happy april, y'all.
so. in the last two weeks, i have heard the group of therapists/healers/friends i have surrounded myself with all tell me the same thing: you are really mean to yourself. this has usually come after i have explained what the critical, anxious voice in my head has said to me in response to something i did/said/thought. lately this voice has been particularly cruel, stealing moments of calm and joy and replacing them with self-criticism and self-doubt. i know we all have this voice in our minds and so i never think much about it, but judging from the reaction i've gotten lately i think my inner mean girl has gone further down her mean path. girlfriend has no patience for her softer, more sensitive counterparts. she is on a rampage.
really. she is scared. she is so scared because things around her are changing. first and foremost being that i am no longer interested in letting her run me. nope. love her to pieces, but she does not know what is best for us. she is coming from a place of fear and she wants so badly to protect us, me, from getting hurt, but what she doesn't realize is the very things she does to protect me often end up hurting me in the long run. so...i've been defying her. i've been...enjoying myself. i've been...expressing what i want, how i feel. i've been...being myself. she doesn't understand that the calm, joyful, confident girl in me has got our backs and can carry her on this crazy road called life. so...
my girl is pissed.
as i said in the previous post, this year is dedicated to self-love, self-discovery, self-knowledge and self-intimacy. and that means learning to balance and love this inner mean girl while i nurture and support my inner calm, grounded, content girl. when i saw that the #100dayproject was about to start up again, i thought...well...what about dedicating 100 days to this? i did the #100dayproject a few years ago...i made it 60 days, writing one page of a novel a day.
this year, what if i wrote/shared/blogged/posted/whatever one thing i love about myself for 100 days?
because...it is really hard for me to not criticize myself, to not shy away from my quirks. it is all too easy for me to tear myself down...and i'm tired of that. i'm tired of it being easier to write a list of 100 faults. i want to appreciate myself, dammit. and inner mean girl would do well to have to calm down for five minutes while my joyful one spouted out sweet nothings about us. about me and all the different versions of me, all the dark and the light, the sad and the happy, the complicated and the easy.
i'm going to. it starts on april 3rd. i'll post here everyday. instagram probably too. feel free to read along...or not. after all it is really about me. and the sharing is for accountability but also because it terrifies me to share what i love about myself because it somehow feels...self-involved...? and because i'm worried people will roll their eyes. and because clearly i spend way too much time caring about what other people think and really if you think this is stupid you don't have to follow/talk/hang out with me so bye?
so yeah. i'm sharing. now to see if i can find 100 things i love about myself...
it feels strange to be so aware of the work i'm doing personally.
what i mean is that i've never before felt so aware of how necessary work on myself is and how urgent it is and how important it is. before this, i knew i was working on things. i knew there was work to be done and questions to be asked and experiences to be had, but it felt like it would happen in time.
well, my brain says to itself, the time is now. you know it. i know it. your body knows it. have fun.
and here i am, walking through my days often lost in thought and feeling as i begin to parse out what lies beneath my skin and in my mind. huh, i find myself thinking as i encounter a belief or thought or fact i've buried. who knew that was lurking there? i feel like a researcher, taking notes on my own thoughts and habits. at night, i report back to myself. what did we gather today? i ask.
there are things i already knew. like how sitting by a lake, by the water, makes me feel seen and grounded in a way i don't have words for. like how i love my hiking boots and while i am still scared and allergic to everything outside, i love being there alone. like how i am filled with fear and worry.
but there are other discoveries.
like the socks day.
i looked down the other day and realized my socks had holes in them. this is the second pair i've noticed that with in the last week. i know there are a few others that have had holes in them for a while. no big deal really. until i remembered how i got my ex socks for christmas because his socks had holes in them. also no big deal. until i thought about how i literally hadn't noticed or hadn't cared/cared enough about myself to notice the holes in my socks and buy new socks.
i told this to my therapist. she said, you need to learn how to care for yourself. you don't really know how to or really want to do it.
point taken. i bought new socks.
and yesterday, days day happened.
i've been up at a farm, at a writers' residency since mid-february. i've been up here a number of times over the last three years. it is probably my favorite place to be other than my home and like lake atitlán in guatemala or the mountains of nicaragua. i love it here. and yet, i realized last night, that this is the first time i didn't keep track of how many nights i had until i got home. how many nights i had until i would be reunited with [enter whichever ex is appropriate here]. i loved my time up here and was always sad to go, but it always felt like i was waiting to return. this time, i'm anxious to return to my pup, but i didn't even think to count the nights. i didn't until last night...when i realized i hadn't...and after i did, i didn't feel a pull towards home in the least. i was so happy to just be here.
similarly, i've been leaving my phone upstairs in my room while at meals, something i never did when i was expecting a text or a call from [enter whichever ex is appropriate here]. i was always sitting and chatting with folks, a tad distracted. now i'm still distracted, but by my own thoughts...not the waiting for someone to reach out. last night as we chatted and drank wine, i thought about my phone upstairs and was grateful i didn't care about it.
this is a me thing. no partner ever made me text them. no partner ever required it. in fact, i think they would have preferred i leave them the hell alone...but i keep thinking about how nice it feels to not be looking at my phone, to not be wondering what that person is doing (as much as a recently heartbroken person can), to not feel like i'm missing someone (see previous parentheses).
i love being a partner. i love supporting and talking to and growing with another person. i want that in my life. i loved him. i miss intimacy. i miss touch. i miss late night whispers. i miss not feeling alone. i miss him. but also i don't. also it feels great to just be me, to just take care of me, to just worry about me. but also i hate it. it is the last thing i want to do. the person i care about least it seems is me but also i love myself beyond measure.
i write all this down. another research discovery. a walking contradiction (or two fish swimming in opposite directions...oh pisces...).
point taken. i try my best to enjoy the present moment. sometimes that is talking to my fellow writers, sometimes that is talking to myself at the lake, sometimes that is daydreaming about the man who will come next, sometimes it is working on plays so that my dreams come true.
there have been other discoveries or realizations. sadder ones. ones that i'm only beginning to find the words for. ones whose weight becomes clear when i share with others--they see the cracks and the scars and the pain inherent in them...things i didn't realize or have words for until now.
i am digging and unburying and bringing things to the light. i am looking at dusty old memories and asking myself what i learned then and how it affects me now. i am questioning and checking in and wondering and crying and laughing and throwing my hands up in the air. i give up every day. i feel a millimeter closer every day. i am doing the work. some work. and i am so aware of it and there is no turning back now and here i am.
i feel weird being aware of it, but i think it's okay.
i think it's all right.
because there is no place else for me to be.
and while i know this work is never really done, i look forward to the day all this work settles into my bones and you see me sitting opposite you and even you can see that i finally love myself unconditionally.
