Clustered Tulips

It’s late night dance parties in your studio,

Early morning kisses in your attic,

Getting locked outside in your clothes,

Talking to your mom as if I were here every morning.

Every little bit makes it harder to let go.

*   *   *

You found out she got married this weekend. In a little black dress at the county courthouse, with the brightest smile you hadn’t seen in years. My heart broke for you as I felt your last thread of hope peeling away. It was so subtle, with the impact of a guillotine. What could you do about it? She is not yours. You’re not sure she ever was, but maybe that’s what kept you on your toes.

So what did we do? We got drunk. I was excited to see my friends, some unusual faces in the crowd. I think you were torn between distraction and numbing. I got you to dance, but that’s the best I could do.

We slumped up the stairs, falling back to our puzzle piece rhythm. And my own misery couldn’t hold it in any longer. I asked you about it. I asked if you were okay.

In those moments, I feel like your friend. One that just wants you to be happy, to be okay. That one that’s empathetic because she’s been hurting too, one that shares your pain because it’s all she knows how to do, how to comfort, how to react. You talked, your voice plain, and I asked more, careful questions. In those moments we know each other. In those moments you find solace of your loneliness with my head on your chest and your arms around me. You find a love that you don’t know how to hang on to, and you’re too tired to try. I am too.

Like probably every other girl that’s tried, I want to fix you. I want to love all your broken pieces back together. Save you from your past, from your loyalty, your first love. And like every other girl that’s tried, I can’t.

*   *   *

I had a really great time visiting home this weekend. Work was hectic and annoying but we made it through as usual. Any motivation for free alcohol right?

I live for the nights that I can connect with people. As someone who has been introverted (and extremely shy) her entire life, relating to people and connecting to people through conversation is very inspiring and fulfilling to me. Some of them were my coworkers, and some my own family members.

I woke up to his kisses Friday morning, somehow made it through the entire day on four hours of sleep.

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Saturday I was well rested (he was gone), so I hiked by myself through Harper’s Ferry. Though the inclines were incredibly steep, especially with a 10lb weight in my backpack to help condition, it was probably my most rewarding hike. I had time for myself, to do and think about what I wanted, not worry about keeping up a conversation (I probably wouldn’t have been able to anyway). The view was spectacular as I watched birds swirl high above me, heard the train rustle below, the river to my right. It was incredibly peaceful, and it made me excited for my trip. It was also the first time my legs had been so sore in a while, and it made me feel so alive, that I was heading in the right direction, that the plateau was over.

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I spent the afternoon sanding a breadbox, of all things. At first it was stressful and annoying, time-consuming. But as usual once I slowed down I really actually enjoyed it. Working with my hands outside. Nothing but me and my thoughts. The more solitude I have, the more I realize I like myself. I’m not a perfect person, but I make myself happy, and I appreciate my own thoughts in a strange, cyclical way. img_0129.png

That night I went out with Kristen, Rosie, and Heather. Kyle owed me some drinks so he gave me a good amount of patron for free (love it). I didn’t get to spend as much time with Heather as I wanted, but I got to spend some time with Rosie that I think she needed. I don’t think she has a great outlet, and she deals with a lot of shit in her life. She’s such a sweet person that just wants love, and she definitely deserves it. She doesn’t get enough from some of the places she should… lots of heart to hearts. Like I said, I love connecting with people.

Sunday was a day with the family. Lauren’s absence was noticeable, and I don’t think I filled the space to its entirety, but I think it was good enough.

Something that I recently admitted to my mom is that I think the Main Cup is the only place in which I have felt truly celebrated, and that was kind of a tough thought to accept. I have always had an immense love for my family, and like I said I’ve always grown up kind of in someone’s shadow without it really bothering me. I don’t need to be center of attention all the time, I just like appreciation.

I shared with mom that I’ve always been in the shadow of my sister, through no one’s fault. I’ve just always been quiet and reserved and she has fit in better with the extroverted side of the family. Most of the time when Lauren’s missing from family events, the first question I get is “where’s your sister?” like I’m not good enough to entertain them in the same way.

I don’t want to paint a woe-is-me story about my life, because I have been blessed in so many ways. I’m just saying it’s not always fun to grow up in someone’s shadow.

But Main Cup has been different for me. I’m a different person. I’m more confident because I’ve learned that people like me for me, that they give me a chance because they want to, not because they know my sister. That they aren’t comparing me to her, let down when I’m not as outgoing. It’s given me a sense of self. Of finding who I am with fewer influences.

I love my sister. But I’m happy to be discovering who I am on my own. Why I love me. Why others do too.

Love

 

 

Around the Riverbend

Tonight I found out just how happy I am to feel, how powerful and brave it is. 

Most of my friends, some of my closest, all go through heartache. We talk about it, try to talk through it. I’m glad they feel comfortable opening up to me about stuff like this. 

But with one I always get so exasperated because he just doesn’t care. I don’t feel like he doesn’t care, but he honestly just seems so indifferent that I think maybe that’s just how he is, and it doesn’t make sense to me but maybe there are people in the world like him, that are okay with not caring, not feeling.

I personally think he just wants to be loved. I think we all want to be loved (watch an episode of Catfish, I think it boils down to we all want love). But if, somehow, he really is a person who wants to not care, I don’t know how to handle that, how to help.

