Z

Shadows spill across the room. Lit only by lamplight, I see my thick denim jacket strewn across my desk, lying next to a copy of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. “You like the way that she moves, you wanna touch her –– you wanna fuck her.” Marc E. Bassy’s “Heroine” plays softly from my laptop speakers, but in the still silence of the night, it seems to blast. Is it normal to feel this much?

When I come home, I settle into a different sort of life. A different version of myself. It feels like I’m on break; I lounge around and sleep a lot and feel time slow down for awhile. Basically, I act like a household pet. Meanwhile, time flies by and soon enough it’ll be Sunday and I’ll have to leave for another month. I like my life in my college town now, unlike last fall, but it’s only when I come home that I realize how much I miss it. There’s nothing like family and your childhood home to bring you back to your roots. Then again, it’s nice that I’m stuck neither here nor there. I can go back and forth, to an extent, as I please.

I bought tickets to the Anne Frank House and Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam today. I reached out to travel friends I haven’t spoken to in awhile. I saw Gary for the first time in two and a half months. I learned Z broke his neck, and I feel awful. Part of me wants to reach out again, now that I know; another part of me wonders if maybe that would make me more of a burden than a supportive friend. Niall Horan’s “Mirrors” has broken and rebuilt my heart from scratch tonight. His whole album has just warmed me from the inside out and I can’t wait to see him perform live next September. I miss reading for fun, but even if I could right now, I don’t have the time.

My shadow’s dancing
Without you for the first time
My heart is hoping
You’ll walk right in tonight
Tell me there are things that you regret
‘Cause if I’m being honest I ain’t over you yet
{Niall Horan, “Too Much to Ask”}

I wonder what would have happened if I’d had the courage to be honest.

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clean

life is tricky, baby. stay in your magic.

I just deleted a message thread and an alarm.

That’s a big deal for me. I don’t delete message threads. I purge them only when I’m upset with someone, or embarrassed by my ridiculously illiterate drunk texting. Or, when I’m done with a person. I finally came to the conclusion, consciously at least, that I think deep down I’ve known for awhile: we’re better as friends and it probably wasn’t going to work out. And I’m a good friend –– there’s not much I wouldn’t do for my friends, especially in times of need. So despite being left on read earlier this week, after sticking up for him to everyone and their mother who asked about it and convincing Mama to give him a second chance at work, I reached out. Checked in. I know if the situation were reversed, I’d appreciate the gesture of care. But I’m not the other person, and once again my efforts to show compassion and support were ignored. And honestly, it’s fine. Fine in the sense that it only reaffirms what I’d already decided. I hate being ignored more than almost anything, and being ghosted in this situation is utterly laughable, but not painful because I know my worth. And so do the people in my life who matter.

“honestly babe you’re awesome and you should never deal with someone who doesn’t validate or appreciate you. i’m so proud of you for saying what you mean and meaning what you say. you’re so incredibly strong and i can’t wait until you find someone who’s worth your time.”
–– my freaking best friend, who is also awesome and strong and so deserving of the love she’s found

I don’t regret anything I did. I lived my truth, made the choices I could live with most. I had to try, for his sake and mine. I felt like I owed it to him, because he’s a good person. But now I feel at peace: I’ve done enough. I’m not entirely sure why I’m typing this instead of writing it – maybe because a part of me wants to put it out there, what I did for him because I cared about him out of general human decency. Because he was a person going through a rough patch, not because I thought I might have liked him as more than that for a couple of weeks.

The drought was the very worst
When the flowers that we’d grown together died of thirst
It was months and months of back and forth
You’re still all over me like a wine-stained dress I can’t wear anymore
{Taylor Swift, “Clean”}

It hit me out of nowhere last night: “Clean” is my song. It describes so perfectly the withdrawals I have when I stop talking to someone, and how hard it is to let go and stay away, even when I know that’s what’s best for me. What can I say? I’m a sucker for pain and second chances.

The alarm. 05:20. I deleted it tonight, right after the messages. I don’t need it anymore. Instead, I have the memories to wrap around myself like a warm blanket on nights when I’m lonely, to remind myself that it was good, he was good, and that I don’t have to settle for anything less than that. It may not be him – probably won’t be – but it’ll be somebody. And for right now, that’s enough.

