ANGST & POETRY

SARAH F.

Teenage angst: a feeling of anxiety about one’s life or situation. Often seen in the form of “I’m-so-misunderstood-what-is-life” or more conventionally, poetry.

 

The grey bird beckons me to join him

    Follow me! he says

    Follow me!

 

I remember showering one late Tuesday night two years ago. It might have been in early December, but the leaves had not fallen off of the trees yet. The trees were red and gold, kind of like sunstone with a rustic hint. I’m not sure details matter - or maybe they do - but I am sure of the sunstones and the golds.

    

I remember showering because it was a cold night and the heater had stopped working and I needed something warm. I wanted to get under the blazing water and let it cascade over me, making thousands of waterfalls that end up in the drain.

    

I remember showering because I hoped that I could rise with the steam and that my mind would be hazy like the mirror next to the shower and that maybe I would stop thinking. Maybe, in the shower, all thoughts fell with the water.

But the world did not feel any smaller in there. The steam was suffocating. The water was not hot enough. My feet slipped on the tiles and shampoo seeped into my eye. My conditioner failed to unwind the tangles in my hair.

But why did I care that my hair was so tangled? The world wouldn’t reject me because I am part of the world and the world is my universe but then again facts today do show that there could be life outside of the universe and shit, I wonder if there are actually aliens on Mars and what would they eat like- like humans? What if all the aliens on Mars come to Earth to eat us or maybe some already have but they only take a few people at a time so that no one notices any abnormalities, like how murderers do to prevent being called a terrorist and like how men do to prevent being called a rapist and this world’s messed up. It’s not that people are inherently bad but there are all kinds of pressures that can feed one’s insecurities and we end up morphed into a template unbeknownst to us but known to the whole world and in the end is anyone really their authentic self or are we just what others have formed us to be?

 

Why are we here?

A nest sprinkled with

Crumbles of ash

Built upon marlboro sticks

and poisonous leaves

    Follow me!

 

Strands of hair broke free from the tangle and clogged the drain. I opened my eyes and my brain stopped whirling. My final thought remained proudly on the stage at the front of my mind, repeating itself over and over again: why are we here? Why am I here?

 

Feathers grey, turn grey, turning grey

Feathers with knotted ends

Dipped in black ink

Feathers rough, turn rough, turning rough

    Follow me!

 

It was in this moment that I first dealt with what would evolve rapidly into teenage angst. I questioned the present, my presence, the universe, morality, purpose, and my purpose. After the bath tub, its drain still clogged by hair, had filled up to my knees, I came to a resolution: life, in all its essence and magnitude, was meaningless. The shower water immediately felt colder.

         

I let the last bits of conditioner wash down my ankle, then opened the shower door with shaking hands. The cold of the room scoured my naked body and I ran to my bed. My thoughts pushed me under the comforter, followed me under the sheets. I was spooked; not knowing what to do or where to go, I felt an urge to flick the switch and make the room dark. My tangled hair had turned morbid.

           

In my angst and desperation, I reached my hand into the drawer and pulled out an object. I mistakenly picked up a pencil, the gold one located just left of the swiss-army knife.

Beak sings melodies

Beak sings daggers

Beak sings…

grey noise

    Follow me!

 

On some December night, but maybe not December because the trees were still sunstone and gold, I wrote my first conventional angsty poem. Yeah, it had the classic “Heaven on Earth”s and “drifting alone”s and “glowing grey hearts”s. I knew that the words scribbled messily on the paper in front of me were not nuanced or especially moving. In fact, I quickly took a picture of the paper, then crumbled it up and threw it in the garbage. However, I noticed a new kind of buzzing in my brain, sending energy through my fingers and into my pencil, urging me to try another. But no, I thought, I’ve had enough dismal thoughts for one night.

Specks of bread and malice and crackers

and lies and salami and illusions and

how did they end

up there anyway?

    Follow me!

 

I wrote my second poem about two weeks later. I stepped out of the shower, wrapped myself in a towel, and went straight for my pencil. I think it was about a train and letting go and wishing that the sun would come up sooner. I experimented with rhyme, and to my embarrassment found that I was actually having fun.

I now know that poetry did not appeal to me only because it was fun. When I wrote, my thoughts washed into the paper like I wished the shower’s water had washed them away. It felt freeing to detach myself from these thoughts. On paper, they were no longer just my concerns or my problem; they were the concerns and problems of everyone else, too. I wanted to find out if any other being in the overwhelming universe felt the way that I did, thought the way that I thought. I wanted someone to sit down with me and ask me what my words meant and I’d say, I’m not quite sure, and he would look at me and he’d say, don’t worry, I understand anyways. I wanted to bring awareness to the problems, real and unreal, that angsty teenage girls face. I thought, hell, maybe my words could even inspire someone someday.

 

The grey bird beckons me to join him

    Follow me! he says

 

Today, I wrote my 200th sunstone and gold poem. That may not be that many, but to me, it is enough because it makes me enough. I don’t care if my poems are angsty, or depressing, or poorly-written, because I know that thoughts are meant to be shared- or rather, written.

So follow I do.