a popped spirit

A piece by Lily Alexander

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photograph by sofia sears

When I was younger, I would tie balloons to my wrist and walk around, a short creature tethered to a brightly colored floating orb. I used to love doing this and would instantaneously burst into tears whenever my balloon got caught on a tree branch and popped. The loss of air and thus life, caused me to become distraught.

Frustrated, agitated and exhausted.

Frustrated, agitated and exhausted of what exactly? See, I do not know.  What do I possibly have that could cause me grief. What element in my life is bad enough to cause me what appears to be permanent frustration? There isn’t anything. I can’t look at a painting of my life and see that a brushstroke is unfinished or a dividing line is smeared. There isn’t a damn detail that would force me to be frustrated, agitated and exhausted, so why am I feeling this way? I look at my existence as a positive thing, as one should. Right? The opportunity at a lifetime of memories and accomplishments is a gift one should be grateful for. I am aware of this celestial blessing, so why does everything feel so egregious?

I get out of bed at the same damn time every morning. 6:47 am sharp. The alarm begins to screech at 6:45. The frigid squeals send shockwaves through my oblique cave. Painful shockwaves. Violent shockwaves that harness an energy powerful enough to disrupt cell reception.  Goodness, I can’t even imagine the catastrophic repercussions that would follow if 4g LTE became 3g.

I decide to acquiesce and tug down my duvet cover.  The cold breeze that hits my bare legs strips away my protection. It peels away the outer layers of my shield, leaving nothing behind but a vulnerable being.

Each morning the battle within me to pull myself up drops and I fear the day when I don’t have the strength to keep going. The audacity gage has steadily been falling, inching closer and closer to a dangerous EMPTY. I worry about my capricious spirit and wonder why nobody can see how much I am struggling. I wonder if my visceral perspective towards life is natural. Even my broken psyche relies on these transcendent thoughts to push me towards success. The surrounding Quidnuncs don’t see my despair, they aren’t aware of my emotional disconnect. The only connection they are concerned about is their wireless connection.  

The societal connections I used to cherish are outdated wires that physically can’t connect to anything. Useless. The wire you shove in a drawer and forget about because it doesn’t connect to anything. The only thing keeping you from throwing out this cable is the fact that you might stumble upon the use for it. I feel like an emotional parasite. Looking for a host to offer some positivity, some hope that my feelings are temporary. Some kind of support system to reassure me that I will feel included, that I will feel wanted. Parasites need something, anything to lynch onto for nutrients. Without a host, the sickly creatures die.

Tired of the same damn routine. Irritated with the mask of pretension I encounter everyday. Exhausted with the façade society puts on to display perfection.

I loosely stand up, dizzy from my inescapable thoughts. The euphoria I used to feel from peering around my eclectic room has dissipated into nothingness. Gone.

I don’t understand the appeal to perfection. However, I do understand the appeal to knowledge, to education. Life is about inductively discovering knowledge. Becoming a sciolist betrays this quest for knowledge. Fabricating this façade betrays the gift of life.

Instant gratification haunts my generation, lurking in our minds to prioritize instant happiness over long term thriving. The dark shadows constantly manipulating our consciences. I try not to succumb. I attempt to fight against the powerful winds causing my knees to buckle.

My knees are getting tired; my bones are nearing their point of capitulation. The fight is all consuming and I am losing. Trying to envision a positive future has become impossible. This envisioning used to be easy. When I was younger, I would close my eyes and imagine myself doing anything and everything I ever dreamt of. Being a superhero, easy. Saving the world took almost nothing. Imagining a generation of happiness, positivity, and inclusion was easy. Closing my eyes and thinking about everything I have ever wanted to accomplish has been getting harder and harder.  I find myself no longer wanting a future filled with a plethora of my accomplished goals.

I continue to trek, waiting for a bright future. Waiting for my marvelous goals to be crossed off on my grand to-do list.  Yet, the belligerent distractions of today are poking holes in my imagination of tomorrow. The societal struggles I am constantly faced with have become the branches that pop my positive balloon, that defeat my emotional effervescence.  I wonder if this loss of innocence is growing up, if this trouble to cope with reality is natural and simply means I am becoming an adult. Then I remember my perspective, an outsider. Peering outside into a world of happiness and perfection, one that shuts out my burnt spark. I appear to be alone in the battle of darkness and light. My contemplative thoughts appear to be the reason of my exclusion. Glancing at the common façade of wealth and happiness discriminates against my unhappy feelings, leaving me to feel more alone than ever.

My withered balloon has been stuck in the branches for a while; pigeons have begun eating the tattered, vile rubber. Common people walking down the street see the balloon, I mean it is impossible not to spot the faint color that used to glow. People acknowledge the balloon’s existence, however, they refuse to rescue the balloon. And so the abandoned balloon sits on the branches, waiting for the day someone cares enough to take it down. My feelings stick out like a popped balloon, forever waiting to be rescued.

2 thoughts on “a popped spirit

  1. Wonderful piece. Fervent with meaning; precisely delineates the battle so common to some, too often unspoken of and extensively ignored. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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