time is dancing

Hold it in, oh let’s go dancing
I do believe we’re only passing through
Wired again now look who’s laughing
Me again, all fired up on you

I love cool spring nights, the gentle breeze that wraps itself around me like a shawl while I look up and peer at the stars. One of my favorite things is midnight walks with one of the most insightful and thoughtful friends I know, baring our souls to each other in a much more intimate way than shedding clothes and sharing skin. Another is laughing. I love to laugh.

He has one hand on the steering wheel and another on my thigh and I don’t know what I’m doing because I’m not a relationship type of girl but I think that maybe, just this once, I’d like to be. It’s peculiar and wonderful and rather unfamiliar to me, to be appreciated in an un-platonic or un-familial way. I’m shying away from the word romantic because it makes me uneasy, though I’d consider myself to be a hopeless one at heart. There’s a strange sort of thrill that goes through me when someone admires me and says so. It’s jolting, it’s surprising. It’s a reminder that I shouldn’t need. His words make me wonder, though, whether he sees past my flaws or just hasn’t found them yet. Time will tell.

And now she’s caught between
What to say and what she really means
And I am finally coloring
Inside the lines that I live between

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valentine’s day

You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart.

As I was struggling to stay awake in my history class today, I thought about Iceland. About how it felt like another world, one shaped by volcanoes and tectonic plates and a green goddess who loved the sound of glacier water cascading over cliffs before it rushes through craters she created with tender footsteps across a geyser-filled landscape. I thought about how vividly landscapes I’ve explored reside in my mind, how easy it is to pull up an image taken long ago with firing neurons that somehow knew these things are worth remembering long after the moment has passed.

It’s Valentine’s Day and I could not care less. I have friends who are sad because it’s the “day of love” and they’re single. It doesn’t bother me; I don’t think I’d be the type to make a big fuss about it even if I were dating someone. I feel like I’m on the right path for now, towards an eventual career in education, and I have a few months left with wonderful friends before they graduate, and I might actually take a real break for spring break this year because I’m utterly exhausted. I’m not in the mood to plan a trip and I have friends from the UK coming to visit me and I haven’t spent a week at home in seven months. And prior to that, it had been eight months. I have to remind myself that while there’s a world out there to see, time at home and with my family has an expiration date too, and shouldn’t always be ignored in favor of galavanting to a new country every chance I get. Just most of them.

“Scar Tissue,” “The Fear,” and “Hericane” are on my brain. Scar tissue that I wish you saw, sarcastic mister know-it-all // I’ve been worryin’ that we all live our lives in the confines of fear // You’re from the east coast, so let’s both call it a hurricane, a hericane pacin’ through the back of my mind – maybe you’ve been a storm all this time.

I’ve spent nearly every afternoon at coffee shops these past two weeks. I’ve skipped yoga three times in favor of staying in bed and, in all honesty, I don’t feel too bad about it. I’ve freaked out over the simplest of texts and learned through experience that taking risks and letting my weird out can pay off. I don’t know why stupid little things make me so nervous sometimes; I think it’s because I want things to work out and am terrified of messing anything up. But as my friends keep reminding me, it’s often best not to overthink this kind of stuff, to let loose and let go. If something so small could ruin a good start, then there was never much there to begin with. What do I have to lose?

closure

I’m glad I went last night, glad I didn’t leave when he was forty minutes late because I needed to see for myself that it was over. The spark is gone and I feel a strange combination of sadness and relief –– our conversation stalled for the first time and I felt like I was looking down instead of up at him. We want different things and he didn’t ask me about any of the stuff I care about –– didn’t ask me anything, really. It makes me wonder whether I needed time away to see things clearly, or whether I simply built him up too much in my head. I’m happy that he’s happy, glad he’s following the path he feels is right for him. But I can’t comprehend his contentedness with the here and now, his complete lack of desire to see anything beyond his immediate surroundings and whatever’s in his microscope. It seems to me that I’ve grown out of him, past him, and that’s okay. I’m a different person than I was a year ago and he’s not enough for who I am now.

drunk

I’m writing drunk and suddenly I get it, why Lewis Carroll wrote Alice in Wonderland on drugs. I’m listening to “Tequila” by Dan + Shay. Swearing on a Bible, baby I’d never leave you. I don’t know that I believe a word of the Bible. I’d like to, believe me – I think many of Jesus’ messages are positive. But the sexism contained within the book, and just the way mankind (emphasis on “man”) uses outdated religions to justify depriving women of an education and equal rights puts me off from the entire institution. “Sleeping With a Friend” is playing now. I went on a sort of date last night, to a function I planned. It’s the first time I’ve been excited about a guy in almost six months. Maybe more. I sort of hated men in the fall; I wanted nothing to do with them and felt violated one too many times. A guy in greek life was arrested yesterday for the rape of a seventeen year old girl a year ago in his fraternity house and my heart goes out to her and me and my high school best friend’s girlfriend and all the women in the world who have been touched when and where they don’t want to be by men who have no idea what it’s like to walk downtown at night and feel unsafe because a strange guy catcalls or exposes himself to you.

