There’s no need for heartbreak warfare. It’s called ‘I love you’ — ‘I love you too’. ‘I need more love’ — ‘You got more love’, and you can get through life like that.
Shouldn’t you just, on days where you want more love, be like, ‘I had a bad dream that you were sleeping around; it’s really irrational, but just love me extra today’?
Why can’t we just have this thing where you just say, ‘Just love me extra today’? If I was with somebody and they said, ‘Love me extra today’, I would love them extra forever."
— John Mayer, Atlanta, 2010 (via mindofmaret)
You, for having my little heart.
You, for picking up my phone calls.
You, for being patient and understanding.
You, for talking to me for hours on end.
You, for coming to visit.
Of late, I’ve found myself questioning the foundations of my morals. By 'the foundations', I don’t mean the Disney Princess Morals aspect of it all, but rather the reasoning behind why I chose to incorporate them into my life. And every so often, I can’t help but wonder whether I’d still have the same value system if I were more confident with my body.
When I talk about body confidence, I don’t mean body shape – that’s something I can control and, surprisingly, it’s something I’ve come to terms with. For the most part, I’m comfortable in my skin (i.e. comfortable with the person that I am), I’m just not sure that I’m comfortable with my skin.
It’s as though my skin chronicles my past. It tells the tales of when I was careless with myself, and my life. It recounts the story of the time I let myself go so far off the path I was supposed to be on. My skin narrates my many failures.
The silvery, raised stretch marks on the backs of my knees, sides of my hips and across my backside remind me of my inability to control portion sizes (aka that time I gained 22 pounds in 8 months). The fading scars on my shins remind me of the lengths I went to feel pretty and accepted by society.
The fact that I’m apprehensive of people seeing all my so-called imperfections lets me know that I’m still the same girl afraid of judgement, desperate to be liked and petrified of letting people in. The fact that I’m apprehensive of people seeing them makes me wonder whether they’re the only reason I’m so adamant about keeping my clothes on. The fact that I’m apprehensive of people seeing them makes me wonder whether I’d abandon my morals if suddenly blessed with perfect skin. The thought of being apprehensive of people seeing them plagues me when I’m silent and puts so much more than the clothes we’re wearing between us.
All the five mile late night walks home and fresh starts, ever.
"It’s okay to be vulnerable and have insecurities but don’t let them get the best of you." - Words of wisdom from the best friend
I hold on to worry so tight
It’s safe in here right next to my heart
Who now shouts at the top of her voice,
“Let me go, let me out, this is not my choice!”
And I always felt it before
That the world was filled with much more
Than the drowning soul I’ve learned to be
I just need the rain to remind me
As I ran, I turned the music up louder, but I couldn’t drown out my thoughts. The statement was as innocuous as any. All my friends knew of my “rotation” – the joke list of boys I was supposedly seeing through the week to show my utter lack of game. But for some reason, the words burned and I instantly knew all the things I had to say. Had it been anyone else, though, I know I’d have kept my thoughts to myself.
I couldn’t help but think back to that cold night in Greenwich Village. He looked at me and asked what was wrong; I avoided the question. He asked me again and I told him we should get out of the cold. Finally, he took my hands in his and put them in his pockets and told me he wouldn’t let go until I told him why I was upset. His eyes were staring directly into mine and although they put me increasingly on edge, they reassured me he wasn’t going to judge me for any of the things I was about to say. So I started listing the reasons I was upset and almost immediately apologised for being bothered by basically everything.
He looked at me and smiled. He didn’t belittle the emotions I felt; he told me he liked me regardless but questioned why I was keeping him at an arm’s length. I reminded him about our conversation from earlier in the evening about my need to be universally liked and he said that being liked had nothing to do with shutting people out. I argued that it did; my ridiculous insecurities and continuous state of vulnerability made me “that girl” and nobody liked “that girl”. He pointed out that it was possible no one really knew me because I didn’t really say much about my feelings.
I snapped back to reality at a traffic light. I was angry, mostly with myself. I knew that putting the real me – the person riddled with character flaws and rife with insecurity – was a bad idea, but I’d done it anyway. Unlike the unspoken, unpromised sense of security he insinuated it would give me, the only thing it brought was a very real, extremely vile accusation hurled towards me.
I didn’t know what to make of it; I didn’t know whether I deserved the accusation or whether he had merited the right to make it. I wondered whether I vocalised all the outrageous thoughts that plagued me as a sort of test because he had once said he wasn’t going to take any of the outs I gave him; it wasn’t a test, though. I wasn’t the person who tested the boundaries; I was the girl who stayed within the lines while colouring. I was being the version of myself that he’d asked for, and it was breaking us.
“Ok, don’t be honest with one another, got it haha” – The very words he wrote to me as joke seemed to be the solution to my problem; I had to stop being the version of myself where every thought needed to be stated. Still angry, but less confused about how to proceed, I turned around and made my way back home.
