seesaw song

Heart is heavy with awareness of end. Heart is nervous to be vulnerable once again. Heart is in exhaust from her pulsing, opening and closing and opening again with every cleansing moment, interaction, experience. And Heart sighs of both fatigue and ecstasy at the notion of this continuing on and on and on until Heart’s final breath.

There is so much to consume and digest and cultivate and I want to do it all. Every party foul and embarrassing stammer and ugly hairstyle that defines the teenage experience, I want it. All the heartache and swooning and exhilaration and malaise, the angst. I want it all, fully, but so often I find myself retreating to places that offer safety, familiarity. (Here, that’s usually my bed.)

So I bounce between extremes. Periods of chasing newness and excitement followed by those of safety and regularity. It is always fear that leads me to recede. But then again, there are times when I exhaust myself with false ecstasy, and these points constitute solitude as necessary for reflection and healing.

Thus, balance has been a theme of my learnings as of late, as I try to navigate between amplitudes of different signs, different natures, different realms. Being critical of my actions and mannerisms in deciphering in what ways they’re in conflict with my beliefs and intentions, but being gentle enough so that I don’t sink in tendencies of self-destruction. Learning how and how not to be loving towards others in accommodation with keeping distance from those who inhibit my own growth. Finding a state of vulnerability that is open enough to expose newness and opportunities to expand my experience, but not so severe that the tiniest trigger could catalyze a receding into my lonesomeness once again. Equilibrium is hard, so hard, to attain in such a dynamic experience, and I’m stumbling through the turbulence of my headspace, feeling very alone in my chaos… but I’m learning. It’d be foolish to expect grace and poise in that.

I hold the intention of embracing my experience, my role in my experience, both as actor and receiver. Trying to be compassionate enough to accept that where I am on every axis is nothing short of perfect. When I speak in class, my face flushes and my eyes water and my voice wavers. Sometimes I compulsively offer unnecessary commentary because I’m not yet completely comfortable with silence. I am not always the nicest person I can be in every single moment. Thinking about my body makes me not like myself a lot of the time, but some of the time it makes me like myself, and I don’t agree with either of those responses. I am ignorant, young, naïve, and learning. And that is really-very-super duper-in-all-ways Enough.

My heart is calm and open enough to say that and believe it in this moment of time, but I predict not pessimistically, but realistically, that pretty soon, I will be thinking up all the ways in which I could be or be perceived as inadequate and why that’s the reason I can’t fulfill long term goals or have confidence in a romantic relationship or make new friends in an environment that is actually ridden with potential pals. And that’s also okay.

Earlier in my experience, I might not even have allowed myself to toy with the notion of accepting my current position in the universe. That I can imagine doing so is evidence that I am growing. I embrace myself and all others as collective teachers. Here lie my thanks, which I will continue to give until Heart rests in finality.

 

stream of consciousness rant | may 14 2017 12:38am

i am asian and small but not skinny and right now my hair is blue and purple and shaggy and layered and i am curves in a room of polygons. my heart sinks at the thought that i will never feel capable of being in a real and fulfilling romantic relationship and it sinks deeper in knowing that it is all due to my own sense of self-doubt and inadequacy and it sinks deeper at the notion that i even base my worth on relational measures but is that not the experience of the Woman? more than ever i am connecting with my womanness and how that has shaped my entire consciousness, my double consciousness, both my own seeing eyes and the eyes seeing me, observing me, evaluating me, judging me and it’s a plague, a painful illness that runs through my blood, permeating my physical, mental, emotional, spiritual experience and making me heavy with dread, insecurity. i’m recognizing so many ways in which i’ve inhibited myself with judgment and anxiety and a lack of nurturing and it hurts me and i know it isn’t but it feels irreversible because habits stick and tendencies are familiar and comfortable i am too scared to be vulnerable again i am too scared of allowing things and people to enter my life in new ways because there is as much potential for pain and suffering and a furthering of this destruction as there is a potential for love and i know that i grow from suffering and i know that i am learning but how painful it is to have “growth” be my ultimate goal because i am never there i can never reach it and consistency and continuity are tiring and i am constantly lying in the exhaust of my own thoughts and emotions wishing for someone to enter and lift me out of it but i am too too scared to take the hand of anyone who offers it and i am too too scared to ask for one.

each of my fingertips bears its own weight and i am so tired of trying to elevate.

“I felt dull and flat and full of shattered visions.”

There’s something eerily calm, yet quietly dreadful about the gradual recollection of last night’s happenings upon waking. For a moment, reality is blank and emotionless, mirroring the silence of the dead of night. Then, memory reclaims its position, and the darkness grows to be lonely and melancholic. At least on nights like this.

What a queer feeling it is to be made a fool of! (But oh so familiar, however undignified or self-pitying that may sound.) Pair it with an instinctive tendency towards magnanimity, and a whole nother array of emotions unfold, contradicting each other with mulish delight. Fortunately (or not-so-fortunately), I’ve had my share of experience with this sort of sticky situation, and over time plus a ton of trial and error,  I’ve fostered up enough of a sense of self worth to understand that people will hurt other people, and that doesn’t mean it’s deserved. I’ve also come to recognize that I have no obligation to stick around if that sort of treatment becomes habitual. (Well, kinda.)