It has become clear lately that I am holding onto some pretty sad and frustrating beliefs about myself. Things that aren’t true but that I’ve absorbed/allowed/concluded based on life experiences. In a therapy appointment today and in a bodywork appointment yesterday, both therapists basically said to me: “our work together will be figuring out what you really need and want”. I literally groaned when they each said this. The five year old in me was like “whhhyyy?!?!” Clearly I resist taking my needs and wants seriously. It has always felt more comfortable to worry about satisfying others rather than myself. But...I’m no longer interested in ignoring myself. I’m interested in figuring out and really working toward this self-love thing so that I’m living the life I want to be living. So. This Valentine’s Day I’m focusing on feeling that love for myself and putting in the work to uncover what is holding that love back so it can spring forth like my love for others.
Happy love day, y’all.
the apartment is so quiet now.
i hear the buzz of the refrigerator now. the sighs of the walls. the pops of the radiator. the apartment is so quiet without another set of footsteps, without another set of lungs. it is quiet without the sound of soccer being watched on weekend mornings. it is quiet without the sound of the newspaper being read. it is quiet without the sound of someone hiding. it is quiet without the sound of someone waiting. it is quiet without the sound of being lost and lonely but not alone.
the quiet now is mine. just mine. it is the sound of my chest, opening despite itself. it is the sound of my heart beating. it is the sound of me learning to be lonely and alone, but not lost. it is the sound of disappointment and shock and settling and groundedness. it is the sound of coming home to myself. it is the sound of memory and fear. it is the sound of calm and breath and the present moment.
it is wonderful and heartbreaking, this quiet. this reminder that there is an energy, an entity, a dream, habits, hopes, beliefs...gone. also this reminder that there is an energy, an entity, a dream, habits, hopes, beliefs...still here.
i don't rush to fill the quiet. i sometimes sit and stare at the wall and just feel and listen to it. sometimes i let it enter my chest and linger there until tears fall. in the mornings this may have a terrible effect on the day. in the evenings this usually allows me to rest better. this quiet is a mixed bag of love and hate, loneliness that is needed and loneliness that is loathed. sometimes, after a bit, i turn on the music to drown out the edges of the quiet. i can only sit with it so long before the fear of being broken open forever fills me.
i started getting some bodywork done on friday and i was amazed by all she could tell about me and my life as she released tensions and realigned parts of me. she said a lot, but one thing she noted was my energy.
you really do have a super chill, grounded, and calm energy, charly.
i think i started crying because i haven't felt those things in months really. i've felt anything but that. but as i sit here, in the quiet, tears filling my eyelids for the second time this morning, i am not sure if i'm crying because he left or because i have returned. or maybe they are intertwined.
in the quiet, i feel her, myself. i feel the chill, grounded and calm version of me. i feel her so strongly. she is here in the quiet. she got lost before. she was pushed out before. she was hidden under worry and compromise and an inability to be understood. but she has returned. his departure has allowed for her arrival. i wish it didn't have to be that way, but here we are.
here we are, she says. here you are.
breathe in, breathe out.
feel the openness of your chest
feel how vulnerable you are
feel how closely linked sadness and happiness actually are
feel how filled with love you are as you experience the loss of it
feel the gratitude you have for those that get you even as you mourn those who didn't
don't run away from her, from you
you are right here
in the quiet
in the loneliness
you are here with yourself
welcome yourself in
sit with her a while
help her make a home here again
promise you won't let her go
promise her you know who she is despite what others say
promise her you'll stick up for her when others put her down
hold her in the quiet
hold her here
and let her hold you
i have discovered that the only music i can listen to these days is pop music that can be found on spotify's confidence boost playlist. listening to it has reminded me of how much i love to dance. i haven't danced in a long time. i am a homebody, i say. i am an introvert, i say. these things are true. but i am also someone who loves to go out, have a drink or two, and dance to music with my friends. there was a magical year in boston where my coworkers and i basically went out every weekend--working 12hr days at a middle school required an outlet. i was heartbroken then too and it was a lovely thing to go out every weekend, dance and drink soco lime shots. i cut my hair short and told men to leave me alone while i talked to my friends. it wasn't always amazing...i definitely puked in the bathroom of a very fancy restaurant which i had been brought to by a boss. oops.
but i say that to say, i am someone who loves to dance and i haven't been dancing.
there are a number of reasons for that-- my ex wasn't really a go out and dance person. i am an introvert and so going out to dance feels anti-everything i feel inside. i am sleepy and dancing often happens late. i don't think i'm that great of a dancer....
but it doesn't change the fact that even as i sit here and write this post, all i can picture in my head is me in some cute but practical outfit shaking my curls back and forth. this image feels so important to who i am and yet...my dancing shoes...don't even exist. why?
since my breakup, i've been thinking a lot about myself. obviously. but i've been really thinking about all it is that i want and need and ultimately...who the hell am i and what parts of myself have i been ignoring. i've been staring at myself in the mirror. i've been thinking long and hard about some of the things i thought of as "innately" me. i've been noticing when i'm on autopilot.
if i'm honest, it feels a little scary. i thought by now i'd just know the answer to these questions. i'd assumed that by this time in my life i wouldn't hide myself or i wouldn't let others make me feel somehow less than. i thought i wouldn't put others on pedestals as a way to keep myself down. i thought i would love myself completely and be myself completely and say f**k off to everyone who disagreed.
that has not proven true. what's true is that i have had to reconnect over and over again. remind myself over and over again that i am perfect in my imperfection. that i am who i am due to everything i am and that i can be amazing and worthy of love and successful just as i am. that i don't need validation. that i don't need someone's approval. i do that thing where i live a lot of my life listening to "shoulds". i learned early that to get through some less than stellar situations i should act a certain way. i should want certain things. i should be a certain type of person. i still deal with that--albeit in a different way now--but here i am again...looking at a list of shoulds that are not serving me. and i just want to feel like i can be me. and, really, the only person who is preventing that is this scared little girl inside of me who doesn't want to be laughed at or judged or called drama queen again so she steers us away from all the scary things...she steers as way from ourself.
i just want to know that i can want to dance some days and not want to other days, that i can deal with depression and anxiety and be sad and not be defined as a "sad person", that i can want to just sit by the water and listen to the waves, that i can want to jump in the water with all my clothes on, that i can sometimes be boring, that i can sometimes be spontaneous, that i can make mistakes, that i can share who i am and the right people will bring me in close as opposed to push me away, that i can cry and laugh and fart at the same time, that i can keep exploring who i am and changing my mind, that i can be me without apology.