— Bill Borgens - Stuck in Love
I must be crazy
I can’t see straight anymore
I’m ten feet from your door.
Surprise, dear - you both don’t know
that I’m here watching alone.
My worst fear, now my home.
Have you ever borne witness to something you weren’t supposed to see?
Of late, I’ve been unable to stop thinking about an event that happened months ago. I was meeting a kid I was seeing, at a bar across town. As I descended from the taxi cab that brought me there, I looked around to find the bar we were meeting at. That’s when I saw it; without going into the nitty-gritty details: one moment you’re walking towards someone glad to see them, the next your brain’s in overdrive screaming, “WHAT THE FUCK?” It’s a moment no one should ever have to walk onto - I just stood outside the bar, motionless, and watched it happen.
In all honesty, while the thought, “Why does this consistently happen to me?” should have occurred to me, in that moment it did not. I gathered myself and realised I had a choice to make; I could either go home or stay and pretend like it hadn’t seen it happen. Although my brain still hadn’t made a concrete decision, I felt my body making my decisions for me. I whipped out my phone, called the very person who made my brain scream profanities, announced my presence and feigned being unable to find the bar because it didn’t have a visible sign.
I saw him walk out of the bar, as if nothing had happened, and greet me. He led me into the bar, past the girl I’d seen him very intimately consorting with brief moments ago, and sat me down in a booth with his friends and went to get a drink at the bar. I played nice with his friends for an hour before announcing that I’d had a really long day and needed to go home. He shamelessly asked me if I’d go home with him and I swear I could have sucker-punched him.
When I got home that night I couldn’t bring myself to understand why I’d stayed instead of gone home. Sometimes, I think I was looking for a reason as to why someone could do something that despicable. Sometimes, I think I wanted to see whether he’d apologise or be surprised. Sometimes, I wondered what I had done to make me deserve being treated that way. But on nights like this when I can’t sleep, none of the other details seem to matter; all I do is question whether disappearing into the night was the right choice.
I’m going to go ahead and say all the things I shouldn’t say. Things that aren’t completely acceptable in society. Things that make me vulnerable. Things that make me seem unstable. Things that others will use to define me.
2014 has probably been the roughest start to any year, yet. Every day has brought with it a new existential crisis. And, I don’t think I’ve cried this much in a long, long time. Gone are the days where trivial things like, “Will I ever lose those last five pounds?” or “Is getting a B really that bad?” were real concerns. Lately, issues of concern have been:
- What if I never get a job?
- What if I do get a job and actually hate it?
- What if I’m in the wrong field?
- What if I have to move to India/Dubai?
- What if I don’t know what I want to actually do with my life?
- Will I ever actually meet anyone worth my time?
- Do I have friends anymore?
The scared twelve year old in me is resurfacing, and I don’t know how to deal with that version of myself. It’s a version of myself that isn’t good enough for anyone; good enough at anything. It’s a version of myself that’s rife with self-doubt. A version that makes all my other insecurities seem petty.
One of the reasons that the aforementioned twelve year old is making a reappearance is because everyone else around me seems to have their life together. Every third day, there’s a facebook announcement about someone:
- Getting married/engaged
- Getting a job (and/or loving their current job)
- Getting accepted to some amazing grad school program
And honestly, it really makes me wonder what I’m doing with my life. To clarify, it’s not like I want to be married/engaged at this stage of my life - that isn’t what I want for myself. But, I’m 22 and it feels like I have nothing to show for my time except for two exceptionally expensive, slightly above-average sized printed sheets of cardstock paper (i.e. diplomas) and a blog about my misadventures in the dating world.
Speaking of the latter, the last kid I was interested in introduced me to a group of boys he was friends with, and after spending a couple of hours in conversation with me, they seemed to like me but still didn’t see me as anything more than “a dime” with “great comebacks”. The evening triggered a reaction to something deep inside me that, in all honesty, had been bothering me for a while.
I won’t deny it, at one point in my life - probably closer to nine years ago - being called pretty and/or “a dime” would have made my week. But, having been the so-called “ugly duckling”, it makes me increasingly uncomfortable when people categorise me as nothing more than just the pretty girl. It’s not just about the gawky phase with glasses, braces, caterpillar eyebrows and triangular hair (or current lack thereof), though. There’s so much more to it. The way someone looks should not be their identifier.
Not to be morbid, but if the day that I shuffle off this mortal coil were tomorrow, would words like intelligent, successful, hard-working or sociable make the list of adjectives used to describe me? I’m starting to seriously doubt it; I feel like the truly unnecessary details might shroud them.
To be clear, I’m not looking for validation or to be told that I’m above average or that things will work out for me. Because: 1. There’s nothing wrong with being average, 2. Success is based on what you’ve achieved, not a trajectory of your future, and 3. Validation is neither what I want, nor what I need.