You know how if you say a word enough times, it no longer sounds like a word? It becomes a mere sound- foreign, detached, and without meaning. Try “tree,” for example. Repeat it over and over, and soon enough the vision of branches and bark and leaves and growth and resilience fade, and all you experience is noise.

Now try “sorry.”

Empty apologies. Hearing them is like chewing a mouthful of stale bread with tired teeth – lame, unfulfilling, and exhausting. And painful in some disconnected, background noise kind of way. To try and find a reconciliation between I deserve an apology but not this one, and even I didn’t deserve any of this, not at all.. It’s an ominous tangle of intricacies that I don’t feel I have the emotional energy to even attempt to unravel. And so it sits, limp, like a growing pile of dirty clothes in a dorm room in January, untouched and brewing with passive negligence. 

As much as I’d like to be able to draw a clear, unwavering line between What I’ll Put Up with and What I Won’t Fuck With in terms of treatment, there are most always extraneous factors that come into play, turning every decision into an ultimatum between an all-or-nothing event and a compromise of dignity. Learning what I deserve in relationships has been emotionally tolling enough as it is, but maintaining the level of self respect necessary to call it quits despite the risk of collateral damage is its own multi-faceted, terrifying challenge.

And it hurts, it hurts, it hurts.

Times like these, I have this awful compulsion to cut open my abdomen and purge myself anew. It’s like maybe the confusing, but surely existing, link between mind and body would allow a physical catharsis to catalyze a mental one, an emotional one, a spiritual one. I’ve grown weary of treading this undulating path to nowhere, jumping between homes like they’re lily pads, and fighting to establish a sense of stability while also dreaming of dynamism.

There is, though, a sense of freedom in my sudden detachment from the social situation I’d been borderline idealizing over the past few months. The possibility of it all going south brings forth an opportunity for renewal, an adoption of independence. Company is sweet, but looking back at the times I was all alone here, I recall the serenity found in solitude. I’d walk from place to place and take pleasure in the cool brilliance of the foliage, so vibrant and green and a blatant contrast to my drought-ridden home state. I noticed the trees.

Soon, I’ll be blonde. And maybe this physical change will catalyze a mental, emotional, spiritual one (or maybe I’ll finally glow up and feel a little better about my recently withering, ghostly appearance). But while I wait on the universe to open the floodgates to my germination, I’ll read and write and reflect, and I’ll continue to try to figure out a rapprochement between my relationship with others and that with myself. I’ll treat myself to only that which is ripe and satiating. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll discover that lost-along-the-way overlap between dignity preservation and forgiveness.


Quote from The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.

Seven-Month Story: A Playlist

Seven months of stuff and what comes afterwards:

  1. When I’m With You – Best Coast
  2. Stay – Koko Beware
  3. Cameo Lover – Kimbra
  4. Everything is Embarrassing – Sky Ferreira
  5. Good News – Julien Baker
  6. I’ll Kill Her – Soko
  7. Bruises – Chairlift
  8. getting it on – SALES
  9. Keep Me Waiting – Dana Williams
  10. 400 Lux – Lorde
  11. First Day of My Life – Bright Eyes
  12. Linger – The Cranberries
  13. If I Were A Boy – Beyonce
  14. Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl – Wet
  15. Almost Lover – A Fine Frenzy
  16. Never Wanna Know – MØ
  17. True Affection – The Blow
  18. Almost is Never Enough – Ariana Grande
  19. Do You Love Me Now? – The Breeders
  20. Other Towns and Cities – Camera Obscura

Self-Sendoff: Two Poems

I started these two poems in the few days leading up to my departure from the simultaneous comfort and malaise of my life as a recent high school graduate. Alas, my  habit is to procrastinate on/put off most things, so I neglected to re-tackle these emotionally-jumbled babbles until now. Nevertheless, behold – my one-month-late* post in honor of the dawn of my transition from high school to college, the suburbs to the city, anticipation to action, and all that falls within these realms.


The anticipation of finality and farewells
Has my angst-encumbered, sentimental self
Nimbly tip-toeing around
The vexed question of whether or not
Absence does, in fact, make the heart grow fonder.

Upon reflection of driftwood memories
Of once soul-enveloping  encounters,
I’ve come to see it as negatively parabolic.

It is
After-hours wistful nostalgia,
Gradually faltering shouts into a shared sky,
Scavenged affections found in
Leftover love…

Until
The romanticism of Missing Someone falters.
(I have paper cuts from
Sifting through photographs.)

Or is that just my Cynicism speaking?

Maybe it’s just significance’s association with priority.

Most everything is conditional,
Save one thing –
Love
?

Believing is not the same as knowing.

Which gestures were real?
Which embrace was the last?
Which first impressions were butchered in the making?
My curious, or, one could say, entitled, heart,
Tortured by precarious Perception,
Begs to know.
She pleads, implores!
And to No One in particular.

Is there benefit to omniscience?
Comfort, maybe.
Then again, faith can only be derived from the unknown.

Thus, blissfully ignorant, I continue
Prancing on this wobbly stage
With no grace fit for a ballerina.

I never wanted to be a dancer anyway
But that doesn’t mean I can’t
Twirl and writhe,
Kick and hobble along those vibrations
That resonate with my listening soul.

My partners come and go,
Pirouetting through their transient dance –
I never learned to do more than a double.
Spotting (early signs of decay) has always been a challenge.

