these are my misadventures and miracles.
these are my misadventures and miracles.
“My purse weighs, like, 50 pounds because my diary’s in there and it weighs so much — it’s the thickness of a Bible! I always have to have a diary or a journal with me wherever I go because I’m constantly writing stuff down, whether it’s what happened to me that day, or an idea for a song in the middle of the night.”
Same Taylor, same.
Fearless live in Manila 6/6/15 (1:24 Taylor says her guitar is in the wrong tune and starts over)
Pawel Kuczynski’s satirical art. Take a moment to look at these properly.
brittana + colors
The origin of this story goes back to my high school Theatre 001 class, back in my Freshman year. I was a very timid, frail young girl at the time, attempting to escape my fear of speaking in front of crowds. I beat it out of myself by doing theatre, and ended up falling deeply in love with performing as well.
Close to the end of the year, Mrs. Choy gave us an assignment. We were to write a script for a pilot of a TV series, pitch it to the class, and whoever’s story got chosen, we would form groups and act it out for our final projects.
At the time we had this assignment, I was regularly volunteering with the Special Ed department at my school by having lunch with the kids every day. A handful of them were autistic and part of me admired the way their innocence kept intact after all these years.
And that’s where I found part of my inspiration.
My pilot episode would be about twins, Eric and Emma. Blue eyes, brown hair. Orphans. Only difference between them would be that Emma was autistic. They’d grow up together in an orphanage, Eric would be overprotective, yada yada. Then one day their mother would come visit for the first time since leaving them, then inevitably leave again. Emma would get upset and commit suicide because she would believe it was all her fault. Eric would find a journal she left behind of all the things she wanted to do and would set out on a quest to complete it all.
The series title was “Following An Angel.”
I loved my pilot and the crazy thing is that my class loved it too. Enough to vote on it to become a finalist to be acted out for the class.
But unfortunately Mrs. Choy said that the fact that my story contained a suicide wouldn’t be appropriate for a high school class and that we wouldn’t be able to perform it. Amidst my crushed excitement and the disappointed sighs of my class, a girl (the BEST actress in that entire class) turned around, looked at me and said:
"You should just write it into a book."
And I never forgot that she said that to me.
Granted, I haven’t had the time, money or research to properly portray the story of Eric and Emma in the flawless way it’s been sitting in my mind, but last summer in my creative writing class we had the chance to write a short story so I said, why not just try?
I changed a bit around and had to shorten it immensely (if I ever wrote the book I’d have a record of every single one of Eric’s adventures), but in the end I was quite pleased with the outcome.
I hope you all are too.
July 1, 2013
Following an Angel
As I checked off the task ‘Watch a California sunset’ off the list in the journal I was holding, I looked up and admired the view. The sunset was beautiful, unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I’ve been across the entire country and this might just have to be the most magnificent the sun’s ever looked in my eyes. As the enormous gleaming ball of fire was setting over the horizon of the ocean, it leaked different shades of pink and purple as the dark night made its way across the sky. It was the last task on the list, I was finally finished. I’d seen it all Emma, I said in my head, hoping that she’s somehow seen everything I’ve done for her in the past four years. She was the only girl I’ve ever loved this much, and I did this all for her. I know what you’re thinking, “So who’s this girl he’s in love with?” Well, I hate to break it to you, but it’s not the romantic, mushy story that you’d think. Emma was my twin sister.
My name is Eric. I have blue eyes that would make the clearest parts of the ocean envious of their color and brown hair that never liked to cooperate. I was born December of 1989 and so was my twin sister Emma. My sister is the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen. She still is. She identically matches my blue eyes and brown hair, but for some reason she makes it seem even more flawless than I could ever describe. On top of that, she had the kindest heart and loved everything unconditionally. Something I was too pessimistic to ever do. Physically, you could tell we were identical. But what most people never noticed was that she was autistic. Although we were the same age, Emma always acted younger due to her illness so it was almost like having a younger sister, but I never minded. Her disability made me overprotective and I hated anyone that had anything negative to say about it.
When we were about three years old, our mother left us at an orphanage in Brooklyn. All I can remember from before that is our mother saying that our father was abusive and that we needed to get away for our own health. Problem is, she couldn’t take care of two children on her own, let alone one with a disability. So she dropped us off on the doorstep, and promised us she’d be back. The sad part is we believed her.
Years and years passed and I learned to take care of Emma on my own. The other kids at the orphanage accepted her too, mostly because I would’ve beaten anyone that had anything to say about it. We made friends often at the orphanage, but they would always get adopted and the goodbyes started to get too much to handle. Anyone that was ever interested in adopting us would always change their mind once they found out about Emma’s condition. We were a package deal; I wouldn’t leave her for anyone. I felt obligated to her, like I was her protector. We had no one else but each other and that’s all I needed.
