A Pathetic Excuse for a Sheep

As you sit in the darkness of your room, you wonder to yourself, why now. Everything was fine a few days ago, but new thoughts were introduced today. When the thought gets introduced, it doesn’t leave until you do something about it.

Usually, that something is what you’d call harsh and impulsive, but maybe that idea is based on the guilt that comes with your actions. Actions which you know have been marinating in your mind for weeks before they are liberated in the easiest way possible – that is not to say that the liberation goes smoothly.

You wonder whether your actions are even truly based on your interpretation of something that comes before them. Or whether those interpretations are even correct. You feel as though they aren’t. That thought makes you uncomfortable. How easily manipulated are you?  You question bitterly.

You think of the instances where others have frowned at your kind actions, “You’re too nice,” they say. You feel as though the word ‘too’ implies easy manipulation, and wonder whether your kindness is something that makes people think you are naive. Or whether they lie to you because they think you can’t handle the truth. Scowling you grit your teeth, holding in a scream.

How much more of a doormat could you possibly be? You question, irritated now. If you are a doormat, and people are truly the way you have just established, you are worth just as much as you thought you’d be, you realize. If guilt and kindness go hand in hand, then you are the perfect instrument for someone seeking their own way. If you disregard yourself, so will others. Not everyone is nice, in fact, most are not, you think to yourself.

In the dark, your thoughts are louder than they should be. Even as a whisper in your mind, they seem awful loud. What did you expect? You’re a sheep, you tell yourself bitterly, slamming your fist into your mattress.

As your thoughts become a bickering battlefield of insults and bitter conclusions, you close your eyes in attempt to shut the voices out. You lie there in the dark, eye closed, hoping to fall asleep before you have deal with facing anyone. If only you could actually fall asleep like a normal person, a thought interrupts your attempt to fall into a drowsy state until you fall unconscious.

Sighing to yourself, you shift positions so that you can create a false mind block. Go away, assholes, you think to yourself, hoping you will be alone in the dark once more. The dark is easier to face than your insufferable thoughts, sadly. You close your eyes, hoping to wake up a long time from now.

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Stewing of Thoughts

I scoffed to myself as I realized my mistake. Snapping the phone shut, I wished I had held off. I could have waited, I should have. You know what they say, I thought to myself, coulda, shoulda, woulda. I sighed as I paced furiously around the house. Great. This is bloody fantastic. Running my hands through my hair, I grumbled to myself as I packed a bag. I had to leave before I did something else I’d regret. On my way out, I called Eva. “Goddammit,” I said into the phone.

“Relax, dude. Look, it happens. You made a decision and regretted it as soon as it was done. It’ll fix itself. Give it a few days.” She said.

I nodded to myself in an attempt to calm down. “Still doesn’t change the fact that he’ll be pissed. Doesn’t save the fact that I’ve dragged Paige into this too.” I mumbled in irritation.

She sighed. “Yeah, well at least you realize your mistake. You acknowledge the insensitivity of the question, and the fact that it intrudes on a personal matter. And either way, Paige can handle this better than you can. It affects you way more, too.”

“Or the fact that most people find it a serious topic.” I said, ignoring her comment, “I’m not really one of them.” I grumbled, kicking a pebble on the side walk. Near by, cars passed quickly, and I did my best to ignore them.

“Not everyone is nonchalant about that type of stuff, that’s true.” She agreed.

I sighed, scowling to myself. I felt like slamming my head against a wall. Or breaking something, or yelling until my throat felt raw, or running until my lungs felt useless, or tearing fabric to shreds. “I should have known it wouldn’t stand.” I told her. “Waiting patiently like a good boy and acting all surprised when he did tell me would have been ideal. But no, nothing more to expect from a moron like me.” I said, picturing myself throwing something until it shattered in tiny bits. Knowledge isn’t always power, I thought bitterly.

“Look, human knowledge and greed might not be on your side, but at least you have your trusty friend shitty excuses.” She replied. I thought of myself running until my lungs and chest burned, hacking in obvious pain afterward. By the time I replied, I was waiting to get onto a bus. “Reckless actions win yet again. Actions: 3; Ryan: 0.” I recited bleakly, swaying on the spot.

Eva snorted. “‘Reckless actions’ and ‘Ryan’ do not fit in the same sentence, sorry.” She snickered. “It’s more like ‘Stewing of Thoughts vs. Ryan.’”

Getting onto the bus, I sat at the back. I thought of myself slamming against a moving object. “Funny.” I muttered sarcastically. “Whatever. This happens, what, like every four months. I can see the cycle, but it’s probably not going to change.” I thought of myself tearing cotton to shreds, paper and cotton bits surrounding me in my room.

“You can’t guarantee that. Look Ryan, I gotta go. My cousins are coming over, and my mum’s itching for me to clean while she sits on the couch.” She told me.

