waves of goddamn nostalgia

the other night i had one of my recurring dreams about losing teeth. the kind of dream where your mind goes into unnecessary detail about how excruciatingly painful it is to have your adult teeth crumble inside your mouth.

with the events going on in my life right now, it makes perfect sense.

yesterday my family had to take my cat to the vet, where he was diagnosed with kidney failure. after 15 years of pretty perfect health, he just suddenly couldn’t take it anymore. he stopped eating, keeping food down, or even drinking water. it was heartbreaking to see his dejected body laying in the sunlight of our house.

his constant companionship while i was growing up is one of those things that i definitely took for granted. he was there through every major life event and every scrapbooked memory, and has always cheerfully greeted me at the door whenever i came home from college.

i guess the major cleaning that we’ve been doing to get the house ready for renting really stressed him out. since my little brother is finally going off to college in the fall, we’re cleaning out our entire house, which means sorting through 18 years worth of stuff.

so much stuff…

while i was cleaning out my room, i found my box of memorabilia from my high school relationship. man, was that a literal skeleton in the closet. though i still remember how intense and vivid the breakup was for me, it really took going through all of those letters and pictures to relive it all.

i’m not sure if that was a good idea or not.

among the dozens of prom pictures of me and my friends, the anniversary presents and the little trinkets i kept over the years, i found two folded up pristine white 8×11 pieces of paper.

these were the last two letters we wrote to each other before we finally broke up. god, i can’t believe i kept the letter, let alone both of them together. reading them one after another was just enough to open the wounds again.

in my letter i wrote winding paragraphs about how madly madly madly in love i was with him, and how utterly devastated and upset i was that we were breaking up. i remember furiously writing the letter while listening to sad music (much like i’m doing right now) and in complete shock that it was actually happening. i wrote about how much i was going to miss spending time with him, how angry and upset i was with him, and how ultimately i hoped that we would stay on speaking terms.

in his letter he wrote about how much i had changed his life; how he knew breaking up was the right thing to do (even though it seemed shitty at the time) because it would let us grow as people; and how even though we were broken up at the end of high school, there was still a possibility of getting back together after college ended.

he had one of those things right. it wouldn’t have been right to interfere with our growth in college by staying together.

in another reality, i would probably jump at the opportunity to rekindle whatever we had in high school. but in this reality, we’ve both changed so much to the point that current me and current him aren’t romantically compatible. we’re just such different people that it doesn’t make much sense to go back.

it’s like going back to your childhood bedroom and trying on your favorite moth eaten and stretched out blue wool sweater. it doesn’t fit, and you shouldn’t keep trying.

i was driving home from the peninsula at 2 a.m. and weaving through the empty streets of my hometown, blasting modest mouse (our song is by this band) and trying to keep the monsters at bay in my mind while a million billion memories came flooding back into my mind about every single thing we ever did in our short existence together.

every single adventure, every momentous date, every walk home, every drive somewhere new, every fucking memory from our time together came crashing back on me, washing over me like waves of goddamn nostalgia that i thought i had control over.

i guess what i’m trying to say is that there’s something bittersweet with losing something, even if you’d said your goodbyes years ago. i’m not sad anymore about the relationship ending. rather, i’m more sad about the fact that so many years have passed.

 

the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog

it’s been a rough fucking quarter, but you’re almost finished. i’m so proud of you. you came back to school not really sure what you were getting yourself into. you were so excited to finally be back that you might have bitten off a little bit more than you could chew.

you met a lot of people, even though you were a little anxious and worried deep down about whether any of this was still worth doing. it’s okay.

as one of your good friends told you, friendships, relationships (and all those other ships) are worth pursuing — even if you only have a year left in this wonderful city — because they’re what make life meaningful and make the memorable experiences that you’ll ultimately look back to in the future.

so what if two relationships didn’t go the way you wanted them to? it’s okay. it’s happened before and it’ll probably happen again in the future (for pure experience purposes, i sure hope it does).

ever since you first started getting romantically involved with people, it’s been one experience after another, where you tried molding your life around someone else’s. that’s not how this game works, unfortunately.

i know it’s only been a couple days since he left, but don’t get too down about it. of course, feeling crummy and emotional about it is totally valid. just take the time needed to decompress and focus on yourself.

it’s one of those rare moments you haven’t experienced in a while, where you can just relax and not focus on anyone else but yourself.

and knowing you, you’re such a compassionate and type-a kind of person, that it’s almost insulting to tell you to focus on yourself.

but trust me, you need it.

this isn’t even in a bullshit “fuck everyone, you deserve it” kind of cliche pep talk.

take a while to just savor waking up, completely alone, uninhibited and ready to do whatever. you. want.

for the past couple of years, all you’ve been worried about is jumping from person to person, seeking validation and wholesomeness from someone else.

