The Bottomless Suitcase [pt. 1]

Darkness closes in like molasses, the bright sunset slowly moving farther away from the hushed wood.

“Could have at least helped me back,” a man’s voice breaks through the silence, “There’s got to be a shortcut.” He trudges off the path, sliding through the deeper mud and taller grass. He slips his hand into his right jean pocket and pulls out an intricate golden ring. What remains of the daylight gleams through an impressive diamond sitting atop it.

The man clenches his jaw, “GODDAMMIT!” He clasps his fist around the ring, and hurls it deep into the forest. It bounces off a tree with a faraway cling before landing somewhere among the brush. Another thing lost among the woods.

Out of nowhere, a fox carrying a miniature suitcase in its mouth trots along the foot path as if casually going to work.

“Fuck,” the man’s voice causes the fox to stop in its path, “First I’m lost, and now I’m going batshit. Fucking great.” He rubs the scruff of his narrow face and leans back against a tree, his legs giving way to the muddy ground beneath him. His clothes are soaked through.

The fox, studying the scene with some intrigue, sets down his suitcase and approaches the desperate man with hesitance.

“What do you want?” The man rolls his eyes and sneers at the fox, who sits only inches away surveying the person before him. “No, you’re not real.” The fox tilts its head, turns around to retrieve his suitcase, and sets it at the man’s feet.

“A fox with a goddamn suitcase! You’re not real, you can’t be real.” The man claws his fingers into his legs, and brings his head between his knees as his breath gets faster and faster, and farther and farther away from him. “Not now,” the man’s voice catches between short breaths.

In a matter of moments, he hears a thump and the clicking sounds of a metal dial being turned. The man’s breathing slows, and he looks up at fox in front of him, which is using its nose with an almost human-like precision to open the combination lock on the suitcase.

The animal gingerly enters the last number. Click.

Pop!  The latches on either side of the suitcase flip up.

“What the—”

The fox pushes top of the suitcase open, and jumps in. The lid slams shut behind it, and the forest returns to an eerie stillness, punctuated by the impending darkness.

The man crawls over to the case. His hands hover above the latches as if something terrible will happen when and if he decides to open it. “Okay,” he pauses, “Three, two, and—”

The lid burst open—the fox leaps out, and beckons the man to follow it back in. He gazes down into the suitcase. The inside is the deepest black the man has ever seen.

“Great,” he leans back, “And now a bottomless suitcase. Might as well commit me now. Fucking nut job. Anna sure did dodge a bullet.”

The fox nudges the man toward the suitcase with slight distress.

“Go away,” the man pushes the fox aside and slides back over to the tree.

The fox huffs and bites onto the man’s sleeve, and pulls him toward the open suitcase. The man pulls back, but the fox tugs harder until he’s latched onto the man’s arm.

“Ow!” he yanks his arm back, throwing the fox to the ground, “Piece of shit, you bit me!”

The fox snarls.

“Okay, fine. Fine. I’ll go in the goddamn suitcase with you.” He stands above the open luggage, peering down into the darkness, “It’s not even big enough for me.”

The fox nudges the man’s legs.

“Fine, alright, okay. I’m going! Stop pushing me,” He steps one foot in the case with a wooden thud that echoes downward. He looks to the fox, and then back down into the suitcase before descending one more step. Stairs. These are stairs… inside of a suitcase.  They’re very narrow and very steep, but it’s clear they’re wooden stairs.

The fox urges the man forward. Once the man has fully disappeared into the pitch black of the suitcase, it jumps in after him.

The lid closes above the pair with a thud, plunging them into an even thicker darkness.

Modern Dating is a God Damn Mess

A few months ago, I jumped back into the dating scene— the culture most people are so eager to flee from, and with good reason. Dating culture within the Millennial generation is a goddamn mess.

If you do a google search about dating today, you’ll see an insane number of articles discussing everything from “What To Do If He Ghosts You” to “How To Keep His Interest After The First Date”. It’s ridiculous.

When I first started dating again, it was strange. Nothing quite stuck, and most of the connections I made with people faltered by the end of the night. However, a few weeks in I met someone who I thought was relatively charming; he was ambitious and intelligent— the kind of person you would want to keep around and share successes with.

We went on one date. It didn’t go well. The connection wasn’t immediately there, but I wanted to give it a second shot.

So, I texted him and he replied cordially. I could tell that he wasn’t interested, but I wanted him to tell me outright. This sluggish back-and-forth went on for a couple of weeks, until I received this message from him:

“I had a lot of fun too, but here’s the problem: I recently decided to move back to New York, and I’ll most likely be leaving at the end of the month.”

Flash forward to two months later. I had been on a number of hit-or-miss dates, and I’d forgotten about that man altogether. I honestly believed that I would never see him again. Following my usual routine, I hit up karaoke with a few of my friends. At the bar, I saw someone I very vaguely recognized.

It’s him.

He’s with a date, and decidedly not in New York— unless New York and Wisconsin miraculously merged overnight to become one nonadjacent Super State. I was livid. How could someone be so spineless?

