Strapped

I’ve finally found a moment to sit and write, and even now I’m distracted by this boy blowing up my phone. But it’s okay, I really like him.

It’s the boy I casually mentioned last time, my sister’s fiance’s friend. He’s a really sweet guy, and I’m excited to see him soon. We couldn’t find any time to get together before I went on my trip, so our first date is the 11th of August and he’s taking me to a wedding the 12th. He stuck with me through my entire trip, always eager to know what I was doing, never happy when I lost service at the campgrounds. Very sweet and charming and respectful. Talk about a breath of fresh air.

My trip itself was fantastic. I was terrified of seeing bears, but I think I handled it really well for being my first time camping ever, let alone for two weeks straight. We survived a 5.8 earthquake that hit Montana, we swam in glacial waters of  Lake McDonald, we slept outside during a thunderstorm in Yellowstone, we heard wolves/coyotes howl just over the mountain ridge, we woke up early in search of bears and other wildlife, and we went to bed late, usually with some kind of alcohol in our systems. We climbed a 10,000 foot peak, and I got a tattoo in Denver. My only regret is that I forgot a notebook, because I’ve since forgotten so many of the inspired thoughts I had while on the journey.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

But the MOUNTAINS. The mountains were just more beautiful and magnificent than I could have ever expected. It felt a little strange coming back home, seeing my mountains and thinking of just how small they were in comparison. I’m hoping they don’t disappoint me…

Phoebe and I had plenty of great conversations, but the one that stuck with me the most was just eye opening to me. It was something that I’ve always kind of known in the back of my mind, but that I hadn’t really had to process it before.

You can’t love someone wholeheartedly if there is no trust. I remember the days of anxiety, the edge of suspicion to every text message and every name that came in the aftermath of being cheated on. I remember the knots in my stomach, the sleepless nights, and the pure worry, even when he and I were trying to work things out. Even when it seemed like we had, I was still always wary, ready to jump to the worst conclusion, because I had learned that the worst conclusion isn’t always wrong.

I remember enduring the same storm with Adam, with girls he told me not to worry about, who he then had to own up to. “Nothing happened, but…” Everything before “but” is bullshit. Something happened, and I was back in that hole, empty and broken at the bottom. Somehow he got mad at me for all of it, and my lack of trust was supposedly why he dumped me so harshly. Even though I was walking on glass, dancing around my own feelings to spare his, to ensure that he still loved me, that he still thought I was “cool.” I’ll tell you what, he didn’t, but I still get texts from him whenever he’s drunk and horny. To that I say, fuck you.

I say that you can’t love someone if you can’t trust them. You can’t wholeheartedly be your best self. You’re always being careful, always watching your back or barking at others to stay away. If there is no trust, there is nothing. I understand why it’s hard to trust, but you have to give that new person a chance. If nothing else, you’ve made it through heartache before and you will again, but it’s important to love as if you’ve never had a broken heart. I’m still trying to incorporate that into this new relationship, and he has been very understanding of the times I haven’t been able to.

I was telling Mom the other day how I’m just so sick of the dating scene nowadays. Everyone’s excuse is that they’ve been hurt before, so they’re “not looking for anything serious.” So when they do find someone they’re interested in, they refuse to put labels to anything. Because if there are no labels, it doesn’t hurt so much when someone gets hurt, right? We never made anything official, so she can’t be mad that I’m on a date with someone else. She’s not really my girlfriend, so I shouldn’t invite her to family events. I’m losing interest, I should just stop talking to her and she’ll get the point. If she says anything, she’s totally crazy because we aren’t anything and I told her I wasn’t looking for anything serious…

It’s all bullshit, and it’s all the same. Maybe if we as a species all grew a pair and gave it another shot, picked ourselves off and dusted ourselves off when we got hurt, we wouldn’t end up hurting so many people. We would love others instead of playing mind games. We would respect one another, and if we fell in love, we fell in love. Perfect world, right?

Spread some love and have some hope.

Dani

 

Advertisements

Drink Your Poison

Noise overstimulation has become a big problem lately. I’m not sure if I had would have more patience if I wasn’t surrounded by blaring sirens and the honking horns of pissed off drivers, but I can hope. It’s gotten so bad that sometimes it’s unbearable to listen to my roommates’ mundane and polite conversations.

