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.

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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

 

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Bad at Goodbyes

My introverted attitudes might sometimes disagree with me, because I love experiencing people. Not bumping into everyone in a crowd, not trying to tune out the mindless chatter on the bus. But exploring people. Seeing more of who they are.

I recently went to Florida with some close friends and some acquaintances, and I was definitely given a glimpse into their lives. I think my favorite was Harry.

I’ve known Harry since he was in 8th grade and I was in 11th (SSL). He was one of my favorites in that class – we bonded over music. He came to work at the cup a few years ago, and I was so thrilled to see him I think he was scared. Ever since then we haven’t really had much of a conversation, though he seamlessly melded into (and possibly took over) the friend group.

He’s a kind soul. Very crazy, a little weird, but quite a gentleman. While we shared jokes and stories while waiting in line for rides, I think we were both kind of surprised to see how much we enjoyed each other’s company. Which was good news since we were the only two trying to catch a flight home on Sunday, and who knew how long we’d be trapped at the airport together.

The conversation was awkward and a little forced at first, flowing later on. Every time I pick up my (Trevor’s) Game of Thrones book, I think of him. He told me how he’s a voracious reader, how he would sit for six hours just reading. I told him that I couldn’t even do that.

He said “yeah, I would just chill under a tree and read for the day, it’s the best.” And that struck me as odd, almost too romantic for the categories in which I had placed him. It was beautiful, I loved it. Here was this crazy boy who loved headbanging, mosh pits, and metal music… and I could picture him sprawled under a tree on a hot summer day, consumed in a book. It was nice.

There are so many things I don’t know about people. Strangers, my family, my friends. Experiencing them.

The conversation came easily afterward, and the woman at the ticket counter moved people around so that we could catch the 8:40 flight home together. He let me have the window seat even though he moved through the aisles ahead of me (I told you, a gentleman), and I caught him staring past me out the window to see the beautiful glow of the city lights as they webbed their way across the dark expanse of earth below us.

As a fellow romantic, it was really nice to see that side of Harry.

***

Lauren and I talked the weekend before, just sharing life and the warm spring sunshine in makeshift chairs on her front porch. She asked me what exactly it was that I wanted in a boyfriend, and I couldn’t tell her… because I couldn’t tell you what it is myself.

But a piece of advice struck me recently. “Wait for the man that makes you want to be in a relationship.” Had I read that a year ago, I would have interpreted that as “don’t get into a relationship if you think you’re just going to cheat anyway.” Fair, and some people probably still read it that way. Maybe the author intended it that way.

Recently, ever guy that’s shown an interest in me has made me uncomfortable. I just want to avoid it or them. It almost makes me sick, and I wasn’t sure if that was my intuition or nervousness or social anxiety. Maybe all three.

But then I saw that quote, and I thought “maybe someone will come along one day and when they show interest I won’t shy away. I’ll think this is right, this is natural, this is what I want. And that’s what it will mean to wait for a man who makes you want to be in a relationship.” I won’t be tired. I’ll be ready. And that was a nice hope to hang on to.

This’ll just be a short hodge-podge of things.

First, I want it known that it sucks to live with any kind of stomach problems. I’m happy for the rest of my health, I can deal with fighting to lose weight just like every other person in this world. But I can’t deal with being doubled over in pain because it feels like someone has poured hot lead into my intestines just because I ate something that wasn’t leafy green. It isn’t normal to endure such pain and try to move on with your day like everything’s fine, like you weren’t just trying to squeeze yourself into the most comfortable position just to make it through the next few minutes without moaning and shouting. The world needs to be more comfortable with talking about stomach problems.

Next, I’ve been working on that ex story some more, and it’s taking me through another wild ride of emotions. Sometimes reminiscent, other times infuriating. But I really enjoy writing it, and I’m not sure why. I’m not sure who I’ll dwell on the longest, but I would assume it will follow chronologically. I want to be able to share this one with the world, but it’s already 50 pages, and I don’t want to run into any lawsuits with the people I’m writing about. But hey maybe that’s the risk with dating a writer? Give me a good story and I’m going to write about you.

It’s making me miss a few people, one I never really let go of. The other one is really dangerous for me to miss, and I have to wonder whether or not I romanticize it. I know that I romanticize it, I guess I just wonder to what degree, whether it’s completely skewed or not. Side note, maybe I should date people that aren’t going to be dangerous for me to miss…

I’m burnt out from school, and I keep thinking about the days in elementary school that I think I reached a higher level of thinking, as if opening my crown chakra. I had moments that I questioned everything, and I mean everything. I would be running in from recess and think to myself why am I here? Why am I this brain? Why am I this body? That’s all we are, brains in bodies that somehow come from different walks of life, different situations. Why am I here right now in this brain with this body? And it happened all the time, like I was looking in a mirror and seeing a complete stranger, unattached to my body, unaffiliated. I’m not sure if that qualifies as an out of body experience.

I haven’t had one of those moments in a while, and I wonder what has changed. If I have been beaten and brainwashed by schooling, if I’m not as close to such spirituality because I have closed myself off to different religions. If that has blocked my crown chakra, and now it takes effort for me to consider not being this body, not being who I am. It’s very strange, and I wish I had more time to reflect on it, but right now my life is too busy.

I miss nature, as always. Yesterday I followed home the sun, taking the time to appreciate the steeples on campus, comparing them to the clustered spires of Frederick, and for the first time since orientation, I felt a connection to the campus. It was a nice change of pace from the constant resentment of being here in winter, seemingly putting my life on hold.

But I shouldn’t think that way, should I? My life’s already started. And I’m so close to having that degree and being able to do whatever I want afterward. If I still had three years or so to go, I’d probably rethink the whole thing. Do what I want now, go back to school later when I could afford it. Chad is always in my ear when I have those “I can’t wait to start my life” thoughts, because my life is already here. It’s helping me take the opportunities that arise in front of me (I spontaneously went to a concert with my friend on Tuesday and was in a mosh pit for the first time – very exciting opportunity that I’m glad I took).

I guess I should say that soon I will be able to take my life in the direction that I want. I will have more time for nature and reflection. I will have more time for myself. For yoga, for work, for exercise. I look forward to it and all the other days of my life, including tomorrow, should it come.

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.

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