the last two weekends i've been scared by the huge pockets of free time that have landed in my schedule. i've been running around like crazy and here i am scared of free time because then it is just me and me and me and the pup. and sure right now free time means a lot of time to feel the heartbreak, but i also feel it in the middle of plays and conversations with friends...so why avoid it? i can't. and all i'm really avoiding is time with myself. time to learn who i am. time to find me and be me.
so tonight i will go home earlier than i have for three weeks. and just...be with myself. learn who this weirdly wonderful, wonkily wise woman is...
some rude things:
i knew i hadn't been chosen for a fellowship, but i hadn't gotten the official word. the official word came yesterday and i think the universe should, like, know it needs to give you a 7 day hiatus from rejections at times like this.
the song 50 ways to leave your lover has been playing in my head over and over all week. he had played it a few times--including on monday--and the song had and has grown on me. but i don't really think it should be the song in my head right now...right?
i had the realization that i've had a longer relationship with some of the plants in my apartment than i have ever had with a man.
the two pimples that appeared on my chin on thursday that i've only made worse....
this interaction with my well-meaning but sometimes a little out of touch father--> me: yeah, i've been such an emotional mess that i've lost like 5 or 6lbs. // dad: that's good. // me: dad?!!!? // dad: i mean the way you lost it is bad but...
related to the above--> i don't really have an appetite, but when i do i like only want sushi or shake shack or wine. but girl needs some greens and some water.
but really the rudest thing is how much my friends have reach out to me. they call and text. they write instagram and twitter messages. they send videos of their dogs or gifs of lobsters and cats. they offer to walk the dog, to feed me. they offer to come over late at night or early in the morning. they offer to paint walls and move furniture. they offer words and they offer silence. they offer hugs and they offer space. they remind me of how loved i am and how strong i am. they are amazing. and...
and the other rudest thing is how i'm okay. filled with a lot of different emotions, but okay. it is rude how i can see and feel the need to work on myself for a bit. to get reacquainted. to get back into some of the habits i lost. to reaffirm some of the things i want. to find myself and my comfort with solitude. rude how i already know this will make me stronger and closer to the person i want to be. rude how i am not falling apart (yet?...i dunno....). rude how my body seems to know all of this and to know my strength and to know my self-worth and to know what i have to offer. rude how she is like you will be better. you will do better. you will love better and be loved better. that's your path. you are on it. stay the course.
in the best way.
i haven't been writing as much lately on here. for a number of reasons. but in the last week, i've been really reminded how certain things come to haunt you. if you didn't do the work before, you aren't going to get away with it. and i felt like writing about it. so here i am.
i haven't really been doing the work to go deeper into my own self-awareness (i actually wrote about this back in july too...). it has been surface level, or focused on certain aspects of my inner life...but it has come to my attention in a big way that i haven't been lifting up the rocks and seeing what is underneath them lately. i've been staring at the ocean, but i haven't dipped my feet in.
like most people, i have shame inside, lurking. i am battling a rocky sense of self. i've been trying to keep up with the day-to-day without stopping to check in with how i was doing mentally, emotionally, and physically. like how i was really doing. like for real, for real.
i've spent so much brain space comparing myself to others these last few years. comparing my work to others. comparing my body to others. comparing my relationships to others. comparing my wants, likes, and needs to others. i didn't think it was that big of a deal really. we all compare, right? i was doing it in a "healthy" way.
not so. not. so.
i realized that i have a lot of internalized shame and frustration and sadness around many of these things. i didn't think i did, but whoa boy when you have an emotionally nutty year with high highs and low lows, that stuff comes up. and it comes up in a big way. it comes up in a "i can't ignore this anymore way". because it can swallow you whole.
i feel like i am beginning to notice and beginning to dig myself out. i am noticing the internalized beliefs i hold. i am noticing the way comparison is useless and, as the saying goes, steals joy. i am noticing how it does nothing but increase my anxiety.
i starting to do the work on myself again. with myself again. i am starting to ask myself real questions about myself...like...what do i actually like (do i even like lobster rolls, folks? or do i just like the butter i dip it in? SERIOUS QUESTION)? what don't i like? who do i really want to be regardless of any of the 'should's i carry? what is my body really like? what does my body really need? what really gives me joy? and so on and so forth...**
as i begin to ask myself these things, i notice all the stuff that comes up. a feeling of disappointment, of failure, of lacking, of not being good enough. i am noticing how pervasive these thoughts are, how insidious, and just how exhausting. i feel like i've been saying i am tired of trying to be someone else, the version of me my brain is convinced it should be, since i was in college. but i'm not sure i've ever let that version truly go in order to listen to the one who lives deep in my chest, who snuggles up to my heart.
i hope to this time around though. because it is exhausting. because i want to feel nourished and grounded. because my work, my relationships, my life need me to be me to survive and grow. because it would be nice to listen to myself and to love myself. truly. in a really sappy but goooood and truthful way.
**not going to lie, there is a scene in runaway bride where julia roberts tries a bunch of different eggs to finally figure out which ones she likes (eggs benedict, if you were wondering) and i kinda feel like i need to do that but with life and not eggs (i like pretty much all eggs so...).
it has been months since i've looked in the mirror and liked who i saw staring back at me. it has been months since i thought of myself as golden, as worth my weight in gold, as a prize...a gold medal. i'm tired. let me love you, self. let me see you as beautiful, self. let me see you as gold.
i've been reading a lot different things about identity lately. and while the things i've read have discussed identity in different ways and have been looking at different facets of identity, they all have made me realize that i have sort of put on the identities thrown at me without questioning whether they fit or not. i don't think i've questioned and explored myself as much as i should or could. this is probably in part due to the fact that i identify as a cisgendered heterosexual black woman. i've taken a lot of things at face value because i could. i had/have that privilege. society made it easy and i let myself be funneled into categories because i didn't think/know/feel difference within myself.
but yesterday as i sat in an event and as i was thinking about identity and how i've been feeling lately, i wondered if part of the reason i've always yearned to step out of myself is perhaps because i've never actually spent time asking myself who i am, what i like, what i want, outside of the box others, society, life has drawn for me or that i drew for myself because i thought it was the best box to draw... yes, many of the identities thrown at me seem to fit, but all that comes along with some of those identities doesn't always feel right. lately i realized that the some parts of the boxes are all wrong. i don't really fit in them. maybe i did, but no longer. or maybe i never did and my back hurts and i want to stand up, which will break the boxes.
at last night's event, we had to make a list of things from the first half of 2017 that we wanted to get rid of and a list of things we wanted to cultivate in the second half of 2017. the list of things i want to get rid of had a number of things on it, but one major one was this self-doubt, self-loathing, lack of self-love i've been feeling about myself (a story for another day...). and as i sat to write the list of things i wanted to cultivate, i realized that i had written the world exploration twice. i want to explore who i am and what i want and what boxes fit and which don't. i also wrote that i wanted the freedom to be me. honestly, the biggest barrier to freedom in my case may be my own self and mind and my absorption of certain societal rules and expectations. if that's true, then here's to me getting out of my own damn way.
when i got home last night, i burned the list of things i wanted to get rid of.
hopefully the boxes i feel uncomfortable in began to burn too.
