There's a noise I can hear, and it's so loud. In an empty hallway it sounds like it's echoing for miles and I can't help but notice that it's coming from me. It's coming from my feet—from my shoes. It's not the click-clack of high heels on the pavement. It's just that in between sound—not loud and certainly not quiet—coming from flats on a tiled floor. They aren't big tiles and they aren't blank. There's a million tiny tiles and they are vibrant yet dull colors. Don't ask me to explain it. They just exist like that and, at the moment, I'm the only one walking on them.

This hallway feels like it goes on forever. I think I can see some people passing me, and there's certainly a whole crowd of them when I pass the Chapel on my way to the Cafeteria. Every morning I have to get up at such and such a time, so I can eat breakfast and take my pills. It is rather irritating eating all alone, but I've gotten used to it. My roommate is hardly around to eat with me anyways. Any other friends I have are busy every second they are out of class. So, I eat alone most often, and I hope someone who doesn't know me will suddenly stop by and decide that they need to—get to know me—but it never happens, and I continue living, whatever that really means.

It's the same old, same old, when I get inside. I put my card on the little silver platform and the small machine attached to it beeps to inform me I only have one more meal swipe for the week. That concerns me since I would normally have two at this point, but I don't let it bother me too much. I'll just buy some extra food when I go to the library this afternoon. Moving past the entry to the food isn't too exciting. Some people nearly run me over, but this isn't anything new. I just move past them and grab a plate. I don't pile on too much, even though the quality isn't spectacular today—at least it doesn't look like it is. I know I won't finish my plate. It's not like I even put that much on, but somehow I can never finish my plate these days, and the other day when I tried I ended up having a stomach ache all night afterwards up until just an hour before I decided to sleep.

So, I didn't finish my plate. Whatever. I'll just continue on and follow the routine of getting rid of plates and leftover food by the door. Everyone is supposed to enter from one direction to enter that particular area, but no one really does. I don't even know why the signs are still up. Either people can't read or they don't care to, or they just plain don't care. I'm pretty sure I fall into that last category and I don't really feel bad for it except on occasion. Then, I try to be sitting on that side of the cafeteria to begin with so I can avoid running into people like I did when I came in. All this trouble for breakfast in the morning, and it's not even half as bad as it gets for the crowded room at dinner time.

Back in the hallway on the way to my room I can hear my footsteps again, and it annoys me to no end. They're still so loud, regardless of their soft exterior. There are far more people in the hallway now, though not that many in the grand scheme of things, and they don't make a sound with their feet—their shoes. Maybe it's just all in my head. I hope so. It would be incredibly embarrassing knowing that everybody can hear the sound of my shoes as loud as I do.

I'm nearly back and now I'm preparing myself. I know my roommate is going to ask me what's wrong. She can pick up on these things, even if she couldn't figure out in a million years the why and the how. I've been upset with her a grand total of two times. It was for trivial reasons though, so I never told her what it was about. I didn't even say she was the cause, but she picked up that I was not myself—too quiet, too neutral—so eventually, later, when everything was okay again and she had nearly forgotten, I told her I had been upset. She wonders why, but I don't tell her, and after the same repeated question a few times through, she gives up on asking and we move on. But my roommate isn't there, and I don't have to defend myself or pretend like everything's all right when it isn't. It hasn't really been all right for the last twenty-four hours. It's not something I'm proud of and not really something I can fix either, but it's still there. I had been hoping a good night's sleep would clear up the problem, but there is hardly a rational explanation for why I was so upset and nearly crying, so I don't feel better when I wake up in the morning. I just feel numb. My mind still knows that I'm hurting, and all the reasons why, even if they're not good reasons and if I think really hard—not the cause of the problem. But I can't feel anything. My heart pounded so painfully last night with these intense emotions that refuse to leave me alone. But I can't feel them now, and though my classes are essentially pointless today, so I won't have to fake happiness or being indifferent for very long. My friends here don't really know me well enough to tell that something's wrong, not if I practice my acting skills for as long as I have been.

So, now I'm typing these feelings, these thoughts, in a cloudy manner. I'm writing it out as best as I can remember, but I know I've left things out. These little details might make the story more interesting, but it's too much trouble to find a way to fit them in during the earlier paragraphs. It's too much trouble to do anything these days. This is why I write. I don't write non-fiction because life is too complicated and hurtful these days. I only glance up to see what's going on when I have to, so nobody catches on and so I can keep an eye on what's really happening. Almost always though, I lose myself in my fiction writing. There are a few shows I watch, and one in particular I completely immerse myself in. I write for this show to fill up my town. The why's and how's and what if's of this show always create dream worlds in my mind, and it's an outlet to escape. I need this outlet to function properly in the real world. When time is running out and I need to focus most furiously on what's really happening, I write the hardest, because time is running out and I need to write to save myself.

Last night, I lost motivation to write. It's something that happens on occasion—writer's block. It was worse this time though, because I knew exactly what I wanted to write and just couldn't force myself to write it. I hate when that happens. It annoys me to no end when writers use that as an excuse to not update their stories, even if it is legitimate. It was the worst this time for another reason though. I only have a couple days here before really plunging into the presentations, papers and exams preparation that attacks us all in the final weeks at the semester's end. When I can't write and I have time to it frustrates me and real life comes flooding in. My two best friends are hundreds if not thousands of miles away at school. I'm glad for them. They're achieving so much, and are so involved with everything on their campuses. I hear about all the friends they're making and all the fun they're having and I wonder if it's not my fault that I feel the way I do if I don't write. I wouldn't change it though, not even if it guaranteed endless friendships. I love to write. It's my release, almost my addiction, and it's not against God's or man's law, so it's fine. It's not like I'm writing anything bad, not really.