Fast forward a few years. Make that 13. We were 17 now and have lived at the orphanage for a while and have learned more than we ever thought we’d know. We lost hope that either of our parents were coming back about ten years ago. Truth is, I’m angry with my parents, even though I barely know them. I’m mad at my father for abusing my mother, and I’m angry with my mother for making promises she couldn’t keep. I’m angry with the both of them for being reckless and irresponsible at the ripe age of 18 and having kids when they sure as hell weren’t ready.
I remember the day I met my mother. She came unexpected and had just missed our 17th birthday. I was in my bedroom listening to old records and Emma was scribbling in this old journal she found, like always. Ms. James, the lady that’s been taking care of us at the orphanage, came into our room with a suprised look on her face.
“You guys have a visitor,” she said.
I looked at Emma just as confused as she looked back at me.
“Someone here to see us brother?” she asked me, her bright blue eyes lit up with curiosity and excitement.
“I guess so pretty girl.”
I followed Ms. James downstairs to the front door with Emma clutching my hand, with no idea who this mystery person could be. When I approached the front desk and I saw her face, I knew it couldn’t be anybody else. The woman looked tired, like she hadn’t slept in a millennium. Her body was small and frail, ridden with drug abuse. Her eyes, although identically matching ours, were haunted and shadowed with dark circles. Her hair was stringy and unwashed, and her clothes were ragged and as dirty as the New York streets. She managed to smile at us and say hello, but all I could reciprocate was a blank stare as a result of the countless questions I had running through my head.
I could see tears forming in the corners of the woman’s eyes when she saw us. Emma stepped out from behind me to see the woman for herself.
“Mama?” Emma asked. The woman nodded and blinked, the tears falling from her eyes. Emma let go of my hand and ran to the woman’s open arms wholeheartedly, while I stood right where I was, frozen in the same place I’ve been. I watched them embrace, Emma smiling and crying. The sight made me happy, but I couldn’t help but hate that woman for abandoning us. Emma needed a mother all these years and now she decides to show up?
“Hello Eric, you’ve grown so much. My sweet boy,” she said to me as she approached me with an apologetic smile. No apology could ever give me or Emma the last 13 years of our lives back.
“What’re you fucking doing here? You’re not welcome here,” I snapped. I saw Emma shudder as I cursed and the woman’s facial expression dramatically changed from apologetic to offended.
“I wanted to see if my children were still here. I just knew I had to see my babies. It’s been so long… But I just had to… Please just let me,” she begged. I wanted to turn her away, and now looking back on it… I should have. But Emma looked at me with those pleading eyes that were my weakness. I could never say no to her.
“I’m only doing this for Emma,” I snarled at her. I watched as Emma grabbed her hand and insisted on giving her a tour. They stayed up all night bonding while I stayed in my bed reading a book. I wanted nothing to do with that woman, even though she was my mother. I heard her come in and tuck Emma into bed, promising her that she’d be back tomorrow.
The next morning Emma woke me up.
“Where’d mama go?” She asked, “I wanna play today. I’m so happy Eric, our mama is back!” We waited for our mother the entire day but she never showed. So we waited another day. Then a week. She disappeared… again. But this time it was different. I knew she couldn’t be trusted, so I wasn’t surprised. But Emma… Emma was heartbroken. All she’s ever wanted was a mother, it wasn’t fair she only got one for a night. Sure she looked 17, but she was still a little girl with a heart pure as gold paired with the innocence of an angel.
“It’s my fault… It’s my fault she left. My fault she doesn’t want us,” she cried to me one dark, stormy night, “She doesn’t like me! She doesn’t like me… Why brother? Why…” I had no answer for her. I held her as she cried and kept reminding her that it wasn’t anything she did wrong. That she was perfect and she couldn’t have been anymore wonderful than she already was. But she would keep repeating those words, blaming herself. Her crying escalated to screaming, “Why did she leave us Eric?! We need her! I’m gonna get her back, I have to!” She yanked herself from my grasp, ran downstairs and out the front door.
“Emma get the fuck back here!” I yelled, running after her.
The next five seconds would haunt me for the rest of my life. I saw her running, but I just couldn’t reach her fast enough. She ran straight into the dark night, into the snow covered streets. I saw her turn around and look at me for the last time before the blaring sound of a car horn invaded all my senses. I yelled for her, I screamed her name but the crashing sound of the car against her frail body was louder than my voice could carry. Her body crumpled against the hood of the automobile before cracking the windshield and falling to the ground. The car raced through and didn’t even stop to inspect the damage they’d done. The fucking bastards. I ran to her and held her broken body, telling her to wake up. Telling her that I’m here, that her big brother was here and how much I needed her, how I couldn’t live without her. But it was useless. It wasn’t until I noticed my entire body drenched in her blood that she was gone. I yelled and screamed for help, but even when the paramedics came, I wouldn’t let anyone touch her. The rest of that night was a blur. I was blinded by the tears that have seemed to permanently form in my eyes. I could barely speak to anyone; all I did was nod or shake my head, with the occasional whisper. I could barely feel my heart beat, barely feel the blood in my veins because the one person I had to live for was gone.
