I was sitting in front of my computer, feeling stressed about a lot of things – how to balance midterms, work, internship and Halloweekend without losing my footing on one (or all) of those fronts. I wish I could say that I figured it out, some how striking a balance between these conflicting aspects of my overly complex life – but alas, that remains a task for another day.
On that dreary afternoon my stressed, poorly dressed, rain-drenched self had no choice but to seek some other means of placating the problem without actually solving it. My first instinct? Ask the internet. A wise friend once told me, “if google can’t solve your problems, you’re in too deep.” And so I approached that all knowing portal, humble in my ruby slippers as if requesting the aid of the Wizard himself. “O Great and Wise Google,” I whispered, “is there any way to make light of these mid-semester blues?” The Great Search Engine in the Sky did not forsake me.
“Write,” our modern God commanded. “Read, be inspired, and produce an echo of the original creation – you have all you need inside you. Simply search, scroll, and the answer will reveal itself.” And so I did.
In my dutiful scrolling, I came across PoetryFoundation.org. Behold yesterday’s the poem of the day:
Dividend of the Social Opt Out
By Jennifer Moxley
How lovely it is not to go. To suddenly take ill.
Not seriously ill, just a little under the weather.
To feel slightly peaked, indisposed. Plagued by
a vague ache, or a slight inexplicable chill.
Perhaps such pleasures are denied
to those who never feel obliged. If there are such.
How pleasant to convey your regrets. To feel sincerely
sorry, but secretly pleased to send them on their way
without you. To entrust your good wishes to others.
To spare the equivocal its inevitable rise.
How nice not to hope that something will happen,
but to lie on the couch with a book, hoping that
nothing will. To hear the wood creak and to think.
It is lovely to stay without wanting to leave.
How delicious not to care how you look,
clean and uncombed in the sheets. To sip
brisk mineral water, to take small bites
off crisp Saltines. To leave some on the plate.
To fear no repercussions. Nor dodge
the unkind person you bug.
Even the caretaker has gone to the party.
If you want something you will have to
get it yourself. The blue of the room seduces.
The cars of the occupied sound the wet road.
You indulge in a moment of sadness, make
a frown at the notion you won’t be missed.
This is what it is. You have opted to be
forgotten so that your thoughts might live.
Jennifer Moxley, “Dividend of the Social Opt Out” from The Open Secret.
Copyright © 2014 by Jennifer Moxley. Found at PoetryFoundation.org
I was floored. Sparked. Inspired. This poem said everything I had been thinking–not only was I stressed about schoolwork and my job at Starbucks, but I was also harboring a bit of nasty social anxiety (college parties will do that to you). And lo and behold, the answer that Google had promised me appeared.
And so began my little poet’s journey back into the world I used to know. In my grade school days, I would burn the midnight oil into the wee hours of the morning, a poem tugging at my sleeve. These days, sleep is so coveted that there is little time to waste it. With my upcoming writing assignments always in the back of my mind, my own personal poetry has fallen by wayside. That explains why I often feel bottled up inside. But then comes the problem of inspiration. Passing thoughts offer meek suggestions to write them down…but then it’s too late, and I’m on my way across town with no time for stopping.
If only I could sit back and breathe once in awhile, I could zoom out and focus the big picture instead of always rushing blindly from place to place. Still, I must remember that I am a work in progress. I am always pursuing self-betterment: with that in mind, the poetry will follow.