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.
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.
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.
I like the way you fall asleep all at once or not at all; this or that, never null. You’re like ‘this’ with so many things, ‘that’ with most things. I don’t believe you recognize gray on a color scale (other than to describe my most often mood). You live in extremities while I do my best to merely exist and I envy you for that. Sometimes, I cannot stand you because of that. You see the world in a way that makes me wonder where your brain stores everything your eyes see and how your heart manages to carry the weight of the overflow. You are better than I am; at most things and to most people. I love you in spite of this rather than because of this and that speaks volumes of my intellectual growth. I, too, used to live with such certainty. But mercury went into retrograde, someone too good died too young, constants became inconsistent…I saw the brightest colors fade and the dullest colors darken and I lost track. I lost sight. But you, I see you most clear; a sort of beacon guiding me home.
Fall used to remind me of a boy in gray sweatpants driving around East Lansing, Michigan where the world seemed so big and my future so certainly suburban. But now it’s skyscrapers and skylines you see on postcards and people who do what they say and say what they mean and mean it when they say they love me. Fall, like that boy, used to take me from blooming, to wilting, to frozen-freezing-and most often numb to all feeling for an entire Winter’s time. But now Fall reminds me of a girl who wasn’t sure she could, but certain she should try. And she did, and she tries every day to be better than she was the last time and every Fall since has reminded her how good it feels to let the dead things go.
Some days I wake up sad. I didn’t go to bed angry, hurt, or even hungry but I wake up starving. Starving for sunlight, for substance, for something that fills up all my empty parts. Something that makes every day stand out from the ones that surround it, something that keeps me from blocking days, weeks, and months from my memory. But then I wonder what happens when I find it, what happens when I’m full? And I remember all of the times I thought I was full, but really only full of habits and half-assed love . Stay hungry, sweetheart. Satisfy your cravings but stay hungry and stay hunting until you find what satisfies your soul.
We’re such different people, but still, somehow there is this one small part of the universe where only the two of us exist and we meet perfectly in the middle, but not often enough, not nearly enough.
I tried to remember that I’d still have tomorrow, that there would continue to be blue skies and cold beer and a million other reasons for the world to keep turning, but the bombs exploding in my chest were so distracting.
I just stopped writing. There came a point where it hurt too much to let the pain travel all the way from my heart to my fingertips and on to a page. I didn’t want to dig that deep into myself, leaving a hole I’d inevitably try to fill up again with something or someone I needed to learn to live without. Even if living without them felt like the closest I’ve ever been to dying, it had to be done. So I swallowed my words and held on to my hurt just to know I had something nobody could take away from me.
I’ll love you through the ups and downs, the in-between, and you know that. I’ll be your light in the dark shielding you from the shadows. I’ll keep you warm and comfortable and kiss your flaws until you admire them as much as I do. I’ll talk about your shortcomings as if they give you character and I will do it so often you will start to believe me. You’ll start to see yourself as the man I know you can be and once I’ve given you everything I have and taught you everything I’ve ever learned you’ll leave. You’ll leave me with nothing but the memory of the boy you once were, teaching me the difference between a boy and a man and which ones are worth falling in love with.