To Love a Writer

You spun your sugar-sweet words around me,

Until I suffocated in the web of your stories.

I flourished, and I was your hero.

Then I struggled, and I was your villain.

 

I received hundreds of love poems,

But truthfully,

You loved the sound of your own words

More than you loved me.

 

For I was the sun, and I loved you, the moon.

I gave you all my light,

and you took it for your beauty.

Your art was your suffering,

And, oh, how you loved to write about me.

 

I was your character to study-

My beauty faded

The minute I started to speak.

 

You always did throw out your drafts-

So I wrote you our last poem,

Now I know you’re done with me.

 

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Happily Ever After

“I wish happily ever afters existed.”

I wish I had known better then. I wish I had known that she knew what she was saying, and that she was about to make ours together disappear.

It doesn’t matter what happened. Honestly, it’s not interesting. One person initiates two people spending less and less time together, until they don’t talk. At all. And just like that, everything you knew was gone. People say its natural for friends to grow apart, but I say its organic quality doesn’t make it hurt any less.

I would walk the streets and see nothing worth seeing if it were without her. Summer nights turned me from starry-eyed to suffocated. My favorite song didn’t sound as beautiful when there was no one to dance with. Eventually I became numb to any joy, because how could anything be beautiful when she was not there?

Soon my life became but a reel of my past, the good times replaying, and then the bad times. Poring over dusty memories, I ask myself, ‘Did she love me then? When did it go bad? What did I do wrong?’ I had no closure- no one to tell me that she’s gone, she’s not coming back. That was the worst part- I did not grieve. A little voice in my head kept me from letting go because maybe she could still come back. Maybe she missed me as much as I missed her.

But deep down, I knew she was fine. She never had a number one. She did the smart thing and only gave pieces of her heart to each person she loved, so when a blow was dealt it wouldn’t hurt as much. But me, I gave her my whole heart. I was naive- I knew she kept me at arms distance, but I still was convinced that if I loved her fully, she would reciprocate. I was told it is better to love fully and hurt fully than to not love at all, but now I’m not so sure. Is this pain worth the love that is now just a memory? Or would I play dumb and do it all again if given the chance?

Maybe, maybe she never loved me. That would hurt, but would it even matter? I loved her, and then she didn’t want me to love her anymore. The End.

These days I wonder

Today I want to share these two quotes from two of my favorite books, quotes that I am trying to live my life by these days:

“It does not do to dwell on dreams, and forget to live.” -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s (Philosopher’s) Stone.

“Sometimes people use thought to not participate in life.” -Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

These days I wonder. A lot. I wonder if I am in love, I wonder if I even know what love is. I wonder what my life might look like- I wonder who I will spend the rest of my life with, I wonder how I will spend my days. Yes, these days I wonder. I wonder so much that I forget to live.

I spend time calculating risks instead of taking them. This may be the safer way to live, but it is not the way I want to live. I want to look back and say I lived fully. I want to say I took a chance and told that person I loved them, that I traveled to that far-off place, that I sang in the shower, and danced down the street. Life really is too short to do spend dreaming or thinking or living with less than 100%, and I’m done with holding back. It’s better to have regrets than what-ifs, and it’s better to remember a taste than a craving.

So, here’s to you dreamers, you thinkers, you hopeless romantics.

Here’s to those who love others’ stories more than they love their own.

Here’s to you who romanticize the past and the future, but never the present.

Here’s to the stars in your eyes, and the pain in your chests.

I am struggling with blogging

It’s time to be honest- I am struggling with blogging. I am struggling with all of my writing. This is why I have posted barely anything this summer. My main problem is that I struggle to stay passionate throughout the process. I get an idea that finally invigorates me, sit down to write it, and then… nothing. My idea sounds dumb a few sentences in, and I just give up- and that’s how I end up with ten drafts with nothing but ideas and thoughts. It even happened with this blog post.

I know most of my writer friends (who I have not been good at catching up with, my apologies!) are sitting there screaming at me, “JUST KEEP WRITING!” This seems to be the most popular cure for writer’s… funk. And you know what? They’re probably right. I should just keep writing without judgement or editing. So why am I not doing that? Well, I am in therapy right now for help uprooting my self-judgement problem. It’s sadly not as simple as just doing it. Maybe I’m just making excuses, though. Maybe it is as simple as just doing it, and I am refusing to just do it.