Before this night, I would have said that ghosting is the most cowardly thing someone could do when dating— but I was wrong.

Lying is the worst thing you can do.

I am the type of person who will tell someone, ‘No, I don’t want you to buy me a drink’— the type of person who will plainly say, ‘I’m sorry, I’m just not attracted to you.’ I would rather worry less about bruising someone’s ego than pandering to their feelings to avoid conflict.

However, not everyone is like that. Most people tend to let situations fizzle out— leading others on or ghosting them until they take the hint. I’ve been that person in the past. I’ve unintentionally strung people along for the ride, but when I realized what I was doing: I shut it down.

Situations like these feel like a terrible inevitability within our dating culture— but they aren’t. They’re avoidable. Games and power plays in the dating scene don’t need to exist. When people are honest about their feelings— and most importantly, when people are brave: These games disappear.

Previously published at www.ThoughtCatalog.com

This Is What Happens When You Live Fearlessly

I haven’t always been a fearless person. Growing up, I was an extremely shy, sweet, relatively naïve little blonde girl who wanted to do everything, but was a bit too scared to do anything that might involve a tumble.

I was the child who would look up at a tree and think, “Wow… I bet the world looks so cool from up there,” and move onto doing something safe; the one who took the tiny risks which would never fail. I never broke an arm, and I never fell from anything other than my own clumsiness.

Fast-forward to this weekend: I jumped out of an airplane…. and I’m going to do it again.

When I left my last relationship a little over half a year ago, I didn’t recognize myself. My confidence was small and I had no plan or real direction for my life. Up until that point, I was going with the flow—taking those small calculated risks I knew would pay off. I knew I wanted to be a writer; However, more than that: I wanted to share a life with someone else so badly that I was content with letting my success be second alongside the path of anyone else’s.


I was content to help people find their own path—living vicariously through their achievements,and waiting for them to help me with mine when the time came.

Then, four months ago, it struck me:

An incredible amount of my time the past few years has been spent waiting for someone else; planning and saving experiences to share with someone special. Much of my life up to this point, I have been living in a state of “I’ll do this when…”.


There is so much to learn and to experience—so many things I want to do and to achieve within my lifetime, that if I spend it waiting around for someone else: I will never be able to say, “I did this.” I will live in a perpetual state of “What If”.

“What If” isn’t living. 


I decided to change. I decided to start making my own path instead of following the one easily laid out before me.


I decided to live my life the way I want to now, instead of waiting for a more convenient time.


So, I jumped out of a plane. I started rock climbing, and learning piano, and teaching myself yoga, and finishing my novel. I stopped waiting to start doing the things that excite me.

And do you know what happened? My life went from dismal and dull to absolutely extraordinary.


When you can do these things alone, without waiting, and without hesitation—everything changes. My perspective on life and on success is completely different than it was a year ago.

If you really want to do something: Don’t wait. Don’t give yourself a chance to second-guess yourself. Do whatever it is you’ve been wanting to do.


Live fearlessly and your entire life will change.

Previously published by Thought Catalog at www.thoughtcatalog.com

Stories We’ve Yet To Share

Today, I take for granted:

Sundrops and Sunstreams
Which move like water
Through my windows;
Pooling over me.

The morning song;
The one that wakes me
On and off,
And on and off,
Again and again
Throughout the night
And into the dawn.

Today, I take for granted
The stories we share;
The ones we have yet to make.

The Way We Used To Be (or ‘Ghosts’)

He clung onto ideas like air; a worn down notepad kept snug in his back pocket was proof of his desperate and voracious thoughts. He wrote with a pointed hunger; every three seconds, he popped out a pen from his front pocket and the notepad from his back. Every three seconds he’d scribble down another thought, as if the world would end if he stopped.

He lived between two worlds at any given moment—the one we shared, and one trapped inside his head; A world full of ghosts— hauntings of missed moments and unsaid words; of unhad adventures and regrets.

We used to talk. Adventures and dreams connected our worlds by a tiny wooden door, always kept wide open. We used to laugh together, and there was nothing that could separate us.

I remember him telling me about these moments, how they would inevitably come and go—and how I would be helpless to stop them. Sometimes the world gets heavy, and that’s how he deals with it. The first time, I was able to get him to talk—to show me those tiny little thoughts he wrote down in his even tinier notepad.

Not this time.

Now, he won’t even look at me.

Now, we sit.

In silence, I sit next to him in this dim, smoky bar counting each thought and waiting; Waiting for the clouds to part— for a glimpse of hope to show that we’re going to be okay; for his weathered thoughts to turn back to sun.

He takes comfort in those thoughts, in the little back-pocket-notepad and in the flow of ink— those private stories written between sips of whiskey, each drink closing the door between us further and further.

Now, for the first time, the door is almost shut, and the only things able to slip between the cracks are the ghosts of our stories.

Previously published by Thought Catalog at www.thoughtcatalog.com.

Binds

The tightening in my chest,

at best,

is the result of my missing breath.

Nevertheless– I take in words like air.

There are things I wish I could say,

Some feelings I wish I could lay on your mind

if you don’t mind–

But then, I might.

