“Very rarely patients develop __________.” by Julia on the 20

Wednesday April 11, 2018
8:49pm
5 minutes
Diagnosis
Adam Sol

You’re online again because that’s where the answers are. That’s where you’re allowed to be sick. Because the forums are full of people like you looking for inches to turn into miles. Itches to turn into conditions and you’re convinced you’ve been cut by the hidden incision bit by the bug that borrows its fangs into your skin and then buries its offspring underneath it. You’re sick and you know it. The rash you developed shows it, the hard lump in your throat chose itself and you tell the world you did not make this up. Where all the people like you play, looking to lose at another game, maybe this way you will have something to blame for the wrong going on in your life. The invisible pains, come and go strains, the ones that buy you sympathy and community and attention.

“astral projection, stress and depression” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday September 12, 2017
8:40pm
5 minutes
Binaural Beats & Healing Sounds on YouTube

I believe that some horoscopes are life changing and I’ve read them. I know they exist.
I am confused, however, that I can read something, understand it, find it moving, and then not be moved by it. I don’t know why putting perfect phrases, keys to the universe surely, into practice is so damn hard. All you have to do is realize your worth, allow your heart to express itself, decide what it is you’d like to do, and then do it. These are the simple steps laid out and yet I read them, but won’t remember them. As if I never saw the answers in the first place. As if I have to take the test day after day without having studied the material. Some days I am always guessing. Water? Do I need water? Do I need to flip an egg? Scramble it? Fresh air? Do I need to use the bathroom? Do I need to stretch? Vomit? Be so mean to all the good things? Do I need to cry it all out?

“If your passport is damaged” by Julia on the living room floor in H’s Air bnb


Monday August 28, 2017
9:39pm
5 minutes
from the passport booklet

my passport is good until 2023 or something like that. I opted into the ten year thing. I have a good photo so I’m lucky. I should probably travel more to get some better use out of it. Lately I’ve been taking my drivers license with me for domestic flights. that makes me nervous but also makes me feel cool. I am lying on the floor right now. I am not flying anywhere. They say if your passport gets damaged then you should inform whoever it is that issues them. I want to know how passports are getting damaged. Are people stabbing them? Are the bad guys painting them with nail polish? This is a very serious question with zero
serious answers. I keep mine in a yellow Koodo bag. Safe enough.

“a wonderful future beckoned and winked” by Julia on her bed


Thursday March 5, 2015
11:59pm
5 minutes
The Fig Tree
Sylvia Plath


“I’m ready for something bigger.” I took a deep gulp of air and I said that to myself. I did. I was, in that moment, feeling very existential. I wanted to know things about myself. I realized I wanted to enjoy my own abilities instead of waiting, forever waiting, for someone else to tell me that they enjoy them. “How is that living?” I exhaled and I said that to myself. “How is it?” If I might, I’d like to paint the scene for you so perhaps you’d see how silly it is too.
You wake up, you dread enjoying your own gifts because you’re afraid someone else might disagree with you or have an opinion about what you’ve made. You make a bowl of quick oats and banana, and you tell yourself internally how bad you are for wanting to spend time doing the things that bring you joy and amusement and pleasure. You clean the dishes and you imagine a world where there is applause for you, but you see it as its own entity and not attached to the doing. Then you put on your jeans and you notice that you don’t ever see the part where you’re actually enjoying your own ability. You can’t envision the perfect happiness that comes from simply doing that thing, and you can’t fathom for even a split second what the feeling of truly expressing and connecting would mean for you.
So you throw on your winter scarf and head out of the house to once again avoid doing what you know your heart bleeds for.
Bizarre, isn’t it?

“there’s nothing to switch on” by Julia at Pearson Airport


Thursday January 22, 2015
4:10pm
5 minutes
enRoute magazine
January 2015


The girl overreacted. I watched her do it. Someone cut in front of her in line at the dollar store. She reacted. It was over the top. An overreaction, you know. She looked like she was searching for answers-as if they’d come by opening and closing her eyes rapidly. I wanted to yell at her, “Hey! There’s nothing to switch on!” But it wouldn’t have been worth it. It wouldn’t have meant anything to her. I think she was just one of those empty birds, desperate to hold onto something. The type of girl who says, “I’m not much of a reader. I don’t have the attention span.” Or “I prefer audio books cause then your eyes don’t get tired.” Or “Each to his own. Each to his own.”

