21 and Restless

I can’t seem to figure out how to

be an adult

I just never feel good enough

I’m nobody’s favorite

Nobody’s love

Nobody

Spare me your pity and let me live my life, untouched.

Unavailable

How is it possible

to crave

so much of the world

to want

so much out of life

and still not want to exist

and wonder how much more of life you can take

How is it possible to be grateful for life

and want to give it back

How is it possible

to smile so genuinely

but feel like screaming instead

“You’re so young
you have the time to figure it out”

Give it time, give it time, give it time

but what if I don’t have the time

or worse

what if I don’t want the time

dealing with anxiety and depression

This Winter I’ll Dance

To the one I thought I loved,

Holiday music is playing everywhere I go, and I think of you.

I remember the day the radio stations started playing Christmas songs,  without hesitation, you immediately switched it. “Disgusting, I hate this music,” you said. I didn’t know that about you, all I wanted to do was dance with you, but you laughed.

It’s funny how I could be in love and know so little about you.

I remember the day we met, how your eyes first looked at me, you had such eagerness in them, and I had never seen anyone so captivated by the words I had to say, the promises you made. You told me stories of your desires. As the night prolonged, I watched as you fall deeper. “I’ve got you captured,” I thought to myself and I willingly let you claim me for yourself in return.

First your lips touched my fingers, then my cheek and soon my lips were upon yours. I never knew it was possible to feel the entire world be frozen, for nothing else to matter. You were perfect and my in memory you remain that way. Was that your plan all along?  Time persisted as did we, I’ve kept the photos are our memories so I would never forget how you made me felt. I latched onto your love like a crutch. 18- years- old and I was so helplessly and hopelessly in love with a perfect boy.

And my darling though you may never admit it, you knew all along that it was never you I had fallen in love with. It was the attention, it was the promises, it was the love you had given me. Because how is it possible to fall in love with someone you don’t even know.

It took us 7 whole days before we offered each other the world, our love eternally.  We were so young to realize how dangerous it was playing with a fire before I even knew how to control it. I craved your touch, your kiss, and everything you are and all that you do. I didn’t have to wait, I didn’t have to take take the time I show have to fall in love; it was being given to me so willingly.  It’s like you read my mind, knowing everything I could ever want from a lover, my perfect match, my soulmate, my forever.

My love was passion, giving you every inch of myself, both physically and emotionally, my love is spontaneity and cautious, my love was supportive, and making sure you knew your worth. And above all, my love was yours. Your love was patient, it held my hand, it was so incredibly proudly, it spoke of a future. Your love listened to my fears and held me so tightly. Your love told me you were happy. Your love kept promises of a tomorrow, of a future together, a perfect little life, a life where I was to be the only thing that mattered.

My darling, that was how you presented your love.

But was that you?

I remember the day I felt the picture start to tear, the day I met your friends, when I could finally see you as someone else. I remember my anxiety preventing me from moving afraid to meet them, because I think even then I knew. I knew that this would be the day everything would change, up until then you love had been my perfect untouchable image, and now I was to see you in a completely different light. It wasn’t dark, but until then you were a light that would guide me, protect and love me. I didn’t understand then. I thought I knew you, but I didn’t realize I only knew what you allowed me to see, and what you told me you were, you only allowed me to love you when the right lights were shining on you the way you wanted.

You see, your love was just one side of you, as it was of me. But the difference is, I showed you ever single side of me, the good, the bad, the controlling, and ugly and the beauty. You stood there refusing to give me anything more, I begged you to show me, but you didn’t want to.

You leaving was one thing, but wondering if I even knew you at all makes me wonder if I wasted my time, is a thought I cannot allow myself to ponder on. My time is too precious to give up and that is not yours to take. You took my innocence, my trust, and you made a mockery of it. You took my love before you even showed me your true self. Now I wonder if he even exists, if the memory I hold onto is just one that I’ve made up in my head to keep my heart from completely shattering. The boy I loved wanted New York in the moonlight, the freedom of life and from people’s opinions. Where is he now? Was he a lie, were you so desperate to feel love that you allowed yourself to become someone I would love? Why were you so afraid I wouldn’t love you? Maybe I would have, and maybe I wouldn’t have. Maybe it would have been your heart that would have broken instead of mine,  or maybe it still would have ended just the same.

