Sunlight crawls its way through the cracks in the rocks of the ceiling of the dim alcove. The scent of mud and moss wafts through the air and nips her face when a gust of wind latches on and crawls in with the sunlight. The wet walls are claustrophobic, and the space stuffed with menacing stalagmites conjoined with stalactites.

Her cascading cocoa hair is stuck, sopping with cave residue to her bare back. Her skin glistens with the dew of the morning. Soft mud minerals seep between her toes and wrap around her feet.

Dried mud dots the underneath of her chipped candy apple red nails.

Her eyelashes are holding back the droplets that are desperately trying to fall from her once sparkling eyes. She had a spark. How did she let that fade? How did she find herself here, farthest from where she wants to be? Alone, left with herself to be the only one to find a solution?




The residue from the ceiling lands on her shoulder. It teeters on the edge, unsure of where it wants to go. It has to make a decision. It can’t stay there, on the precipice of the shoulder, forever.

It could evaporate.

The residue droplet takes a deep breath and rolls. Down her shoulder, down her back, down her hip, down to the floor. A droplet in a race to the finish line against itself.

A shiver races down her spine and escapes through her feet. She needs to get up. She needs to get out of here. She doesn’t know what she is doing or where she is going.

But sometimes, the thing needed is to just go.

Her alabaster fingers close into a tight fist.

Her palm is spread wide open.

She squeezes her eyes tighter than she ever has before.

And then she opens them.

There’s an opening.

And she runs.

A Lyric in a Song

In high school, I was an athlete. I chose to be a three-sport varsity athlete since freshman year, resulting in my sacrifice of other things. Tennis, Fencing, Badminton. Nevertheless, I pursued science research, the literary magazine, the school newspaper and photography. I worked with autistic kids. What didn’t I do?

Senior year, I joined a class. Stages. No, Stages was more than a class. It was a group of people I would have never talked to, never bothered with. Why not? Well, we were from different social scenes, different crowds. Some people were cooler than I was- why would they bother with me? But Stages managed to do something no other class I’d ever taken had done. Stages made us all equal. Together, we fought like siblings for a year to create a musical from scratch. The monologues, the score, the everything: we did it.

The show was called Rock Bottom, about a man and his daughter who went into witness protection to hide from a mobster who was coming after them. There was one character, one song, that I’ve realized still sticks with me, in the back of my head anywhere I seem to go. It was one of taking chances. Empathizing in a tough situation. Saying, “I’ve been there. I’ve been you.” Saying that the person being sung to shouldn’t be afraid and that if they don’t try, “You miss all of the shots you don’t take.”

Lately, it feels like my life has gone through the wringer. I’ve lost loves, lost friends, lost some hope along the way. But in the back of my head, I can’t help but remember that song. The message. Keep trying, because you miss all of the shots you don’t take. Never would I have thought that I would be here, thinking about this right now, when it feels like there’s nothing left. But in reality, there is. There is so much to be grateful for.

Right now, I’m in a position where I have everything and absolutely nothing at the same time. How can that be? Money can buy you anything but the most important thing in the world. Money cannot buy happiness. Would you rather be rich and alone or poor and happy? I ask myself this question every day. Rational me would probably say rich and alone. I could do good things and try to make everyone around me happy. But the idealist within me would say poor and happy. But in reality, can someone be truly happy without some sort of monetary source in this day and age?

Regardless, it’s weird to have everything someone could want or potentially have it within reach but feel like you have nothing at the same time. Watching other people go on in life without you, making bonds with each other, forgetting you exist. Other people doing the things that you wish you could do- if you were only healthy enough.

But you see, there’s a book. It’s called A New Normal. It was written by a young girl when she felt like she had nobody and no guidance in life. She decided that no child should feel that way, the way that she felt. So, she took her mind, her words, and created something. A something she wished that she had when she was in the loneliness she felt. But she took a shot at something she didn’t know the outcome of. That girl, that’s someone I want to be.

I’ve decided. To be that girl, the girl who I was in the past, I need to stop overthinking. I need to do. Go after what I want to make into a reality. When someone says I cannot do it, find a way around that. Because if not, I’d be missing all of the shots I didn’t take. And me, now, I don’t want to be a girl who doesn’t try. Because if you don’t try, don’t fight, you’ll never know.

So, if you know me, you know who I am and what I’ve gone through. And now’s my chance to turn things around and little by little make things a bit better. Because, this is my rock bottom and now I’m digging my way up and out.

A lyric in a song once read,

you         miss          all             of         the        shots       you        don’t            take.