But I don’t fret,
For I’ve no problem grooving solo!
I wriggle to the rhythm,
I lift and plant my feet,
I stumble with pride,
I fail, free.


Everything becomes warped when you’re tiptoeing around a deadline
Like some contemplatively rebellious prisoner
With a life sentence to mediocrity
Lest he discovers a hole in the fence.

If I must die, I’ll die trying!

In theory, I choose ashes over dust
Every time.

In waking hours, though,
I am typically trembling,
Terrified of my own nakedness
As if the natural state of my body and soul
Implies vulnerability rather than purity!

But here! Here it is – a gap the perimeter of my hips!
An escape route, a beckon, a magnet
To my iron-plated sense of
Wanderlust…

And oh,
How tiresome this half-assed existence is,
How lonesome my caged soul!
I’m tired of dipping my feet in.
I’m beckoning, “Lazarus, come out!”
I’m generating a self-rebirth.

So what then must be sacrificed?
Perceptions constructed out of fear, insecurity?
Who must be crucified?
A girl going gray in the corners of the room?
Aim your stones, ignite your fires –
I am ready, willing to offer
Whatever it’s worth.


*Posted on October 18, 2016.

scribbly reflection upon loving

it is three quarters of the way into the first hour of the a.m. and although i did four years of weight training on tuesdays and thursdays during the school year, i don’t have a single clue how to handle the heaviness in my core dangling idly from my left breast. my favorite tea got cold twice because i forgot to drink it so i’m resorting to more or less of a mindful ramble to compensate for my utter inability to just sit and brew with these feelings for the time being.

what i’ve realized over the past two months (actually, probably longer, but ya catch my drift) is that it’s so incredibly easy for me to feel insignificant and forgotten. i’ve conditioned myself to love both openly and fully which leaves me feeling immediately dejected and discouraged if someone else doesn’t mirror this type of expression of appreciation. it’s lame though, i give love for the sake of giving love, not with intent of receiving it back. so why then am i so damn expectant of affection and affirmation and attention?

it’s easy to attribute these sorts of tendencies to some twisted social conditioning or even menstruation (these jumbled emotions are typically once every full moon). but there are times at which a deeply empathetic gaze or a hand to hold is infinitely more effective than dissecting the origin story of insecurity and i believe this is one of those times.

it’s ten minutes later, though, and i’m still alone on the couch in a house full of emptiness and i’m feeling quite like everyone but me is having a fucking ball as i sit nested in this blanket surrounded by the storm of Excitement that Doesn’t Include Lauren. i am totally making a victim of myself and i hate it!!!! but dealing with this shit is what this rant is for, so i shall continue with a less critical mind, and with a heart that is more forgiving and understanding towards my troubled self.

i’d say that’s a good start, because an often quoted but not nearly as practiced key element to successful love is being loving to oneself – an act that seems to be astoundingly difficult, especially (and ironically) to those who so naturally share love with others – at least, through my observation. i find it both interesting and obvious that there exists some sort of separation between an individual’s perception of the level/amount of love (can love be quantified?) they believe they are entitled to and that which they believe others are. aaaauuhhh i’m already sick of thinking about this; it always comes back to the same thing – me mentally screaming “LOVE YOURSELF, DEAR! you deserve it, no matter how mean you were as a fifth grader.”
if you (reader) want to reflect further, read The Perks of Being a Wallflower. or just google its most famous quote. i’m tired of this topic, so onto the next.

i’m loosely going off of an article i read recently about love/relationship advice from a nun (linked at the bottom of this post), so bear with me. next thing to jabber about is Reasons for Love. i recently had a conversation with a friend about patterns we’ve witnessed in our attraction to people as potential romantic partners, and i do believe it is important to ask why when being consumed by another person’s apparent greatness.

According to one of the senior nuns, more often than not when she is attracted to someone she realizes she is actually attracted to a quality they have, that she wishes she had in her. So instead of clinging to the idea of being with that person, she cultivates the quality in her.

i think this idea is super duper important, especially for me, to put into practice. i do see self-growth as a huge component of healthy love, and i also recognize that often times, i grow attached to an idea of fostering a relationship with a person based on my admiration of their favorable attributes rather than just appreciating them for what they are and what they inspire me to become. if i can let go of this incessant need to be important to someone i look so fondly upon, i can harvest that energy towards the betterment of my own self, and as a result, be more loving towards myself and thus, more able to love others. it’s a healthy cycle!

next: being present. love is being with someone. not in terms of having a label attached to a relationship, rather, being with someone as in literally just being, with someone. pure, genuine being, free of fear and judgment. this is something i’ve been working on, something that is so stubbornly combated by a desire to prove myself as worthy of love in the first place (see, it’s all twisted). but really allowing oneself to be, without qualifiers, alongside another being is true, honest, open love that leaves space for germination and symbiosis and all that funkin jazz. well, at least i think it does.

mutual communication/respect – this is a biggie! being really real with feelings, even/especially feelings of anger, sadness, etc. towards a loved one is crucial. rather than resorting to resentment and vengeance, i’ve found that an empathetic outlook on all perspectives of the situation and the willingness to express emotions and establish deep understanding is incredibly productive and also just a lot easier and happier and less emotionally tolling! no time for games, lovers!