For the first time, I feel like I’m ready to try having a relationship with someone. I’ve tried a lot this year, and that just seems like the next step. It doesn’t have to be with the “right” person; I’m not looking for a lifetime commitment. Just someone to spend time with, to take on date functions so I don’t have to scramble for a set-up, and well… I am a physical creature after all. Aren’t we all? It’d be nice to not have to wonder where you’re getting it from every time you want it.

journal excerpts

“I’m 19, and I’ve lived and seen so little. It was liberating to realize what I want and to decide that I’m not going to settle for or seek anything less.”

“If you learned from it, it wasn’t a waste.”

“Sometimes I truly believe the old saying that comedy is tragedy plus time.”

“Adventure fills the soul.”

“I love my black-face watch. My rings. Chokers. Wearing them makes me feel like I’m presenting the best version of myself: confident, put together, free.”

“The world is calling, and I must go.”

“I want someone who will run wild right alongside me, rather than try to quell my free spirit or hope I’ll settle down. I want someone with a wild heart, one filled with wanderlust and an adventurous spirit. Someone who yearns for more, who is exciting and who lives life in a way that’s anything but dull. I want someone to do life with, someone who wants to explore and adventure and just fucking live as much as I do.”

“Let go…”

“Water makes the straw look bigger.” (Me stream of conscious journaling at work while staring at my Camelbak bottle.)


Baby girl got a pension for breaking her own heart
And she got this dangerous inclination
To turn to stone before her love tears her apart
{Marc E. Bassy, “Heroine”}

But every time you hurt me, the less that I cry
And every time you leave me, the quicker these tears dry
And every time you walk out, the less I love you
Baby, we don’t stand a chance, it’s sad but it’s true
I’m way too good at goodbyes
{Sam Smith, “Too Good at Goodbyes”}

I was scared, I wasn’t quite ready yet
Didn’t want to let my freedom get
Too far away so I would say anything
To keep you just close enough
Like I need a little space to breathe
A little time for me to think
I just need you to wait for me
But you weren’t waiting for me

To grow up, get my shit together
Stop giving you the runaround, running from forever
It’s too bad we happened when we did
‘Cause I’ve learned a lot about life since then
I can’t go back, girl I hate that
You fell in love with a kid trying to figure it out
‘Cause I’m man enough now
{Chris Bandi, “Man Enough Now”}

I’ve heard I’ve got words like a knife
That I don’t know how to choose just so wisely
But I see trees and their colored leaves
When I think about all that we could be
{Miley Cyrus, “I Would Die for You”}

Hey, baby, you’re a free girl now
{Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, “Free Girl Now”}

She’s gonna listen to her heart
It’s gonna tell her what to do
She might need a lot of loving
But she don’t need you
{Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, “Listen to Her Heart”}

Whiskey on ice, sunset and vine
You ruin my life by not being mine

You’re so gorgeous
I can’t say anything to your face
‘Cause look at your face
And I’m so furious
At you for making me feel this way
But what can I say?

Ocean blue eyes looking in mine
I feel like I might sink and drown and die

You make me so happy
It turns back to sad
There’s nothing I hate more
Than what I can’t have
{Taylor Swift, “Gorgeous”}

So I’ll watch your life in pictures like I used to watch you sleep
And I feel you forget me like I used to feel you breathe
And I keep up with our old friends just to ask them how you are
Hope it’s nice where you are
{Taylor Swift, “Last Kiss”}

Thankful thoughts of the day: It only cost me $1.28 to fix my car. My best friend from high school comes home tomorrow. I signed up for three free months of Apple Music tonight. I’m getting a haircut tomorrow and going to the Lightning game Saturday. Dinner was so good tonight. I love my mom.

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rules & reminders

chase dreams, not people
catch flights, not feelings
never fall in love with someone’s potential
write for yourself instead of an audience
remember that you have love in your life, always
read poetry
have adventures
be honest, brave, kind
find what your heart and mind really need, and forget the rest
you are okay on your own; you are not alone
you’ll never leave where you are until you decide where you’d rather be
words are an art form, and art is a way of survival
stop fighting for those who aren’t worried about losing you
if a writer falls in love with you, you can never die
once you care, you’re fucked
feelings are a lot of work
when you feel it in your bones, move forward or move on
people go, but how they left always stays
our bodies are our business, no one else’s
everything you are looking for is already within you
you are made of stars
focus on the wrong things and the wrong things will become everything
move slowly, but move
treat people who are important to you like they’re important to you
within reason, put yourself first
help someone’s soul heal
you can’t control love
understanding yourself is power
loving yourself is freedom
forgiving yourself is peace
don’t justify or make excuses for assholes or idiots
if someone really wants to talk to you, they will
if they really want to be with you, they will
if the effort isn’t in it, step away
you deserve happiness
and to an extent, happiness is a choice
choose happy when you can
and when you can’t, you are still enough
choose your life wisely
so that in ten, twenty, fifty years, you can look back and say
“I didn’t settle.”

