collections of short narratives, rewritten episodes, & jovial cynicism





My fear isn’t necessarily tangible, but it is no less visceral.

And I carry it with me daily, and at this point I honestly don’t think it will ever leave the home it has created in the back of my mind.

But the weird part is I’m not asking it to leave.

My fear is expectation.

The one I’ve created is an accumulation of my own goals in life, and those that have been created for me by friends, family, and strangers that I think know me.

“You’re going to do great things.”

“Say my name in your acceptance speech!”

“What are you up to?”

“Why are you STILL HERE? Shouldn’t you be doing that great thing we all said you were going to do after college?”

That last one I just made, but the rest are comments played on repeat by my support system, which seems more systematic by the day. I was taught to strive to be my greatest self, so I did things I thought would make me great. And I watched myself rewarded for them, time and time again. But what nobody talks about, and what everyone omits to do is prepare you for what happens when you aren’t being great. Those in-between moments. I’m there now, and while I know there must be other people with me here–while I hear other people with me here–it’s such a lonely place. I never expected to be here. THEY never expected me to be here.

But I’m moving; and what’s most terrifying is I don’t know if it’s forwards or backwards.

I never planned to expect this kind of unexpected.

But I’m moving–it’s all I have left and the only thing I haven’t tried.

And as I move, I begin to find a stride that’s uncomfortable, but that’s change; my muscles will adjust.

I’m moving to a place where I see me, in the hopes that someone else will see me as I see me. Like a light down a tunnel that leads like a guide to the top, where I can finally climb out and breathe.

And hopefully that voice–dwelling in the back of my mind, scaring me witless–will stay with me. I know it’s the only thing that will fuel me to create my own light, head back down that tunnel, and search for anyone else trying to get out.



Tatyana Mann