Real-talk now: there’s a little trouble,

Doubling over double.

Karma’s a bitch, and that’s something you can’t just fix;

Your bubble’s gonna pop.

You want to be bigger than big,

but you’re tripping over steps–

Baby steps–

Overstepping boundaries–

Bound to find solace in your own personal binds:

Break them.

I don’t mind, but then again–

You might.

Let’s Talk About Priorities

Priorities: Mine have always been a little skewed. There are so many little things in life to get caught up in, that if you don’t take a minute to set your own boundaries and goals— You’re going to get swept away. I’ve been taken by that current more than a few times:

I wanted to be an actress. I wanted to be a teacher. I wanted to be a lawyer, a director, a dancer, etc… You get the picture.

So, I’m on this dating site, right? Right. I’ve been on it before… countless times actually. On this site, which may or may not be OKCupid, they ask a question: “What is more important to a relationship: Passion, or dedication?”

When I was younger, I said passion. How can you be with someone if the flame isn’t always burning brightly?

But, I was wrong. Dedication is the most important aspect of any relationship. It’s crucial to your relationship with yourself, which is above all the most important relationship you’ll have in your life. It’s imperative to keeping friends, and it’s what keeps monogamous romantic relationships alive and ticking. That dedication is a direct reflection of the respect you have for your own ideas and wellbeing.

Being flaky and finicky is easy. Jumping from idea to idea to idea is easy. What’s not easy, is finding things worth fighting for and seeing them through. Great passion is what gets things started, but you need that internal respect to keep everything moving forward.

Going with the flow is for people without vision. It’s simple and it can take you places if you know how to leverage it, but seeing your vision become a reality due to your dedication? That’s an entirely different level.

But first and foremost, you need to be there for yourself before those visions can come to fruition. A decision has to be made: Am I worth it? Am I worth this effort?

I think that when you can answer ‘Yes’, another world of possibilities open up. I’m working on saying yes right now, and I hope you are, too.

Previously published by Thought Catalog at www.thoughtcatalog.com.

Inevitable

My happiness was in her smile, and the way she glided effortlessly around our home… and everywhere, really. She was contained, but wild– a calculated storm. She was the sound of a piano, of an acoustic guitar– calming music that fills you up and warms your heart. That was her.

We were never a match. I knew that. Logically, I knew that.

When I first saw her dancing by herself in the crowded street of paired dancers, I knew that. But I couldn’t look away. It all felt inevitable. She felt inevitable. A flash of the memories, happiness, and frustration we would share flickered in my head, and dissolved as slowly as it had come. I never wanted to make an assumption. Not with her.

I asked her to dance. And she said ‘Okay,’ and fluttered her eyelashes and smiled at me in that special ‘knowing’ way that I would come to expect.

And that was it. We became inseparable, and I loved every moment of it. I think she did, too.

We never planned a future. That was her thing– she always wanted to live in the moment. Why worry about tomorrow?

I was a worrier. It was almost like a hobby to me; if I wasn’t worried, you could bet everything that I would find something to worry about. She worried me a lot.

She would swing from one exciting venture to the next, never quite hanging onto one moment long enough to prepare for the transition between the two. When she didn’t have anything to fuel it, she drank. We drank. We drank a lot. We fell into collective holes and repeatedly dug ourselves out.

Time made it worse. I made it worse. The holes got deeper each time, and became more and more difficult to come back from. I spent so much time getting myself out, that I couldn’t do more than coach her out of her own chasm– where before I would jump in, and lift her out.

We never planned a future, because we never had a future. I know we’d never have one if we stayed together. All we would have is time passed in moments fueled by weed and gin. She deserves more than to be destroyed and rebuilt, over and over and over again.

I let her go.

That sounds like a shitty way to phrase it. Like I’m some business that isn’t making enough money, so they have to ‘let someone go’. But that’s what I did.

I will always love her. Memories of her will always fill my breath, and I will never forget the first moment I saw her; that I spoke to her.

I will never forget that we were inevitable.

Previously published by Thought Catalog at www.thoughtcatalog.com

Fear is quantifiable;

the flow of ink, staining the possibilities

a blank page sets ablaze.

a haze that envelops, and traps you

inside your own mind;

An uncomfortable comfort. And I’m coming

short– a sort of sorted fears that colour my

ambitions a muted grey.

To make an admission, I’m on a mission;

I’ve made a decision to spark a change.

Don’t Be Afraid

Don’t be afraid of the creatures

that lurk in the deep dark;

That crawl and scratch away

At your memories in the twilit night.

                 They mean well.

They feed on your nightmares

Breathe gentle stories quietly

Into your mind to ease the pain

Sucking the horror from your thoughts.

                 They do mean well.

They may nip and bite at you

From time to time, they might;

But you can’t blame them,

They won’t survive solely on dreams.

                 I swear they mean well.

                 Please believe me that they do.

It’s just that sometimes

Their teeth…

Are a little too sharp;

They bite down harder than expected;

They take more than they intended.

                 But they can’t help it.

                 They’re only trying to help.

Now, go back to sleep.