What I need is a job. What I need is to stop feeling self-doubt. What I need is for experiences from my past to stop jading my present/future. What I want is to dedicate my time working towards/doing something that I enjoy. What I want is to be happy and loved, without any strings attached. What I want is to know which direction my life is headed. At least I’ve got those figured out, right?
In the last couple of hours that I’ve spent writing, editing and proof-reading this post I’ve finally understood one thing: IT’S OKAY. It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to be able to count all your friends on only one hand. It’s okay to be alone. It’s okay to rely on your family. It’s okay to say you’re not sure what you’re doing. And sometimes, you need to admit to not only yourself, but also the world at large, that you have no idea what your life is going to look like but you sure-as-hell will be okay because you never stopped trying.
So, if you have the misfortune of feeling the way I did for the past couple of weeks, I’ll give you the two best pieces of advice I’ve ever received:
- "Have a backup plan, and a fall-back for your backup plan. Never stop having backup plans. And know that you’ll be okay." - Courtesy of my family.
- "I’m not going to spend the next few lines talking about how things could be worse. Because it’s somewhat overrated and not cool… I know that things will work out. Where they will work out remains a mystery." - Words of wisdom courtesy of my best friend/big sister.
At this point, it’s highly possible that things won’t work out the way I want them to; and though, it’s taking time to come to terms with, I’m certain that I’ll be ready when I need to switch to my back-up plan. Because if you’re exceptionally fortunate, like I happen to be, you’ll have not only a family that has your back every step of the way, but also a best friend who loves you no matter what. And I think that if you sit down and take time to explain it to them (or call them up weeping saying you’re having an existential crisis - you know, whatever works best for you), they’ll give you reason to nullify all your self-doubt.
As I walked towards the bar, I wanted nothing more than for the evening to be a failure. I had almost cancelled earlier that day. I was tired, I didn’t want to get dressed and more than anything else, I didn’t want to feel the way I feel now. But for some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to be flaky; instead, I texted asking that we meet fifteen minutes later so I could compose myself.
It’s difficult meeting someone you’re bound to have a connection with. You could try to fight it and yet, against all odds, you find yourself drawn closer. I’d been down this path once before, and I knew exactly the kind of emotional trauma it brought with it. When things look up, there’s a kind of elation that stays with you through the day. But when the other person finds something other than you to entertain themselves with, the happiness you feel for them comes hand-in-hand with this indescribable internal sting; because you fear being forgotten, you fear rejection and because (for some inexplicable reason) you experience pangs of jealousy.
I thought avoiding calling the entire thing a date would help, but it didn’t. The second I saw him standing outside the bar it was readily apparent what the entire thing was. It’s fairly simple: When you see someone waiting for you outside in the middle of winter for a first date, it speaks volumes about their character. If said person is waiting inside at the bar, or at a table, I wouldn’t criticise them for it, but it doesn’t have the same effect.
The minute we sat down, I found myself internally criticising my choice of bar. It was one of my favourite places in the city - the kind of place I took all my favies, the kind of place where the service is always really nice and it’s only ever perfectly awkward when that one bartender works there because he hit on me that one night. Why couldn’t I choose someplace I cared less about? Why didn’t I think of how dark it’d be? Why didn’t I think of the fact that it was a Saturday and the aforementioned bartender was working there?
Since self-judgement and criticism come easily to me, it took me a couple of moments to distract myself from my thoughts and return to trying to dislike him. However, as we conversed and he told me about his adventures through China Town to get to the bar, it became blatantly obvious that the evening wasn’t going to be a failure. He was attentive, effortlessly funny and instinctively knew where to draw the line.
Hours in, we decided to move to a different bar and when I insisted on walking, instead of making a face, he quite literally swept me off my feet and carried me. I squealed, demanding to be put down but he lifted all 130lbs of me until we’d crossed the street. Six hours was all it took. I was gone; hook, line and sinker.
In the days that followed, I took him to the places I considered mine. He visited my favourite doughnut shop, and politely listened to me rant about ten cents (literally). He waited patiently as I looked through books at the local book store. He knew my semi-complicated obnoxious-sounding order at Starbucks and didn’t mock my choice of coffee shop. He didn’t push me to drink when we went out with his friends and was instantaneously aware when I was uncomfortable. He didn’t judge me for being insecure but didn’t give me any reason to feel that way, either. The last day I saw him, there was a voice inside me urging me to ask him to stay, but I never did. When he left the following day, I couldn’t help but weep.
There’s a part of me that wonders how long the daily text message routine might last. There’s a part that wonders how many missed calls it would take for this to meet its end. And there’s a part of me that can’t decide if I could have stopped myself from getting involved and whether I consistently subconsciously self-sabotage by choosing relationships seemingly destined to fail. For the most part, though, I still jump every time my phone buzzes; but I can’t help but wonder, “Does he do the same?”