another thought inspired by the article – “you do not need to be in a relationship to love.” while this segment highlights the lack of a separation between loving ourselves/our peers and romantic love, i also want to touch upon the idea of relationship status and its impact on giving and receiving love. for too long i have straddled two seemingly polar opposite tendencies:
1) being insistent on and open with showing love to most everyone, and
2) concealing feelings of love and deep appreciation in fear of seeming over emotionally invested in a way that scares people who are afraid of and/or don’t desire commitment.
whether with new friends, old friends, acquaintances, strangers, potential partners, people i feel the need to kiss on the face, etc., i find myself alternating between these two types of treatment, and the reason i choose one over the other (subconsciously) is usually based on how certain i am with the status of our relationship or with myself in terms of the relationship. but why should overly-introspective qualms about what-i-am-to-this-person stand in the way of my willingness to love them openly? this goes back to the idea of giving love merely to give it and not necessarily to receive it back, or in the same way. i catch myself worrying about how significant i am in a person’s life, whether i’ll be mentioned in the story they tell their future grandchildren about their young lovers, but for what? why should i fear being the one who loves more blatantly; being emotionally naked does not equate to being weak. vulnerability allows for gaps and crevices to be filled. there is no reason but fear to withhold my passion, and if i must choose between fear and love, i will choose love every time.

when presented with a potential romantic path, i find myself wondering if this person will make me happy and subconsciously evaluating them according to preconceived standards of what i imagine my future lover(s) to embody. a revelation a dear friend had shed some light on this ail of mine; he noted that he doesn’t have to worry about another person being able to make him happy because he, himself, already knows how to be happy. i don’t like to think of love as some sort of completion as much as i like to think of it as complimentary. with that said, there should exist no void that needs to be filled by a person somehow determined to be qualified to do so. if the person does not possess the qualities you’d typically expect in someone you’re romantically attracted to, but there’s passion, dedication, presence… go the fuck for it! love can flourish. however, i don’t want to convey a belief that people shouldn’t hold their relationships to any standards whatsoever. if a person needs certain things such as verbal affirmation to feel comfortable and safe in a relationship, i say, demand it! (and by that, i mean respectfully request it, and if your emotional needs are not met, do not continue to pursue that relationship.) what i’m trying to get at is that love is unconditional. it is not celebrating the discovery of a person who seems to fit all of your criteria for what makes a perfect human. and it is not wishing for a person to change their character to satisfy your own expectations in an idea of what you wish for a partner to be. love is appreciation, love is gratitude, love is acceptance, love is interbeing.

i think one of the most important things i need to remember is that people show love in different ways, and a lot of times, it may be hard to detect, but that shouldn’t allow it to be invalidated. not everyone feels natural saying “i appreciate your existence” even if that’s the most relevant statement one could make. love is in action, and very much so! look for it, give it, and it will be clear and available.

~

most, if not all of these ideas are things i have believed to be true prior to scribbling this all out. but in writing it down, i hope to remind myself of what i perceive to be healthy ways of cultivating love and kindness and compassion and to aid myself in putting these beliefs into practice. o, what a funny change in tone over the course of this persistent blather! no matter how messy/inconsistent, i’ve definitely eased my woes and brought myself back to some of my core beliefs; this catharsis has proved effective B)

so to commemorate this moment of clarity, i will post this muddle of perceptions in hopes that whoever happens to stumble upon it will gain at least a tiny fragment of comfort, wisdom, or understanding. if you’re reading this, know that i am always sending love to the part of you in which the universe resides. peace out home skillet(s), i’m going to bed.


5 Suprising Lessons I Learned From Buddhist Nuns About Dating and Relationships – Jessica Seeman

go on home now

I’d never really thought about the phrase “losing one’s life” until this morning. Up until now, it had only existed as another euphemism for the ultimate end – Death; and I, for one, am not typically fond of those.

Euphemisms, though, imply some sort of dialing down, lessening the intensity of a situation. But after some amount of contemplation, to “lose life” seems pretty damn intense in my opinion. Life itself encompasses the merging and splitting of cells, the circulation of blood, the constant involuntary motion within one’s body – millions of cells working towards a unified intention of sustaining the health and livelihood of a single being. It involves the potential to grow, the sharing of energy, consciousness, movement, vitality, and more abstractly – ambition, emotion, empathy. To put an abrupt end to all these things creates a massive void, which is then filled with grief, mourning, sorrow, hope, acceptance, et cetera by those who can be considered lucky enough to still be able to feel them in the first place. Losing life, thus, seems to be a very big deal.

If you’ve ever seen a dead body, unmoved since its heart stopped, you might be able to understand the feeling of emptiness in one’s chest upon first noticing the paleness of the skin, the limpness of the limbs. Feet resting upon a table in front of a television in an asymmetrical fashion, arms lying quietly upon the arms of the chair, head tilted back, mouth hung slightly open. They say, “See, this is how he died. Just like that. Peacefully.”

You look down at his feet. Skin light and yellow, somewhat translucent, veins visible. His toes look stiff. They’re reminiscent of photographs of the mummification process you saw years back in one of your history classes. But your reaction to them is different than that to the photos. You don’t really notice it though, until you see his hand in Grandma’s. You realize that blood is no longer actively flowing into his fingertips; that’s why they’re so white and hers are so pink. She lets go for a bit, using the backs of her fingers to try to lightly push his mouth closed, but it doesn’t work. His muscles aren’t working anymore, your aunt reminds her. She goes back to holding his hand. You look at your own hands, bending, then straightening your fingers.