I’m talking to a beta fish. It’s the wee hours of the morning, and here I am, talking to a scarlet scaled beta fish. His name is Greg. He swims in circles around his highlighter yellow submarine and through his mini forest of navy and carnation colored artificial plants. He seems content in his home. He lives life in circumlocution, every single day the same cycle.

Do I live a life of circumlocution?

I wake up. Limbs blindly grab at my nightstand for the bottles that hold my saviors. I pour the cocktail into my hand, toss them into my mouth, cock my head back with a sip of water and swallow robotically. The same limbs peel heavy comforters off of other limbs and slowly I slip to the floor. I pause for a moment, sitting on the powderpuff pink carpet or I bolt straight to the bathroom.

Something seems to hold my cascading locks back when the contents of my insides are poured into the toilet, my alabaster hand gripping to the handicap bar in the bathroom as if my life depends on it. By now, from hanging my head over for so long, my mobility has decreased. I waddle to grab my toothbrush, towel, contacts and face wash, hobbling to get back to the sink.

In a numb haze, I do what must be done. Transform myself each morning into a being that looks perfectly fine. Normal. Healthy even. Life is a thing to be lived in a disguise, masking the true horrors that lie beneath the surface of every scarred individual. We all have our stories, our pasts that have molded us into who we are today.

Are the people that we are, the people that we have become, people who we want to be? Is there a single person who can look in the mirror and honestly say they are content with who they are and the choices they’ve made to be who they are to this day? I know I can’t do that.

I’ve made mistakes- we all have. There’s always going to be the could have, should have, would have. The what-ifs. The way we wished we could have changed things. The way that if one decision was different, life would be altered within an instant.

Each morning, I look in the mirror at the sopping wet face of a girl who lives her life in circumlocution and who can do nothing about it. Or can she? Does she chose to do nothing about it? Does she live her life wishing and wanting that she didn’t do what she’s done? That she could’ve taken other paths and made other choices?

But if she’d done that, she wouldn’t be her. She’d be someone else. She wouldn’t exist.

That she, that me, sits here, pondering a life of redundancy to a beta fish. Because right now, the only one who’s awake to listen, is him.



Do you know?

Hello again. I apologize for my distance, a lot has happened. Sorry to disappoint but, for this we’re going to take a teeny tiny break from talking about E (you’ll just have to wait and see- spoiler alert: it’s an ending turned sorta kinda tragic) Anyhow, so, let’s have a little chat. How many of you know about invisible illnesses? Hm? Anyone? No, I’m not talking mental illnesses.

I’m talking medically legitimate diseases that are proven via procedures, countless appointments and of course the pricks and prods of bloodwork. The kinds when you look at a person, they look absolutely fine. I’m talking specifically, autoimmune diseases. Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Celiac disease…all of which, well, I was diagnosed with approximately seven years ago (it all started with Celiac at seven years old which to put in context, I would say I’ve been gluten free probably thirteen years).

Now by this point, you’re either thinking woah holy crap how does this girl live or okay I care why or uh um alright, what now? Well. Hi. Let’s do a little bit of a crash course.

Let’s assume for a second that, you know absolutely nothing whatsoever. Crohn’s disease and UC are underneath the umbrella of a condition called IBD, inflammatory bowel syndrome. IBD is a MUCH more serious condition that commonly mistaken IBS. IBD requires countless medications, procedures, dangerous treatments, and hospital stays. Overall, IBD has to do with, you guessed it, an inflammatory condition affecting bowel, also known as anywhere from the esophagus to the rectum is inflamed and lined with ulcers.

Sounds painful right? It is. Now, you see me writing this is simply educational purposes.

But, in a casual way, because quite frankly, when you don’t look sick, people think you’re fine.

There’s no civil war in your colon and you don’t have to race to the bathroom the second your stomach grumbles, society says. There’s no being unable to go to class because you’re so fatigued. No, to society you’re just hungover. Or maybe the reason you run to the bathroom right after you eat is not because your stomach can’t handle it because of your damaged and bloody colon, but because society thinks you’re bulimic. Or better yet, because you haven’t been eating because for once you want to not spend your life in the bathroom, people ask, “What’s your secret? You look amazing! How’d you lose all that weight?”

Well. Society is full of a bunch of idiots. But! These idiots could be no longer be idiots if! Perhaps they’d be a tad more open-minded and realize not everything is what it seems. These days, it seems that being gluten free is a very in-style thing to do. For celiacs, this is the most frustrating thing because when you say you’re gluten free due to an allergy, people never take you seriously. But that’s besides the point. With Crohn’s and Colitis, I LOOK fine. When I went home for a week and a half for a cute little hospital stint, nobody guessed I was sick. Because, to society, if there’s no visual evidence, it doesn’t exist. See point A. Society is full of a bunch of idiots. But hey, there are a few good people out there.