And when you walked away, you blamed me, telling me how I had turned you into something you are not. My expectations of you were too much for you handle.

My darling how was that my fault? You can’t hate me for being angry after you let me fall for a side of you does not exist! You were the one take him away when you grew tired of using the right lighting to hide your flaws. I should have known, perfection is an illusion, and you the magician, and boy you had me fooled.

You’re with someone else, so I ask, are you lying to her? Are you telling her everything she wants to hear? About how you fantasize about running away to a remote cottage in the middle of Europe, with nothing but a few dollars and a few books to keep you company in your solitude.  Chivalry is something you want to keep alive, so you only wish the spoil her. How you claim to be ambitious, no one is ever going to get in between you and your dreams, and how she is your dream come true. I bet she thinks you’re perfect, as I once did. And if you are, I hope she’s smarter than I was though, I hope she learns it’s all an act, how you know how to lie and persuade people to get what you want.

You once wanted me, so you played the game until you won.Congratulations my darling, you won the game, but you lost me.

I remember now that you hate Christmas music.

So this winter I’ll dance alone, but I won’t feel so lonely.

-A woman who knows better now.

With no Agenda

“My first love was a tall scruffy boy with slightly curly ginger hair, my best friend, my rock and my reason that I had to smile.”

It’s a little after midnight when I pull into my driveway. I turn off the engine but keep the radio on. It’s been a long day, most of it was spent at work, but the last several hours were spent with a friend, a “Boy Who Could Mean the World to Me” I’ve known him for a few months, and we’ve certainly grown rather close.  With every minute I spend with him I know that he could possibly  be someone incredibly special. But for right now, he’s just a friend, and my fears are hoping it stays that way.  Every day my hand gets a little bit closer to his, afraid that he will retreat, or toss mine aside.

I’m completely worn out, hardly having the energy to even make it through the front door. but despite my exhaustion being stronger than ever, my need for an answer to what to do next. I reach for dialing a number my fingers haven’t created in a while, but I’ve far from forgotten the sound of his voice when he answers. And he does.

“Nick, it’s wonderful to hear your voice,” I say without a hesitation after he says “Hello.”

“Yours too Jay,” He responds.

I begin talking non-stop like I always do. It’s been a few months since we’ve spoken, and I absolutely must catch him up on everything that is happening in my life. I’ll talk for twenty minutes before I even take a breath. “I’m so sorry Nick, “I stop to breathe, “I talk a lot, I haven’t even asked how you’re doing”
Nick chuckles, and I can visualize his smirk, how it curves slightly to the right as he runs his fingers through his slightly curly ginger hair. Unlike me, he can summarize the last several months in just a few sentences. We’re opposites in that way. Our personalities have always been as different as can be, but our souls were the same. Nicolas was my first love, my first broken heart, my first a lot of things.

“Hey Nick,” I say with a timid voice, “I need to ask you something.” My voice breaks, realizing that I’m past the point of no return. I wonder if I should even continue, I’m not sure if he’s going to want to bring this up again. But I must know what he is going to say.

I’ve known Nicolas for 6 years now, and since the beginning I chose to be his friend. I chose to sit next to him in our American History class, I chose him to be my dance partner. However, I did not choose to fall in love with him. That happened all on its own, and with every bit of hidden laughter in during class lectures, every Jamba Juice run, and every tear that he wiped away from my face, I fell a little bit more.

I fell so hopelessly and incredibly in love with Nick, and I spent more time than I should have trying to get him to love me back. It wasn’t until after we graduated high school I had learned that he had loved me the whole time as well. However, with so many complications, time, distance, wants for our life, Nick learned before I did that the universe did not want us to be together. So ,he left my life, and it broke my heart in more ways than I could imagine.

