'Who am I' she asks : A creative explosion of paradoxical remarks the student replied.





How emotions get the better hold of us, I’ve always thought
I’d see it coming but it catches me by surprise
at every turn, I begin to think it can’t be possible and yet still
you persist in my thoughts. “I’ve got to stop now,” I say
so, until time brings you closer again.



Would relapse be those mornings I wake up too soon
to find that you were on the cusp of my imagination.
It seems to make more sense before I confess aloud
these longings that seem so ridiculous now.
I feel like I’ve been drunk or high,
but what it really is, is to wake up;
you’re not here anymore.



When there’s too much to say at hand,
Laden with intentions left  unsaid,
“We can meet for coffee sometime,” is
A better proposition to say
In lieu of goodbyes,
So that I could only concede,



She could hear the outcome of this dialogue
All the while she began the summary of her emotional inventory
How in fact she’s been feeling off, yet today without authority
Nothing to justify save for the simple pawn off
Against the pellet of rain who’s deliberately thrown themselves
Into the pool of their lost doppelgängers
Rather that she said, “I’ve been feeling moody today and I
Can’t figure out why.”
“Why figure it out?” The voice asks,
“So that I can assess and come to terms with
The reason why and not feel this way anymore.”
“Why is it not okay for you to feel low,” her own conscience now speaks
Separately, seeking her to consider, “what if the disturbance is to be okay
With this emotional baggage instead?

Time, Foraging


Though I but acquiesced to care, I do not denote so fondly.

How do I take care to transcribe this delicately? – she sighs, “have you never heard that you may love and hate someone as one; tenderly and caustic at once.”

“Indeed, it is the odd animations of human nature at best.”

Do So, By You

It seems utter nonsense at times that we manage to be happy one moment and inconsolably sad the next. Similar to another blogger who was fluently articulating how we can have little to no control over our emotions at times, in the same vein of thought, I pondered whether our happiness leaks theoretically  with time. Especially if we weren’t careful with whom we shared it with. Isn’t that why there are always some people in life you approach with caution, as if holding your breath during the encounter to keep this hypothetical measurement of happiness intact?

I thought about this in my ever so largely stubborn (naive, really) and perhaps even a self-defensive way, to capture happiness when I feel it strongly. How to remind myself when possibly in the next few hours, I’ll have easily forgotten my own feelings and thoughts?

I thought about why I felt happy today.

It started last night. [edit: two nights ago] I sent a last closure email to my ex. Some people might cringe at this, but I don’t care how unorthodox, or rather socially ‘shameful’ this should be – whoever decided reaching out was for the weak minded? – I know I’ve tried to masquerade and rush the process of a post break up too soon by saying so before, but I do genuinely feel good having written this email. It wasn’t a haranguing address, nor humiliating in the sense that I couldn’t let him go. We simply don’t respect each other’s lifestyles. The one common language we speak however is work ethic and success in life. So I wrote to him and set myself the goal to similarly command (not demand) and earn his respect in this aspect when I would have worked for and deserve it – project on the horizon – more on that another time. Perhaps.

Point is that I would walk away with something and see that everything happens for a reason. More on that later as well.

This feeling of goodness kept on when I woke up at 7am to train at the gym. I’ve expressed that working out and becoming a part time trainer has been the better part of my week. What resonates most strongly when I think about how to conceptualize what being a trainer means for me comes from my voice. Being a relatively soft spoken person (I used to cry when kids in the back of the school bus complained they couldn’t hear my standard introduction and I had to start all over again), I thought about how powerful a voice can be. In fact, even today I constantly repeat myself for guests in my full time work because of my voice. Or lack thereof. For the first time in my life now, I am taught to project it. Not figuratively as teachers like to teach as a feel-good solution for quiet children like myself, but a voice that resounded from your gut and rocked the cavity in your head. An effective puddy patch against any bad leaks from the world trying to deplete your happiness balloon. All from my own voice that I never knew I had.

I felt good even though it’s a 12 hour work day, with many more to come, because I have a goal to work towards.

Then I came home in between jobs and saw my roommate sitting in the same seat watching the same documentary as he had been the previous night because he has too much time on his hands being unemployed. I initially cast it out of my mind because it’s none of my business, yet somehow this one briefing irked me and before I knew it, my happiness balloon was slowly leaking despite myself.

