And I Can’t Help

Your arms around me,
security, not a cage.
With your sleepy sigh at my back, I smile.
I know you will wake as soon as I touch my phone.
And you will pull me closer to you,
hot skin warming my everything.

*   *   *

Our mornings and nights we spend wrapped around each other, and our days we spend roaming your city. There are a million places you want to show me, and I can hear the disappointment in your voice every time I say that I’ve been there before with my sister. You want to be my first for everything, to show me why I should love your town as much as I love my own.

The thing is, I don’t always love new surroundings. I love familiarity. So being in this town that boarders both new and familiar, with my hand firmly in yours, or your arm draped around me, it makes me love the place more than I ever did.

You cater to my every need with a playful smile and a happy heart. We hop from place to place, just enjoying each other’s company. The playful flick of my toes against your shin, your goofy grin as you hold my hand in yours on the bar top, the sweet cheek kisses as we make harmless jokes at each other’s expense. It’s the same scene at every bar, champagne bubbles caressing my lips as we remain mentally wrapped up in nothing and no one but each other.

Your love and support astounds me. You haven’t said it yet, but I can feel it. I wiped a lash off your cheek and told you to make a wish, and you looked at me before you blew it away. I asked what you wished for, and you refused to tell me. “I want this one to come true,” you smiled. And I smiled back, my eyes falling to the floor as I blushed. I feel it.

And your support… you’ve never even thought of knocking me down. And every time I say something about myself, you correct me in a loving way. You have no idea how I haven’t been snatched up by someone else before you, why others would pass on such a soul. That’s how I know it’s right. From playing video games in your messy apartment on a Friday night, to teeing it up at a driving range for the first time, you have never laughed at me for trying new things. You have always been on my side. I want you on my team forever.

At the end of the day, after we’ve made a simple dinner, had a few beers, and watched an episode of our favorite show, I’m in your bed again, head on your chest, falling asleep as you stroke my head. And with each sleepy twitch and each deep breath, I realize I’m falling more than just asleep.

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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.

Elastic Warriors of the Universe

There’s something to be said about not being the victim anymore.

For the longest time, I knew my baggage was “my first boyfriend cheated on me, therefore I am teeming with trust issues so you should be empathetic when I’m crazy.” It’s not a fun place to be, and I thought I would be that way forever.

But something happened about a year ago, and I just stopped.

I didn’t want to be labeled as “the girl that got cheated on”, I didn’t want to carry that baggage with me into every new relationship I had. I didn’t want to be crazy about the trust issues, constantly wondering where my new boyfriend was at all times, worrying over who he was with, if he was lying to me about something. I noticed all of those tendencies slip into my second relationship. Slowly, my trust issues receded, which was such a big relief for me.

Eventually the trust issues came back full force, but that’s what happens when you date sleazy guys that are down for any attention girls throw at them (no matter how much love and attention you give them).

It took a long time to get over labeling myself as a victim. I felt I had an explanation, a justification for my overly anxious attitudes, that whoever I dated next would have to be okay with me being worried about them all the time.

One day I realized I just didn’t want to think that way anymore. I didn’t want to have to worry every minute of the day. I didn’t want to have to check up on someone all the time and then not believe him anyway because I was lied to in my first two relationships. Relationships are built on trust and friendship, and I couldn’t have a good one if I could only promise half of those characteristics.

I can’t even explain how liberating it was to finally let it go. I didn’t want to be the victim anymore. I didn’t have to keep lugging around this heavy, anxious weight all the time. Maybe it’s naive, maybe it’s resilience, but I decided I needed to trust people wholeheartedly again if I was ever going to find a relationship that gave that trust back to me.

I know I have a big heart, and sometimes that’s why I get screwed over. But I try not to let it make me bitter. I know that there is so much good in the world just waiting to be unlocked, that there is so much love being shared out there. I know that if I put love out in the universe, it will come back to me somehow. Maybe I can show others how to love, maybe someone will surprise me by showing me that I can love more.