Yoga usually helps clear my head. Alex and I chuckle side by side as we pick apart our yoga videos online. It’s probably the brighter side of most of my days, just social enough while also allowing me to retreat into my mind shortly afterward. Plus, when you feel limber you feel good.

Today we watched Boyhood, a movie that follows a boy and his family over approximately 12-13 years of his life, from age 5ish to his first day at college. We all kind of criticized it; the mother for her horrible choice in men, the father for his immature parenting style, the daughter for her boring and sassy attitude, the boy for his gloomy speeches about existential crises.

As much as we criticized, it was interesting to watch, and in ways it was very relatable. You grew to connect to certain characters and their fucked up life stories. I definitely related to Mason on not wanting everyone breathing down my neck about what to do with my life, something I’m sure many people our age experience. Even following the petty high school break up experience. There was something so quietly entertaining about watching these events unfold, partially because there wasn’t really any action – kind of like real life. There weren’t many dramatic scenes, no thickening movie plot. Just life and how it moves, changes, unfolds. How people develop, for better or worse. How life just goes on.

It’s an incredible juxtaposition to the other show I (and the rest of America) have been watching: 13 Reasons Why. That is quite the dramatic show. With some terrible acting and cheesy one-liners, but that’s what sold in middle school, when I first read the book that the series is based off of.

It seems to glorify suicide in a vengeful way, something that I can’t get behind showing to the vulnerable young-adult public viewers. It makes me mad. This girl is so dramatic. The things she faces in life are by no means easy to go through, but I think they are things she could get over without taking her own life. Granted, I didn’t have the mental stability I like to claim I have now when I was back in high school, so she probably doesn’t either. Hindsight, I guess.

Regardless, the thought of vengeful suicide angers me. It’s such a final, definitive move. But in the same vein, it’s not final. Hannah commits suicide and supposedly her pain is over. Except her pain lives on through other people. It’s not a final move, just the next one. A transfer of that energy. A selfish act. It hurts me most when they show the parents as they struggle to find out what went wrong, why their daughter was capable, why she felt this was her only option. This girl had a support system – two loving parents. They weren’t drug addicts, she wasn’t neglected. They cared about her. I can’t imagine doing that to my mother. I can’t imagine someone doing that to me.

It really struck a nerve because my friend’s dad committed suicide in December, and that was its own transfer of pain. But the cases were different. Scott had a mental illness that he couldn’t beat, and it took him. It took him from his wife. It took him from his three kids, the youngest of whom is only about ten. It took him from his friends, his church, his community. It left a scar so deep we don’t talk about it. People ask me how my friend is doing and all I can say is “good” because how am I supposed to delve into that kind of pain with my friend? How am I supposed to ask him how he’s holding up since the man he looked up to from day one decided he couldn’t take it anymore? It’s created a barrier between him and his friends, the wound we never touch, and one that will never heal.

But no, Hannah Baker gets groped by some jerk, nasty rumors spread around her, a stalker taking her pictures. And that’s all it takes to push her over the edge. (I’m not finished with the series. Maybe it gets worse and makes more sense, but for now I’m just angry). And the show seems to glorify suicide as the final, vengeful act, this girl only caring about how to end her pain than think about who her death with destroy. At the very least, the number to the suicide hotline should accompany each episode.

*   *   *

One episode brought me plummeting right back to you. You know how indie shows now use indie songs by unheard of artists just to seem cool? Yeah, well, I recognized Lord Huron in there. A beautiful song shared between Hannah and Clay. But I couldn’t pay attention to the show once that song came on. I just thought of you.

I had all and then most of you, some and now none of you.

A heaviness hit my chest. I don’t think that song was even out by the time we ended things. Maybe it was. Did you listen to it? The summer that Lord Huron was your muse? The medicine that also broke your heart, that album on repeat as I danced my cares away with a boyfriend that shouldn’t have been more than a rebound? Did you torture yourself with one of my favorite bands as a way to expel your thoughts, your sins? You deserved this, you thought, to wallow in pity and despair. You did that whenever you messed up.

I broke away from you, turned my back and ran. That was when you finally listened to all the songs I had been suggesting for months, the movies I’d wanted you to watch for years. I just wanted to share them with you, appreciate them and analyze them with you. We were insightful, emotional.

