Excerpt from my journal; July 2017

I decided it was time to start this series again, especially as I’m documenting my recovery from panic disorder. I feel that sharing exactly what was going through my head in the months leading up to it and after would be helpful.

I stopped originally because I’d reached the point of my vacation to New Zealand, and had this big idea to do a whole post on what I did and where I went (along with sharing all the best pictures), but it was such a huge undertaking I never got around to it, and I felt like skipping that would have been…bad? I’m not sure. It just didn’t seem right. But NZ will have to wait. In the meantime, I’m going to pick up where I left off after the vacation (you can read the first in the series here and the most recent post here).


July 18

My words are caught up behind my hands again. It feels like I just opened the floodgates. All the words are rushing up, and I can’t sift through them. I want to tear my throat out to let them pour out, bloody and mangled, onto the floor.

It’s just a bad day. Not a bad life. Not a bad year. Just a bad…month, maybe. You don’t even know that yet. Don’t borrow tomorrow’s troubles. Just…just.

I don’t know where to start. I don’t know where to start. I don’t know where to start.

I got back from New Zealand. I was going to do so much. But I collapsed into a ball of nothing yet again. A sleeping, tv watching, bean eating nothing. I can’t even be sarcastic about it. All my life lines have dried up.

What do I want? What do I want from the rest of this year? What are my goals? I can’t even begin to decide. My head is warped, wrapped around the bud of my silence, holding so tightly, afraid of letting it bloom into truth.

Hose me down. Rip me up. Tear my skin to pieces, leave them scattered for someone to follow to my fleshly corpse. I need to burn my heart out. Call it out. Stop it. Grow up and work. Laughing in our face saying wake up you need to make money. Wake up. Wake up. Wake up.

Sunfire on my skin, racing to the beat of my heart, racing up my arms to my head to blind me. Blinding, bright, burning, stupid. Stupid. Stupid. I can’t bring my head and heart to heel. I want…something I can’t name. Something I can’t identify. Something that feels cheap and shitty.  I don’t know whether to find poetry in the prose or chuck it all up and live in my head.

What what what what what do I want? Who who who stares back at me with such deep hatred of my shallow thoughts? Who is that monster in the mirror, so cheaply fat and lazy and cliche? Is that really me? That’s my body? Meanwhile inside I’m a caged monster on the prowl, growling threats and spewing hate at that image. Such a battle can’t be good for the host. I will die some time. Better on my own terms. But which “my?”

Asking all these dumb questions. Asking, always asking and avoiding answers. Avoiding answering. I hate you, mirror girl. I hate what you stand for. What you’ve done to me in the past to make me see you in the reflection.

Such vitriol is childish. Miserable. Victimizing. Selfish and wanton and undesirable. Grow up. Work. Live. Laugh. There is no shame in joy. There is no shame. There is no virtue in misery. No virtue.

Well, anyway, returning to real life, tomorrow school starts for real. I’m bringing lots of personal work.

July 26

Briefly, summer camp is going pretty well. In many ways. Of course, there are problems, and I should have sat down and specifically realized that, so it wouldn’t come as such a blow, but it’s okay. I got over it. Am getting over it.

I had a night terror the other night. I had a dream a man was breaking in. I was near my front door and saw it was unlocked. It was the middle of the night, but just before I could get to it, it opened and a faceless old Korean man came in and toward me. He didn’t do anything in the dream, but I think I tried to raise something up to stop him and he batted it aside, and my arms were limp and heavy, and I woke panicked. I wasn’t moving – sleep paralysis – but I was screaming softly. Then I went back to sleep again.

I’m not sleeping well, and I’m not sure why. I think it’s just stress from camp but I wish it wasn’t. It’s stupid to be so stressed and know the cause and not be able to handle it.

It might also be the heat. It just reaches in and saps my strength away.

July 27

The last few weeks I’ve had these occasions where I don’t know who the person is in me. Or the body I am in. I feel disconnected. I don’t know who this body is. I don’t know what this mind is. I don’t know which part is feeling and thinking and acting, and the first two seem entirely separate from the last. I’m dissociating. Huh. Apparently, it happens during stress, even stress from boredom.

For me, I would guess the cause is too much immersion in a world not my own, too much investment in people not myself. So not enough time in my own head, and not enough time letting me out. No writing, no art, no creation. Nothing but work, TV, and stress the past two weeks. Also not enough sleep. That’s a big one.

I need to read. I need to write. I need to create. I need to get the flowing waters going.

I would like to be a stone.


Charles Simic, 1938

Go inside a stone

That would be my way.

Let somebody else become a dove

Or gnash with a tiger’s tooth.

I am happy to be a stone.

From the outside the stone is a riddle:

No one knows how to answer it.

Yet within, it must be cool and quiet

Even though a cow steps on it full weight,

Even though a child throws it in a river,

The stone sinks, slow, unperturbed

To the river bottom

Where the fishes come to knock on it

And listen.

I have seen sparks fly out

When two stones are rubbed.

So perhaps it is not dark inside after all;

Perhaps there is a moon shining

From somewhere, as though behind a hill—

Just enough light to make out

The strange writings, the star charts

On the inner walls.

July 31

I dyed my hair this weekend. Honestly, being totally and one hundred percent truthful, I’m not happy with it. It looks good, and it’s fun, so it’s okay, but it’s not what I wanted.

However, let me give the full story. I was waffling between rose gold and strawberry blonde, and ended up going blonde. A couple of friends took me to their stylist, who was very nice and did pretty much what the picture looked like…but it was so orange. Maybe it was the bleaching, or the dye he used, or just my hair, but while the ends were a very pretty gold, the bangs and crown were just…orange. Like sherbert orange. Scoop me up and pop me in a bowl. I hated it. I felt ugly, I felt weird, I felt super uncomfortable.

I decided to get it changed the next day. I know that’s a big no no and it might have damaged my hair, but I didn’t care. I wanted darker. I went to a foreigner-friendly salon in Gangnam that was much better. It’s now a darker red, but almost fire engine. Fun, but too vibrant for me. I just don’t look at myself and see this color ever. I have to tap into another side of my personality now.

I guess the journey to perfect hair takes time. I was hoping for insta perfect though. Like a salon could see a picture and make that EXACT color.

I need to get back to normal. This camp is throwing me off. I keep waiting to be ready to deal with problems that come up, I can’t settle in my mind to anything. Even journaling is hard around the mental hypervigilance.

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