There are framed family pictures all over the walls. Your sister taps your shoulder and points to one in the adjacent room; it’s of you and your siblings. You realize he probably saw it every time he walked into the kitchen for water or a snack.

You look around and see your aunts and uncles trying to maintain a collected composure, trying to be objective – this is business that needs to be attended to; the ambulance people are waiting outside; come on now, say good-bye, this is the last time you’ll see him, go ahead. You see their lips purse slightly for just a fraction of a second, their damp pupils, and you want to tell them that it’s okay to show grief. Your cousins are standing and sitting, all eyes pointed on their grandfather’s body resting on the chair across from them. Your brother is crying. Your sisters are crying. You are trying not to make this about yourself, but you, you are crying, too.

You approach the body on the chair and touch its hands. They’re not yet cold, but you can feel the lack of heat, energy. You put your arms around its torso, pull yourself closer. You realize it’s not quite the same when the arms are dangling limply rather than tight around you.

Your dad approaches his own father. He’s doctor-like in his ways, stripping away the medical equipment that no longer serves any purpose. He’s son-like in touching the man’s face, holding his feet, his hands. He offers to pick up the body to place on the gurney, to which the undertakers reply, “You can certainly help if you’d like to.” You’re angry in realizing that this is a job to them, just another thing to take care of. They’re probably slightly uncomfortable in this crowded apartment full of people speaking another language, people trying not to cry loudly. But they have to understand that this is real to us, this is not just a body. This is our grandfather, dad, husband. This is not just a body, this is not just a job.

Your grandma remains sitting beside her husband of over fifty years as her children dress him in a collared shirt. His head bobbles up and down as they try to sit him upright and slip his arms into the sleeves. She touches his hand another time, holds it between hers.

Your dad, in one last act of heroism, carries his father in his arms like a baby. The process has come full circle. He places him on the stretcher, where his children fiddle urgently with his clothes, pulling the fabric under him so that he can lie comfortably. Your grandmother lingers at the foot of the stretcher, touching her husband after every layer of cloth placed over his body. Her jaw is quaking and she is mumbling words undiscernible. They buckle him up and place the last layer atop his body – a stiff green fabric with the word “Dignity” embroidered in fancy lettering on the side of it. Who the fuck was paid to think of that?

Everyone follows the women guiding the stretcher out into the hallway. They probably feel a little uncomfortable, you think, but what does that matter? This isn’t just a job to us, this is real.

Some of the kids take the stairs while the adults wait for the elevator to come back up. You arrive in the parking lot just as they’re preparing to load the body into the trunk of the van. You are repulsed at the idea of your Ông nội being seen as a package to transport, rustling around in the back as they drive carelessly away. This isn’t just a job, why don’t they fucking understand that?

You watch your grandma as her chin quivers, her elbows bend, her hands reach out nimbly to nothing. Her children tell her that he needs to be taken away now. Her head falls slightly to the side as her eyes stay fixed on the gurney, now resting in the trunk of the business van, that stupid van. The ladies close the trunk one door at a time. The first woman closes the door mindfully, but it makes a loud noise. The second doesn’t even keep her hand on the door as it closes; she just gives it a forceful push and it slams in front of everyone. You want to scream at her that this is not just a fucking job. She hugs your dad and says she’s Sorry About His Father. He nods and thanks her for her help.

Your family members step back onto curb as the ladies drive away, the stupid business van’s rear lights getting smaller and smaller until they disappear around the curb. Everyone lingers for a second not knowing whether or not to move, speak, touch. One by one, you all turn back towards the double doors and head back inside.

Your dad tells you to say good-bye to your grandma. She sits in the same chair she was in earlier, accepting condolences from a single file line of grandkids as she tells each one to go home, go home now. There is a distant look in her eyes; the corners of her mouth are angled downward as she squeezes your hands and tells you again to go home.

The car ride back with your siblings is quiet, save some sniffles and a couple of remarks about the heavy mist. Your mom is asleep when you get home. You wonder when she’ll find out, and from whom. You don’t usually hug your brother and sisters good-night but you do this time. You think about writing about this night. You think about crying. You fall asleep with the lights on.

 

Letters to:

As the end of high school (and along with it, the end of seemingly all things) approaches, I can’t help but to reflect upon and reminisce about K-12 relationships, flings, interactions – of the generally romantic appeal. It seems that the majority of mine have withered away into feathery fragments of either ash or dust, or a combination of both. While I have familiarized myself with the idea of acceptance, particularly the kind that must accompany a lack of closure to feel at peace, I do have a few things I’d like to say or wish I’d said. With the acknowledgement that phone calls or invitations to reflect over coffee may not be the most appropriate approaches in context, I confide in you, dear blog, as an outlet. Or maybe I’m just too lazy or overwhelmed or anxious to reach out directly. Whatever the case, here I am now, and here are the things I’ve got to say.


a.m.

My AOL password in 2007 was “ilove[your name].” I haven’t spoken to you in years.

a.s.

I was pretty bummed each time you didn’t ask me to be your square-dancing partner. I was also pretty bummed when you asked me out on behalf of your best friend (cause let’s admit it, you and I definitely liked each other).

s.h.

