Monday, November 10, 2014

A long list of ex-lovers.

My roommate mentioned that when she listens to a song, she can remember the circumstances she was in when she first listened to it; the people she was with, where she was, and how the song was played.

This reminded me of something I've become consciously aware of in recent weeks - when I think about moments in the past ten or eleven years, I can also very clearly remember who I had feelings for at that time. In the same way that people look back and remember the periods when Heelys (still totally kind of bitter that I never had a pair), Mighty Beanz, and Silly Bandz were the hottest fads, I can tell you who I liked in October 2005, April 2008, or January 2013. This blog is good evidence that I had a whole bunch of feelings, and they were intense because I ruminated over them a lot. It's weird, but I've only just realized that instead of just being more outspoken and expressive about my romantic feelings than my peers, it's possible that I grew up genuinely having these feelings take up more space in my brain, my room in my heart, and more time in general than others. I'm not really sure why that was the case, and I don't really think that's too important. But I'm realizing all this now as I experience an absence of these feelings.

For the first time in seriously over a decade, I don't like anyone.

I don't know about you, but this realization is really shocking on a personal level because I can't remember the last time I didn't have someone that I was constantly daydreaming about, someone who was my last thought before falling asleep and my first when waking up. It's so weird to me, knowing that this is probably the case and has been for many, many people. I feel strange not having a specific name come to mind when I need a date for the upcoming dance instead of a list of potential options.  These days, I wake up thinking classes. Or a funny thing that someone said at dinner last night. Or that maybe I should vacuum the floor. Or nothing memorable, really. For once, I'm not trying to catch a particular person's eye - I have nobody's schedule secretly memorized so that I can "accidentally" run into them. It's weird. I was in the library cafe earlier today and this guy from one of my classes whom I think is attractive walked in. I acknowledged his presence, and went back to writing my economics notes. It didn't hit me until like, an hour later, that this was not how I would have reacted in the past - I think I would have like, bought another cup of coffee even though I didn't need it just so I could talk to him (or creepily lust after him) in the line. Today, this guy didn't matter enough to me to warrant stopping what I was focused on. It's only just dawned on me that a lot of the decisions I made in the past showed how high boys were on my mental list of priorities. In the present, my priorities are different now.

That's not to say that I don't find anyone attractive (well duh, since I just said that someone is attractive), or that I'm actively avoiding being in a relationship. There's just nobody that has caught my eye, and I don't really feel the need to have my eye on anyone. It's been oddly liberating to realize that the things I already have - phenomenal friends, goals ahead of me, my health, and my studies - make me beyond satisfied. I still occasionally talk about guys in my past but I'm sometimes I talk about it simply for the sake of talking about them; they leave my mind fairly quickly after their name leaves my mouth. I think I talk about them sometimes because that's just what I always did and it feels strange not doing so, but I'm recognizing now that I don't really care and this recognition is probably going to change things. With hindsight, a lot of the feelings I had were at least partially due to this never-ending need to want somebody. In the event of a wounded heart, I would un-want a person by channelling my heart and soul into wanting someone else because no, these feelings could not simply cease to exist. I said many things that cannot be unsaid, performed gestures that cannot be undone, and stretched relations past a threshold of repairable with certain people all in the name of my feelings in the past ten or eleven years. I was brave and open-hearted and also kind of...not where I am now. I am grateful that there's nothing specific that I truly, truly, regret and I also don't wish to disregard the things that mattered to me in the past just because of a change in perspective. But I think a distinction can be made between downright regret and thinking that I wouldn't necessarily do the same in my current frame of mind.

Two of my friends are in what I consider the best romantic relationship I know in real life; they show me how it ought to be and honestly, sometimes the way they love quietly or when they think nobody's looking makes me question the legitimacy of my previous feelings. If my two friends are in legit, mature, long-term love (or at least relative to myself), maybe I've never really felt it and maybe I'm not ready for that yet. I recognize this now, and somehow I'm okay with that. I'm fairly sure that at some point, I will like someone great and I will like this person in a way that maybe I can't imagine now. I'm guessing that I won't be fighting for it and feeling like I'm fighting with so little, fighting purely on my own and in my head. That's not what it's supposed to feel like, and I'm no longer addicted to making the worthless worth something. I'm in a great place right now even though I don't have a significant other, and I can't believe I didn't reach this whole understanding sooner. Paradoxically, I think this puts me in a healthier position than ever before for a good kind of romance.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


I maintain
that I was the one who loved him the
most. A hundred forty decibels -
the only way I know how to love.
A person dies when you say their name
for the last time; I wish he were a
ghost. But he is not

I am damned
if I ask questions and look like I
care. I would rather care more than less;
rather sadness and fighting self-doubts
than make you feel, do, that, for you are
such a simple soul it would not be
fair. And I am not

I am damned
with silence; they are watching me for
signs. I was supposed to cry and wilt,
like flowers that almost outlived us.
The relentless storms were going to
consume us anyway; so I am
fine. Though you have her

She will not
be your first sleepless night, for it was
me. Not your first love letter; I keep
it in my drawer - your misspellings,
threat-induced words, frantic scrawl, and all.
Not your first time feeling like you were
free. Though not for long

But she will,
or at least, I hope, be some of your
firsts. The first time you say "I love you"
for no reason, the first time you feel
you can be you without judgement that
lies still before erupting - we were
cursed. And we both knew

I maintain
that I loved him so, it stretched past my
mind. A hundred forty decibels -
the only way I know how to love.
They say true love should morph into a
"we had our time", ethereal
kind. But it has not.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

"The Temporary Guest"

I wake up before you; a general recurring trend.
I normally sleep well but my eyes open wide
- wider than our potential -
because everything is sweeter when nothing is promised.
I memorize your humble abode faster than I ever have for school;
the colors of the painting on the wall,
the way your clock doesn't have all the numbers.

