? Did you see me in the constellations?” Microfiction (24)
4:42 PM – 16 Feb 2016

24. “This is a fairytale that’s turned into a nightmare. Ink spilled on our pages, trying to rewrite our happy ending.” Microfiction (20)
9:38 PM – 19 Feb 2016

25. “Despite believing I’ve washed you off my hands, I still find your name written in the lines of my palms.” Microfiction (20)
6:58 PM – 1 Apr 2016

26. “The scariest thing was looking out the stormy window to find it was always sunny.” Microfiction (15)
9:24 PM – 4 Apr 2016

27. “Maybe all along I was just the pawn on the chess board.” Microfiction (12)
7:59 PM – 14 Apr 2016

28. “I’m afraid you’ll find your way back in my head. I know you’ll haunt my dreams tonight.” Microfiction (17)
9:59 PM – 14 Apr 2016

29. “Because you are a treasure, buried for safe keeping, you forgot where your splendour is hiding.” Microfiction (16)
10:23 PM – 8 May 2016

30. “When we met, I could finally hear the music. I dread the day the world will one day fall silent.” Microfiction (20)
11:05 AM – 10 May 2016

31. “Maybe if I cry, the nightmares will purge from my eyes, and I’ll have dreams tonight.” Microfiction (16)
12:18 AM – 12 Jun 2016

32. “Hold on tight and don’t let me go. I want to stay in our Polaroid moment forever.” Microfiction (17)
9:19 PM – 24 Jun 2016

Language is such a beautiful, complex art that even it cannot be used to truly express the fullness of storytelling.
– Carole