I still have those lengthy e-mails from our fight after I unknowingly rejected you and you called me a b*tch at your summer party (that was a big deal in fifth grade). They’re in a folder called “Better Forgotten But Not Deleted.” Lol.

a.r.

We dated for two days, I believe, during which you picked out a necklace for me that I paid for myself. One night while I was at rehearsal, you called to break up with me to which I responded with relief. Nothing against you, I just had no clue what to do in a relationship in the first place. Also, I’m pretty sure the first time you asked me out, I declined because I “wasn’t allowed” to date.. Guess those first couple months of middle school taught you persistence. Anyway, now you’re slightly taller with funny tattoos in weird places and I’m wondering if you remember our short-lived, sixth grade romance (if you can call it that).

c.f.

It was sweet and innocent and adorable. Puppy love, I think that’s the term. I’m still slightly annoyed at the fact that you kissed another girl on the cheek when you couldn’t even hold my hand without our fingers being forced between each other by another sixth grader. But really, I think that just meant you were nervous, and that you liked me, like for real. So I’m not too annoyed.

r.k.

I was stuck on you for a long time because of how close we were. Those times spent Skyping, playing online games, and walking around North Park because we were middle schoolers who couldn’t drive.. They were so pure, and really freakin’ fun, might I add. Although nothing worth a label manifested between us, I cherish those memories and our then best-friendship dearly. Those were some real good times.

j.g.

I think of you from time to time and hope you’re okay. What you did to my emotionally inexperienced, tween self was pretty brutal, but I accept your apology (in part because it led me to delving into the music of one of my now favorite artists). I wish I knew of a way to reach out to you, although I’m not quite sure if you’d be open to that. Regardless, I’m sending well wishes to your mind and soul. Hope things aren’t too rough wherever you are.

r.g.

To be quite frank, all I remember is I liked you a whole lot, and you liked my best friend a whole lot, and it sucked. But it’s all good now, and I’m always hoping for your wellness.

a.o.

I was thirteen. To give you a little bit of context, I was thirteen with an almost unbelievably optimistic attitude towards romance and a capacity for compassion that you didn’t for an instant hesitate to twist and take advantage of. I still don’t see the purpose or benefit of dragging me (and plenty of other people) along like something stuck to the rear bumper of a car on the highway, but I’m thinking it’s something about power. Anyway, I hope you learned something after I dragged you through my thought process exactly a year later. Now that I think about it, you’re probably the reason I’m so disillusioned by charm.

j.c.

I remember thinking to myself before I called it off, “you might regret this, but just remember it’s certainly what you wanted at some point in time.” I don’t necessarily regret it, but I do wish I hadn’t been so intimidated by your all-around greatness, so influenced by all the watchful and envious eyes of other clueless high schoolers, so uneasy about my level of adequacy. Had it not been for those hindrances, I assume I would  have seen it as less of a wasted opportunity. Regardless, it’s done with, and you seem to have really grown into yourself and the person you’d like to present yourself as. Not that it means anything to you, but I do miss that slightly scrawnier, more openly intellectual version of you from years back. I was really enamored by him – almost as much as I was bewildered at the idea of a dude as cool as you finding interest in a person as self-doubtful as I was. 

r.l.

Sorry you had to go through my naïve, idealistic phase of crushing on cute, musically-inclined boys. But I really did appreciate your dorky, slightly embarrassed way of going about things, your talent, but most of all, your appreciation of genuine kindness. Sorry she screwed you over, you didn’t deserve that. 

d.l.

Thinking of my interactions with you makes me feel gross. I don’t care if that sounds cold – in fact, it should. It’s interesting to me how being screwed over can induce two polar opposite reactions: completely avoiding that kind of treatment towards others, and mirroring it. Regardless of how damaged you were, there’s no justification for manipulating my emotional vulnerability, especially in that way, in that context. You know that kind of thing sticks with people, right? You know that it can corrupt a sense of trust, a comfort with intimacy? Thanks for that. 

m.d.

So many little questions left both unasked and unanswered, and for so long, there’s not really much to say at all. Though it looks as if you’re happy, and so I feel there is no other appropriate response than to feel happy for you!

j.r.

Looking back, I realize that making you wait a day for me to turn you down in person could have been very misleading. I just wanted to give you the respect of a face-to-face conversation, but I’m sorry if I had gotten your hopes up. It’s not that I didn’t/don’t appreciate your many admirable traits; there just didn’t exist an organic romantic attraction for me. And as much as everyone pushed me to “give you a chance,” I didn’t think you deserved to be put into that guinea pig-like position. I hope you know that I really do appreciate your sweetness and all. And I hope you’re happy and never settling. You deserve more credit than your friends ever gave you. 

m.l.

I don’t think you’ve ever understood my resentment towards you, so let me try and spell it out. It was a couple of years of on and off mutual feelings (for lack of better words), but apparently it was never enough for you to act upon. That’s the thing, though. You were so important to me at the time, and I know I was important to you, in some form or another. But you never offered any validation of that, any clear indication of your care for me except for the recurring “I miss you’s” after I’d get sick of feeling undervalued and drift away. Then some other person is brought into the picture (inorganically, mind you) and suddenly, you’re capable of affection? Bullshit. And to add to that, the only times you’ve reached out to me since then was when you were no longer obligated to her emotionally, which leads me to feel inclined to again call – Bullshit.

t.s.

