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  • Writer's pictureVivian Wang

Sedatephobia

Style: Poem.

Statement: This poem is centered on the increasing number of ways in which we submerge ourselves in distractions to avoid our spiraling thoughts, from music to television. Especially in a world where technology makes any type of entertainment or dopamine hit instantly accessible, it has become terrifyingly easy to refuse to face the reality of our everyday life.


I have a fear of loud noises, which means that

pop concerts are off-limits for me. But I have an even bigger fear

of silence. Or rather, I fear being left alone with myself.


I find a numbing comfort in the buzz

of my electric toothbrush, and I only shower

with High School Musical songs blasting so I

do not have to endure the three seconds of silence

after turning off the shower in which I might

have to hear my own thoughts. I dedicate

more hours of my day to imaginary conversations

than to real ones, and I indulge in the lives

of daintily packaged television characters

because for some reason they always get their happy ending.


I savor the excruciating pain

of my chiropractor appointments because it is strangely exhilarating

to ache somewhere other than my mind, and sometimes

I enjoy my parents’ dinner table arguments because

being soaked in someone else’s anger is more calming

than being left with my own.


But no matter what, I am always

trying to outrun myself, despite the fact that I know

I will fall off the treadmill someday.


I like to take pride in the fact

that I can play an assortment of instruments. But perhaps

the only reason I call myself a musician

is so I have an excuse to drown out my consciousness

and drown myself in another all-consuming overlapping

of voices — instrumental ones that are

infinitely more beautiful, infinitely less dissonant

than the ones in my head.


Perhaps my life has merely become a

ceaseless cycle of coping mechanisms, living

only to escape from my overwhelming fear of reality. Perhaps

if I was forced to sit in the sticky, suffocating silence

I am so scared of, I’d finally have to listen

to all the clanging of screaming doubts and baseless catastrophizing.

I’d finally have to listen

to myself.

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