“exit only” by Julia in Piazza del Francia


Tuesday October 28, 2014
4:21pm
5 minutes
from the side of a tper bus

He entered a room filled with mirrors. The instructions said he must look within before he could exit the game. He knew how this worked. A hundred minutes ripping apart all his flaws just to realize he was fine all along and didn’t need to inflict any self harm to find that out. So instead he tried to see what features he liked about himself; starting with the outside to make it easier when he got to the inside.

Decent enough eye shape. Not an almond. But almost. Long eyelashes-like a fawn, or a prostitute. Standard cheekbones (thankfully). One big bottom lip and one almost normal looking top lip. Straight teeth. Really straight. Should smile more. Will note that.

“Same words in another language” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday October 1, 2014
11:43pm
5 minutes
from a collage in a classroom

You asked if you could cheat off of me
And I said yes
Because it’s what I’m trained for
Golden Retriever
Revolver
Believer
You asked for my answers and I gave them
And when our fingers touched
Three ring lined paper
Thin
like you
Thick
like me
I felt that thunder
That electric sound
That deep growl
I wanted you to stay
You left
Right
You left
Right
You left
I wanted to say
I’ll give you everything
I’ll shape your hopes into cookies
and I will bake them
I’ll paddle to your cabin
and wait
Wait
Wait for you to come back
Late
I’m early
It’s on me
You go
Quicker than laugher
I’m left
Right
Left
Right
Watching your hair move
like water

“Auditions for the part of” by Julia on Nicole’s couch


Saturday, September 6, 2014
1:01am
5 minutes
from a tweet

She smiles at me because she’s trying to figure me out. She says, you’re leaving but aren’t you just starting your career? Don’t you want to be on TV or something? I smile back because FUCK YOU, I’m leaving cause I’m leaving. End of Story. Everybody back off. You know? And she’s still so sweet because she’s not trying to offend anyone, she’s just remembering the two conversations we’ve had in our entire lives and making attempts at small talk. Well it’s not SMALL. It’s my life we’re talking about. My life CHOICES we’re talking about. Which I’m not opposed to doing but I guess when one doesn’t have the answers one expects to have, it’s all just a little bit overwhelming. I’M GREAT AT BULLSHITTING. I blurt that out as a sort of “reason” even though it was meant to convince me more than her. She wasn’t supposed to hear that at all. I’LL BE JUST FINE. I blurt out again. But this time she’s not smiling. She’s sort of looking at me with concern and probably pity. Guess that TV thing is over then?

“What made us drift away?” by Julia on her bed


Thursday January 24, 2013
12:46am
5 minutes
The 100-Mile Diet
Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon


Was it the smell of the ocean, calling to us from across the world?
The vacation we said we’d always take and never did?
The holes in his socks that he just wouldn’t fix?
The way she cocked her head to the side when she talked about poetry?
These questions don’t need question marks. They are the reasons. They are the things we couldn’t do right.

A million times over, and the bed was still cold, the money was still tight, and the bread was still stale.
But she asks again and again. She asks herself, she asks him. She’s dying to know. She’s desperate for the answer.
“What made us drift away?”

She shuffles through the house, inspecting it the way her mother and law never bothered to. She would get up early on Sundays just to tidy it for her before brunch and that damn woman never seemed to notice, or care, or either.
She ruffles through old photo albums, trying to detect the distinct possibility that it was there all along; the proof was in the pudding; that she herself was to blame, if no one else would step up.

Was it the wretched winters that kept us from kissing when we entered the house?
The smell of garlic lingering in the air and dampening our mood after dinner?
The salt stains on his dress pants from not being too careful?
The way she never forgave him for forgetting her birthday?