I smoked too much last night and woke up this morning with leftover mascara shadowed under my eyes and a raspy voice. I forgot to kiss him. Even after brushing my teeth, the taste of wine remains beneath my tongue and I’m reminded of how nice it felt to have a warm body to hold and be held by. My dad texted me happy birthday tonight, four days late, and I wonder what triggered the late response. Why does he bother trying at all these days, when the effort is mediocre at best? Sometimes I pity him and other times I resent having a father who pales in comparison to the ideal I consider normal.

“Hericane” plays now. I lied tonight when I said I didn’t have a best friend here at school, but it doesn’t mean I don’t miss my old one. I miss the snow and the cold weather and the fireplace with flames flickering and embers sparking and dying out in the early hours of the morning, the cabin growing so warm I slept naked and still felt as though I was suffocating without him. I think I hate my job and I know my heart hurts the most at 3 am. Tonight we stood around the kitchen table and named the things we liked most about our bodies, and I was struck by the fact that I’d never done that before. Girls don’t do that much, speak kindly about themselves. We should strive to more.

I don’t talk about it much, the anorexia; its hold on me has diminished over the years. Even still, not many people know, and it’s nights like these when I want to feel beautiful and all I feel is bloated and not enough – tell me, not enough for whom? – that it all drifts back into my consciousness. I turned twenty this week and I feel no different, but all the same I’m not a teen anymore and it was the first birthday I spent away from my family and there’s so much I want to do in this third decade. I feel lucky to be alive; why don’t we thank the universe for the years we’re given instead of curse it for those we feel were stolen prematurely from us? I definitely have a type and I don’t know what that says about me. I’m cold; the moldy air vent is blowing directly toward me and I have nothing to cover the shoulders I didn’t realize were so freckled. Do I want the drama of wondering what’s next or should I forgo every opportunity to grow in a relationship? I’m not the best at staying in touch and I don’t think I could deal with the neediness some guys might feel with my being away a quarter or third of the year. My dream is to renovate an old van and live out of it with a backpack, a dog, and maybe a partner if the stars align and the timing is right and I can figure myself out by then.

“Somebody to Love” is on and I’m thinking of Anne Hathaway and Ella Enchanted and my mom singing karaoke for three hours tonight on a fake date with my dad. It’s weird that to some people I’m considered pretty, because I’ve never really thought of myself that way. Beauty has always seemed such a far off and abstract and unattainable concept to me; it was reserved for other girls and I was just normal. It’s one thing to hear it from friends and through the grapevine, but it’d be nice for it to mean something from someone who means something to me. Why does the male opinion matter: is it biology or psychology or the heart? I miss playing piano and feeling the vibrations of a cello between my legs, bow arched between my fingers, and I wonder what it would feel like to create a sound no one has heard before. The map on my arm calls me to distant places and I’m thinking about where I’ll go next.

Goodnight.

all the light

three days ago

I’m sitting at a picnic table in the middle of my residence hall’s courtyard, the clear blue sky above me made possible by the nine degree weather. I’m trying to spend more time outside while the air is fresh and cool, before it moistens again and descends like a thick, heavy blanket over the state. My journal is inside, four flights of stairs away, so here I am.

I’ve been in a funk for the last week or so, and I have no explanation why. I like my classes, I’m focusing on myself, I didn’t have a hard time adjusting to being back after five weeks away. It got to the point last week where I started avoiding my friends, simply because I didn’t want to take my moods out on them. When I went home for the weekend, I realized that this is how I used to feel all the time. Back in high school, even freshman fall. It scares me, not knowing where all this is coming from. Not knowing how long it’ll last.

I should be writing a paper right now. On Egalia’s Daughters, a fantastic book I read for my women’s studies class. I’m so happy I decided to take it, even though there’s a lot of writing, because it’s already opened my eyes to gender issues I hadn’t yet noticed or studied and I definitely want to take more classes in the department. I’ve struggled with my group for this book though, because I was so excited to discuss and analyze it and the other members either didn’t read it or failed to pick up on its brilliance. I want to talk with people who are smarter than me, or who are at least my intellectual equals. As cruel as it sounds, I have little patience for laziness or stupidity, which makes me wonder whether teaching is the right path for me.

today

I feel like I’m past it, the funk. I finished a book last night, All the Light We Cannot See, and by the end I was overcome with emotion; it’s a brilliant narrative with the most lyrical writing I’ve ever read. It made me think more deeply about war and how it affects all who are involved, even involuntary participants, even those on the fringes. Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever. We don’t know when the curtain will fall on our time here, but why do we view death as such a travesty? Everyone dies, it’s just a matter of when. Some people get longer than others. Life isn’t fair, so why should we expect death to be? Rather than mourn the time lost, I’d like to be thankful for the time I was given and all the things I did with it while I had the chance. Time in this world isn’t a given, and I wish we would stop treating it as such. I wish my dad would just go to Normandy like he’s always wanted to instead of saying he’ll go later; when is later? He’s fifty five and his health will, as sad as it is to admit, likely only worsen from here on out. The trouble is, you think you have time. All the wealth in the world can’t compensate for missed opportunities or time wasted when the end comes. Death seems a much less frightening prospect when I’m living intentionally, making the best of as many moments as I can.