So, what I am hoping for by writing this post? I’m honestly not sure. Maybe I want support, maybe I want to re-ignite my writing flame. I guess I just wanted to share an explanation for my lack of posts. Thanks for all of your support.

 

May Reading Wrap Up

Hey y’all! Sorry about my blog hiatus, but summer is here and I am ready to kick off my blog with a bang! Also, there won’t be a movie wrap up this month as all I did was re-watch about 3 movies. So, without further ado, here are the 7 books I read in May:

1. On the Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher: 5/5 Stars

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This book, man. It made me want to write. In fact, this was the book I wish I wrote. It wasn’t even a story about writing, but its beautiful prose and the way it wove themes into the plot and characters; it just hit me with some inspiration.

Let me give a synopsis; basically, 2 stories are told: that of a young Evie falling in love and trying to escape her mother’s tyranny, and that of an afterlife Evie who must unburden her soul by letting go of her secrets of this young life she has carried and hid her whole life. Oh, and there’s magical realism and stuff 😛

This book isn’t without flaws. It is sickeningly sweet at times, and the magical realism was hit-or-miss. But it made such an impact on me and my creativity that I can’t seem to view it as anything but perfect. I would recommend this to people who don’t mind an out-of-the-box story.

2. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: 4/5 Stars

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This is one of the only books I believe that everyone should read. At least, everyone who is in a privileged place. This is the story of Starr, who is the only witness to the shooting of her unarmed black best friend by a white cop. She must grapple with grief and also make the choice to risk her safety to stand up for justice for her best friend.

Keep in mind that this is a review by a privileged white person, and try to seek out the opinions of black folk on this book. But man, did this book hit me hard. First of all, Starr lived in the “hood” As someone who grew up in safe suburbs but still saw and heard of some bad neighborhoods in Chicago, it was an experience to read about Starr’s life in these bad neighborhoods. She is no stranger to the sound of gunshots, she is friends with dealers, and her dad still has ties to gangs. It was reading about gangs that impacted me a lot. We often forget that “gang-bangers” are actual people, too, and that it is hard to stay neutral in these war zones. I’m not sure how to describe it, but basically reading about the experience of a character who is actually familiar in a bad neighborhood really impacted me. I got a perspective I hadn’t heard before. And the thing is, Starr is still happy. This is her home, these people her family.

Now, let’s talk about the message of police brutality in this book. Wow. What really hit me was the message that even though Khalil may have been a “thug” to people who didn’t know him, that he was overall a good person who did not deserve to be shot. We learn about him as a person, not just what he was doing at the time of the shooting. And the courage Starr had to have to speak up about the incident was incredible. I can’t seem to put into words the impact this book’s message had on me.

Honestly, I can’t recommend this book enough. I beg each of you to read this book, as I promise you will relate and/or gain new perspective.

3. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas: 4/5 Stars

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Man, if I wasn’t in love with the Throne of Glass world before, I am head over heels now! If you aren’t familiar with Throne of Glass (Crown of Midnight is the sequel so no series spoilers here!), it is the story of an imprisoned assassin who gets the chance to win her freedom by working for the tyrannical king.

This was such a great sequel that was perhaps more interesting than the first book. It seemed like the stakes were higher and the premise more intriguing. The ending was so emotional. I will say, however, that the pacing was all over the place. It dragged on in the middle to the point of my frustration. Nonetheless, a must-read for those already in love with the Throne of Glass world.

4. Girls Like Us by Gail Giles: 3/5 Stars

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This book got me confused. It was a wonderful story of special ed graduates who must live and work on their own for the first time. It was emotional, and it opened me up to people with different lives from me. However, I got this weird feeling while reading that I can’t really describe. Perhaps the story was just striking up emotion for me, but it was almost like the execution of the story made me uncomfortable. I’m sorry if this review made no sense- basically, read it to see the different perspective of disabled youth.