i think it finally took getting your heart broken for the 20 millionth time to realize that’s not a sustainable way to live.

here’s what you’re gonna start doing:

  • dressing bolder, it makes you feel more confident
  • exercising regularly, esp yoga. your body will thank you later
  • spending a bit more money on good food. it takes so little to make you feel so good

i know that it’s difficult for you to just ~*~exist~*~, but maybe that’s what it’ll take for you to get out of this funk. your *go *go *go attitude isn’t having the best effects on yourself right now, so even if its wildly uncomfortable to go into things blindly and without tangible results right now, it’ll be okay.

just trust me.

let’s be honest.

i haven’t written on here for a while, and it’s mostly because i’ve been up to my eyeballs in school and newspaper responsibilities. i always go through these phases where i say that i’m finally getting better and that this is the part where i turn over a new leaf and become a ~*~new person~*~. but let’s be real, healing isn’t linear and there’s no deadline for me to improve myself.

i’ve never written something so blatantly honest about myself, so i thought this would be a great time to start since i had a fantastic night out and a killer breakfast to top it off. (i’m looking at you, brenna. i love you and i mean it.)

i’ve suffered from depression and anxiety for many years.

just writing that sentence out brings up a lot of murky thoughts and feelings, but i realized today that i need to be much more honest with the people in my life about what’s going on with me.

so anyway, back to what i was talking about. as a result from my depression and anxiety, the inner workings of my mind work a bit differently than everyone else. for example, in high school up through sophomore year of college, i slept way too much and was constantly exhausted. chalk that up to iron deficiency or depression, but it was hellish to be alive. i remember never feeling fully rested and avoiding social situations because those would make me even more tired to the point where i’d have to spend even more time sleeping to recuperate.

on top of that, my anxiety causes me to have crippling breakdowns that can only be solved through a good cry in bed and a nap. i’ve dealt with that on and off for years, and it especially gets worse when i’m romantically involved with someone.

combine that with a lot of problems with self-worth and self-love, and you get a very complicated tangled mess that i’m still trying to work through, even after years of therapy.

i’ve self-medicated with a lot of booze, junk food and by seeking validation from other people, which has lead to a lot of heartache, misunderstandings and anger.

i guess the reason why i’m writing all of this is because today is the first day in a very long time that i’ve felt truly grateful for everything. i’ve had moments where i honestly didn’t know if i was going to make it through, because i couldn’t see where the chaos would end.

very recently, i was very very close to throwing in the towel and calling it quits, because i didn’t see the point anymore. i couldn’t see myself being strong enough to claw my way out of this hell hole. i remember being swaddled in my bed, crying so hard i didn’t have any tears left, and not for the reason you’d expect. it wasn’t because i was so sad that i wanted the earth to swallow me up, but rather because i was imagining trying to break the news to a much younger self that i was finally giving up on her.

i remember vividly as a teenager believing that it would all get better as soon as i grew up. but here i am, nearly 22 and wanting to end everything because i’m still the same person, with the same issues as when i was a teenager. essentially, nothing had changed.

imagine spending more than half your life struggling with a mind and body that took twice the amount of effort to keep sort of running? and then realizing that this is what normal looks like for you? and then pushing your body so hard that you crashed and didn’t have the heart to pick up the pieces? and then wishing you could just sleep and never wake up?

imagine how difficult it is to break that news to your starry-eyed and (somewhat) hopeful younger self that you wanted it to end?

but thinking back to that moment, i’m glad i hid that kind of rock bottom. because the remorse i was feeling for almost letting down my younger self meant that i still cared. deep down, there was still a tiny bud of hope that i attribute to what pulled me through this time around.

god, it’s difficult.

anyway, i’m writing this because i realized that memorable moments in life aren’t as few and far between. it just takes a bit of open mindedness and flexibility and patience.

thanks for reading.

and to my younger self, we’ll hang in there. i’ll take care of us.

 

are you there? we missed you last night.

i don’t know why this keeps happening, but i thought about T last night. all of the friends i had met through T were at my house last night, laughing, drinking, having a good time.

one of his friends came up to me and asked for a corkscrew. i grabbed one from the kitchen drawer and as i handed it to him, i realised T and i had bought the corkscrew together—a year and a half ago—to open a bottle of wine on my birthday.

i shook the thought from my mind, like a dirty paintbrush in some water.

i walked over to the living room and perched on an armchair, and i glanced over at the big sofa across from me. two of T’s friends were chattering on the sofa, and left a seat on the sofa next to them.

my mind played tricks and i could’ve sworn T was sitting right there, with his floppy blonde hair, deep rumbling voice, and his cigarettes poking out from his shirt pocket.

i blinked, and realised he wasn’t there. he hadn’t been there the entire party. he’d passed away in july and i still couldn’t wrap my head around the idea.

last night was weird.