I laughed, “Have fun with that while I think of how much I’m an idiot.” I thought of myself yelling at the top of my lungs in a deserted forest.

“You’ll be fine. Don’t stress too much, man.” Eva repeated.

I murmured in agreement without really committing to the thought. “We’ll see.”

She sighed, “Bye, you dramatically over thinking idiot.”

“Have fun with your dweeb cousins,” I muttered, snapping the phone shut.

Outside the bus, I was left to my own devices, thoughts stewing their own hurricane of confusion as usual. Maybe things would turn out. They always did.

Finding Productivity

Mind blank, you attempt to get something done. Today, you’ve done nothing that is considered productive. After spending the day wrapped in fictional character’s worlds by watching two movies, and reading two books, you try to fix the feeling of lack of productivity.

In this attempt, you find that your mind is blank and uncooperative to all of your methods. No matter, you figure, scrawling your piss poor excuse of a handwriting on a sheet of paper in attempt to make a schedule for the week, and the next few hours. You try art first, but all that comes onto the sheet is some roughly drawn creation that looks more like a doodle. Next, you try an educational point of view, where you go online to research something random. This way, you can feel as though learning something was the good thing about today. Still nothing after zoning out while reading the page for the fourth time, you try writing. After staring at the blank page as if staring at your own thoughts, you scowl and shove the papers away.

Eventually, as you pace the house in boredom, you realize something. Maybe you don’t need to be productive in the traditional do something of yourself way, but what if you reflected on the things you had learned from those books and movies. What if the character development was analyzed in a way that would make the characters and the stories meaningful. Then, you’d argue, you had learned something.

Maybe that one girl in the book, struggling to be a sister and live in a foreign country is like the people in this world that suffer under the minimum wage and in poverty. Maybe, that young boy in the movie struggling with transphobia was a reminder that not only adults and teenagers are confused about identity and the unfairness of gender roles in our society. Maybe the movie and the book both related in how mess up and biased our society is. Either way, you think to yourself, maybe you can interpret their situations to make your actions more conscious and thought out.

By the time you’ve thought about all the different messages and which you should keep, you have passed at least an hour – which makes it seem almost more productive. You have exhausted your thoughts, and maybe letting go with a bike ride wouldn’t hurt. Indeed, it doesn’t. Even better, it starts to pour rain when you’re on your way home. Laughing, you ignore the fact that you’re soaked to the core. You ride the neighbourhood in the rain, enjoying the freedom given by the sudden rain, and by extension the bike ride itself. You chuckle to yourself as you enter the house, realizing with a smile that you have much to clean up given the pool of water forming at your feet.

In the Graveyard

You are in a cemetery. Everywhere you can see stones, none of whose names you recognize. The sky is beautiful. It is calm, but it looks like it’s going to rain. It’s one of those days where there isn’t much humidity or wind, but the sun shines behind the clouds. You walk around, feeling both overwhelmed and joyful. Cemeteries are bittersweet, and maybe you fancy that. In the distance, you see a family gathered around a stone. You keep your distance and walk further, looking around at the stones, the path and the sky above. The overwhelming sensation of unity makes you crack a smile. You don’t know if you should be smiling in a cemetery, but this feeling of peace makes you happy.

You pass from section to section. Nuns, war heroes, family stones, married couples, children. All around you, memories float. You know none of these people, but you feel as though your presence makes them more alive. Memories that you will never know of, stories which you can never hear, but at least, you figure, you can imagine it all.

A memory is strong. It can lift a spirit, make the day better. It can remind us of sorrow, make us more conscious. These people are recycled matter, but they are also the memories of others who you have never met. Perhaps, you have seen them on the street, but you will never truly know whether they remember this one person whose stone looks like a faded cement block.

Ordinary stones are the best, along with the faded ones, you think. To you, those have the most memories and the most mysterious past. They make you feel as though death is not something to trivialize, rather it is something to question. Sometimes, you feel as though graveyards are only there as a reminder to remember the dead, as if one needed constant physical proof of death. Cemeteries are very materialist in that way, you figure. Although, you remember, they are also heavily affiliated with religious groups.

You keep walking until you reach a more secluded area, where trees surround you, and the sky is only visible if you look past the branches. You think you feel a few droplets now, but no matter, you settle at a tree to read. Around you, bird are chirping happily and kids laugh as they pass by with their father. You smile at him, and wave at the children. They giggle and hide behind his legs.

You must leave soon, you eventually realize. Sighing, you get up to walk to the nearest exit. You walk through a field of stones full of religiously affiliated people and near there, you find an exit. You are reluctant to leave, but when you do, you keep glancing back, smiling as if to remember that feeling of unity and peace. You think of the children and their father. Whistling in content, you slowly walk home.