I remember asking Nick why this was happening, he told me he didn’t know, he couldn’t understand or explain. I searched for the answer in every action of my life. I kept repeating “I want my best friend back,“ though text, through phone calls, through hand written letters. Those were words that had probably filled up Nick’s inbox repeatedly as he was out living his life, and while I kept my phone attached to my hands. I spent so many days finding other lovers while I wrote stories about me and Nicolas trying to give us an ending that we deserved, one without where the two of us could be happy even if it wasn’t together. It was my new hope, since I no longer believed love could find me.

We didn’t speak for almost a year, and my heart hadn’t let go of the anger, and the betrayal, because when I lost him, I didn’t just lose my love, I loss my best friend, the person who I called almost every night, my shoulder to cry on, the one person who understood me more than I even could understand myself, beginning an exhausting journey to find out who I was without him.

Until one day I took all my stories I had written, and it seemed like the universe, the same higher power that had probably tried to tear us apart, told me to one more time to reach out. I had almost given up, but I was sick of creating a better ending for us, so this time I called, demanding a better ending.

He picked up. I don’t know why this time was any different, but he told me he was going to listen. I screamed and I cried at him, but none of my words were going to get him to understand the brokenness of the last 312 days. He apologized, it was his fault he said, and that he thought about me every day. His monotone voice broke as he said he will never be able to forgive himself for hurting his best friend.

In my head, I knew it didn’t take away the time, or the hurt, his words could simply be empty.

Men have exhausted my soul.

And he debatably had broken my trust more than anyone in my life, he should have been the one I held most of my bitterness towards. I could blame and hate and scorn every man that has ever approached me in my life, but him I couldn’t. Every man in my life has been so much easier to lose. But three words slipped from my mouth that night, words he, and I certainly was not expecting.

I forgive you.

Suddenly 312 days of hurt and brokenness were lifted away. I heard a laughter of relief over the phone and I joined him. We were 500 miles away, but I felt closer to him than I ever have been before. We didn’t exactly know where we were going after this, and we weren’t quite sure how to fit in each other’s lives, but I knew we were going to find a way.

It had been 16 months before we met up once again and I dropped everything in my hands when I saw him as I ran to embrace him with a long overdue hug. He had kept his beard, and I could have sworn he grew taller and more built. Our eyes finally met, and I knew he was looking at me the same way he did before, and I as well. But it no longer hurts, now both of us see a future, just not with each other, but still having each other in our lives. I love him, but he’s not mine to love. But all I knew was my final memory of Nicolas was not going to be him leaving, I refused. Everyone else can be a ghost of my memory, I didn’t care how, but we were not going to leave things the way they were. I didn’t demand an apology I had no agenda, I just knew that I loved him, I wanted my best friend back.

And I have him back.

And I’ve never been happier knowing that.

Nowadays we have a million things to do in our daily lives, but he’s know I would be there for him in a heartbeat. He is still my rock, my best friend. I wouldn’t change anything about me and Nick’s relationship now. I take comfort in how forever still can happen as you grow older, but it just might look a little different.

It’s been three years, and though Nicolas and I can sit on the phone for hours, watch movies and talk about our ridiculous fears together, every now I think about the year in between, the year I felt empty, looking for his face in the crowd, even though I knew he was 500 miles away. I think about how I searched for closure in everything and everyone else in my life, lying about being okay when I knew that he, at the time, was the only one who could help me.  I wonder if he blames himself as he watches me go to the wrong thing, get hurt again. But I don’t blame him- he is my little sliver of hope, the tiniest little bit that even if it’s not what I wanted, love isn’t always going to give me what I want, but it’s going to give me what I need. However, I hold those words back.

Lately, I’ve been spending time with “The Boy Who Could Mean Something to Me”. One day he makes me smile a little too much, and starts to calm my doubts, slowly becoming the person I turn too. Suddenly I can’t breathe, the fear that I’ve been through all of this before is overwhelming. I want to halt every feeling I have. Every fiber of my being just wants to freeze up. As if I already know where this is heading. And for the first time in 3 years, I remember how it feels like to be broken, not because I am, but because I’m afraid to be again.