"Back then I was always looking ahead to who I wanted to be versus who I didn't realize I already was, and the wished-for me was most likely based on who other people seemed to be and the desire to have the same effect on others that they had had on me." - Carrie Fisher, The Princess Diarist, pg 53
i was in spin class early this afternoon. i was on the bike, waiting for class to start, looking around. i was looking at the instructor, i think, but not really. i wasn't really focused on any particular person. i just looked around and heard my brain go most of the people in here are beautiful. you aren't beautiful, you know that? and a little voice in my head said yes i know that. and my legs kept on spinning and i kept looking around the room and it was a full moments before i realized just how fucked up of a thought i had just had.
i've written before about not feeling beautiful. i wrote a pretty long post about it maybe two/three years ago now and i got a lot of nice feedback from people saying just how wrong i was. and that is great and appreciated. and this isn't a post that is asking for that again...not that the first post was...you get what i mean.
i know that i struggle, like most people, with how i look to other people. and when i say look i mean how i come off to others--physically, mentally, emotionally... and i, like a lot of people, tailor myself to fit in better or come off better. (a friend wrote about this as it concerns to race and it really hit the nail on the head for me in terms of that if you'd like to read). and i, like a lot of people, am often disappointed when my tailoring fails...when i can't escape the truths about myself...when i am stuck being, well, the me i actually am.
the struggle with my body and feeling beautiful is probably the most physicalized of these struggles because it literally has to do with my body. it is the thing you see. it is the thing i walk around in.
what did i even mean on the bike today? was it my belly i was lamenting? or the fact that my afro was particularly shrunken today? or was it my cheeks and the way my teeth appear in my smile? or was it the hairs on my upper lip or my bushy eyebrows that i don't particularly want to do anything about but feel i should? or was it the color of my skin and the fact that i felt invisible in that space? or was it the fact that i kind of wish i was the sort of person who wore lipstick, but also am grossed out by lipstick so...? or was it that i just looked down at my body and was surprise that it was my body i was looking at...like i was suddenly remembering that this is what everyone sees...?
i don't know what i meant. not really. all i know is that it felt true. it felt like something i knew to be true.
and honestly i've been thinking a lot about these things i deep down feel are true. these things that i try to ignore on any given day and at any given moment, but are probably fueling my day-to-day interactions. these things that cause this tailoring to take place.
and i've been realizing that some of these "truths" i hold on to are...really quite detrimental to me. i realize that some of the tailoring i have done or wish i could do is really quite detrimental. there is no point in listing them. my list is probably very similar to the list you have in your own brain give or take a few. or maybe you are past this. maybe you are okay with yourself.
or maybe you, like me, say that you are okay with yourself, but in the quiet of your own mind, you are constantly nitpicking or constantly listing faults or constantly trying to figure out how to change this and that about yourself instead of working with what you've got. and maybe you can see how this has affected you, affected relationships, affected decisions, affected work, affected how you've let others treat you and mistreat you. maybe you think sometimes you're past it all, but then realize you're not. maybe.
and i have been thinking about this because i've been thinking about how i want to be a good partner, friend, family member, collaborator, contributor to society and i keep coming back to the question of how i can expect to be present when fighting myself mentally all the time.
and i am thinking about this more today because i read the princess diarist in less than a day and i've been thinking about the quote above by carrie fisher a lot. i've been thinking about how we are remembered and understood. i've been thinking about mental health and unfairness when it comes to aging. i've been thinking about how we cope. i've been thinking about writing.
19/20 year old carrie fisher and 30 year old charly have a lot more in common than i thought. she writes this in her journal:
I would like to not be able to hear myself think. I constantly hear my mind chattering and jabbering away up there all by itself. I wish it would give me a fucking break. Write, don't think, write. You're not thinking properly, Ms. Fisher, I suggest you write.
i've written a lot about the important of writing for me. writing saves me. writing is the place for my thoughts. often i express myself better when writing as opposed to speaking...and yet writing is also a place where i struggle. i have some pretty-tough-to-take-and-tough-to-break beliefs about my writing. let's just say that while i don't think there is anything else i'd rather do, i sabotage myself and my writing all the time. let's just say that deep down i believe that i am not a voice that is important in this world and, therefore, have no right to success. let's just say that writing, as much as it is a place of solace, is also a place of terror and in-fighting. let's just say i am scared my writing won't ever reach a wider audience, but also am like "well, duh, it won't. why should it?"
and yet, here i am, thoughts on overload and i am writing them down. "you're not thinking properly, ms. simpson, i suggest you write".
anyway, after i got home today, after i took a shower and stared at myself in the mirror, i heard another voice in my head. I don't want to struggle with this anymore.
i don't want to look at myself in the mirror and see only imperfections. i don't even want to see the perfections. i just want to be able to look and say hey body. whats up? are you ready for the day? thank you for shuttling me and my thoughts. i will take care of you because you take care of me.
i don't want to fight myself anymore. i don't want to beat myself up and get beaten by myself. i want to accept and hold on and cherish and relish and work within myself. i want to write because i write and say damn it all to hell if it isn't what others or sometimes even what i think i should be writing. i also want to accept that i am a i'll finish this thing right before the deadline kind of writer. i want to work out because my body feels better when i do not because i hope it looks better when i do. i want to not feel bad about certain hopes and desires i have about the future, i don't want to feel bad about my urge to be an introvert, i don't want to say things i don't agree with, smile when i don't want to, worry that what i say will undermine who you think i am.
i don't want to struggle anymore. i just want to be my fucking self and be okay with it.
so...i realized that while i have resolutions for next year, they all, in some way, connect to this...to ending the fucking struggle and negative talk and just fucking being myself. and yeah, i know this could be an intention every year and every day and maybe it will be mine (i am pretty sure i wrote something similar to this last year...), but i am tired of fighting myself. 2016 took it out of me in more ways than one, but it also showed me how good things can be when i am not fighting myself. so...i'm going to be better about being myself in 2017.
not the person i should be or even could be. not the person you think i am or the person i hope you think i am. just going to be me.