There's more though. Real life scares me. It scares me that the cousins who practically idolize me are growing up and finding it less and less necessary for me to hold them. I'm doing well in school. I'm doing the best I can. I'm trying to eat right and work out every day for an hour, but it's hard. It's all so boring and painful and I hate that I have to do it. I don't even eat lunch anymore because I can't afford to. I only have to take my pills after breakfast and dinner and I don't have money to be buying lunch every day. That's the other thing. My grandparents—who practically raised me—insist on me getting a job, since essentially I'm not doing anything beyond getting good grades to help with my tuition. This failing economy and increase in diet plans has gotten them both obsessed, especially my grandmother. My recent struggle through my disease, epilepsy, doesn't help either. They're always calling and having me call to see if I'm all right, but if I did have a seizure I'd be the first to blame. They make it seem like everything's controllable even when it's not, and it irritates me. I can't stand it.

There are so many expectations on me and sometimes it's hard to breathe. I can't focus when I think of real life. I feel it's only a matter of time before I lose my best friends, that I tell everything to (because really, who else would I tell?). As cleverly pointed out by one of them, who actually stays friends with their friends from high school. After moving around so much in my high school, it's all I really have to hang onto. I've got God, sure, and it pains me to not think of Him higher at a time like this, but I can't feel Him. I can't touch Him, not in the way I want to. So, it just doesn't seem enough. Even now as I read the Bible, I can only seem to come across passages describing how to slaughter animals for sins and how the tabernacle was built in gold and precious, decorative jewels. How is this going to help me? One of my other friends—an internet buddy—also pointed out the fact that hardly ever does someone stay with their first love, in a romantic sense, and there throws my fantasies out the window. It all seems to connect so well, and even though I've heard these statements before, it's more awful at a time like this. I read fanfiction for my show too. If I'm going to write some and expect reviews, I might as well take some of their own works to heart. Though, I'll admit, most of what I read is from such talented writers that I shouldn't even contemplate reviewing on my own work. Most of the time they don't, and I try hard to not let it get to me.

I'm dramatic, and I take things to heart, and sometimes that's the worst thing about me. Sure, people have meltdowns, though some don't have them at all, but it seems like I have them all the time. It drives a lot of people crazy, and yet there are a small bunch who tell me not to change because it's part of who I am. Somehow though I wonder if it's not part of the reason I still haven't had a boyfriend at nineteen years of age. I feel it's never going to happen. I'll never have a boyfriend, get married and have kids of my own. I won't make it through school, without those expectations, without always doing something wrong. I won't get that career I've always wanted, even if I'm not entirely sure what that is. I've scoffed at people who don't know what they want, but with everything I've been through I can't help admitting that's exactly what I am right now.

This is probably all a phase and I'll pass through it in a day or two, but it is scary to think all my anguish just crushes me when I lose motivation to write for less than 24 hours. I'm listening to "Look After You" by The Fray. It seems to be the only thing that helps. Last night I listened to it on repeat for what felt like an eternity. It's been on repeat all morning.

I see my shoes, my feet, walking on those colored tiles down the hallway to the cafeteria. I'm not there anymore. I'm sitting in my room, typing this, listening to the sole song that seems to keep me living and breathing without driving me completely insane. I'll have to fake happiness or indifference in less than half an hour and I hope it wins me over. Sometimes when I have to try really hard for something I don't feel or think then the beauty of artificial joy wins me over and it becomes real. I hope that's what happens this time. I don't want to feel this way. I don't want to remember real life, because it scares me and it makes me hurt. If I'm lucky, I'll be motivated again to write. I'll work out and eat healthy food today, not like what happened yesterday and the day before. I'll be everything everybody wants me to be and just be what I want to be when I write. I can dream there. I can write anything I want and need or desire. There's no pain that doesn't happen that I can't fix, that won't always eventually end in a happy ending. Life isn't a fairytale. It isn't a place where your friends always stay your friends or the first guy you fall for ends up your husband, no matter how much you want it. I'm sure my friends won't run away from me, from what we have, but sometimes I wonder if it'll happen when any of us aren't looking.

Real life is scary. It's mundane and boring and yet extremely painful, at least to me. Right now that's what it is. I see beauty all around me, and it's like those colored tiles I walk on and past in the hallway. I am those shoes though, those black and white tattered shoes that I wear. I just keep going. One foot in front of the other, doing what's right and expected. It's boring and almost hopeless because of the pain I am given almost constantly, like when I step on something sharp or bump into someone in the hallway.

Life isn't fair. I've learned that and accepted that. Somehow I wish it could be genuinely happy for a really long time though. No breaks, almost forever, just an occasional hurt to make me remember what's so important and why I love life like it is. Until then, I focus on the colored tiles—whether beautiful or not—instead of my feet in my shoes continuously walking down the hallway. I can imagine how the tiles came to where they were, who thought of their pattern, how they were made, if there's a funny story behind it all. That's much better than dwelling on the hope of not bumping into something or veering off to a dangerous path. Writing is peace, in its own particular manner. I can deal with life if I have that.

If I don't say this now I will surely break
As I'm leaving the one I want to take
Forgive the urgency but hurry up and wait
My heart has started to separate

-"Look After You" by The Fray