Cousin of Sleep

  1. It’s startlingly easy to reduce four years of education to a floating blue dot in an email inbox.  126 credits of discipline or haste depending on a few opening lines.  It can only go one of two ways. We either regret to or are pleased.  The grey space between receiving one of those two lines is where the self-deprecation breathes.  Those lifetime friendships don’t seem as important now.  Every alcoholic weekend, every binge-watched episode, every reckless sexual encounter, and the spiral either starts or continues with the notice of either acceptance or rejection.  Like counterproductive clockwork the blue dot appears and academic validation rests between your fingertip and a touchpad mouse.  “We regret to” and suddenly you’ve been informed.

1) Cue the existential crisis about degrees and the job market and how you never liked your major anyway.

i. You’re an artist.

ii. You’re repressed.

iii. And oppressed.

a.) Racially, right?


c.) You’re just unhappy, at least as of recently.

Take your Zoloft. You’ve missed every dose.


  1. At the 6-train stop on 23rd street there are two simple ways that I can die.  Either tragically misunderstood urban youth forcefully shoved onto rat infested piss-filled tracks, or crazed EDP[1] maniacally slashes the wrists and jugulars of unsuspecting passengers with pickpocketed knife. (I lied.  There are at least four ways.) Everywhere I am I figure out how many different ways I can either die or kill myself.  Then I rank them in order from least to most painful.  It’s a game I play with me and sometimes I enjoy it.  I am willing to admit that my thinking process if flawed.  I am not willing to admit that it is wrong.  Everyone should think about death as much as I do.   I swear I’m not suicidal, I just don’t silence the death dyed thoughts inside my head.


  1. No one understands why I’m dating a suit. He’s part of the corporate conglomerate draining color out of our vibrant, beautiful, lives and rebranding it as a commodity constructed for mass consumption.   On some level I agree. It’s because I have a bachelor of business administration in Wall Street coke-fueled greed and displaced number management theory. We both majored in accountancy. I get it. I’m used to cleaning up other people’s messes too.


  1. Standing atop the Eiffel tower the first thought I have is to jump and the second is how magnificent this view of the city is.  But the idea of jumping doesn’t necessarily disappear it just lays dormant.  The thought, and even the faint contemplation, (but not yet consideration) of that unspoken action is what led me to appreciate Parisian beauty. If life were infinite I’d see every European country except the ones farthest east. But it isn’t, so I’ve been forced to choose. I appreciate this choice because I’ve bet part of my life on it. I’ve been told I have problems accepting rejection.  I’ve also been told that death is nothing more than the rejection of life.  I like that sentence.  I appreciate the distinction.


  1. You write an honest flash fiction with too much of your past mixed in it. Your blood tinged blue ink fucks your spiral notebook scratch pad a little too hard- and this time, even you can’t sit comfortably. Your professor says you’re brilliant, your friend says you’re crazy, you say you’re talented as fuck, and your mom cries because she says you’re suicidal.


  1. You cannot be black and depressed. White people go to therapy; black people go to church. You cannot be black and depressed.

    1. You cannot be black.
    2. You cannot be depressed.


  1. All human beings exhibit behaviors related to reactance. Reactance is a motivational reaction to anything that eliminates or threatens perceived behavioral freedom. In other words, reactance occurs when people subconsciously believe that their choices are being taken away. It manifests itself much stronger in some people than in others. In most cases, people are entirely unaware of reactance or the pervasiveness of its effects on thoughts, attitudes, behaviors, and relationships. People who are made aware however, attain much higher levels of self-direction and control.


  1. I believe that success can be achieved by emulating particular successful habits and behaviors. I read recently that wildly successful people have significantly less clothes than the majority of the population. The logic behind this is simple: less clothes means less frivolous choices. Less frivolous choices means less decision anxiety, less decision anxiety means less stress, and less stress means more energy to cultivate successful thoughts. It’s being called the capsule closet movement. Matilda Kahl, Christopher Nolan, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Alice Gregory, and Janelle Monae all wear the same outfit everyday (more or less).   I like to think of it as a uniform. But uniforms are restricting. Reactance.


  1. When I was younger my parents took separate flights any time they traveled alone in case one of the planes crashed.


  1. I smelled my late Aunt Joyce in the back of a yellow taxicab. Her scent was infused in the driver’s Marlboro smoke and I vividly remembered her funeral.


  1. I started preparing myself for the deaths of people I love when I was eight years old. I knew eventually they would die and that the only way for me to remain normal after their deaths would be to prepare myself. Since then I’ve found that at any given moment I have three layers of simultaneous thought:

1)I can and will die any moment between the end of this sentence and the end of my 99th

i. Note: No one moment is any more or less likely than any other moment.


2) Everyone I love can and will die within that same timeframe.

3) If I do not adequately prepare for #2 I will die in some lesser, non-physical way at that moment.


  1. When I was in middle school I became hyper aware of the presence of guns in our family apartment. Both of my parents were lieutenants in the NYPD and as such are permitted to carry 9mm semi-automatic service pistols. I cried in the middle of the night when I realized there were two in the next room.   I thought that having guns in the house increased the likelihood of one of us killing ourselves. It increased even more when my father taught me how to load it.


  1. I don’t know if this is a break through or a break down but I think that I have something to do with the reason why I do not have close friends.

[1] Emotionally Disturbed Person


Tylah Gantt is a recent graduate of the University of Notre Dame and is  pursuing her MFA at Fairleigh Dickinson University.   When she isn't busy draining her soul in the name of capitalism you'll find her hurriedly scrawling half-thoughts and frantic flash fiction on napkins and her iPhone notepad.  She currently resides in New York City.

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