It made me grateful for my emotions, and I think they help me process my situations. Of course I’ve been heartbroken more than once, and during those times I thought I wanted nothing more than to shed those desperate, devastated emotions and just pick up as my usual self. But I think working through those emotions has lead me to a better place, where I feel more confident in myself, I care more for others, I have a deeper sympathy because I’ve been there or I can maybe begin to imagine what it’s like. 

And once you finally claw your way out of that pit, you appreciate life so much more. Your happiness feels happier, your love stronger, less likely to shovel it on someone who won’t nurture it. 

I remember after Adam and I broke up I was alone for the first time since I was 15; I had no prospective love interest to lean on, to distract me. I had never felt lonelier in my life, never more desperate to distract myself through work and friendship. I dove into finding myself, learning what hobbies I truly enjoyed. And it’s made me a better person. 

Also during that time, I was shown love from the most unexpected people (in my opinion). People reached out, and I learned who really loved me and wanted to see me be happy, see me succeed. 

And how could I let them down? More importantly, how could I let myself down? I had so many people showing me love, and they saw something in me that I hadn’t seen in myself without the accompaniment of someone else: worth. Of all things, worth! 

I thought I loved myself, but I discovered that I hadn’t at that point! I attached my worth to another person, depended on them to reassure me that I was someone worth loving. How crazy! How naïve! 

Now I can confidently say I love myself. And I think openly navigating my emotions has helped me get there. So please don’t be afraid to endure those feelings, however miserable they may feel at the time. You never know what’s around the bend.

Love

Able-bodied, able-minded

So much has been going on over the past week. My friends and I are looking for a house tucked into suburban College Park, which would be wonderful since I’m clearly not a big fan of city life. Other than that, my schoolwork has needed my full attention now that we’re winding down.

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I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather recently and my eyes are burning so this likely will be a short post.

I always get so frustrated when I get sick or have allergies. I feel like I have been fighting against my body my entire life. I would always get the stomach bug when I was little, and it became common practice for me to camp out in the bathroom, bring all my blankets and a big chair pillow and be ready the next time I needed to puke. Funny enough, my expertise has been helpful so far in my college career; my roommate was impressed by my bathroom fortress (and my resiliency).

There was a time in seventh grade that I missed 14 days of school because I would be healthy one week then sick the next. I was the kid that needed her homework delivered to her house so she wouldn’t fall so far behind.

I have bad knees that make it hard to run and exercise. I hyper-extended my left knee in high school and sprained my right ankle later that same year. I had plantar fasciitis for the majority of last year which made it difficult to run (and sometimes stand). Now I think I have a torn or irritated muscle in my calf that makes running and HIIT nearly impossible without a limp. I can’t work out the way I want to. I have bad hips that used to pop in and out randomly, though thankfully that has come a bit more under control. One of my ribs is out of place and it sometimes tweaks my neck so that I can’t turn left for about a week.

My stomach problems have carried over into my adulthood, and there’s a very good chance that I have Crohn’s disease, but I refuse to get diagnosed because I hate doctors and it can be difficult to diagnose.

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My mom and I hiking Annapolis Rock summer 2015. She has Crohn’s and has faced insurmountable hardships because of it. Her strength and resiliency inspire me day in and day out.

I’ve been sick with a strange bacteria three times since Christmas, and I think this time it’s mixed with the onset of allergies.

Sometimes I feel like I just can’t win. I exercise regularly, usually seven days a week, and while my eating habits could probably be better, usually my friends joke that all I eat is rabbit food.

It’s very frustrating, not feeling in control of your body. It seems like no matter what you do, nothing will keep it healthy. I’ve had to explain these random injuries to people throughout the years, and I always felt like I was making excuses for my inadequacies, that people didn’t believe my reasoning. They give me a pitiful look and continue on their way.

There was one time in kickboxing that we were lifting light weights, and we were supposed to raise the weight from our side to our shoulders. My mom, a physical therapist, has told me time and again that that move isn’t the greatest for me and strains the muscle in my neck that can cause my rib to move and tweak my neck, and that I should lift from my shoulder to up above my head to release that neck muscle. I, however, hate drawing attention to myself, so I participated in lifting the weights the more dangerous way. After feeling my muscle getting tighter and fearing the worst, I lowered my arms, and the middle-aged woman in front of me (who is kind of prissy) said I shouldn’t be tired since I’m the youngest one there.

That was the first time in my life that I just flashed a grin and didn’t explain my injuries. I didn’t owe her an explanation. I don’t owe anyone an explanation. I am fighting my battle the only way I know how, and it finally dawned on me that I don’t have to waste my time and energy telling someone what they think are made up, bullshit excuses.

While I’m still frustrated at my injuries, I have never let them stop me. For god’s sake, after learning I tore a muscle and shouldn’t do high-impact workouts, I proceeded to run two miles three times that week and go to kickboxing twice (which maybe wasn’t a smart idea, but you get the point). I continue to do my HIIT classes and do some intense cardio nearly every day, and I’m proud of myself for not letting these obstacles prevent me from being happy and achieving my goals.

So to everyone else out there frustrated with how things are working out, just know that you don’t owe anyone an explanation, and that if you want it, you’ll find a way over those obstacles. It’s important to be happy and supportive of yourself and your physical and mental health.

Now, off to find a movie to fall asleep to. The best part of being sick is finally falling asleep.

Cheers!

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Mom suggested we go look at plants after I said I wanted one for my apartment next year. We were just browsing, but I had to snag a picture of my favorite flowers – lilies. Being around so many plants again was amazing; I felt like I was in a jungle!