Yeah, we never dated, despite everyone’s insistent, behind-the-back remarks. But I do love ya, man, lots and lots and lots. And I really believe that the care I hold for you surpasses any level of “liking.” No matter how many times I say this, it probably won’t change the outcome of anything, but I’ll give it a shot: please don’t become a Douchebag Frat Boy when you head off to college!!!! Your dorkiness and capacity for love is worth way more than chiseled muscles and a perfected wink. Trust me on this one.

t.p.

That was a momentous night for my adventure-seeking, sophomore year self. I wonder how things would have turned out had I been less apprehensive about everything. Sorry about my mouth, ha. 

e.l.

Things look like they’re going well for you, and that really warms my heart. I hope you’re not intimidated by me; though, it does seem that way sometimes. Trust me, I’m no greater than average, but if it means anything, I really appreciate your passion and drive, and I’m always sending good wishes your way.

c.d.

I remember looking forward to meeting you on the bench at the little lotus pond in between scheduled events. It’s been two years since then, and a year and a half since we met in Oceanside to catch up on New Year’s Day. I’m not sure why we didn’t meet again after that. I wish I’d seen you when you came to visit last summer; I’d heard you had a girlfriend at that point, but it’s not as if I minded. The thing is, you didn’t exist as merely a boy of temporary romantic interest in my mind, but as a person I was fascinated by in general. Unfortunately, it seems that people don’t often distinguish between the two. My hair was shorter than yours back then, I wonder how it compares now.

d.c.

Just a dance – nothing really happened between  us, but at times, I wish something did. You’re a really cool dude. 

t.p.

Not quite sure what went down, but I remember us drifting apart, which sucked in more ways than one. But I’m really glad we’re cool now. Despite our banter over various social issues or whether or not I’m keen on recognizing myself being manipulated by sleazy dudes, I appreciate and care about you a whole lot. You deserve the best, pal.

k.h.

I’ve said it already, but I really apologize for my reaction to your kind words. I know we’ve never been on bad terms, but that was just so bad… Like MTV-cliché-bad.

s.h.

Gosh, that was a weird place for me. As much as I feel obligated to harness some measure of guilt for dropping whatever that was so quickly, I don’t, considering you were dishonest about some pretty essential things from the start of it. It’s a good thing I wasn’t in too deep; I was just lonely at that point, and I realized the fact soon after and called it quits. I think you believed you were into me, but I also think you were just excited like I was – another justification for my not-feeling-so-bad-about-it.

c.b.

The handful of days we spent together were dream-like, to say the least. Granted, I was pretty nervous, so conversation was minimal after that first night under a shooting-starlit sky during which we spilled feelings and insecurities and things of the like. I still wonder why you went about it the way you did. It hurt for a long time, but I’ve grown somewhat accustomed to open ends by now. Our little story is now just another reason for my half-joking cynicism towards romance.

j.e.

It’s hard to explain the way that I am, and the fact of the matter is, you didn’t stick around long enough to grow to understand or accept it. Not to place the blame on you, it’s just that the people who know me best are well-adjusted to my occasional unavailability and closed-offness. It’s just a trait of mine, I guess. But I can see why it could be offensive and why you’d see no other option than to cut the ties, seeing as I didn’t exactly reciprocate the affection you showed me. But I hope you know that even though the romantic aspect of it wasn’t mutual, the appreciation of character certainly was. I can say whole-heartedly that I have yet to encounter a soul as genuine, open, and lively as yours, or one that is as welcoming to growth and intuition. I hope that I never made you feel undervalued. You truly are an exquisitely conscious being. 

y.j.

Sorry I bust out of things so quickly. I’ve realized that commitment isn’t too consistent with me from situation to situation (especially in times of emotional strain). But I’ve definitely been making efforts to make clear my unwavering appreciation for your individualism, kindness, and wit, among your many other qualities to which I hope you’ve been catching on. 

f.n.

It was way too much, too fast. And in the exhilaration of it all, I wasn’t seeing straight. In retrospect, I don’t know how I thought I’d be able to keep that going, especially amidst my emotional oscillations and the chaos of senior year. I’m sorry, I really am, for any pain I may have caused you, directly or indirectly. I hope by now you can grasp that by the end, I didn’t feel heard at all, and after so many attempts at reconciliation and mutual understanding, the best thing I could do for myself in the situation  was to walk away. Now, I ask that you respect that. Talk to people about it if you need to, but please, please respect my privacy and space. Again, I apologize if my choices induced hurt; that was never my intention.

h.w.

Don’t be sorry. The whole thing so accurately captured the teenage recklessness I’d been seeking at the time that I can’t help but cherish that memory, no matter how messy/embarrassing.

r.r.

Agreed.


Until we meet again,

Lauren, lil bean, LBN, whatever you refer(red) to me as

(P.S. If you happen to stumble across this mess, think you may recognize yourself, and want to clarify anything or simply catch up, know that I’m diggity down, and that I conclude this post with an open heart and a mind that is [mostly] at ease.)

“I woke up out of the ether with an utterly abandoned feeling.”

I can clearly recall a single moment last summer during which my perception seemed to abandon space and time.

I’m sitting in a train, facing the direction opposite of which it is headed. The car begins to rumble. Then, the trees in the window gradually become blurred. I feel inertia at work, pulling me in the direction of my gaze, but I am bound to the seat with the outdated pattern. The world outside disappears in front of me to one vanishing point, one I cannot see. Images dissolve. Colors converge. I am left alone.

