Monday 19 May 2014

What if

It’s still raining. I sit cross legged on the bed in my tiny dorm room, staring out at the grey sky, the water running down the window, at the rain drops that keep falling, falling, falling. I know how they feel. They have no place to go but down, and that’s where my life I going as well. I dip the spoon that’s clutched in my hand into the Nutella glass in my lap and scoop out a big spoonful. Oh Nutella, you taste so good! Well, actually at this point it makes me feel sick, because I have already eaten more than half of the jar. I’m disgusting. I roughly squeeze the roll of fat that hangs over the waistband of my jeans. Since I started college 18 months ago I have gained the obligatory ‘freshman 15’ and 10 more pounds on top of it. I hate it, I hate myself. Tomorrow I will not eat anything to make up for it. But today? Today I don’t care. Defiantly I dip the spoon back into the glass and shove another sweet, comforting bite into my mouth.
I’m stuck. I hate college, I hate my body, I don’t care about my friends any more, I don’t know what I should do with my life. I’m 22 years old, and feel as hopeless and lost as a cast away stranded at sea. I can’t see a way out.  
As I’m staring out the rain-slicked window, watching the frequent airplanes from the nearby airport take off, I only have one thought in my mind: I want to get out of here. Go away and never come back.


Here are the details of my life. If you expect any abuse, neglect, or bullying stories, I have to disappoint you. Nothing that exciting makes me loathe my own life. Nope, I have normal parents that aren’t even divorced, we are not destitute but middle-class, and despite my 25 pound weight gain I’m not grossly obese. Just chubby, chunky, a bit bigger, whatever you want to call it.
I have friends, go to school, have a job, a roof over my head, a car and trendy-ish clothes.
Here is the thing though: I don’t like my friends, hate what I’m studying, couldn’t care less about my job, and don’t like my room mate. The car is okay, but the clothes would be much better if they were two sizes smaller. Or three.

Do I sound like the most spoiled brat ever? I know I do. That’s why I don’t tell anybody how I feel. I know that millions of people would kill to live the way I do, to have the same opportunities, to have my life. You know what? They can have it. I don’t want it. I have been trying to figure a way out of it for some time now. But I can’t seem to find a way. What is the solution? What is it that I really want to do with my life?
Oh yes, I still haven’t told you the details of my life. All you know is that you shouldn’t feel sorry for me. I feel sorry enough for myself, and have been wallowing around in self-pity for way too long. So don’t even bother to do the same thing, I have more than enough to go around.

Okay, here goes: I’m currently going to school to become a teacher. Or at least, that’s what I’m supposed to do. Lately, I have skipped classes more often than I have attended them, which is one of the reasons why I’m feeling this distance to my friends. They are all from school, and don’t understand why I’m doing this. Not that I fully understand it myself; all I know is that I cannot stand going to classes. I hate teaching. I sort of had an idea that it may not be the right choice for me, but I didn’t know what else to do. My parents thought it would be a good, solid career for me, with all the right benefits. Respectable. After all, that's what they do. 

But I have no patience, I don’t even really like kids, and the thought of standing in front of twenty of thirty people, with all their eyes on me, makes me feel nauseous just thinking about. Let’s just say, public speaking is not one of my strong suits. And that’s the biggest understatement of the century.

Okay, that’s school covered. Want to know about my job? That one is not really that bad, apart from the fact that it is mind-numbingly boring and offers zero stimulation mentally. I am a sorter at a mail operations plant. It’s a brainless job: I have to operate the mail processing equipment, which is basically a huge conveyor belt, spitting out letter after letter, which my fearless comrades and I have to sort into precisely outlined piles. It’s all about sorting, stacking, transporting mail, all shift long.
It’s fast paced, which is the only saving grace of the job, otherwise I would select a particularly sharp-edged letter to poke my eyes out, just to create some excitement in all the monotony.   
The money is good, but for how much longer can I stand working there? It doesn’t help that the plant is based by the airport; every time I drive to work, I’m sorely tempted to swing into the airport parking lot instead, hop on the first plane and leave.

Nothing is holding me here. I don’t have a boyfriend; I don’t like my job or college; my friends think I’m a slacker or gone weird or whatever. They don’t get me – but how can they, when I don’t get myself? It’s a miracle I haven’t turned to drugs yet, that seems like the next logical step. But thankfully, I’m also a coward and too afraid to take any. That’s something, right? And besides, my drugs are chocolate, pastries and sweets. Unimaginative and so suburbian.

To sum up this sad, boring tale: I don’t like my life. And I’m immensely afraid that I will just continue on, for lack of a better alternative, and end up being one of those miserable grown-ups who are disappointed and disillusioned from life.
That can’t be it, can it? Surely there are people out there who are happy, who found something they love to do? Or is happiness an illusion? An invention from moviemakers, song writers and commercials, as fake as most chests in Hollywood?

Sometimes I wonder if everything is part of a huge conspiracy. Look at TV shows or movies for example: Despite some ups and downs, and some tear jerkers thrown in, most of them have happy endings. Endings that would never happen in real life. And we eat it right up. We sit down and watch these fairy tales day after day, getting slowly brainwashed in believing that this is real life. But who do you know in real life who is really happy?
For years I believed the front people put up. The “happy family” front. And I felt unworthy, small, and lacking in comparison. It is the worst feeling, and made me feel terrible. But then, little by little, I realized something: People show fake fronts to the world. They are all pretending! Have you ever seen the “back of the house” of a hotel? Any hotel, no matter how fancy. The front of the house may be shiny, glossy and oh-so elegant, but you should see the back: bare floors, dirty walls, smelly corners. It’s disgusting. And that’s what most people are like: they only show you their glossy front. The real life, including all their ugly truths, is hidden from the outside world.
As comforting as it was to find out that little vital tidbit of human nature, I ask you: Why the need to lie? Why can’t we all just be real and honest?
It’s so tiring having to get to know people, just to realize that you don’t actually like their real selves. What a waste of time and energy.


So here I am. Sitting on my bed, feeling sick to my stomach from eating too much Nutella, and sick in my heart from feeling so alone. How did I get here? Did I take a wrong turn somewhere? What could I have done differently?

This is another piece of the novel I'm working on. Poor Lucy is going through a really rough patch. I wrote it earlier today, not really knowing where it will fit in yet. 
I also still don't have a title, so right now I'm calling it "What if". It most likely won't stick, but it's a working title for now. 
What do you think?

xo Miriam

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  1. The first paragraph literally had me on the edge of my seat! You're such an inspiration. Keep writing :)

  2. I'm totally in love with it!! Miriam, it makes me so happy to see your progress and know you are working on this! OMG I can so related to the character...this "That can’t be it, can it? Surely there are people out there who are happy, who found something they love to do? Or is happiness an illusion? An invention from moviemakers, song writers and commercials, as fake as most chests in Hollywood?" I swear to you I use to have the exact same thoughts. Seriously, when I was struggling to find my way out with of my previous relationship and was unhappy but didn't know why and thought I should be thankful for what I had but I just was not happy...I use to think pretty much exactly this.


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