I went back upstairs to our bedroom, sat on her bed and cried into her pillow, repeating ‘I’m sorry’ over and over again. I was lost without her. I knew the whole reason I was alive was to protect her and now… Now I had nothing. I reached under her pillow and found the journal she’d always been scribbling into. I opened it and recognized her childish scrawl immediately. It was a bucket list. Things I’m gonna do when I grow up! I read. There were pages and pages of things to do. Go Disneyland to meet Mick Mouse. See New Years ball in Time Square. Pretty sunset in Californya on the beech. Play in snow. I managed a slight smile at her misspellings, but mostly because I could hear her voice as if she was reading them aloud to me.
And that’s when it hit me. I had to do all these things for her. I had to do everything she couldn’t. So I spent my last year at the orphanage planning, and once I turned 18, I left the Brooklyn behind and began my quest. I hitchhiked, asked for money on the streets, washed people’s windshields and found several small jobs along the way for months. She had over fifty things on that list and I was determined to do them all. Emma was my reason for living, and this way, she still was. I was going to check off every single item, even if it was the last thing I did. It was the one thing that made me feel closer to her as if she was still with me. And even at times when I was traveling broke, homeless and had nothing to my name, she was still there. Telling her big brother how happy she was. And I’m proud to say that after four long years, I did it all. I mean it was kinda easy… I was just following my angel.
Last summer I had the opportunity to take classes on creative writing and reading at SFSU. Although having classes from 9 to 5 every day during a time where I was supposed to be on vacation was quite demanding, I had the chance to explore and push the limits of my writing and find out what I’m really capable of.
Around the time that my final portfolio was due in July 2013, I learned about the death of Cory Monteith. Being an avid watcher of the show Glee, it knocked me senseless to hear about his passing. I may never have known him personally but I’d like to think the best of him, judging by what I’ve learned from the media and the press. Finn, the character he played, had occupied a special place in my heart. To this day, I’m unable to watch old reruns of the show, not knowing how well I’d react to a heartfelt ‘Finchel’ duet or watching him be his 6’ 3” adorable goofy self, realizing that he will never be in a new episode ever again.
His death inspired me to write a one person scene, my own interpretation of his last moments. It is entirely fictional. I gathered the cause of his death from what the media allowed us to know and just went with it. This piece, to this day, is still one of the most emotional pieces I’ve ever written and sits very close to my heart.
I hope you all enjoy.
RIP Cory Monteith
No Way Out
ACT II, SCENE I
Scene opens at 4am in an empty hotel room. CORY is heard opening the door and entering in. He throws a bag on the couch and keys on the table. He proceeds to walk over to the mirror to examine himself. He frowns at his reflection and sits down on the bed with his head down. He talks to the audience.
CORY: It was a long day. It was a very long day. There was just so many things running through my head. (mimicking) “Cory, do this… Cory, do that…” (pause) Don’t get me wrong, I love my job. It’s the best feeling in the entire world to get to do what I love for a living. The fans… they make it all worth it. They make everything I do worth it… But sometimes… I need a break. I just got out of rehab a couple months ago. My girlfriend Lea has been helping me out ever since then. I told everyone I was fine once I got out. I believed I was fine. But lately, it’s just been getting worse.
[CORY pours himself a drink]
CORY: (gestures to the drink) This isn’t why I was in rehab. (chuckles) I can hold my liquor, I promise.
[CORY walks over to a cabinet and pulls out several bottles of pills, needles and bags of powder and sets them on the table]
CORY: (gestures to the bottles) Those are why I was in rehab.
[CORY sighs and takes a drink before continuing]
CORY: It started when I was 13. I remember I was a Freshman in high school and I had just made the football team. It was after one of my games, I was hanging with a bunch of Seniors. Back then, it was the coolest thing to hang out with Seniors, lemme tell ya. Everyone was jealous of me. Anyway, we were hanging out in the parking lot when one of ‘em pulled out a bunch of these little white pills. (opens one of the pill bottles and takes a single pill out) Just like these… (reminisces for a moment then continues) Now, I was terrified at first, of course, but all of them started just popping them in their mouth. Like they were nothing but vitamins, I’m telling ya. I remember them all looking at me while I was staring at the open hand with a single pill, and then I did it.
CORY: I shook my head.
