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Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024
The Observer

An organized mess

Beep Beep Beep!

My alarm goes off. I reach for my phone to turn off my 7:50 a.m. alarm,

the one that rings Monday through Thursday

except it is not 7:50 a.m. It is 8:05 a.m.

Somehow, I must have instinctively snoozed my alarm,

more than once, because I don’t remember it going off the first time.

Crap. I know I should be getting up, but I can’t. I mean, I can, but I really can’t.

I fight with my brain to open my eyes. Come on. Just open one.

Crazy to think that just a few years ago, I could call myself a morning person

without feeling like a liar. Granted, I’m not really lying if you consider my waking up

at least three times in the night and struggling to fall back asleep

as the behavior of a morning person.

I turn on my back and stare at the ceiling. My eyes are finally open. Sort of.

Come on. I need to get up. I’m going to be late. Let’s go.

My phone is still in my hand. I scroll mindlessly through the missed notifications

after my DND 10:00 p.m. setting activates.

I look at the time. 8:15 a.m. Crap. I really have to get up now.

Still looking up at the ceiling, my mind tells me that I should stay and bed and not go to classes.

One day won’t hurt, right? Wrong. It never is just one day.

Once I allow myself to stay in today, I’ll do it tomorrow and the next day,

Until I have not gotten out of my bed for a whole week.


Like a zombie, I drag my body out of bed.

Some days, that’s the hardest battle to fight. Today was one of those days.

I get my morning routine going:

brush my teeth, wash my face, put on my contacts —

I really want to hop in the shower but I’m already running behind.

Of course. You can’t even get out of bed in time to shower. Disgusting.

I sigh as I fix my hair. Still learning how to style and take care of my hair.

For years people made me believe that my hair was “wild”, “ugly” or “too much”

and now, spritzing water to bring make to life my waves that are turning into ringlets.

I sit at my desk and apply two coats of mascara and fill in my eyebrows.

That’s as much makeup as I can do today.

8:50 a.m. Time to get dressed.

Nothing fits. It all looks so bad. Ugh.

I pick one of the same five shirts I always wear, with black leggings. Comfort.

I pack my lunch and leave out the door. Running late. Again.

I drive 5 minutes to get to the campus parking, worried the whole time about how late I am.

Parking is a pain. After finding an empty spot, I grab my backpack and walk to class.

Headphones in, I walk as fast as my legs can carry me to class,

pondering whether every person I walk by is judging

how slow I walk or what I’m wearing or literally anything about me.

I keep my head down, completely zoned out,

and continue robotically through class, after class.


After my last class, I grab lunch with my friend. We laugh and joke around.

As soon as it’s over, I walk alone to my car in the parking lot

Contemplating every single thing I said.

How stupid that comment was. Why would you say that? She probably hates you.

I climb into my car and drive home,

knowing the moment I get home my bed is going to call me.

But I have so much to do, so many meetings to get through.

I throw my bag on my futon and sit back,

wrestling with my mind about whether I should take a nap or do work.

I should do work. But I can’t focus if my mind is tired.

But I am always tired. My mind, my body, my spirit.

Always so tired.

I break as I climb into bed. Just a quick nap. Twenty minutes.

Despite being tired, I can’t go to bed.

I can’t shut down my mind, all these thoughts racing Uncontrollably. I just want to sleep.

After an hour of lying in bed without going to sleep,

I give up and turn on my speaker. Maybe some music will motivate me to get work done.

Except, before I even know it, I go back to the same song.

The song that does not put me in a better mood, but instead I play on repeat when I can’t express my feelings.


So, before you go Was there something I could’ve said To make your heart beat better? If only I’d have known you had a storm to weather So, before you go Was there something I could’ve said To make it all stop hurting? It kills me how your mind can make you feel so worthless




I am functioning, barely, but I am.

When people see me, they see the girl that’s involved in everything.

The girl who is always on the grind.

The girl who is annoyingly organized with her agenda, calendars and color-coded system.

The girl who loves to dance and go out with friends.

The girl who advocates for social justice and the humanity of others.

The girl who advises everyone about getting help.

The girl who will drop everything to help a friend.


What they don’t know is that I am a mess.

I battle every day with my mental health.

I struggled for years with undiagnosed anxiety,

exacerbated with my first depressive episode sophomore year,

followed with several anxiety attacks.

I was able to get out of bed, I got dressed,

I didn’t cancel any plans, I socialized even when I didn’t want to.

Today I won most of my battles, not all, but most of them.

I am still a mess, but I am organized enough to stay afloat.

I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but for today,

today was a good day.


Odalis Gonzalez is an assistant producer for this year’s Show Some Skin production. Show Some Skin is a student-run initiative committed to giving voice to unspoken narratives about identity and difference. Using the art of storytelling as a catalyst for positive social change across campus, we seek to make Notre Dame a more open and welcoming place for all. If you are interested in breaking the silence and getting involved with Show Some Skin reach out to over email.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.