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thoughts of the day

I’ve been having strange dreams lately. Vivid dreams that make sense, that feel real the next morning, only the scenarios that my sleeping mind spins would never actually happen. Like a summer fling and I crossing paths again over spray tans, or my mom hating me because we don’t talk as much, or me deciding an hour before my flight that I’m going on the trip.

Speaking of trips, I want to go on mine. I’ve been unsure the last couple of months because my health hasn’t been great and I thought I might need winter break to get some much needed R&R. Now that I’m getting better, however, I’m back to wanting a grand adventure. Unfortunately, I don’t feel comfortable with where I am financially to take this trip. I want to backpack all of next summer and that’s a bigger priority for me than going away this winter, and with my sorority big/little and taking twins and spending an absolutely horrifying amount of my money on food (it’s actually gotten ridiculous), I think I messed up. Messed up either by booking this trip on an angsty whim, or by not budgeting properly for it this fall (even though I’m literally working two jobs to try and stay afloat). It’s sad, and it’s frustrating, but I kind of saw this coming. I foresaw this potential even when I booked my flight, so I suppose I sort of did it to myself by being in such a hurry to get away.

I need to leave for class in ten minutes. I have an exam Friday and currently have a C in a 2000-level classics course. I’ve never had a C in a class before. C is for concussed. The schedule of courses for spring is out and I’m not really interested in any of them. I love college for the people and experiences, but I can count on one hand the number of classes I feel have been worthwhile. It’s frustrating, having to take and pay for classes that don’t interest me or are just plain dumb, simply so I can keep my scholarship and stay in school. I’m not saying a degree is worthless; I just believe I grew a lot more by being out in the world doing, rather than sitting in a classroom “learning.” I talked to a young woman on the phone at work last week who’s been living as a nomad since graduating in 2016. She told me that the idea of dropping out isn’t necessarily a bad one. I’m not planning to, but it is a fantasy of mine.

Sometimes I worry that I’m settling, or rather settling in.

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drowning

I’ve been writing a blog post for days and days now––it’s hard with a concussion and negative amount of time. It’s not finished yet, and probably won’t be for awhile. In the meantime, here are excerpts from my phone notes from this week, because I haven’t been journaling the written way lately.

Excerpts

Saturday

You want to stop thinking about them. But no matter what you do to distract yourself or berate yourself or love yourself, you just can’t. It’s a tragedy.

Roses aren’t nearly as pretty without their thorns.

Sunday

Do you ever get a feeling when you go outside? Not exactly dejavu, more like – you’ve felt this before. Today feels like sweatpants and middle school.

Tuesday

Sometimes my shadow has a shadow. It’s a bit disconcerting, catching a glimpse of it while walking home alone at night. But then I think, I have two companions watching out for me in the dark.

Walking from the house to my dorm tonight, I’m struck by the distinct feeling that we’re living in our own world here. All the lights in the library are on, filled with students who, no matter what they’re studying, are all there late on a Tuesday night for the same reason. This place is for us, and that’s special. When else in our lives will we have something like this?

Wednesday

She died. Fourteen years old, cancer for a year. Now she’s gone. The funeral is tomorrow, and I wish I could go. You hear about kids dying all the time, but you don’t physically feel the tragedy of it until it’s a kid you know. I was her babysitter, her private swim coach. She was vibrant and kind and beautiful. Was. I wonder if anything signifies a loss more than the past tense.

Did she know? That she was dying? She must have been so brave, to endure that with a smile on her face. It absolutely breaks my heart to think about. One minute she was here; the next, gone.

I owe it to myself to be my own best friend, and to live my best life.

Thursday

Today. Was. So. Stressful. I was transferred to the head trauma clinic, a guy I like didn’t text me back, I took twins instead of one little, my phone was on 1% for hours, I spent $100 on little gifts, my big doesn’t want to come to steak dinner, I turned in my assignment with two minutes to spare, was informed I have to meet with the housing director regarding that horrible night, forgot I have a quiz tomorrow that I’m wholly unprepared for, desperately need a shower and a millennium of sleep, and am completely and utterly behind in absolutely everything.

That’s the beautiful and terrible thing about college – you are both independent and alone. On the good days, I see the independence as refreshing. On the bad ones, I crumble at how far away and asleep my mom is as I break down in the early hours of the morning.

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