CORY: (sarcastically chuckles) Yeah, I said no. And they laughed at me. I thought they’d just let me be sober but before I could even blink, they all tackled me, forcing me to take the pill. I can still hear their chants… “What’re you so scared of ya Freshman?” “Oh look, the new guy’s a pussy!” “I knew he wasn’t cool enough to hang with us.” Damn. I can still hear them, loud and clear. They forced my mouth open, I was outnumbered five to one. Little did I know that night, not only would I lose my title as the “Freshman” or the “Pussy”… I would lose my mind… My well being… My self control…
[CORY pauses to sniffle and wipe his nose]
CORY: After I swallowed the pill… I don’t know how to explain to you the feeling. It’s almost as if the drug planted itself on the inside of me and deemed itself a necessity. I loved the way it made me feel. Like I was complete. And shit, to this day I still don’t know what the fuck I even took. (smiles) But it sure as hell wasn’t some damn Tylenol.
[CORY takes another drink]
CORY: And that’s when it became tradition. Every Friday night after the game, whether I was invited to a raging Senior party or we were hanging out in a parking lot after midnight, I did whatever those guys had on them because I knew that if I even denied it, it’d go down the hard way anyway. You wouldn’t believe what these high school students got their hands on. One week it was pills. The next it was powder up the nose. The next month would be all needles… I never even drank alcohol in high school because I was never sober off of the drugs I was taking to even try anything else. It got so bad that I was using even over Winter break and Spring break, when there was no peer pressure to hold me down. I was addicted.
CORY: It became my life. It became something I needed all the damn time. It became my blood, my water, my air. It made me crazy. I didn’t even know who I was anymore… Who I was becoming…
[CORY takes another drink and puts his hand on his forehead]
CORY: It wasn’t until I was 19 years old that someone smacked some sense into me. I was becoming a horrible person. My family noticed and basically told me I needed to get off my ass and fix myself. At first I fought them. They didn’t know how the drugs made me feel. I would die without them. It was to the point that I could honestly say I needed them more than any human being in my life. I was using for seven years by then… it was my everything. But against my will they had me admitted and thank fucking god they did. Rehab is such a blur now. I went crazy the first couple months. I felt like without the drugs I could barely breathe. But they helped me. And once I got out, I knew I had to do something more with my shitty life. And that’s when I got into acting.
CORY: Acting gave me a feeling that no drug ever has. It made me happy and secure and confident and all these good ass feelings I can’t even describe! And then I landed the role of Finn Hudson on Glee. I was skeptical about it at first. I had to play a high school jock, I mean come on. Way to throw me back into some of the worst years of my life. But Glee is what brought me to Lea, my girlfriend. (smiles) She’s the best part of me. We’ve been together for a couple years now and… she makes me better. She makes me smile and laugh and… well, I’m in fucking love with her. That’s why when I had a relapse and she told me she wanted me to go back to rehab, as much as I didn’t want to, I didn’t ask questions and went back. And now I’m here.
(sits back down on the bed)
CORY: I’m supposed to be cured but… (gestures to drugs on table) It’s fucking hard. Lemme tell you it is fucking hard. (begins crying)
[CORY walks over to drugs]
CORY: I’m trying! Believe me! I’m doing this for Lea, my family, my fans… But sometimes the pressure is too much. I’m never going to be perfect for my girlfriend and even if she tells me she loves me no matter who I was , what I am… I know that I can never match her perfection. I know that even though my fans know the truth about who I was… Some of them won’t look at me the same… I can’t be that guy for them, the role model. I mean look at me! I’m alone in a hotel room with a shit ton of drugs! I don’t want anyone to look up to me… No. I can’t.
[CORY opens bottle and spills pills on table]
CORY: And there’s no way to fix it anymore… I’m scarred with the imperfections of my past… And this is the only way to escape the pressure… The disappointment I have in myself… (crying)
[CORY takes a handful of pills and washes them down with the rest of his drink. Then proceeds to stick the needle in his arm and pushes the liquid down. Then he puts the needle down and falls to his knees and cries harder. CORY grabs another bottle of pills and walks over to the mirror. He looks at himself for a moment before getting angry and throwing the bottle at his reflection. He returns to the table and begins throwing each substance at the mirror. When he is finished, he sits on the floor at the end of the bed]
CORY: (out of breath) It’s all gonna be over now… I won’t be… A disappointment anymore… Everyone will find better than me. I’m already broken… And I can’t be fixed… But I tried… I tried… I promise… (stops breathing and slumps to the floor)
[There is knocking at the door]
STAFF: Mr. Monteith? Mr. Monteith? (continues knocking at the door) I’m sorry to bother you but you’ve missed your checkout time. (waits for an answer before continuing to knock again) Mr. Monteith? Are you alright?
[CORY’s dead body lies motionless on the floor]