My favorite memories with you aren’t even memories. We would lay in your bed, ready for sleep, wrapped around each other, talking. Just talking. We would have those insightful conversations, ones that I wouldn’t remember in the morning. We would talk until we couldn’t move our lips anymore, couldn’t form the sounds. Sometimes we talked about how much we loved each other. When things got bad, we talked about what we were sorry for. How we could work on things. And sometimes we just talked about our thoughts. The world. The universe. We were in love. We were present in that moment, our energies floating through the universe, anchored by a warm blanket and each other’s presence.

I think back, and I miss those moments. Will you always be one step ahead of me? Would I feel the same as I did back then? Or would I be afraid, as I am so often now. Of letting you in, of being hurt, of committing to loving so wholly again. I know it is brave to love. But it is also tiring.

Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful that you are my first love. If it wasn’t for you, I don’t know if I’d believe romantic love existed at all. I’d think romance was all just a game. That connections were impossible to keep for more than two months. That boys were all liars that just wanted to fuck. Thankfully you showed me that that isn’t the case. You showed me love, intelligence, emotional and intellectual intimacy, and I am truly lucky to have found that in my first boyfriend. And this time it’s me who fucked up. But it’s all about how gracefully you let go, right? You were water.

Thank you.

Wishes to the Universe

Had a wonderful and spontaneous night at home in order to see my best friend. It involved copious amounts of tequila and the perfect amount of french toast. Our hungover asses sat in his hot tub on a freezing day, fully bloated from the previous night, discussing life, praising the mountains, and feeling grateful for our town. I did, anyway.

As I’ve said, as it gets closer to graduation, I find it harder and harder to leave my little town behind. My heart yearns for the mountains, and I’m always so awestruck when I can catch the colors of the sun setting over the mountains or between the trees. I can’t tell you the number of times my gaze has left the road a dangerously long time just because I’m trying to enjoy the beauty of the sunset. I’ll say it here, if I ever die in a crash because I was watching the sun set, at least the last thing I saw was something I loved.

Morbid… Anyways.

Yesterday I stayed in town long enough to greet my parents after they had finally gotten home from their cruise. As I waited for them to call me, I laid down in bed, trying to close my eyes since I was running on a mere four hours of sleep from the night before (still went to the gym, proud of myself for that!). But I couldn’t close my eyes. My room was too beautiful. A light, happy, peaceful yellow, filled with a similar relaxing sunlight drifting in through the open blinds. I cuddled the pillow next to me, staring at the beauty that my windows framed, that my blinds teased. I wish staring at the sun wasn’t bad for your eyes. I’m not sure I’d ever look away.

I love to linger in those peaceful moments. I want to be able to just share that serenity with someone else, for them to understand my love for a beautiful sky.

IMG_4738

I told Ryan how excited I was to spend a few weeks out in the mountains, just me and Phoebe, someone else who appreciates nature and namaste-ing as much as I do – if not more. It really just made me more excited to think about being outdoors for days on end, not caring how dirty I get, not trying to impress anyone. Just me and her soaking up the wilderness.

Also, side note, I think I’m getting slightly better at yoga. It doesn’t seem like as much of a chore to do downward dog anymore. Part of it might be because it’s nice that my roommate enjoys it as much as I do, so she helps motivate me. She does, however, also motivate me to eat cookies all the time, so I’m trying to work on my will power here.

At the same time, yoga has also allowed me to see how much I need improvement, especially in my mobility. I’m hoping it opens up my hips, but even just side body stretches can be ludicrously difficult sometimes. It reminds me of when Mom makes me her physical therapy guinea pig and I realize I can’t hold poses/postures that are seemingly simple. Like sure I can squat a decent amount of weight, but can I lift my leg while keeping my core tight and hips level? Way harder than I thought.

I had a scary revelation yesterday. Mary texted me asking where I had slept the night before (she knows my drunken habits – I giggled), and I truthfully said that I had slept in my own bed that night, and then we had a short conversation about my love interest where she brought up how it’s been a long time of us being on and off and how he needs to get his act together (preachin to the choir, girl). And I realized that this on again off again thing has been the second longest “relationship” I’ve been in…

I officially dated Chad for a little over two years, I officially dated Adam for maybe a year and one or two weeks. Connor and I were on again off again for maybe four months. But this current one has been a year and three months. I’ve been battling with him and our feelings for each other for longer than I was with someone I had considered moving in with, someone I had considered marrying. It was a weird little revelation.