If anything can describe the isolation that I feel, that I’ve been feeling, it’s those first few seconds of that train ride. I feel stagnant, stuck. The universe is cycling through its imperceptible patterns, and I am the axes on which is rotates. I do not move. I do not progress.

Everyone around me seems to be finding their niche. They’re settling into their own personalized role in this twisted society comfortably and cozily, with even a white picket fence to seal the deal. But me? I still have no idea what to do with myself. I exhaust myself with responsibility, attempting to find meaning in everything I do. AP courses, lacrosse, and the close-to-daily mental breakdowns leave little time for self-expression or reflection. I’m spreading myself out too thin, while also waiting for some overpowering essence to swallow me whole. Maybe that’s the reason I’m feeling so goddamn lonely.

At this present moment, Lou Reed is my only company, and while I typically do appreciate a good amount of alone time, all I’d really like right now is to watch a really good film with someone who maybe doesn’t think I’m a complete and utter doofus. In recent weeks, I’ve been much more aware of my desire for validation, attention, affection, and the way it tinkers and toys with my sense of independence, causing me to feel like a squashed bug flailing its tiny legs around in slow motion. I’d like to say I’ve grown accustomed to the dwindling of relationships, however everlasting they initially seem, but the truth is that I’m not yet, and it stings like hell come time for paths to diverge. Because I don’t believe in half-assed loving; I really, really try show the utmost compassion to everyone I meet. Unfortunately, though, what’s given is directly proportional to what’s felt. So when a dude falls off the face of the earth shortly after I spill every last one of my emotional beans, well, it feels like Utter Shit.

I’d originally planned to conclude this post with a list of the Benefits of Vulnerability or an anecdote about the discovery of my self-worth after accepting the fact that it’s not yet my time to blossom into a lil’ sprout. But I’m angsty and tired and menstruating. I’m running out of energy and still have a twelve-page article to annotate and groceries to buy. And to be quite frank, I just really needed an outlet for this dejection that has consumed me for the majority of this day.

So I’ll spare the positive reflection for another post. Tonight I’ll watch a movie in bed, with popcorn for one, and I guess I’m okay with that. After all, I don’t think of myself as a complete and utter doofus.


Quote from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

“O, our lives’ sweetness, that we the pain of death would hourly die rather than die at once!”

An ever-lingering paradox. An unanswered “Why?” as the downward pull of abstract gravity tugs on my insides, making me heavy. But as I stare at the myriad of hues evolving ever-so-slowly above my stooped crown, I once again discover the remedy to my ails. I look up to find something both tangible and eternally continuous. To what extent it is either, I do not know. I do not care to. I’ve found at least some solace in this mere sight, however fleeting. And that is enough.

It seems that the time line of my life is a severely amplified sine curve, with the y-axis indicating emotion. Neutrality, numbness. Optimism, hope. Contentedness, joy. Bliss, Euphoria. The slope is now zero. I remain for a fragment of the infinity of time, then, the derivative falls below. Soon enough I surpass Upset, Resentful, Numb, and make my way to Depressed and Self-Deprecating, where I reside for a comfortable period as well. Then it’s back up the curve, past a point of inflection/reflection– then, back down again. But to make things even more complicated (as Self-Awareness loves to do), this curve exists in several dimensions, and it’s difficult–hell, it’s impossible to identify any one point, no matter how many variables are given.

As I migrate through this complicated, yet fairly consistent undulation of emotions, I channel my inner Capricorn. Practicality and logic tell me I’m not profiting from any of this, but also that I’m not losing resources either. Somehow, though, that doesn’t seem right.

So, I evaluate my emotions when they are extremities: at the top of a parabolic fragment, I feel elated. I wonder why I-want-to-die was ever a mantra of mine. Nothing is unbearable, I preach to myself, skipping gleefully through a field of dandelions and daisies.

But at the minimums, I become concave. The trajectory of Everything is Shit, I suddenly remember. I am headed the same way. Why not save some time and just end it before I get there? Y’know, cheat the system. Doesn’t that sound appealing?

They seem to be each other’s antipodes. Maximum vs. Minimum, Happy vs. Sad, yada, yadda, yaddah. But how strange is it that these times are oh-so similar in concept? Points with no slope, points known as “critical”, points indescribable in essence. If they were so one-sided, so convincing, why am I not dead by now?

Again, I turn my pupils in the direction of my hairline, maybe hoping for some blatant divine intervention to declare to me, Lauren, you are here for a reason, and that reason is as follows… But then again, maybe not.

I look up and I see vastness. I see unbounded substance. I see palpability–limitless. I see the ultimate paradox of the physical and the not-so-physical world: that nothing exists on its own. If it does, it does not exist. For everything oscillates between and beyond what is and what isn’t, and in that cadence, we find solution somewhere. In the uncertainty of it all, the transience, the flow and flutter, the palpitations. The energy generated from these convolutions keep us drifting through indefinable dimensions, despite lack of direction or drive. The movement is motivation itself; it originates within and without, simultaneously, leading us in every which way but out.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m still confused and crazed and quite dumbfounded, but I’ve some understanding–acceptance that so long as I am sentient, I will never escape this labyrinthine cycle. Without it, I cease to exist. Pain and sweet.


Quote from King Lear by  William Shakespeare.