I am nothing without you

Today I came to the rather amusing realization that many of my best pieces of writing are the products of premenstrual emotional instability. It sounds ridiculous and absurd, I know, and probably makes the immature and/or ovary-less readers (the two may or may not fall within the same category - my research has been inconclusive) uncomfortable, but it is the gosh-darn truth. I cannot write unless I am full of feelings, and I certainly cannot write goodly unless these feelings have filled me to the point where they have piled above my heart, spilled through my shoulders, and found their way down my arms to the tips of my pen-bearing fingers. Alcohol, I admit, has a way of sparking inspiration (beer the humorous and witty, wine the sentimental and teary), but the best cure for writer's block is by far...wait for it...out-of-whack hormones.

But alas, while it is indeed that time of month, my rude visitor has brought no passions to my heart's surface, only Advil-begging, can-I-curl-up-in-my-bed-and-die, why-wasn't-I-born-a-boy cramps. And so I sit here at 4:00 am, listening to the soundtrack of Breakfast at Tiffany's (for those who understand the reference in my new blog layout, I give you my heart - unless you are a wild thing!), trying with no avail to summon the world of Holly Golightly, wretchedly hoping to be inspired the way Paul Varjak was. Feed me, feed me, I beg out my dark windows. Feed me your pain, your love, let me drink your tears and kiss your smiles. What are the things that you find most beautiful? I want to know so that I can be just that. Tell me your dreams - no, tell me your secrets! The latter tends to be more interesting, though in my own pathetic heart the two hide within the same chamber. Let me swallow your pills, let me take your bullet, please understand I want to walk in your high heels, your business shoes, your sandals, your sneakers! I am not asking for much, I am just bored and uninspired and wondering why I find slender fingers and impeccable grammar to be attractive qualities in men, or if it was wrong of me to pour only half a glass of milk because I was too lazy to throw the carton out, which I'd have to do if I finished it. A day in your life, a piece of your strife, that is all I want, really - if an alcoholic asked for an innocent Irish coffee, you'd give it to him, wouldn't you, oh wouldn't you?

For the longest time

"Oh my God, it's happening!" The phrase we've all come to know so well, has suddenly turned into "Oh my God, it's happened." I can't believe that it's been ten weeks since we first arrived at Cornell. It seems like just yesterday when we were building towers out of uncooked spaghetti and sharing first week experiences about leaving the Nitrogen tank open or dropping glass on the floor. The first weekend here was probably one of the loneliest of my life, isolated in my single room up on the fifth floor, but that all changed when I met the rest of the CCMR REU students. I ended up becoming friends with the most incredible group of people - it truly amazes me how so many perfect, kind, intelligent, hilarious, good-hearted people could have existed together in this small town all summer without Ithaca simply exploding from the overwhelming awesomeness. Watching everyone's final presentations made me proud to have known each one of you, to have shared in the experience of doing real science while also having a kick-ass time out of the lab. I feel blessed and lucky for all the experiences I've had this summer and can only hope that the memories we created are enough to last me until the next time we meet again.

Goodbye Cornell, and goodbye friends - thank you for a spectacular summer!

We look good.

Diary of a misunderstood patient

"Your call has been forwarded to an automated voice messaging system." Sometimes when I can't stand being alone I try to pick up words in the whirring of the ceiling fan, the only other thing in this white, empty room that appears to be alive. I am startled by the way my shadow falls on the wall, towering above my own self. I form a little cave with my bed covers and sit in them silently, listening. Unfamiliar sounds startle me and strange lights make me uneasy. I grow very still when I hear voices: I am fascinated by the conversation, but terrified of the people. I imagine myself unzipping my skin and stepping out of who I am. Tomorrow will be better, I think, or worse.

I have been reading Bukowski lately, and some Dickinson, Poe, Hemingway. I admire how their words make tragedy beautiful. My tragedies remain tragedies. Sometimes I picture your death, pretend I was standing right there, memorizing the details of an event that I sometimes still refuse to believe ever happened. There was this one day when I looked out the window and saw a single, lonely cloud floating by itself in the blue, blue sky. I looked away, for the briefest of moments, but when my gaze returned out the window, my lovely little cloud had already vanished from sight. I don't wear seatbelts anymore because yours never saved you anyways.

I don't have visitors very often, but today I had a visitor from the past. What is the worst thing you've ever done? I keep asking myself this question, as if it will define me. I keep asking others this question, hoping their sins are worse than mine. My feet cannot touch the floor, I am flailing, and my eyes are blurred by the waves of the ocean, or maybe they are just my tears. I cannot eloquently communicate what I want to say, so I will just memorize your words, each one, with impeccable accuracy, until someday my vocabulary can describe this blood-red tangle of synapses and neurons that the doctors will probably deem "crazy."

*This is a mostly fictional piece, written from the point of view of an institutionalized patient. I don't claim to know what it would be like it all; I was just thinking about it idly and started writing, and this is what came out.