Can you imagine what it’s like to be unable to hold a fork or a spoon for a day? Or be unable to walk? Not have the strength to shower yourself? You can probably picture what this could be like. But until you experience it, you will never know. This is my reality. I have adjusted my life to make things work. I have worked my ass off to get to where I am in school.

But life, it’s a constant cycle of working harder and harder until you can’t anymore. And if you give up, there’s nothing left. So that’s where I’m at. Stuck in a rut after being bound to an IV infusion drug monthly for at least the next five years of my life. The drug will pretty much kill my immune system, is extremely rigorous, and is quite frankly, dangerous. But what choice do I have? I don’t. My body betrayed me and the only route to discharge was this lovely escort.

So now, it’s a time period of sit, watch, wait. Will things get better? I guess we’ll see.





Salmon, cucumber, avocado.

The sushi stares back at me eagerly awaiting to be chosen out of the plastic takeout container. Approximately five minutes ago, I slid on my ankle-high, knit snow boots, trudged outside in the frigid air without a coat, and went on a treasure hunt to find the delivery man. Five minutes before I ended up freezing due to my poor judgement, a number lit up on my phone. Glencoe, IL it read underneath the string of numbers. The sushi guy. Another stranger I’d encounter for a second and never to see again. What do they know about me? Well for starters they have my phone number. They know I clock in at about roughly five-foot-something, and I have silky long black hair (that is, if you classify my chocolate locks as something much prettier sounding than they actually are). You see approximately a little over 27 hours ago, I was dumped. And not in a classic, oh I cheated on you, or I feel too disconnected, or I just can’t do this anymore. I was dumped for being too incredible, for being someone he thought he couldn’t make happy. You see quite frankly this was a shame for both of us, as subconsciously we needed each other, but neither of us wanted to hold on to that. Thus, we awkwardly now coexist until we reconcile and our paths cross again because honestly, once someone walks away when are they truly gone forever? Everyone’s paths are intertwined in ways that we will never ever realize or know. You see, my now ex, who we’ll call E, and the delivery man are similar in a way that, both of them started off knowing the same things about me. Merely on a hunch, E asked me for my phone number. From there things progressed quickly and soon we both felt ourselves thrown into a relationship that neither of us had ever really experienced before. We challenged each other in ways that were beyond what had happened in the past, and for each of us, the other was a steep learning curve. Prior to E, there was S. My relationship with S was good while it lasted and I don’t regret any of it except for how it ended despite it being slightly toxic in ways I should’ve realized. But first loves are always somewhat toxic, and a more accurate statement has never been made other than love makes you blind. With both E and S, the endings were sad, and I would arguably say slightly tragic. Now the million dollar question: was I in love? In either relationship? Well that depends. I thought I was in love, but was I? With S, I don’t know if I truly ever was. I wanted to be, so badly to the point where I think I convinced myself I was. But how much would I have sacrificed? What does being in love honestly mean? I was better off without him- looking back we came from different places, different paths and incompatible life goals. He of course was a compassionate person, but unexpressive in his thoughts and feelings. E was similar, but there was something more profound with him. S I felt by the end I knew everything, but he never wanted to admit when he felt certain things. S never made me a priority. Which is why the 72 hours after E dumped me, when he showed up and stood there slightly awkwardly, admitting he was here to beg me back, I was thoroughly confused. Three days earlier, E had said it wasn’t right for us. Two days earlier I sat on my floor eating sushi comparing my ex-boyfriends to an interaction with a sushi delivery man. One day earlier I cried in my journalism class because I couldn’t grasp how being too good could cause you to lose someone to irrational reason. Today I sit here with my head going in circles. Does giving second chances promote enabling the playing with my heart? An organ composed of delicate tissues, nestled in a forest of capillaries, veins, and arteries, it’s shielded by the ribs of the thoracic cavity. Yet it can be shattered with the words of another easily within seconds. E has said that he trusts everybody from the start. I’m the opposite. Trust is something to be gained, not given. But how would things change if trust was instant and unfaltering? E sits on my floor, saying nothing with his lips but his sparkling clover colored eyes speaking everything. My heart floods and begs my brain to surrender. But I have to keep my head above water, it can’t be pulled under into the currents of my heart. E is the kind of guy who will be there through anything, no matter what, no matter the hour. He will always be on the other end of the phone. Even when he dumped me, he still asked if I was doing okay. He’s the kind of guy you wish you could get angry at but you can’t because he’s too damn good to you. So that leads me back to where I am now. Curled up on my baby pink and white down comforter, E on my carpet staring up at me wanting an answer that I don’t know I can give. So what am I supposed to do? That is something the future knows, and right now, I have no clue.