It’s what has brought me to call Nick a little past midnight. So, after stalling for 40 minutes, I finally build up the courage to talk about us. “Nicolas,” I start hesitantly, he knows whenever I use his full name he knows I’m to say something serious, “ There’s this boy, and I haven’t been this scared to lose someone… well, since I lost you. It’s coming back to me Nicolas. What if he leaves, what if he doesn’t love me back? I’m supposed to keep moving forward, I know that, I always know that. But he’s becoming my best friend and… I lost you and it broke me.I’m just… I’m scared ”

Nicolas is taken by surprise, but he speaks, “Has he told you he isn’t going to hurt you?”

“Yes. But, they all say that, you said that once,” I respond with bitterness in my tone. I know I’ve stunned him, but Nicolas knows it’s not his place to tell me I shouldn’t still be hurting. “And that’s why I’m calling you Nick, because of what happened with us, I can’t bare to happen to me ever again.

“Do you love him Jay,” Nicolas asked. Now I’m the one who is caught off guard. “No,” I answer, “Not yet, or I don’t know if I even want to, if he’s someone I’m willing to trust. All I know is he reminds me of you Nick. The way we started. I feel like it’s happening all over again I feel like I’m 18 again, and I’m scared to even let it begin, to figure out what he means to me.”

“No one else I know has gone through as much trial and error and tried their hardest to learn from it as much as you have.  You’re not 18 anymore, you know that. You’ve grown, you’re stronger than you realize and can handle this more than you give yourself credit for.”

“And what if he hurts me, what if we end badly?”

“Then he doesn’t deserve you, but more importantly, you take control of story. You’re the reason the two of us can talk to one another again, because that’s what you do, you say this is not the way things are going to end. That’s what you did with me, and that’s what you’re going to keep doing.”

I feel like I sound stupid, by now I know that Nick is being incredibly patient with me; still I burst out, “I don’t even know if I am in love with him, he’s just a friend, that’s it that’s all, but just in case he’s not, what do I do.”

Nick responds calmly, “You love him like you loved me, fearlessly, and with no agenda. You don’t even know what this is going to turn out to be, so just love him, and whatever form it’s meant to be, will be. You know  the answer. And you what Jay, one day you’re not going to need me to remind of you this, not because I won’t be here, but instead, you are going to know this yourself”

I know that he’s right, though I never admit that too him. I’ve always had my own way of words. So instead I say to him, “Nicolas, you’re my reminder that even if things don’t happen the way I want them too, it doesn’t have to end. I’m grateful for you, you’re my sliver of hope that things could end up differently for me. It’s just a little bit of hope, but every time I talk to you, It’s there.”

I’m smiling, and I know even 500 miles away, Nicolas is too.

“I love you Nicolas
“I love you too Jay, and remember, you know what to do”

The conversation ends as I look at the clock and know that I have to head inside. I told him that I’ll be in touch soon.

I know what to do.

I get out of my car, finally grasping the energy to begin heading to the door. My smile is still on my face.

Breathe

I’m still exhausted. The consequences of giving people my love still has its marks on me, I don’t know if that ever goes away,

Love fearlessly

I walk up to my front door, finally getting the chance to look  at my notifications. “The Boy Who Could Mean the World to Me” has sent me a few text messages, he’s still awake too. Am I falling in love? I’m not even sure. Right now I know that he makes me happy, I just don’t know in what way yet.

Love with no agenda.

“I’m trying, Nicolas,” I whisper to myself, “No promises.”

Exhaustion

In a typical movie scene, a girl would be sitting alone on a park bench, reading, texting on her phone, finishing her bagel. Suddenly her silence is interrupted, a man approaches her, telling her that he just couldn’t walk by without calling her beautiful. The story would continue to play out the two would fall in love, they would fight, make up, or move a thousand miles away from each other, yet they overcome every single obstacle, ending with them both confessing how they never want to be without each other again. It’s raved by the hopeless romantics.  They long for the day they have a love worth fighting for, a story worth telling to young and new lovers.

The cookie cutter boy meets girl story trope was one that I use to dream about. I would watch the romance movies, crying over the two lovers that are fighting against all odds to be together, craving and wanting that for myself. My heart was given out to anyone who gave me any sort of attention, open to any possibility to begin my story.