the person i already am.
sometimes you get glimpses of yourself.
the other day i got a glimpse of myself, a part of myself that i've known was there, but couldn't access. has that ever happened to you? like it is a normal day and then a series of things happen and suddenly you're presented with a version of you that very few people have ever encountered?
for months i've been writing about feeling pulled in different directions, about feeling like i was holding a part of myself back, about feeling like there was a woman inside of me yearning to escape.
well, she escaped.
and she was happy and confident and honest and vulnerable and excited and full of feeling.
most of all, she wasn't scared.
she was me, the me i've always known was there, the me that speaks to me at night and tells me that i don't have to settle, that there is more to me than i allow...
funny thing is that once you've seen that stifled side of yourself out and about, once you've seen how she interacts with the world, once you've seen the energy she exudes and reels in...you can't go back to unknowing. you can't go back to being just the version of you that is safer, quieter, more insecure.
this stifled side has tasted freedom and is no longer willing to play second fiddle.
nina simone talks about how freedom is no fear. and getting a taste of that, getting a sense of what moments without fear feel like when you are someone who is filled with anxiety...well...
this is my bumbling way of saying that my understanding of the last few months, my understanding of that tunnel i wrote about last week, changed a lot this week. a friend sent me an article on trauma and in it, healing is discussed. the article highlights how healing is not linear. there are jumps and back steps. i felt like i jumped, leaped, ahead this week. i feel like i gained some wisdom, that a truth presented itself to me and i immediately knew it was right.
and that truth...mostly i realized that the only way out is forward, is opening myself up, is letting sides of myself into the light. it is continuing to discover who this version of myself is, what she wants, what she deserves, how she expresses herself. it is not (always) being ruled by fear.
and none of this is new information, but it is the first time i really felt it and the first time i felt a shift of acceptance.
i'm scared that this leap will be followed by several steps back, but i'm also hopeful that it won't be. i'm hopeful that the side of me that has been unleashed is here to stay whatever happens. i'm hopeful that i won't hide her away anymore. i'm hopeful i'll allow myself to just be all the versions of myself that i am. i'm hopeful that there will be more fearless moments.
i've had to start this letter several times. every time i started writing, i realized i was insulting you, me. i realized i was already launching into ideas of how i, you, should be. i realized i was already placing others above you and wishing you were different.
it is amazing, and sad, how i talk to you.
i know i am not very nice to you.
i have some idealized version of you that sits in the back of my mind and you have never been anything like her. not that i could even tell you what this idealized version is--what she looks like or anything. i just know you've never been her.
i'm sorry i don't want you to be you.
this is something we are working through right now.
right now we are at a crossroads, charly.
we feel it. we can feel a struggle between who we think we should be and who we really are. we can feel a struggle between the different sides of ourself.
we feel the urge to break away from the self we've been reinforced to be. the version of us that is always polite, that sacrifices her own needs for those of others, who stuffs down her thoughts and opinions for the sake of harmony, who is always on top of it, who is always responsible, who is always willing to stay late, work harder, go the extra mile, who always picks herself up after being knocked down. we feel the urge to let this perfectionist go.
we feel the urge to fall apart. we feel the urge to let deadlines pass and to ignore emails. we feel the need to not smile and nod but instead shout NO. we feel the urge to be difficult. we feel the urge to point out the inequality in our relationships with others. we feel the need to not be nice and risk being considered a bitch. we feel the need to have someone else come pick us up off the ground. we want to be needy. we want to be a mess. we want to be the wounded bird.
and then again we don't. we want to be strong. we want to be impervious. we want to let everything roll off of us.
we are learning that who we want to be is a walking set of contradictions.
dearest charly, let yourself be the walking contradictions. let yourself be the strong mess. let yourself be wounded and healed. let yourself be.
just fucking be, charly.
god, i wish we could just let you fucking be.
i love that you love to read, charly. and i love that you have a jumpsuit obsession. and i love that you have become a little obsessed with your plants and are worried about the one in the living room with the yellowing leaves. and i love that you are into wine now and i love that words flow through you like air. i love that you love to create, charly. i love how connecting with kids and friends lights you up, but i also love how you can be in your pajamas at 9pm on a friday night. i love that you run even though you wonder why. i love that you feel compelled to learn more about the world. i love that you get on planes even though you are scared. i love that you have the urge to become a minimalist but would never be able to fit your bedroom into a tiny house. i love that you sometimes listen to nina simone in the dark. i love that you have tattoos and an afro and don't wear makeup. i love that you care for others even though it hurts you sometimes. i love that you are scared of thunderstorms and yet love them. i love that even though you are fairly convinced you are going to die alone, there is a small sliver of you that believes in the fairly tale. i love that you can't fully be the curmudgeon you want to be.
i am sorry that with every line i just wrote, i also whispered disparaging comments. i whispered "well, actually"s and "come on"s and "i love this, but i wish you'd change this"es. i am not perfect, charly. we are not perfect.
just let it be.
i know you feel oddly like you are growing and yet failing. i know you feel like you are learning and yet stagnating. i know you feel like you should be doing more, but you want to do less. i know you yearn for love and yet are afraid to trust someone again. i know you want to hold onto your anger and also want to let it go. i know you want to stop comparing yourself to others and yet can't help it.
like i said, we are a walking contradiction. and that's okay.
i hope you are able to fall apart, charly, because i also know that you'll put yourself back together. it's like beyoncé says: imma keep running cause a winner don't quit on themselves.
you're a winner, charly. so you'll keep running. in your own way. at your own speed. on your own path.
just let yourself be.
(this is day thirty, the final day, of april love. thanks for reading every day. some have asked what i have in store for may. right now, i don't know. i really liked writing the letters and reflecting. maybe i'll do something like 31 days of sharing things i love or 31 days of sharing random facts about me. i don't know. stay tuned.)
I'm constantly trying to find you. At least in myself. Where are you, truth? What are you? What are you trying to lead me toward?
It is hard to connect to you sometimes. Hard to find you in the depths of my belly and heart. You are often in hiding behind the should and the could and the what-others-want. But I see you peeking out. I see you.
You like prosecco and rosé and red wine and the feeling of feeling tipsy. You worry sometimes that you have addictive tendencies and that the buzz I get from drinking is too enjoyable but perhaps that is just another worry you latch onto.
You worry but you don't like the feeling of it, of worry and anxiety. You daydream about being carefree and laughing more and being happier.
You are afraid you'll never be happy.
You are convinced you'll never get married. You are convinced no one could ever want to be with you longer than 2 years. You are worried that there is some truth about you that only those who have to deal with you see. You know that that is ridiculous but no matter of sensible talk convinces you otherwise.