I’m still not perfect, I still see the trust issues creep in every once in a while. But I see the progress I have made, and I’m usually pretty proud of it. I believe that one day someone will prove to me that trust is real and true, that loyalty and commitment are not too much to ask for in this modern dating world. Until then, I will be working on myself, perfecting how to breathe, let go, and let myself be vulnerable to others in the hopes that they prove their trustworthiness.

The point is, you don’t always have to be the victim. Heroes don’t have easy histories. It’s not about how you fall, but how you get back up.

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.

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Blackened Ledbetter Riffs

It’s been a crazy few days with the full moon. But today ended better than yesterday. Yesterday exploded into chaos, but today I took care of myself. It’s interesting how just a simple nighttime routine can make you feel like you have some part of your life together.

I watched Jenna Marbles/Mourey tonight, and she shared 30 life lessons she learned by her 30th birthday, and while some of it was sarcastic or funny, parts of it had really good life advice that I think I needed to hear.

“Whatever you don’t like about your body, just try to come to peace with it… Just wait because maybe the world just isn’t ready for your beauty.”

As a struggling college student, this has never been more appropriate in my life. I’ve always been skinny fat, and then I started putting on muscle and I changed my diet, and then I went to college and put on the 15, and ever since I have just been battling myself to get back to where I was. I’m not fat, I’m just not as twig skinny as I used to be. I honestly just haven’t been nice to myself. I’ve become too impatient, expecting the weight to just fall off, and I always beat myself up when I’m feeling bloated. It’s even interfering with the gym, which doesn’t make sense. So I will try to be more patient, while also sticking to a healthy diet and routine.

“Try not to use the word regret, but instead say ‘I did the best I could for myself at the time’.”

This one sunk right through to my heart. I don’t have too many regrets in my life, but I hope to never forget this advice in the future. The first thing that came to mind was an ex. But it’s true, I did the best I could for myself at that time. I needed to get away from him. Maybe I didn’t go about it the right way, but it’s done and I think I’m in a better place because of it. Things happen for a reason.

Speaking of which, karma is real and it’s kicking my ass for something, and I think I know what it is.

If you don’t know, my grandparents live with me and my mom and dad. I don’t mind Grandma (though her toy poodle can be annoying), but I do not like my grandfather. It’s the side of the family we don’t really see, and we’ve had a shaky past, so we weren’t exactly off to a great start. But he is just so expectant of my mother and of his wife. He’s not very thankful. He thinks he’s going to get better, at 80 years old. He thinks very highly of himself and very poorly of – it seems – everyone else. Some of his own kids think he’s a pain in the ass. Some of them don’t even want to see him, and I don’t blame them.

For the past two years, I have seen his health deteriorate. I have watched him go from shuffling through the house, to being wheelchair-bound, to being basically bedridden. And each time he gets worse, I just keep hoping it’s the end. It has been such a stress on my mom, the caretaker, 24/7. (Luckily, some of her siblings help out from time to time.) It has caused tension between my parents. It has shattered my sense of home.

I always feel in the way. When I come home, suddenly there’s no room in the fridge. I’ve stopped putting ice in my drinks because our ice machine is slow enough that my dad already has to go to the store at least once a week just to get an extra bag. I can’t park in my driveway anymore because it’s a shorter walk for grandma. I make breakfast and then disappear to my room so they can have the TV because Grandpa can’t move from his chair. We moved my cat’s food so the dog wouldn’t get to it. I don’t talk to my mom while she gets ready for bed anymore because I know she’s just too tired during the week. I have to dodge the chairlift, most annoyingly when I’m carrying packed bags.

It’s just not home anymore.

And maybe that’s a good thing, so I can move on. Time will tell.

But because of this whirlwind of shit, I keep wishing Grandpa will die soon. I’m not exactly proud to say it, but it’s true. And it’s just what I wish. I know I shouldn’t wish death upon anyone, but I feel no remorse.

And karma knows it. And that’s why it’s kicking my ass.

I’m not going to proclaim to be a better person. I have no plans to take it back, because I know it won’t help at this point. I also know I wouldn’t mean it. I just think it takes more to be honest in this situation.

Maybe karma will reward me for that later.