okay okay okay

dear you (me? us? we?)

it’s currently 2:35 a.m. and you’re snuggled up in bed in your gorgeous red velvet blanket. you had a fantastic night out and you’re ready to take on tomorrow. i’m proud of you.

actually, there’s something i’ve been meaning to talk to you about. something that you don’t nearly acknowledge enough with yourself. you are such a goddamn strong person, even though it doesn’t feel like it. i know, you’re rolling your eyes to yourself right now, thinking, how the heck would drunk me understand sober me?

but just listen. i know how hard it’s been, because i’ve been there since day 1. it’s goddamn hard. but, it feels like with every year that passes, we gain some more clarity on the whole ~*~situation~*~. somedays it feels impossible to get out of bed, and that you’re the first and only person who will ever experience This Feeling. and then there are other days where you’re so busy you forget what emotions are, and you drown your feelings in the sheer amount of stress and anxiety that is just enough to keep you busy, but not enough to break you. it numbs you.

but then, wait, wait, get this. then there are days, where you can completely just let go.

I KNOW! i know right? that’s not even the best part. wait, just listen.

there are days where you’re experiencing everything to your full potential. days where you smile and hold your friends close just for the sake of holding them close. days where you feel like smiling for no reason at all. i know!! just wait, it gets better. there are days where you feel happy.

take a breath. i know, isn’t it insane?

days where you draw for the pure sake of just drawing. days where you lace up your running shoes and go on a long run. days where you can bask in the sun and take a pause. days where you can eat a bowl of your mom’s trademark beef noodle soup, and slurp every last bit down. days where you can hold your cat for just five more minutes, while he’s purring up a storm in your lap. days where you take that first bite into an apple and it feels incredible. doesn’t that sound amazing?

there’s something else i’ve been meaning to show you. follow me into this room, i have to show you something. through the door, close it behind you and rest in the chair.

it’s been so long since you’ve been in this room. does it look familiar?

take a minute. you’ve been here before.

….

yeah, i know. it’s been a while. this is where your childhood is kept. where all of your nights in grade school were spent. where you kept all of your crushes. where your first love is still heavily guarded. where your earliest memories are kept. where your deepest fears and anxieties are carefully logged.

i know… i don’t really like being here either.

but i think it’s important that we’re here, you know?

together.

it’s important to come back here occasionally to double check on ourselves and take some time you know? it seems like this is where you like to go when you’re afraid, but since it’s so unfamiliar, it’s uncomfortable and makes your bad moments even worse. we don’t have a good understanding of whats going on inside, which makes it hard to navigate.

so here’s what i propose.

once a day, we’re going to spend five minutes in this room, going through memories and remembering what it was like to be us previously.

maybe we’ll linger on a particularly painful experience, or we’ll relish in one particular memory. no matter what, we’re going to spend a little bit of time every day here, visiting with ourselves.

it’s important.

it’s so that we can become more familiar with this room, so that the Bad Times won’t be quite so bad. so that we don’t feel quite so strange when we need to retreat here when something bad happens.

because of recent events, i know you’ve felt particularly fed up. and i know what you would’ve done in the past. you would’ve continued the cycle and refused to take a break, convincing yourself that the best way to feel better is to distract yourself with something else.

but for the first time in your life, you haven’t jumped. you’ve stepped back. you’ve hit paused, and said

i can’t keep doing this, it’s not healthy. i need to take care of myself

it’s okay. it’s not a set back that you’re taking some time for yourself, and really understanding what’s going on. it’s actually pretty smart.

you wake up in the mornings and stretch your legs in the spacious double bed of your bedroom. the sun filters in through the blinds, and you can hear murmurs of your roommates voices upstairs. you smile, push your face into the soft blankets on the bed next to you and inhale the fresh scent of your sheets.

sometimes days are bad, but then there are days that are okay.

this is one of them.

Advertisements

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 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.

saying goodbye

You died on a Wednesday. It’d been over a year since we’d seen each other, and I wasn’t sure where things were left between us, or if we would ever see each other again.

When I got the news, I couldn’t process it. My mind didn’t jump to the last conversation we had together, or the way we fizzled out with no explanation, or even the intense anger I felt after that.

Instead, I thought about that time you took me to the ocean. You wore this crisp red flannel and tucked a cigarette behind your ear. We drove to the seaside late one night, chattering about nothing in particular.

I’d never been to this beach before, but you swore it was your favorite place in the area. We shimmied along the edge of the cliff until we finally saw the ocean and its black inky waters, where we sought refuge in this little alcove carved out of the rock.

The moonlight reflected off the water and leeched the color out of everything, leaving just our pale floating faces turned toward each other. I remember kissing you and laughing at how cold your skin was. Outside of that moment, everything paused.

A little while later, I was sitting huddled in the warmth of your car while you fiddled with the heating system under the hood of the car. You slammed the hood shut, the cigarette perched on your lower lip and the wind ruffling your shaggy blonde hair.

I don’t remember much of that night, except for the unmistakable feeling of happiness. In the chaos of growing up, becoming independent and figuring out ourselves, we found time to just enjoy one of life’s constants, spending time with someone else.

I wanted you to know that while me and some of your friends were spending time at the cliffs for your memorial last month, I thought about that moment. I hope that’s okay.