Thinking back to how I can arrive at the gym early in the morning, readily swollen with endorphin’s to get me going. Or that I could construct an email to the man I had felt so insecure with, and boldly state I will in fact respect and love myself, declining the temptation to backspace onto those words for fear that I may appear self-indulgent; I realize I’m not a preordained happiness balloon. If it were so, I would have been crushed that I was denied a promotion recently based on petty work politics. Or still be crushed that my relationship failed. Or that I live with such a roommate that apparently bums me out, for lack of better words – Because everything does in fact happen for a reason, and in the chronicle of events that led up to me being able to become a trainer and taking on this project, I had met just the right circumstances and persons to do.

To be denied of my promotion meant I could even have the attention and time to realize my potential as a trainer. To be denied my desire of a relationship led me to instead walk away from someone who is now neither a friend nor lover, but a fellow entrepreneur who spoke to my determination to prove my words. To be kept uncomfortable in my current living situation against someone who has yet to find their drive in life makes me wake up each day to renew resilience in discipline.

No, I am not leaking happiness throughout the day. I may be tired, and some days may be grueling and emotionally tense, but my happiness is there. Sloshing however recklessly inside me before it settles into a clear reflection of who I am and why I am excited for what I plan to do. So if one other intelligent blogger can share that we all have haphazard emotional liabilities every so often (quite often), then I shan’t be above it.



When You’re Frightened

Recently, I’ve been hit with a large wave of nostalgia.

I’m sure this is some poor milestone event that happens in everyone’s life – who doesn’t want to reverse logic and be children again? – especially children today; lucky bastards, I see them everywhere.

I’ve always thought of myself as a forward thinking person. It never bothered me to leave behind my then current life when I decided to move within 2 months once the idea was voiced. I was not regretful my father was no longer here. I had always been grateful for what it taught me. It was something that was always thrown around in the house I lived in. It was something I took as serious as my stupid Ducklet pride.

When I moved out at 18, I never felt vulnerable nor missed my old life. As serene and placid as it was in the suburban neighborhood with peers my own age. I never once missed high school. Maybe that’s a lie. I miss the ridiculous oblivion the high school environment provides. And in the same breath I abhor the tiny environment it allows for the numerous brilliant minds that have been contorted and warped to believe inside themselves a certain sense of self that will last through their life time based on a teenager’s echelon. In full, I still wouldn’t go back. You can’t unknow things you know. Life is frustrating like that.

Now at almost 19, I feel I haven’t accomplished much in life. Who cares about the job my family is so proud of, who cares about being the youngest between my colleagues. I still feel I have missed out on life’s secret event. I knew it was playing a trick on me. Right?

Sometimes I wish I could waste time. And not just sit at home all day – because I enjoy the solitude – but to sit at home all day and do stupid stuff and not have the harried feeling of knowing I’m wasting time.

I woke up and thought about the time when I used to always sleep over with my cousins and we would play DS (when that was still cool) the moment we woke up. When we unapologetically took that extra hour before physically getting out of bed. The childish routine to brush our teeth one by one and distribute left over breakfast at the kitchen. To watch 3 hyperbole romantic comedies in a row, and cry despite knowing we’ll get puffy eyes the next day at 2am on Christmas Eve.

I missed climbing over each other to reach the computer. I missed just wondering and chattering uselessly about what else life has to bring. I miss discovering how to french braid and having that as a skill. I missed the security, the comfort, their company – the not knowing.

If I were to be offered, I would never opt for omnipotent knowledge or wisdom. Like I said, you just can’t unknow things you already know.

So today I could never allow myself to move back home because I know all those peers back at home still haven’t even properly thought about it. I could never stop the cycle of working the grind because we all know that’s life’s grand entrance in spitting you out into adulthood – I can’t leave, not if the management is unfair. Not if it would be easier. Not even if my mother would not get mad at me for it. Particularly because she wouldn’t, I can never stop.

But I never stop thinking about the times when I was home alone back in that old house, no matter how much I had wanted to leave then, no matter the bad and lonesome things that happened there; I would purposely bring down my blankets and a pillow to curl up on the single sofa, just so I could crunch together and hang a leg over the edge. How I would turn on the single blue lit lamp and watch TV in my home made theater. How at ease I was at with the world in allowing myself to wake up when I wanted to and to continue to feel alright about myself.

How much I wish to stop the torment on how much I hate myself.

But I guess that’s another life’s topic.

Sometimes though, it’s really scary out there… Sometimes I don’t think it’s quite alright that my emotions dwell so lightly I easily cry when I think too deeply. Like now. Sometimes I just don’t want to be here (and of course I’m too cowardly to act on it, because shit, I’m scared), and sometimes I really want to, just so I have a reason to act.