You find a lot of people annoying and often let the phone ring or the text go unanswered. You like dressing up and being stylish and you like the attention because you don't think of yourself as beautiful and need the positive reinforcement. You kinda wish you could just be a blogger. You want to win amazing theater awards but you don't think my plays are good enough.
Your daydreams are violent and angry and you are filled with rage.
You don't like living alone and yet I am afraid of letting anyone in enough to imagine living with them. You are afraid you are a terrible friend. You want a more glamorous life. You want to be able to say "fuck you" to a wide variety of people and things but you and I don't have the balls.
You are embarrassed a lot more than you let on. You know yourself to be super sensitive. You often think about what I'd have to do to free myself of a lot of these beliefs, life situations.
You are worried I have a heart defect but have no proof of it and yet are fairly convinced you are having a heart attack at least once a month (but you also know you have this so it makes a bit of sense).
You daydream of escaping.
You feel comfortable by the water and want to have sex on the beach but think I am too chickenshit to do such a thing.
You want someone to push you up against a wall and kiss you like their life depends on it. You are sad no one has kissed you like that.
You want to be Beyoncé in the yellow dress and the baseball bat.
As Nina says, you want that feeling of no fear. You want to feel free.
I see you, truth. I see you.
(this is day twenty-four of april love)
this year more than other years i've felt a fight within me. and i think it has to do with the part of me i try to keep hidden, the part of me I leave in the shadows.
the light vs. the shadow/the dark
you can go down the rabbit hole and read a bunch about Jung's idea of the shadow and the shadow self, but we've seen and read and heard the ideas before. think of darth vader vs. anakin skywalker. darth vader is literally in darkness, on the dark side, etc. he is the shadow. he is the part of anakin that was always there, repressed, and that came out when shit got a little too real. and then, we see his shadow side recede when he is all like, don't kill my son and then on his deathbed is all, luke, you were right about me.
remember? no? you don't like star wars as much as me? okay, like, whatever. moving on...
anyway, i've been sort of feeling that struggle. i've written a lot about how angry i've felt in the past few months and even before. there have been several times when a strong, angry voice came out of me. the voice was scary to me, because i hadn't ever encountered her before. she felt animalistic. she felt violent. she felt like she was fighting for her life. and this voice would scream 'don't touch me'. and this voice would scream 'this isn't fair'. and she would want to throw something or punch a wall--she never did, or at least she didn't when others were around. she was tired of being ignored and held in...and mostly she was tired that me, charly, the version of myself that i think of as "me," was getting shat on and wasn't doing anything about it.
i may like the light, but the dark is useful too. the dark is what allows for the light. the dark can provide the fuel for the light to glow.
the darker side, the shadow side, the unknown side of myself has been coming out more and more because the lighter side, the public side, the known side, has gotten weaker and weaker. the light side has lost her voice. the light says yes when she means no, says okay, you are right when she thinks that person is hell wrong, says all right, i can change when she should really say no, lets compromise. the light side has said okay to things that were not okay. that just weren't okay at all. the light side lies in order to keep balance, in order to keep others happy. the light side puts her needs on the back burner. the light side worries about appearances and whether she looks good and whether she is likable. the light side has stayed quiet when she didn't really want to have sex or when sex was painful, in order to avoid making partners upset. the light side has taken on responsibilities she had no desire to take on and then suffered the consequences. the light side has accepted criticisms with a nod and a smile. the light side told herself over and over again that she is wrong, that she is too emotional, that she is the problem without so much as questioning the others involved. and it has all gotten to be too much. because all of these worries and lies have amounted to my sense of being being lost and hidden and diminished.
and my dark side has had enough of this shit.
my dark side is mad as hell. my dark side wants to start a revolution. my dark side is ready to fight. my dark side is a meat eater. she wants to taste blood. usually metaphorical blood. usually her own.
and it has been interesting trying to let the light and the dark find a happy medium inside me. i still think my instinct is to keep the dark down, to hide her, to tell her she is not fit for consumption. and yet, i am also beginning to feel how untrue that is. i love the light and all, but the light side of me gets quiet, she bends over backwards to try to make others happy, and she loses her happiness in the process.
yesterday, in therapy, i was discussing how something really pisses me off and as i was talking, my darker, shadow side came out a little. my therapist laughed and noted that change in my voice. that voice is a stronger, more grounded voice. that voice is powerful.
and she is right. i can feel that. and it is interesting that i am always harping on about finding calm and groundedness and strength...and while i've been sort of assuming it is about my light side finding groundedness and all of that...perhaps it is really about letting my dark side, my shadow side in more. she is already grounded. she just needs to some help in not going too far into destruction. just like my light side needs help standing on her own two feet.
of course, the shadow side isn't all good news. the shadow side also has all the thoughts and beliefs and ways of being that are deplorable. that are mean and hurtful. she can and will go too far. just as the light side won't go far enough.
i guess the lesson here, if there is a lesson, is that both of these sides are me. the fight they are having is because they don't believe they can coexist within me, but they do. they are meant to. jung wrote in good and evil analytical psychology: "To confront a person with his shadow is to show him his own light. Once one has experienced a few times what it is like to stand judgingly between the opposites, one begins to understand what is meant by the self. Anyone who perceives his shadow and his light simultaneously sees himself from two sides and thus gets in the middle."
i'm trying to get to the middle because i have a sneaking suspicion that that is where i'll be able to be myself.
that is where i'm hiding.
(this is day fifteen of april love )
dear future me,
i have so many questions.
do we ever move into the tiny house i dreamed of? do we ever get the second dog? do we try the capsule wardrobe and hate it or love it? oo, oo, do we try the whole uniform wardrobe thing and just wear black, white, and red? do we ever learn to really walk in heels? my tarot card reader said i was supposed to fall in love this april and it is april 12th and i've had no luck, but do i fall in love by april 30th? okay, assuming she lied, do we fall in love again? or at least think we do? or...you get it. do we keep writing plays or do we give up? do we tell men who are mansplaining to shut the fuck up now? (please say we do) do we have beautiful kids? do we finally make any money? do we see our name as a writer on the big screen (or does andrew keep his word and cast you in one of his films because he made you be in his college films and you deserve some kind of reward...:P)?
really, though, future me, i just wonder if we, you, are happy.
that is my biggest concern.
future me, i think about you too much. really, i do. i am already sad and disappointed on your behalf, future me. it is like i am looking down the lane and am like, no, no there is no way this gets better. lets just give up hope now. i'm sorry i don't have more faith in you, in us, to create the life we want, future me. i guess that shows just how much i struggle with self-esteem and contentment. i hope that these struggles are memories for you, future me. i hope you are reading this letter and laughing at me, at you when you were me. laugh away, future me. i hope that is what we do instead of nodding because all the fears i have came true, because all the fears are still there.
