Rue’s Affliction

First thing's first.
I am sorry that
                       I am unapologetic.
When I ask for your opinion,
I truly wish to know your deepest
desires and guilty obsessions.
I am constantly overwhelmed
by the foolish and the trivial
barraging on my thoughts—
threatening me, taunting me to give in.
When I call for you to "figure this out"
                       (right now, please)
I am insecure with my feelings
because I am aware that I shouldn't
feel this way anymore.
I am impatient, and brazenly so,
that I don't just play with fire;
I seem to intentionally harm myself
so that the flames are sure
to caress me with its singeing fingertips—
                       and then I still do it again anyways.
I become restless yet hopeful that
my ragged and torn intuition
will eventually guide me down the right path,
but I still feel anxious about
                       what happens next.
When I say these wretched things to you,
rambling and wreaking havoc,
I surely must be "asking for it"—
                       I know, I feel the same way too—
because I prod,
at all of the "little things" that really shouldn't matter.
It makes perfect sense that I start to
question myself and even
                       my own self worth
because I am still compelled to yell,
until my voice is so hoarse and so deep
with residual emotion and with the
final exaltation of resolution.
Yet somehow, whenever I need/want
                       (both are one and the same to me now)
to speak, 
no one is willing to be sensitive.
Instead, they say they are sorry
but I know they are only being apologetic
                       for me.


There truly is a sense of clarity and calm in the middle of all the brooding, scratching, amplifying throes. It is that small speck of rational thought—the true breadth of the situation not the one that you quickly imagined—that tiny cusp of infinite possibilities converging to reveal the honest spectacle of that reality. It is when you realize that you actually compartmentalize a lot of what you experience and process in your life that the whole world—your world—starts to shift on what seems to be a marginal angle, but is really of the consequential sort. That your boxes of life—family, academics, work, friends, relationships, and all in between—are all meant to overlap, mingle, meld into each other —like the molten wax suspended in lava lamp—before it can separate again into more suitable shapes congruent with the current version of yourself. You truly find yourself appreciating the fluidity of the mind to accept and forgive all of your sharp edges, each side being smoothed out over and over again into something more merciful than before.



So this is what it feels like—seeing yourself in the mirror crystal clearly. It’s too clear now. I am too emotional. Too dependent. I need it all the time. I want it all the time. But I already get it all the time. This is what it feels like to see your whole world fall away to the bare skeleton that it actually is—it’s not clean, white, pristine—no, there’s still shiny, crimson ligaments and tendrils dangling, dripping off the bony structures. It feels as if you’re slowly stripping away your skin before reaching underneath to pick off the  rest of the musculature bits. And I can’t see clearly now. Everything is too blurry, tinged in distortion and conflict. So much of me does not want to believe that what I am discovering is true. A part of me wills it to retreat back and ignore it. Why did I have to find out now? I was lying to myself this entire time. This whole time. This whole time I was the fake, the liar—the thing that I hate most.


An Ode

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparell'd in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;—
Turn wheresoe'er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more. 

     —But there's a tree, of many, one,
A single field which I have look'd upon,
Both of them speak of something that is gone:
The pansy at my feet
Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

- William Wordsworth

In knowing your own flaws and in being acutely, excruciatingly aware of its very existence is looking into a mirror and seeing ugly, inflamed scars—invisible to everyone else. They are painful distractions, noticeable and prominent, ready to be shown to the rest of the world if you allow it.

But do you allow it? Why should you allow yourself to be vulnerable? They will laugh and point at you, anxious (as you are) and terrified (as you are) of what they see because they do not know what (who) you are. And how could they? They glance in rose-tinted glasses, too narrow-minded to understand and too self-invested to want to try.

So you give into yourself. You allow these unbearable scars to layer and layer one on top of the other until you can no longer see yourself in the mirror. Where is the beauty? Where is the empathy? Where is the forgiving eye?


Unadorned (2015)

window shopping

I am an observer, a listener, a contemplator. Crowds of noisy busybodies do not tempt me—in fact, they force me to seek out the privacy and safety of the outskirts. There is too much going on that I cannot begin to even think or speak to them.

I settle myself into a quiet solitude on a bench with my angular limbs cradled up against me and I allow the thoughts in my mind to flow. I would rather whisper sweet nothings into the ear of my lover; giggle uncontrollably with my close friends at the random happenings of our days; cuddle and swathe myself in the silky, cool folds of my bed covers and pillows. I prefer a hot cup of tea with one other friend or two rather than the sweaty, sharp-smelling bottles of vodka intermingling with bodies of a night party.

