Author: tbrumm

I'm a reader, writer, and author with a B.A. in Journalism and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Non-Fiction Writing from The New School. I'm a product of Metro Detroit, but I've been exploring The City for about 4 years. What I've learned? Home is a feeling.

Deja vu

if i look at him straight on i can feel you in the room and if i catch him from behind i can see you face down on gold street hiding your face in a pillow so i couldn’t see you letting go. pushing away. the universe has me looking at a similar face while hearing all the things i needed to hear you say and never did. this is the right place at the wrong time. we were always right time, wrong place. too much space to lose sight, too many winters, too much time for the heavy fog our bodies made to lift. it’s funny how no closure has left me so open. he looks at me the way you did. i lived on that look for years and starved when the electricity shorted. when he laughs i can see you on grove street, i can feel you wanting to love me and not knowing how, i can taste how desperately i thought i needed you to do so.


hey mom,

happy birthday.

thank you for giving me life, love, and the tools to survive both. thank you for spending the majority of your existence in the shadow of mine, casting light on all of my bouts of darkness.

i’ve spent the past 28 years in awe of you, wondering how you do it all and hoping to one day get there myself. you are selfless and strong and i’ve yet to figure out how to be one or the other, much less both. for you, survival seems second nature; effortless and expected. you are a survivor, and for that, i am both proud and sorry. i’d like to see you be able to enjoy a little more and endure a little less. my wish for you is that in the years to come the universe will repay you in full for all the good you’ve done, for opening your heart to everyone and anyone that needed it, for showing me the kind of woman i don’t want to be and for being the perfect example of the kind of woman i can only dream of becoming.

i love you so much.


keep moving

Sometimes you have to take that 40 minute walk to work to remember why the fuck you do this shit – pay dumb expensive rent and race around this city with all the other rats looking for a crumb of success, fame, or just a smile from a passer-by. You just have to turn that new Chance the Rapper all the way up in your headphones and walk down 5th Avenue mouthing “fuck you, fuuuuck you, fuck, fuck you,” with a swag in your step and looking up. Because you haven’t done that since you moved here – looked up – both physically and emotionally. People will stare and you’ll get handed a million tour bus brochures, but you smile and you keep moving because that’s what you do. That’s what New Yorkers do. That’s what healthy, happy, people do. They keep fucking moving.



I wake up every day where I always said I wanted to be and still I wonder if he’ll ever love me like I think I need him to or if I’ll ever again feel as proud as I did telling people I was moving to New York.

He cooks and cleans and walks our dogs in the morning so that I can get that extra 15 minutes of sleep I swear I need to be happy and I spend my time talking myself out of doing what I love most for the fear of finding out that I could get everything I’ve ever wanted out of life and still not be happy; terrified to find out with certainty what I’ve always known to be true: I don’t know how to be happy.

So I am starting my 28th year of life trying to be positive, reminding myself daily how lucky I am just to be breathing, no matter how shallow the breath. I am starting my 28th year by climbing out of a big, dark, freezing, pool of depression and I’m sitting here, clothes still drenched in sadness, and I am trying. I’m walking on sunny sides of streets, I’m drinking more water, I’m brushing my hair at least half of the week and I’m crying during the second to last song at Soulcycle because it’s the only healthy release I know.

I am trying – to kick, push, or even doggy-paddle my way to the other side of this.


Greenpoint Ave.

A year ago I wrote, “Standing on the corner of Greenpoint Ave., I looked up at him and thought, I am not worthy. I am less than.

But time has passed and my hair has grown back down to my hips and we both live in Manhattan, together, and he admits standing in our kitchen that he is not worthy and while he cries I close my eyes and tell myself, You are not too much as a result of his being too little.

I’ve been here before, in this position. It varies, it evolves, but I’m always here: an emotional fetal position. Crippled by the idea that the men I love could ever betray my trust with girls I’ve spent my entire life trying to stand apart from.


Real New Yorkers Ride Yellow

I don’t know a rush like the one I get speeding down west side highway in a yellow cab with the windows rolled down. I smell salt and beer and loneliness lingering in a heavy summer air; all familiar and comforting reminders from my past that I haven’t stood still all this time. I’m no longer stuck or searching for a sense of self in boys or bottles or hiding in the distance between my present and future. I am whole. I am home.


Type A

I’ve been told I have a type: emotionally un-evolved. Not untrue and not the worst thing to be attracted to, but certainly a setback. Certainly something that leaves me wondering what I did to deserve hearing the men I love tell me they don’t know what they want years into our relationship; as if I have the power to keep them from being who they are.


In most recent history, my favorite nights are the ones when we stayed in with lights dimmed low, our current favorites on a loud speaker, and $11 bottles of wine. I’d wear a pair of Calvin’s and he’d wear some hoodie he’s had since college and we found love in the space between the poetic lyrics and soul-shattering musical arrangements that will always resonate with some deep, dark part of who we were before us, and now, and the shallow, lukewarm pool of emotion that we’ve grown used to.


Rain spat in my face…

Kate Nash’s “Navy Taxi” played four times through before I felt woozy from the steam; a fog, a haze. And I’d hoped if I spent enough time there my heart would start to open the way pores do, to release dirt and the debris from being destroyed by the one you love. Softening the layers of dead skin left by this one and the ones before.

This time, it will be different. This time it will be different. This time, it will be, different.

I like my showers hot and my lovers cold and this song to remind me that I over and over choose paths that lead me back to sitting down in showers and standing up for boys who don’t love me the way I need them to. 

I’m stubborn and I’ll shout and I’ll cut you out and I’ll make you feel like I never wanted to make you feel.

Have you ever tried to soften your sharp edges for the sake of fitting into his circle? Filing away until I was as dull as they were. That’s when they each thought they loved me most, when I was no longer me, but more like everyone else they’ve ever loved, lost, or let go of – when I became just another brick in the wall they were building between who they claim to be and the shape they take in the dark.

Sweetheart, don’t let someone put you in a box. 

Or a circle, space, or square of any sort. Because you are fluid, only solid at your core. Ever-changing, evolving, expanding and then contracting with intention because you’ve spent enough time testing your limits to know you can’t always go back to the way things used to be. There will be some who will want to dive into the darkest depths of your ocean; they usually end up surface level grasping for air – used to shallower waters and cursing you for the challenge. This is not a reflection of you. You are not too much as a result of their being too little. You are not what they say you are, not always. You are not a black hole. You are the Milky Way for those who know where to look. You are the answer, the question, and most importantly, a statement; of beauty, and poise, and strength, and stability, and of all the other things that boys don’t truly appreciate until you’re gone. 

So I’ll take all that other stuff that I said before and I’m gonna make it work.