future me, i will struggle now to make you happy. i will. i will fight against the depression and the anxiety. i will fight against the fear and the sadness. i will fight against the jealousy and the feeling bad for myself. i will. for you. i do it for you.
because i have dreams for you.
future me, are you as scared of life as i am now? i hope not. i hope you board planes and climb mountains and run marathons (okay, maybe not marathons because i am a little tired of running now and have trouble enough imagining making it to november 6th for the marathon we plan on running...oh god, future me, do we run this much ever again? i hope not but i also hope yes...so...)and take risks with your eyes wide open. i'm not talking crazy risks--i.e. jumping out of a plane, which is all good if you wanna do it, but i don't so you should respect that, future me (also, future me, if someone wants to imply that you are boring or not fun because you don't want to jump out of a plane, just punch them in the face. i know you probably don't condone violence and all that, but i am tired of my preferences being belittled and i hope you are quicker to fight than i am).
anyway, i hope you are taking us on a crazy ride, future me. i hope every disappointment has given you more fuel to live the life you want to live and say goodbye to the things and people who are holding you back and hurting you.
i hope you live and feel grounded and feel ease. i hope you see the world and you write all the things and you laugh and love and feel pain and feel pleasure. i hope you live until you are in your 100s, like your grandpa.
speaking of which, does grandpa ever get to see you walk down the aisle and see you have a child? he is bugging me about it now and i'm afraid to tell him that the chances of that are looking pretty slim unless he is willing to hold on until about age 110, which he probably is, and gives us a little more than 8 years to make that happen, but jesus, the pressure. on second thought, don't answer that future me. i don't want to know.
also, does george the pup keep his promise and survive until we are at least 39?
god, i got morbid real quick, future me. sorry. sorry. this is why you need to take me to the beach to watch the sunrise.
but really, future me, are we ever featured on some style blog? or do we ever publish that novel? do we sing at a jazz club or learn flamenco in sevilla? do we do a wine tour in france and italy? do we say i love you and mean it? do we ever get unafraid of planes? do we fill the apartment with too many plants? do we read all the books we want to? ahh, future me, do we? or do we finally lose it and say all the things we've wanted to say and do all the things we've wanted to do (i feel on the brink of this, future me, so maybe we do it sooner rather than later)?
i can't wait to meet you, future me. if everything goes to plan, you will be one badass chick.
(this is day twelve of april love)
now, of course, we can discuss what 'first love' means.
if we are talking about first, first love, then that would probably have to be my mom, right? or do we mean that playful first love, like the love i found in kindergarten (shout out to him for holding my hand on the bus and sending me a love poem!)? or do we mean the first loves that were not housed in a person?
we can mean all of those things, and this letter could be to all of those things, but i would just be avoiding what and who i've been writing this letter to in my head all week, ever since i knew this prompt was coming. i'd be avoiding writing to my first love, the romantic first love, the one who taught me about love as a (young) adult.
and, if you've been around the blog at all these last few months, you know that this is further complicated by the fact that the person who is my first love, also happens to be my last love (last meaning most recent, though i did think he would be my last love as in we were going to ride off into the sunset together), because a few years back my first love showed up at my doorstep and asked us to try again and we did.
so this letter is weird and hard to write. even though they are the same person, is writing a letter to my first love the same as writing it to the one who left 7 months ago today? i don't know.
also, first love made a habit of reading my blog. i don't know if he still does. so, presumably, he is reading this.
what i do know is writing all of this is yet another avoidance tactic. so...i should just start the damn letter and see what happens.
dear first love,
when i plug my phone into the computer, and new photos upload, sometimes your face pops up, first love. it is you, holding a napkin up to the camera with a message for my mom. we'd only been dating a few days, a few weeks at that point. we were twenty years old and it was december and everything felt new and wonderful.
that was 9.5 years ago and sometimes it feels like just yesterday. but i look at that photo and i realize just how much you don't look the same anymore...i mean, of course, it is you, but your face has become more man and less boy since then and it is shocking to me every time it pops up on my computer. just how much your face, my face, has changed and yet stayed the same,
i think about deleting that photo every time it pops up. i haven't yet--mostly because i believe there will be a time when that photo doesn't cause pain, because there was a time, maybe four years ago and up until last september, when it didn't. and i believe that i may want to look at it then and remember those first few weeks and smile and thank the heavens i had them and also thank the heavens time has moved on.
that is what i hope.
first love, you taught me so much. you taught me what love really was. you see, i didn't really know. i had had a boyfriend or two, but no one who really loved me. not really. and no one i had really loved. and you came in and changed all of that. i sometimes try to figure out how you did it. was it the fact that you held my hand or brought me tea or send me long emails when you were traveling in kenya with your family? was it that your hair smelled like wildfires to me? or the music we shared or the salsa dancing? or just the warmth i felt when i looked up at you? i fell for you in a little over a month and in the early hours of new years day, i whispered that i was falling for you. i remember that moment as though it were yesterday. i can feel the nerves.
you taught me about wanting to declare my love no matter the consequence.
and i didn't even know then how that, the fact that i was falling for you, was to become true. i had no idea where the next two years would take us.
you taught me that a man in a black t-shirt and jeans is nearly equivalent in attractiveness to a man in a suit. not a small feat, first love.
first love, you taught me that i could fall in love and that when i do, i really, really fall in love, i fall deeply. first love, i learned with you that that is a good thing...and a bad thing. either way, it is a thing, a truth about me.
it is also a truth that i don't let a lot of people in. i don't fall in love with just anyone.
first love, you taught me about how i could fall in love with another's family. you taught me about the stupid fights you have with the one you love. you taught me about hugs and kisses and monthiversary competitions and how mad someone can be when you ask them not to eat in bed anymore because they spilled chocolate in it.
but it is funny, and sad, first love, that i can't get a lot of the happy pictures in my head. i see flashes, but sometimes i think my brain is trying to protect me. the happy memories surprise me. the sad ones stay present. i can get the pictures of our last few months together, which were hard and tough for a number of reasons. i have those in my head. i have our (first) last kiss, in penn station, before you went back to school and i went back to england (i also know when our last, last kiss was. fuck you, memory). i have the fight two days before when you wanted to end it with me, but i begged you not to.
first love, you taught me that i beg for people to stay with me...the ones i love...which have been you...so you taught me that i beg you to stay with me until i see that your mind is made up. i beg because i hope, because i see a future, because i see how it can work until i look in front of me and see you and realize you don't see the same picture.