I pause for a moment in my own stillness and find myself smiling softly as I sift through my thoughts. I remember inquiring some friends if they ever had that sort of moment where their mind became as blank and unmoving as a solid backdrop for a photoshoot; they had looked at me funny and told me it had never happened to them.

as the crow flies

It is midnight and the darkness in my room envelopes me in a cool, silky cocoon. The light glows softly from beneath the keys of my Mac and I have chosen a mellow ukulele song. As soon as it begins, it starts nestling itself into the furthest reaches of my ears. It is a contemplative feeling and pondering song and I have no one else but myself to echo and whisper back and forth to.


A couple hours after I got off the phone with you, I lay in my bed browsing on my Mac. I started remembering the things we talked about—past relationships, future worries, and all in between. You actually listened to me while I started rambling on about the 21 best tips in keeping a long distance relationship going. You wanted to hear about it. I think about it now and I am pleasantly surprised.

I know it is callous of me to compare you to my past but it is human nature to do that sort of thing, even if for a just a little. I keep going back to our video call and suddenly I am filled with a sudden sureness that this is what I really want to do. I want to hold you in my dreams even if it is not physically possible. I want to hear and savor every moment I talk to you through a glowing screen. I want to feel that catch in my breath and that immediate surge of warmth in my heart whenever I hear your voice and take a glimpse of your face.

Because in my efforts of being close to you while you are thousands of miles away, I will have you – you in your fullest and purest form.



I feel that familiar sense of dread creep back into my mind while my heart furiously starts to pump hot blood. I am pulsating and ragged and in conflict with myself and I haven’t the faintest idea why. Maybe there was a trigger in our conversation and I refuse to believe it is one. Am I always going to have this feeling? Do I honestly want to feel this way all the time because somehow, deep down, I don’t believe I deserve happiness and a peace of mind? I am ruminating, ruminating, ruminating and all I can think of is that I am thinking too much and too fast.

I burst through the door with my earphones hastily stuffed into my ears, mellow music ironically blasting and blaring into my eardrums. I walk briskly across the pavement down towards the shuttle because I must get to the last lecture on time. I am sitting down in the shuttle now and no one knows anyone and no one is talking. I keep myself at bay, trying to suck back in hot tears from pouring out. Once or twice I almost fail. Suddenly, the bus driver stops at the second stop. People come pouring in and I hardly notice them as they blur into time-exposure photography—fleeting, indistinguishable, and unreal.

Someone sits next to me. They lean into me absentmindedly and, surprisingly, I welcome it. It’s a comforting pressure that I have always thought was irritating, an invasion of privacy. But now, I miss it. I lean back into them. And thankfully, they don’t mind it either.


out of my control

no matter how violently and aggressively you push at it and pick at it, it doesnt budge because, lets face it, the methods you use(d) to attempt to move it only feeds its hunger to consume you. but lets try it again anyways.

first attempt: listen to calming, soothing music. because thats always supposed to help right? no, it doesnt. what the fuck do you think youre doing? thats only another distraction, dumbass.

second attempt: reason with yourself. they fell asleep. theyre studying. theyre watching sports or youtube videos. they left their phone somewhere. they actually forgot. they honestly dont care. theyre tired of your constant texting. theyre tired of you. that didnt help at all.

third attempt: write it out. spill out your damn guts. dont give any fucks for grammar and punctuation. elaborate on every laughable detail despite the fact that it is (annoyingly enough) quite vague to begin with so you cant really explain yourself well. no help there.

fourth attempt: reach out to someone…maybe even them. type out long paragraphs to everyone you still believe cares about you – oh wait, no one is actually ever available to comfort you so youre really, ultimately alone in this.

fifth attempt: listen to calming, soothing music. a song finally pops up that makes you feel a little more whole again.

sixth attempt: reason with yourself. remember what the therapist said about saying “maybe…or maybe not” and allow yourself to let it go.

seventh attempt: write it out. look over the nonsensical, horrifying thoughts you bled onto the paper. realize how you would never follow through with what you said because it would hurt more than it did just a while ago.

eighth attempt: reach out to someone…definitely talk to them. text or call them when it’s possible. because they do care. you were just too caught up in your own feelings to remember that but that’s okay because it happens. you’re human.