Rejection and fear of rejection are universal themes that plague the lives of all. As children, we desire not to have to fulfill certain obligations; we hope and dream that something will cause a disruption, that it will give us a pass from having to participate. The following flash fiction piece, “The Doorbell,” answers the question: “What if, as an adult, I chose something different?”
“Providence, On All Fours” is a surreal screenplay about feeling alienated and paranoid in a space that should be familiar and comfortable. It gets at immigrant tensions and feelings of being watched, of confusion, and of being trapped within a space that has become hostile. The story is about how confusing and impossible to understand our fears really are.
The following personal history piece focuses on the author’s journey in the mental healthcare system, through both psychiatry and psychotherapy. It also deals with how stigmatizing and detrimental the system (and the world) can be to those with mental illnesses. This memoir-style essay tells the story of the author’s illness like it’s the big bad wolf, and walks the reader with her on the journey to coping with it. It’s a piece that not only talks about the author’s individual reality, but also the greater reality of the world of psychology, psychiatry, and mental illness.
Experiencing love is linked to higher self-esteem, improved immune system, lower blood pressure, and various other health benefits. For many, achieving love is akin to self-actualization: it is the ultimate goal of life and synonymous with true happiness. The desire to attain love can lead to obsession, codependence, and intense fears of rejection. Without love, we feel unworthy. So, what happens when love becomes additive? When a fundamental human faculty is utilized excessively, transforming a healing experience into a damaging one? Is it better to have loved and lost, or better to have never loved at all?
How does celebrating Halloween allow us to transform reality? In what way does the tradition of wearing costumes, and thus, taking on new personas help us grapple with fears or changes in reality? The magic of Halloween brightens reality, making it possible to confront fears, or change itself, to ultimately appreciate mystery and the inner spirit.
We will all eventually die, and although that seems an unhappy fate, fiction, fantasy, and celebrations can help us cope with that inevitable end. “Drowned Dreams” is about abuse, fear, and death. Halloween is a celebration where such topics are permissible in circles they would normally not be spoken of, creating an environment where necessary topics are briefly considered non-taboo. My story is in part a reminder that all time is borrowed time, and we will all eventually give our bodies back to the earth it came from, decay being a form of freedom and rebirth.
There are many external hindrances to success throughout an individual’s lifetime, but, often, internal roadblocks can keep us from being who we aspire to be. How does fear of failure or survivor’s guilt factor into our self-confidence, self-esteem, or desire to achieve? How do fear and shame keep us immobile? Is it easier to accept mediocrity rather than take a chance and risk disaster? This story interprets a well-known Greek myth for a modern audience, reminding us there is a time and place for fearless acts if we are to reach our true potential.