I doubt he reads my blogs, so I have no qualms speaking freely about it on here: I just haven’t been able to get him out of my head. Sometimes I struggle with it, especially the first time he grew distant. I wanted to be hurt and say “screw you” and never talk about it again. Easier said than done when you see him every time you go home and he’s there in the kitchen of your place of work. And he’s been there longer than you so you can’t be any kind of territorial over your workplace. Some days are easier than others, but that’s usually when I’ve been away at school for a few weeks and we haven’t spoken anyway.

You’d think that with all the back-and-forth, I’d be sick of it and just be done. Part of me wants to be done, sometimes I say with confidence that I am. And then I come back home and fall right back into it because there’s something about him that’s irresistible to me. He has such a good heart, the kind of person that doesn’t like to say anything bad about anybody, and he’ll usually correct himself if it has any kind of mean edge to it. He’s all about enjoying life, though I wish he’d do more with it. But who am I to judge.

There’s some part of me that just wants him. And I haven’t been able to explain to anybody, even myself. I’ve asked so many of my older friends for advice, something I rarely do, and they’ve helped me talk through my feelings, how there’s no reason for me to be as hung up on him as I have been. But I’ve never been able to put my finger on it.

So maybe someday we’ll give it a shot. Maybe I’ll be hung up on him until I move to another state, though the thought of never seeing him again makes me sad. Maybe I’ll be hung up on him forever. Some days I imagine (guiltily) that I’ve moved to North Carolina where I’ve met a nice man, but that I come home to Middletown and rekindle something with him. I want to give things a shot, almost as if it’s unfinished business. That it needs to run its course before I can give it up. But then again, I’ve never really been the one to give things up first, unless, sadly, my foot was safely planted in another canoe (I’m still sorry).

I have worried that I seem to be turning down guys because he still holds the higher pedestal in my heart. He’s the one I drunk call most often. I hope to not close myself off to the possibility of other, perhaps better suitors just because I’m hung up on him.

Some days I just ask the universe for him. And weirdly enough he seems to be headed in the right direction. So I guess we’ll see what happens. Maybe one day I’ll reread this and laugh that I was so attached to him, maybe one day I’ll read this to him. Who knows.

As the sirens screech down Route 1, I can’t help but crave the utter silence of my bedroom back home. So I need to go to bed, as I’m still recovering from the four hours of sleep night I had so recently. Life is great, isn’t it?

Peace

IMG_4709

 

Some Days You Think So Much That You Write So Little

I can’t get your smell off me today, just like I can’t get away from you. No matter how hard I try, you’re always there. Your cigarette smell hovers over me, a poltergeist. Or is it the soap? The scarcely familiar smell of your house that I sometimes miss when I’m not there? That rugged and homey scent, the one that wracks my brain for a better name than wood, peace, and sunshine. Normally when I leave, you don’t exist in my head – you just don’t fit together. But today you followed me.

And I didn’t know what to do.

 

Bottled

You’d think for a 21-year-old still in college, my tolerance would be more impressive than it is. One glass of wine and I feel my head swimming, shoulders relaxing, head nodding off. It’s close to the end of the semester, and it has by no means been easy, but this week hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be. Maybe I’m staying ahead of my classes, but something is telling me to keep going, that within the next few weeks something unexpected will come up that will require a lot of time and attention, that will stress me out.

But for now I’m just looking forward to Thanksgiving Break. It’s barely a break. Again I am faced with having too many people to see and not enough time to see them, which is more a blessing than a problem. My schedule is already so jam-packed with seeing friends and family that I don’t have time to work! Ryan and I will finally be reunited and have a chance to head to the bars together (milestones!!), Thanksgiving with the Anderson’s is guaranteed to take up all my time and energy Thursday, and Ryan and I are going to see a Caps game that Friday (my first, and I’m so excited that I actually had a dream about it last night!). Saturday will be another family day, and hopefully one much-needed.

Between my own struggles, my mom’s struggles, and my sister’s struggles, I ache to just have those normal moments again. When no one is too sensitive or too tired. When no one is faking it. It’s all felt a bit brittle lately.

I’ve felt guilty for spending so much time with my friends instead of my family, but I’ve started to realize that it’s more so their distractions and positivity. Sometimes I feel the need to talk about it, and on those days I have a select few that I know I can lean on, but most of the time I’m looking for an escape from the negativity that occasionally invades my life. On those days, leaning on my goofiest friends is the best medicine, and I’m very thankful to have people in my life that are so happy being simple-minded (in a good way).