5. I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Gretchen McNeil: 2/5 Stars

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This is the story of an outcast girl who discovers the formula to being popular in high school: to take on a manic pixie dream girl persona. So, this book irritated me. I did love the social commentary on the idea of girls having to be this magical manic pixie dream girl, however my qualms with the book overshadowed this. It was as if the author had never stepped foot in a real high school. The book was full of typical cliches about popularity, and it introduced nothing new. I really wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone beyond reading the title and thinking, “Huh, that’s an interesting idea.”

6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling: 5/5 Stars

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If you read my last blog post, you’ll know that I am reading the Harry Potter series for the first time this summer! And wow, I am in love already. I am in awe of the world that J.K. Rowling has created. This book was so sweet and magical and… cozy. I don’t know how to review this, but if you also haven’t read the series, here is your push to go ahead and do it!

7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

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This one was far superior to its prequel. The stakes were higher, and the mysteries more intriguing. (Hey, this is sounding like my Crown of Midnight review!) I can’t wait to see where the series goes!

So there you have it! Let me know if you have read any of these books/series, and what you thought of them!

A Guide to Creating

I believe that all humans have a desire to create: to put thoughts out into the world in a beautiful form. So here it is: A Guide to Creating!

1. Pick a medium

Pick a medium you feel comfortable in and find beauty in. From writing, drawing, music, film making, photography, cooking, fashion; there are so many to choose from! Just make sure you have some basic skills and you are passionate about it.

2. Supplies

Gather supplies that inspire you to use them. I’m not saying to go out and invest hundreds of dollars into paint and canvas, but if you can afford it, treat yourself to some good quality supplies. It really makes a world of difference. However, if you are living paycheck to paycheck have no fear! You can create multitudes of projects with just paper and pen.

3. Atmosphere

Get yourself into a creative headset, however you can. For me, I need chill music, a table to spread out on, and an idea in my head. Make your creative time a sacred time of peace. Set aside time, set aside a corner of a room, and get in the mindset to express.

4. An Idea

This is where most of us trip up. We can feel ready to create, but we must have a general idea of what we will create. But writer’s/artist’s block is a simple problem to fix, especially with the internet at our fingertips. Look up recipes, or find some writing prompts. Try to see what the pros are doing. If structure ain’t your thing, then try to look for ideas through other mediums. You’d be surprised at how many creative writing pieces of mine are inspired by song lyrics. At the beginning stages, don’t worry if your idea is unoriginal; that’s what editing is for! Also, don’t be afraid to abandon old ideas. We all get stuck, and there’s no point in trying to work with something that doesn’t excite you.

5. Create!

Just do it. Don’t think too much about the technicalities. There’s really no guide to this step- just let your thoughts and emotions pour out of you.

6. For when you inevitably get stuck

There is always a low point in any creative process: the point where nothing turns out right, and it seems like you’ve just wasted all your time to create a piece of crap. Don’t let this voice talk down to you. Know that this happens to everyone, and then brainstorm what could make it better. At this point, don’t be afraid to change your original idea. Sometimes you must completely scrap your original idea, and sometimes you must only tweak a few elements. Use your best judgement until you are satisfied with your work.

7. Translation

This is only a step for those of us who want to share our work with the world. Fortunately and unfortunately, we each have different languages we think in. So, if you wish to create something that others can relate to, you must translate your work into something the public can understand. This will mean different things for different people; writers must revise and edit, artists must outline and create tangible shapes, film makers must add a narration, etc.

The process could start now. If you’ve always dreamed of doing something creative, today is the day to go out and do it! Close your screen and go follow these steps. I’m here for you on this journey. Feel free to share your work with me in the comments! Happy creating!

Reading Harry Potter for the First Time

I have never read Harry Potter. You may now kick me out of the book-lover club. I know, I know, it’s bad, but I don’t have a sappy “Harry Potter changed my childhood” story. Honestly, I was never a fantasy fan growing up. I preferred to read books about girls like me. I still am just dipping my toes into the fantasy pool, and it’s terrifying and confusing, but also fun.

So, this summer, I have decided to bite the bullet and finally read Harry Potter. What prompted this, you ask? Well, the fact that I still haven’t read the most popular children’s series was always nagging at the back of my head. I knew it would happen eventually, but today I watched this video by one of my favorite BookTubers, Zoe Herdt, or ReadByZoe. She announced that she’s hosting a Harry Potter read-a-thon! This is the push I needed. I’m going to do it!