The leaves and dirt my boots left on the floor
are incongruous to the rest of the room,
as unwelcome as my expectations are
in the places where I meet people like you.

The uncomfortable truth is that I would rather look everywhere but behind me -
I'm afraid that if I look at you for too long
I'll ascribe poetic beauty to your features
and fall for them until they are a source of hurt.
I'm afraid that if I look at my past,
I'll know that the right thing to do is to leave
Before you can leave me without having been present.
I don't want to leave because it's cold outside;
at least it's warm when you hold me, even if you're not towards me.

Every Friday, we become generous individuals,
giving up our inhibitions,
our time,
half a bed,
our personal space,
anecdotes to put a story behind the face,
but not the fear of commitment.
Every Friday is the best thief yet;
they always come and go without a trace.
Fridays leave no messages, no desire to happen again.

The sun comes up and we intertwine fingers.
I like this. I try to differentiate that from I like you
and I tell myself I would still enjoy this if you were someone else.
But I don't like that this thought is reciprocated.
Does that mean I like you?

I lie here, realizing I've got your shirt on the wrong way round
and I could say the same about my head.
I put your shirt on the right way and will my head to switch likewise -
it's Saturday. On Saturdays, we wear indifference;
we pick up the walls we took off last night and get dressed.

"Thanks," I say as I get out of your car. "I had a good time."
I shut the door behind me
Knowing that was also the moment I left your world
for I was only a temporary guest.
I clutch my small bag of amenities;
your words, which I will replay and recount to keep Friday alive,
your phone number, which I will never call,
my unjustified confusion,
and go back home.

Monday, October 20, 2014

When your heart is broken in a sophisticated way: An open letter.

Hey you.

I know you hesitate to say you're hurt because you don't like the connotations that come with being hurt; that you're weak, that you somehow allowed yourself to get hurt even though this whole time you expected this would happen, and you tried to brace yourself for it. You think you don't deserve to be hurt because none of this was a surprise; you are only disappointed because as much as you don't want to admit it, at the back of your mind you had expectations and hopes and dreams. You don't want to say you're hurt because having a broken heart suggests a sense of dependence in a way you wouldn't dare to acknowledge - you are independent, smart, beautiful, funny, and you know it. You knew it before he stumbled into your life. You still know it, and you still believe it. You're too sophisticated for this broken heart business. That's way too simple, too all-encompassing. Surely someone with a broken heart is, well, too broken-hearted to function elsewhere in life?

You're silly. You can call it whatever you want and you don't owe it to anyone to diminish how you feel. It's okay to admit that right now you're looking for someone to be the things he couldn't be just to remind yourself of how sorely he lacked in what he lacked. You can indeed be sad...but also genuinely be pretty happy about everything else in your life. You don't have to prove yourself worthy of saying you're disappointed by being disappointed about everything. Be sad, accept you're sad, but keep doing what you're doing. Be pleased about how you're handling everything much better than you used to in the past when you were hurt like this. It's not because you had lesser feelings than you did; give yourself some credit for having grown up and having built a person, a mind, and a life that stands even when you don't have that certain someone standing next to you.

The next thing - you know everything is going to be okay. This is a useless, trite phase that you believe in the bigger picture but not in the moment. What if you never forget the night you still consider to have been one of the best in your life? What if it was just another night to him? You felt a pretty instant connection, you kissed so naturally, and you made yourself study his features carefully when you woke up before he did because you already suspected you might not get many chances to do so; the little scars below his neck, the way he held on to you in a way that he never did whilst awake, figuratively...what if these memories never stop making you smile like you did the whole weekend after that night? That's also okay. You're allowed to keep these fond memories and move on.

You say it hurts more because you believed you had a chance and had the possibility to see what you wanted to see. You wish you knew that it was essentially an unrequited crush. No, not "essentially", it was.

And that's okay too. You opened your heart and allowed yourself to have all these feelings; good and bad, and it defied all the times you said you were going to protect yourself. You know deep inside that love makes you crazy but it propels your mind and heart to a place many people are afraid to go to or even admit they want to go to and you know you're not about the fear-filled life. You know it's amazing. You know you'll be back because being able to feel these things is beautiful and you're strong enough to do it again.

Love, me.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"The Photo Album"

Burgundy fountain.
I'm sitting down, standing up, falling, walking
I remember and forget like a camera;
Capturing sights, emotions, colors, words, fear
Larger than life, sharper than the best resolution
But when the photos are developed - 
What happened between each of them?

Hospital? Oh no, no, no.
NO. No, no, no. No. Please. I can't.
It hurts. Why does it hurt so bad?
I want to stop hurting, to stop causing a scene.
I would give anything to be invisible right now.
I promise you, I'm normally a pretty nice person. 
I'm so sorry.
I feel your judgment and indignation; I feel my own too
I'm the person I never thought I would be; I believed I was better than this.
You will tell me tomorrow that it happens to all of us
But you look at me in a different way - pity, anger, embarrassment
And I deserve it. I really do. But what can I do to undo the damage?
"Sorry" won't clean your shoes, mend your reputation, or give you back the concert you missed.
I should leave, but I can't do it
How do you walk? 
How have I regressed to this level?
Click. Clop, clop, clop. Cold breeze. Forget. 
Click. Clop, clop, clop. Lobby. Forget.
Click. "Is she okay?"
Your voice when you answered. I want to forget.
Click. Bed. 
Pitch black.