first love, you taught me that just because two people know each other well doesn't mean that they see and feel the same things. you also taught me that we make assumptions about each other that are not true. we both do. we both did. first love, you've taught me that assuming gets us nowhere.
first love, you taught me about heartbreak. i didn't understand it until that february, lying on my blue carpet, crying my heart out and i thought to myself "oh, this is what people mean. i get it. this is heartbreak." and there was part of me that was grateful to have had the experience, grateful that you had taught me it, because i thought it would prepare me for what and who came next. i thought it made me that much stronger.
i don't know about that now, first love. i don't know.
i learn that i blame myself, first love. i blame myself for "making you leave". i learned that in disagreements, i usually end up taking on the blame, promising to change myself. i learned that when we break-up, i don't share the issues i may have had with the relationship, but i listen wholeheartedly to yours. that isn't your fault, first love. it is just what i do when i am faced with leaving you. so you helped me learn this, but it isn't your fault.
ha. see, first love, here i go...about to blame myself again.
anyway, first love, you taught me about needing space for a few years before i could become friends. and then you taught me about letting old love back in after four and a half years apart. and then you taught me that i haven't really let others in--the men between you, first love, and you, most recent love, were great men who i tried to love and couldn't. you are my achilles heel, love. there is something you have, a key, that opens me up. (i'm in the process of calling the locksmith and getting that lock changed, first love.) and i learned, first love, that you could open it again and move in even more than before and that once again, you could teach me about heartbreak.
first love, you taught me a lot about the love i want and the love i accept. you taught me a lot about fear. you taught me about compassion. you taught me about family. you taught me about how people have different experiences and histories. you taught me about sharing space. you taught me about my love of travel despite being terrified of planes. you taught me about festering wounds. you taught me about how important it is that my dog like you. you taught me about how two people can say 'i love you' and mean two, equally important, but different things. you taught me about anger and pain, but also about pleasure and pain. you taught me about memory and how they can haunt a place, a person. you taught me about letting go and moving on and how it is hard for me when it comes to you. you taught me, first love, a lot about myself.
and i'm grateful for that, even as i sometimes wonder what would have happened if you weren't my first love. even as i sometimes question whether i hadn't fallen for you that day, in that rehearsal, when you said that line.
but, first love, it is a ridiculous notion. because i did. and i would. on some level, i was made for that, for falling in love with you.
for now, i am looking for a love that is beyond what we had. maybe it is a love of myself. maybe it is a love from someone else. i am scared it doesn't exist, first love, but i am scared of everything so no surprise there.
first love, i hope you are doing well. i hope that you are happy. truly. i look forward to the day that i see that picture pop up and i smile. i do.
but for now, first love, i am looking for my own happiness with all the self-knowledge i've gained from my times with you.
(this is day ten of april love)
dear younger me,
younger me, somewhere along the way you learned that you weren't beautiful. you learned that you were unattractive. you learned that people wanted you for your responsible qualities--not because you were fun or exciting. in fact, some people called you boring. you learned that you had to be smart and you had to work hard and you had to do everything on your own. you learned that people didn't love you for you. you learned that people didn't think you deserved some of the opportunities you received. you learned that lovers didn't like it when you showed your emotional side. you learned that you read too much and didn't stay up late enough. you learned that people assumed you wouldn't want to go to the make out parties or try that fun thing in bed. you learned that people didn't understand your depression and anxiety and called you a drama queen. you learned that people didn't love your brown skin. you learned that you will be left in a multitude of ways, by different kinds of people, and you take that to mean you are not worthy enough, lovable enough, beautiful enough, smart enough, kind enough. you learned you are not enough.
you learned a lot of things.
younger me, if we could go back in time, i'd try to be ear plugs in your ears. i'd try to distract you. i'd try to yell DON'T LISTEN so the words couldn't flow into your mind and sit there.
younger me, i know you think that you aren't bothered by these things. but you are. because i, the older me, am. i am going to try to let these beliefs go, younger me, but now they have become truths. things i take as truth. i know somewhere inside that they (well, if i am honest, most of them because some are so hardened in my heart i can't see them for the lies they are yet) aren't...but, younger me, i have learned that just because part of you believes the truth of the matter, doesn't mean your heart does. and you need your heart to be on board.
younger me, listen to your heart more. i am sad you felt like you couldn't.
younger me, you have an old soul. just accept it. you also are way more introspective than others. you won't know this until you are older, but not everyone sits and contemplates life and themselves the way you do...so don't assume they do.
younger me, if i could go back in time, i'd make sure you played more. you stopped playing way too early. you still imagined things--you are a writer now, after all--but you closed up the visions in your mind afraid to lay them out for the world. i wish you had danced more and cried less, younger me. maybe if you had danced your way through eighth grade, you would have stared less at pills and knives wondering if and how you should end it.
thank you for not ending it, younger me. i understand the struggle. i understand the urge. i still deal with it at times, younger me. i know how alone and misunderstood you felt. i know how sometimes you want to stand in the middle of times square and shout how you feel like breathing is the real death and you just need someone or something to make the pain go away. i know that feeling. its okay. it gets easier at times, harder at others. but you and me, we are together. i hear your screaming.
younger me, hold certain friends close. some because they are the ones that will be there for you years later, others because they won't be.
younger me, stop worrying about the future. it isn't going to be what you think. let me deal with that.
younger me, enjoy dancing on tables while watching dirty dancing and enjoy math class and enjoy the years before puberty when worrying about your body wasn't a thing and enjoy student government and enjoy being the narrator in plays and enjoy writing that novel (i'm sorry, younger me. i promise to go and make it better and publish it one day) and enjoy boarding school and enjoy college and enjoy falling in love and enjoy finally understanding heartbreak and enjoy watching your friend run around the house with a 3-hole punch as a weapon against mice and enjoy basing a friendship on m&ms and enjoy traveling and enjoy sitting by the water and enjoy solo walks in london and enjoy standing on that mountain in nicaragua and enjoy learning spanish and italian and enjoy buffalo wings and enjoy. enjoy. enjoy. enjoy.
younger me, i wish you had let the enjoyment fill you. you were so busy trying to get me prepared that you didn't take care of yourself. i'm sorry about that, younger me. but the good thing is that at 30 years old, and assuming the fact that we have three grandparents in their 90s and 100s means we may live a long life, we are still young. we still have time. this version of me will be younger me soon enough.
so lets try to enjoy this together, younger me.
wait. my tattoo/yoda says do or do not.
let's enjoy this together. no trying. only doing.
(this is day eight of april love)