I no longer doubt that my family would grieve but am rather undeserving in pitying my mother for the would-be second loss in her life – how very much unfair that would be to her.

I almost finish the thought that my father should be here instead of me from time to time.

I try to disown that I sometimes sleep with a knife by my bedside. It’s not right. I don’t tell the people I love and trust. I can’t. That would be too sad. Too desperate. Too easily written off as a teenage phenomenon. Really, all that said was because I’m still scared to say it aloud. It’s too weird for someone who does such a good job of appearing brag worthy to her family.

I miss at the end of the day, even the arrogance of a child in their self worth. I’m envious.

A Story That Could Be True

She is a factory worker, and she is my mom. I am proud of her, I assure myself, as I think back on the memory of her first paycheck lying on the kitchen counter. I brushed aside the odd thought of money being so dear. That wasn’t my intention.

That particular golden evening held a stagnant heat, the leftovers of a sweltering day, which discreetly dissolved into the lunar breeze before I ever realize each night. At her break time she called me.

“Do you see it?”

“Yeah, I see it mum. Congratulations.”

“Thank you. So what are you up to?”

“Ate the dinner you left in the fridge, it was really good. No, the soup wasn’t too salty, thank you. I was going to read that French book, it’s like learning English all over again.”

“Uh huh, that’s good. Hm, well, I’m just on my break, eating now.”

“I see.”

“Yes, so I’ll talk to you later then.”

“Okay, mum.”

“Love you.”

“Love you too.”

Each night we repeat the activity with a similar dialogue. We do not see each other before I go to sleep, or rather if she must, she could confirm my slumber from the shadow of my blanketed figure in my darkened room when she returns. I don’t particularly mind, the private afternoons go by calmly. Frequently, I indulge myself in my favorite TV show, and then chastise myself to take up some more reading. Reading aloud in French precisely, to practice my accent; I think back on her comment from another day, “it is such a beautiful language, your grandfather tried to teach me, to no avail.” I have yet to think of a way to curb my harsh throaty ‘r’s’. Sometimes, when I feel exasperation call in the back of my mind, behind a mask of calm, I continue flipping through the dictionary pages. I refuse to acknowledge the frustration. I will learn.

Usually, at around 7, I wash all my dishes and go upstairs to take my shower. As of recent, I took the leisure to find songs to sing. Most of the music on my phone proves impossible, otherwise ghastly choices, but I try to find something she would like, remembering faintly the last time she suggested for me to sing in the car and I had nothing to offer. I practice, briefly taking the time to learn each song, barely conscious of gesturing my head, or of suspending my arms besides my abdomen. Truly, there is no one to put up a show for.

Awhile after, when it is half past 7, I actually proceed to the shower. One of these days, I had stopped singing in them, and upon realization, I found nothing comes to mind when I rake through odd pieces of old lyrics. Somewhere along the way, the blind passion to sing had gone. Discarding that thought, I often entertain myself with life’s oddities, such as my cat. Occasionally, he creeps through the bathroom door as I come out of the shower, pushing the wooden frame aside with a nudge of his head. I tease him, calling him a serial pervert; most of the time though, he takes up more interest in my garbage can. When the odd occasion does arrive for him to entangle in between my legs, I am forced to scare him off with a flicker of wet hair. Exchanging the drying droplets of water for a pair of furry legs is no laughing matter. Once, when I had indulged him, I took the penance of swiping down odd clusters of fur all over me. Even when I was to brusquely brush them off my skin, they ultimately came back to some weird suction I cannot avoid. On these instances, I think I finally began to understand my mother’s incessant complaints of his shedding fur.

By the time I have dressed and brushed my hair, it is perhaps an hour and a half till bed time. With two blue toned lamps lit in the living room, I take refuge on the adjacent couch and read to myself quietly again. My evening returns to peace, but not before I turn down the blinds, to avoid nosy neighbors, my mother likes to say, though there really is no fuss to be looked at. For the next part of the hour, you will find my cold, damp hair propped up on the head of the couch, myself drawing my grandmother’s robe around my romp and across my shoulder. Maybe one day I dream to read to my mother in French, though I am not aware. She’d like that.

– So my first piece of submission to my writing class turned out better than I had expected, and therefore, if this sounds more formal than usual, now you know why.

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celeste lee cloud

writer & artist

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