I say that I struggle, and some of my problems are no easy feat, but a lot of them are teeny tiny on this earth. Nothing some chocolate and a good glass of wine can’t fix.

Thank you for enabling my habit (be it writing or wining).

Dani

img_4132img_4142img_4150

 

Karmic Rabbits

I definitely have some kind of karmic energy around me, even if it doesn’t always work out for me. Although, that’s not surprising is it? Karma doesn’t bend at my will.

It pervades my love life in a cynical, almost sinister way. My only “official” boyfriends were each paid visits. What goes around comes around, and the lesson is bittersweet — I still wish the best for at least one of them (hi Chad!).

I’m concerned with what this could mean for a future relationship that’s been on my mind lately, someone I’d never before considered, someone I’d be devastated to lose. My impatience is getting the best of me, but hopefully my fear will help me be more apprehensive.

We still have some growing to do. I think it’s good that I can admit that to myself right? I still have some oats to sow, be it traveling, moving, self-exploration, etc. I can’t put a time stamp on it, which is a blessing and a curse. I always want to peek into the future and figure out what the hell is going to work out. But I’m learning to trust my intuition, which may or may not be good for the situation.

Unfortunately I have too much homework to really sit and reflect on it.

For now I’m just extremely grateful for the life I’m living. It’s not perfect, and there’s a lot going on. I just find it interesting that even on days I feel a cloud hanging over me, I can reflect on karmic events around me.

Thank you for listening to my ramblings. I admit I have felt a little alone lately, but alone time is good. It helps me concentrate in this busy time.

Now it’s time to unwind with Game of Thrones and a glass of wine.

Cheers!

Sensory Wisdom

I’m a naive little 21-year-old. Does red wine have artificial coloring? If it does, don’t tell me, or my purple mustache; I’m enjoying it too much.

This week has been less stressful. I’m not sure if I’m coping, if I’m out of the woods, or if I’m just excited. That’s not to say it’s been an easy week; I still find myself deep in thought every day. Missing people I shouldn’t, mostly. Missing things I should. But also appreciating things I have. Some things have certainly changed from when I was 16 or 17. I feel a more positive force in myself.

I really think it has come from this summer. This wasn’t an easy summer between school and work and dramatic situations, but I still stand by it was life-changing. I learned so much about myself from being on my own for the first time in a long time. I had time to myself, to evaluate and feel without thinking. I definitely think too much. I used to catch myself laughing, question what it was that I was enjoying about that moment. Now I’ve made the decision to just let myself feel it and not worry, wonder, or care why I’m enjoying it. I think it’s helped prolong my happiness.

I’m excited to return to the mountains. And I don’t know what to do with myself, and I’m not as afraid of that as I thought I would be. Instead, I’ll hike, I’ll write, and I’ll work. The future is full of possibilities, and I have to take them.

Candles are a godsend. Today in my argumentation and public policy class, we talking about monuments and memorials and their different representational characteristics. We talked about how water is seen as rebirth, a force of life, etc. And I think fire is the same way. Maybe that’s not a new thought, but there’s something so powerful and mesmerizing about fire that it has to be a source of life. Do you think people that go to Hell have to stay there? Do you think the fire just cleanses them for their new life? Hmm. What a theory.

It’s unbelievable how powerful smell is too. It can create peace, it can trigger trauma. People have different pasts. I’m not sure if that’s something I just recently figured out – I used to be bewildered driving on the highway, thinking about how everyone in the cars around me had different lives; they have different pasts, they were on the road for different reasons, they were going through different points in time and life. So I guess it’s not new, but when my roommate says she hasn’t seen some of my favorite, childhood Halloween movies, I guess it just strikes me again.

Sometimes I think I’m just connected to a different emotional version of the world. Sometimes I can disassociate from problems in order to deal with them, and for some reason I consider myself strong during those times, if not a little heartless. But there are other times I just feel connected on a different level, with a different understanding. I can’t explain it, though this is the first time I’ve tried. I’ll try again later.

I remember that time we ran from my car to your house, soaked within the first ten leaps. I asked for clothes, and you gave me the pants I always borrowed and an old t-shirt you wouldn’t miss (though when have I ever not given your clothes back?). I changed and when you walked in, your drunk eyes lit up as I shrunk into your shirt, embarrassed at being ogled by you. I’ll remember that as I try to forget you.

image-1