old clothes

last wednesday i broke up with a boy i’d been seeing on and off for over a year. i’d been dreading that moment for months, because deep inside i knew the end was coming. i just didn’t know how or when it was going to finally happen.

i was dreading that moment because:

  1. i really really liked this guy and the unique dynamic we had going
  2. it was one of the last “ties” i had to my “pre-european adventure” self

that sounds like a silly thing to worry about, but i’m a sentimental person. i was scared to end things with him because that would mean i’d finally have to tilt my head up and face reality — that i’m getting older and college is almost ending and things don’t look quite as pretty in the light and that not every boy you kiss will love you the same way you loved him. every day i curse the fact that my mother gave me too big of a heart that keeps getting me into trouble.

and so i slipped on the all too familiar sweater of breaking up. i retreated into the refuge of my bed, my eyes bloodshot and my head too heavy to lift off the pillow. i say that heights are one of my biggest fears, but i’m more afraid about ending up alone.

when i saw him for the first time since coming back from my year in europe, it felt like i was a changed person — with all these stories and experiences and new appreciations — while he stayed exactly the same. it’s like when you step back into your childhood bedroom and find your old favorite t-shirt that doesn’t quite fit anymore. you wish it’d fit, but it’s moth eaten and old and stretched out in all the wrong places.

when reality hits that it’s time to move on and leave someone behind, that’s when the fear sets in.
—-
i went to a house show last night on the other side of town, where a band played off tune jazz music in the living room of a huge home. my eye caught on two sharp blue eyes near the door.

i know those eyes.

i wracked my mind to figure out how on earth i knew him, and then it clicked. it was someone i’d slept with three years ago.

three years ago.

holy shit, talk about ill-fitting clothing. i spent the rest of my time there debating whether i’d go up and introduce myself — for the second time.

i’ve come so far since freshman year, from dealing with depression (and now anxiety), to confronting my identity, to fostering a love for my studies, to practicing self love, to hitting rock bottom, to rescuing myself, to going on the greatest adventure of my life, and now being able to look back.

part of me is terrified because the hills and valleys i’ve experienced up to this point are nothing compared to the mountains and canyons that i have coming up next, but i guess half the fun is not knowing, right?

 

on sleepovers, girls and boys

i had sex with a girl last night.

i’ve spent years thinking about what this would be like, whether it would be any different or similar to sleeping with boys and whether i would suddenly see women in a different light.

i’ve identified as bisexual for a couple years now, and it was kind of a strange monumental event when i finally slept with a girl. i’d been told for years that i wasn’t a real bisexual because i hadn’t slept with a girl before. of course i knew that was wrong because a person’s sexuality isn’t a checklist of people you’ve slept with. but a little voice inside my head always felt like i was partially lying when i told people i’m bisexual.

en bref, it was just as i expected. incredible, soft, yet kind of anticlimactic all at once. i’d slept with people before, and i realised that this experience was no different because she’s just that — a person.

we arranged to meet for drinks after a stolen kiss in my bedroom.

what started as just beers, turned into an entire night of events. we went dancing, got smashed and kissed in public.

i felt so carefree with this girl and not self conscious or judged at all. we went back to my place, where we sat on the floor, crosslegged and leaning toward one another.

what i least expected though, was how openly candid she was about her feelings.

the kind of emotional connection that i’d been seeking with so many other boys in the past finally materialised in the form of this gorgeous girl in front of me. i’d never been told so bluntly that someone was this interested in me, and it was intoxicating. after a half hour of an honest heart to heart, thats when i decided to take her to bed with me.

as she put it, sex with a woman isn’t the same as sex with a man. it’s more intimate.

and when i woke up the next morning i felt the same way. the morning after wasn’t the same as all the other morning afters i’ve had.

somehow this felt more relaxed and calmer.

i didnt wake up sore, insecure or maybe even violated like i have in the past. this morning i woke up calm and secretly giddy because i turned to my right and there she was. this gorgeous girl in my bed. i saw her bangs fall lightly against her face, her eyelashes against her cheeks, and her lips parted just slightly.

i guess you could say i see women differently now, but in the sense that i no longer categorize people i’m sexually compatible and incompatible with. they’re all just people to me now.

on spending time alone

4:00 pm, washington d.c.

when’s the last time you got a chance to go to a museum and just enjoy?

there’s a certain sweetness of going to museums alone and taking as short or as long going through the carefully curated museums in this old city. certain collections will make you feel things you forgot you could feel.

sit and feel the warm yet silky air. its different than what you’d expect, and that’s what is amazing. no two places are exactly the same and thats why you travel. thats why you keep getting yourself into these situations because you want to keep feeling things in different shades.

you feel the cool mist of the sprinklers near the washington monument. you listen to the crunch of the gravel while the cicadas chirp incessantly in the background. these sensations soon become part of what you’ll remember of this city.

you smile and pause.