It almost seems so long ago, yet I know that not much time has passed at all, because now I no longer even let the story begin. I’ll sit by myself, eating that same bagel, perhaps reading a different book. Then mid- sentence, my attention is attempted to be shifted towards the man trying to speak to me. “My I just have to say, you’re so beautiful, would you love like to go out sometime.”  I remove the headphone from one of my ears; thanked them for their compliment and decline as politely as can. At times they are understanding, embarrassed, but kindly smile as they thank me for my time. But more times than I can count, they persist, and I realize my politeness has come back to bite me, I should really know better by now. Aggressively, I repeat my answer, sending them off on their way. And under their breath before they turn around completely, I hear them say ever softly, “What a bitch.”

I pat myself on the back, telling myself that I’ve done well. I’ve collected all the different names I’ve been called by men: crazy, whore, etc. But “bitch” is by far my favorite to be called. Men use “bitch” as a name to call women who have decided to take charge of their own story, to not have it dictated by the opportunity to find love through a male.

Right now, I wonder if I perhaps sound pretentious, or insulting. As if I’m trying to say I’m “not like other girls,” the most internalized misogynistic statement I could make. But my words are not meant to hurt my fellow sisters, if anything, I envy the hopeless romantics, and their ability to search for love, eagerly awaiting a new chapter in their lives. They aren’t naïve for their hope, and neither was I.

Three years ago, my heart was open to every single possibility, smiling with every encounter, completely helpless the moment a pair of charming eyes laid their eyes on me, constantly wondering if this would be the one. I was helpless.

And I was in love

My first love was a tall scruffy boy with slightly curly ginger hair, my best friend, my rock and my reason that I had to smile. And on the night he told me he loved me too, I gave my whole self to him, a night that I wanted to last forever. But it didn’t, and neither could we. In the morning he was gone, and he had taken a part of my soul with him. I began to dissolve into an empty void, hoping the men could fill it.

Every kiss that touched my lips left me with a fixation, trusting men to fulfil the craving. Every word lured me in, as I fell in love with their promises to love me forever, to treat me better than the one before, to please me the way I should be. What I didn’t know at the time was men would continue to use me, sliding their hand up my skirt before they even really knew my name. They would take what the want from me, my body, my kindness, my love, take it all for themselves, and leave once they’ve acquired what they need, just in time so they don’t have to give anything back.

Years go by and my body is filled with bruised marks from those I’ve trusted, scars from the amount of times I’ve cut open my heart to give it away. I think and tell myself, maybe I should have stop them, maybe I should have told them they need to do more before I would allow them inside.  But I know my voice is worthless in their eyes, why else would they kiss me more than they allowed me to talk other than to show me what they believe the main purpose of my mouth is is.

Perhaps I have no one else to blame but myself, for my expectations, for wanting to be treated as a human being, and for expecting men to treat me as such, for expecting to care more about my soul and the person I am than the kisses I give them

Instead, men have exhausted my soul, they have exhausted my will to open up. They have done nothing but hurt me.

So as the word bitch crosses their lips, I want to tell them how their brothers have hurt me, how they have drained the life out of so many others like me. I want to tell them how I can’t even risk the possibility of getting my heart broke again, and how I’ve been left with nothing but empty promise.

However nothing comes from my lips expect a smile, as I see that their ego has been bruised, for they have been lump into a generalization of men. They are offended by my rejection, and I want to explain that my “no” is not because of them. Then a realization comes to my mind,  because despite how the years have worn me out, nothing has exhausted me more than my constant feeling that I need to explain myself, when the word “No” is in fact a complete sentence. Because even though they have yet to brace my body and they’ve done nothing to me yet,  I’m exhausted of men believing that I owe any part of myself.

Somedays I’ll stare at a girl, maybe younger, maybe older, and wonder if her soul has been exhausted yet. I hope she isn’t, I hope she holds onto the possibility of a story that plays out exactly how it’s meant to be.

As for me,

I’m exhausted, let me be.