Self Portrait

Anxiety Chelsea is  

a storm that is talked about for days. Destroys homes, and kills a friend of a friend. You are thankful you are safe as you watch Channel 10 explain the GoFundMe account made for the guy’s family and you do the math to see how many years older he was than you. 

Playful Chelsea is  

a baby zombie that gets bored quickly, animated with colossal spurts of curiosity that end abruptly. 

Living in the Future/ Happy Chelsea is 

the last day of your PhD program, the actual day; the day before you have that paper.  

Nihilism Chelsea is 

that pair of Chuck Taylors in your closet, half a size too small, you wear them from time to time because they don’t hurt when you first put them on, but they chafe the top of your pinky toe every time, so you only wear them on occasions when you don’t have to walk that much. 

Workout Chelsea is 

the bird that you watched when you didn’t need anything better to do. 

Tired Chelsea is 

a 6 year old fix-a-flat patch that still works pretty well but is declining. 

Zen Chelsea is 

the color white. 

Sexual Chelsea is 

the noise you beg to hear, in a late 90’s model brown Chevy four door, with tan interior, that won't start, when the engine revs but doesn’t turn over. 

Writing Chelsea is 

a tidal wave in the ocean, the powerful influx that breaks with white crashing energy well before reaching the sand, at 3 am, in the dark, when no humans are around and the coyotes heard it and didn’t think twice. 

Overwhelmed Chelsea is

“beep, beep, beep, beep, beep.”
That noise. Is it a car in the distance, or a stopwatch, or a phone? A TV? Where is it coming from? It has no pattern. Sometimes it goes for minutes straight, sometimes just twice. 

5am Chelsea is

a bowing bookshelf.

Coaching Chelsea is

a 4 year old child in an art class, before they would be accidentally forced to use art to stop trusting themselves a few years later, just so that they can, as an adult, learn to use art again, to heal themselves. 

Sunshine Chelsea is 


Not in control of the situation Chelsea is 

blocks. Big, heavy, black steel cubes. Taller than you. Planted in inconvenient places. The ones always in your dreams. 

Too afraid to speak Chelsea is 

also an angry, screaming, white feminist with no bra, dreadlocks, and a peace sign tattoo, printed T-shirts she only hopes to understand, and good intentions. 

Need 3 Aleve to get through the rest of the day, not because she is sick, but because she is simultaneously bored and tired, and sad, and somehow it just seems like it will help a little Chelsea is 

those seconds, when the roller coaster is over and you have to sit there and wait for the 16 year old worker who smells like borrowed cigarettes and BubbleYum to come back and unlatch the large, intrusive yellow plastic container over your chest. 

Sitting on her parent’s couch Chelsea is

a soldier’s dream about saying goodbye to his lover, during “Don’t ask, don’t tell” 

With her best friend Chelsea is 

superman naked, and with nothing to do. 

Figuring out something important Chelsea is

the baby in the stroller at the grocery story, who, despite the hustle of everyone around him, is ok to stare off into nothingness for hours.

Dating Chelsea is 

the wrinkled white raincoat kept in your trunk; an exciting thrift store purchase 3 years ago, just in case.

Seeing a notification that she was tagged in a photo on Facebook Chelsea is 

the feeling in your stomach, in high school, when you are walking away from an exam you finished, that you guessed a lot on. 

Trying to get dressed Chelsea is

using a “no filter” hashtag on Instagram, with just a teeny bit of a filter.

 Wasting time on social media Chelsea is 

coffee with just slightly too much creamer, on a bad day

Afraid she is not a good person Chelsea is 

obedient, sweaty hands as you walk into the absurdly quiet hall starting your all day meditation retreat.

He hasn’t responded to her text yet Chelsea is 

dark air; ominous, black--- the air is black yet clear, room of mirrors. 

The air is enough Chelsea is 

when someone you love says “no matter what,” and you can believe them.