Going into this, I am not sure what to expect. Harry Potter has changed so many lives, but those people read it as children. Will the magic be gone for us older people? I hope not, but I have seen multiple critical reviews by people who read it later in life. But hell, I am still dangerously susceptible to magic. I will do an update/series review at the end of the summer, when I finish the series.

Let me know what you think of the Harry Potter series! Have you read it a million times, or have you never even thought about touching it? Also, let me know if you are going to be participating in this read-a-thon, and we can buddy up and encourage each other!

Addressing the Name of this Blog

“Listen, I know

This one’s a contradiction because of how happy it sounds,

But the lyrics are so down.”

– Not Today by twenty one pilots

Listen, I know

The name of this blog is a contradiction because of how happy it sounds,

But it’s content is so down.

Okay, but really though. When choosing a name for this blog, I went with carefreemanatee because 1. It freaking rhymed!!! 2. It was cute, and 3. It wasn’t taken (how?!?!). I don’t exactly remember how I came up with it in the first place, though I suspect it was with the help of a username generator.

But its been 2 years since I’ve created this blog (with no content on it until last month, might I add) and it just doesn’t feel right anymore. Sure, it’s still cute and rhyme-y, but it’s just ironic that a blog that talks about anxiety has the adjective “carefree” in the title. I am the opposite of carefree. I have a mental disorder that prohibits me from being carefree, for God’s sake!

No, I don’t think I’ll be changing the name of this blog (though if I do, I’m definitely going to do a play on “Annie are you okay?” from Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal- have I ever mentioned that my name is Annie?). This post was just to acknowledge the irony elephant (or should I say manatee? No? Okay.) in the room surrounding the name of this blog. And maybe it’s just ironic enough to be a juxtaposition.

Yeah, sure, that was what I was going for all along!

The Happiest Girl in the World

This poem was inspired by one of my favorite videos: “The Happiest Girl in the World” by SoSonia on the SoulPancake YouTube channel:

 

She is the happiest girl in the world.

 

She spends every single day staring out her bedroom window.

Though she can barely manage to leave this room,

She knows that one day the world will be hers

For the cherishing, and for the conquering.

 

She creates imaginary lovers for herself,

But she remembers to remember that they are out there somewhere,

And that the universe will bring them together when the time is right,

And then she will, at last, fall in sweet, sweet love.

 

Her insides are caving in on themselves,

But she uses her addiction to optimism as a cement to her temple.

Loving others keeps her upright,

And sunflowers still make her heart sing.

 

 

The voices tell her to give up.

They tell her that life is too scary to be worth it.

But she is learning to be brave, and to laugh in their faces

And say, “You can keep trying to hold me down,

But I won’t give up without a fight.”

 

She is the happiest girl in the world.

Even though she can’t go a day without her tear ducts crying out,

And even though she goes to 3 therapy appointments a week,

And even though she is on 5 medications for her anxiety disorders,

She is the happiest girl in the world

Because she is keeping her hope in her heart while walking through hell.

Nostalgia

Nostalgia is such a funny thing. Nostalgia is a fondness or yearning to return to past times. Nostalgia can feel like putting on your favorite comfy sweater, or it can feel like an aching in the chest for something that is impossible to have.

I’m a very nostalgic person- but really who can blame us teenagers? Our childhoods may have well been yesterday, and childhoods, to any age, are perhaps the most appealing times of our lives. No responsibilities, no judgement, just living in its purest form. But we forget about the not so great parts of childhood too- having no responsibility, having little emotional intelligence, throwing tantrums, being bored, and so on.

Nostalgia happens because we glamorize our pasts. We see only the highlight reel of yesterday, and it only gets worse the more time goes by. When we are in a nostalgic frame of mind, we conveniently forget about all the not-so-great moments of our past until it seems picture perfect- unlike our lives now, perhaps.

So is nostalgia a good or bad feeling? Well, my silly friend, there are no good or bad feelings! But it is important to both feel what we are feeling and also to make sure we are not falling into any thought holes. So, let us be nostalgic for times past, but let us not be hasty in imagining the past as perfect, as the present never seems to be.