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29 February, 2016

I'm Not Entirely Here, Half of Me Has Disappeared

heart-shaped bruise

✍ CURRENTLY WRITING FROM: SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

On a February night, in a darkened parking lot, Dani slaps my thigh with a rubber knife.  We're learning to deflect knife wounds.  This one, in particular, stings.  I squeeze my eyes shut and make note to check what it looks like the next morning.  I wake up with a heart-shaped bruise.

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Tonight I talked to Amani. She was 2,763 miles away from me, huddled up in a student lounge in Manhattan, while I sat criss cross applesauce in my room, sporting a clay mask and a raggedy I ♡ NY t-shirt. We recounted what had happened to each other since the last time we spoke. I laughed and I laughed and I clutched at my stomach and I realized that Amani radiates the sun no matter what time of day it is.  At one point, she switches to a new topic and begins by saying, "You're an observant person, aren't you?" and my heart swells.  She makes me take a quiz to find out what kind of element bender I am, and one of the questions inquires whether I’m consistent with my emotions and moods, or whether I’m all over the place. I come to the harsh realization that I’m actually very emotionally unstable in the gentlest way possible, and then I laugh about that, as well.

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Somewhere during my freshman year of college, there was a shift in my spirit. That Manhattan winter of 2014 was one of the saddest Februarys I had ever been alive. I noticed there was something different when I walked from Union Square all the way down to Brooklyn Bridge / City Hall, crying at nothing in particular, while snow flurries frizzed up my hair, made my nose pink.

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friends
friends
friends

Cait and Lizzie visit me one Saturday night, which makes me giddy inside, because the space I live in is my favorite place in the world. L. tucks her legs under her and she bounces animatedly, telling us stories about her new relationship. We all begin to talk about what we think love is, and we all come to the consensus that not only are there different kinds of love, but it’s difficult for someone to come up with a correct definition of love if they haven’t been in it.

C. says that she thinks the city we live in is small-town mentality. This makes me frown, because I realize that she’s correct, and I begin to wish I hadn’t left New York and that life hadn’t happened to me and that I was a stronger person than I am now. The wheels in my head start turning, and I become resolute on the fact that I will not grow up and die here.

At some point in the night, C. and L. are curled up in different corners of my bed, busy on their own, a speaker plays chillwave music, and I’m dicking around with a camera. Sometimes they’ll look up and ask, “What song is this?” C. says, “This has been such a good Saturday. I love hang-outs like these. I love your room.” And I feel happiness bubble up inside me, at the thought that people that I love made themselves comfortable in my space.

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summer in februarysummer in february

My mother points at The Kiss by Gustav Klimt, printed onto a canvas and on sale at Goodwill for twelve dollars. Realizing what I’m looking at, I squeal and begin to jump up and down and I grab on to her arm and I’m bouncing and laughing maniacally. Trying to indulge my recent zodiac mania, she tells me that she read in my horoscope that morning that I’d be receiving a surprise from a family member today. She pays for one half, I the other, and I walk out of the store with a canvas that’s larger than half of my height, unable to control my cackling.

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summer in february

Cherry blossoms have started budding in San Diego. I decide that whenever I see one, it’ll be a reminder to stand upright and keep blooming.

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On a day like this one, where communication falls through with another person, I feel it deeply in my heart and it fills my boots, they're heavy for the rest of the day.

I go to sleep and I turn off the light in this room and I put my hands out and walk, in the dark, to my bed.  As my autopilot pulls me there, I remember how, when I was a child, I used be deeply afraid of the dark and its hidden, paranormal unknowns.  Inevitably, I think about M. again.  Twice in one month.  I find that whenever I feel spooked, I think of him, and I wonder whether he'd take care of me and protect me today.

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S. calls me as I'm painting my nails brick red.  "Jess!  Look out your window!"  I tiptoe in my bare feet to the other side of my room and peer into the bushes outside.  In my ear, she says: "Can you let me in?"  I swing the door open and she says she was this close to throwing pebbles to get my attention.  I wish she would have.

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my beautiful yellow tree
trees


A man much larger than I is on the ground, sparring with me, and at one point, he presses my head down on the mat.  He slides his arm around my neck and tries to choke me, and my starfish earring gets stuck to his sleeve.  As his arm keeps pulling, so does my earring.  I tap; he releases.  I reach my hand up to my ear and I feel sticky blood.  I put my fingers to my face.  They're red. I grin at him with satisfaction.

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He says I love you and that's enough for now.

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Traditionally, my brain shuts down emotionally after I've had a good day.  This was no exception.  My boots get heavy while I'm sleeping.  I wake up and my mind is cloudy, my eyes don't want to open.  Where sweet words are lacking, my joy is found in chocolate pastries and the bubbles that form at the bottom of a glass as you're filling it with water from the tap.

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I sit still for the first time all day and I continue to think about my life.  I realize that I'm daydreaming about sabotaging my future.  I wistfully imagine what it'd be like to fall apart and crumble every single damn day, have it reset at night, and begin again the next.

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I listen to 'That I Would be Good" on repeat at noon, and I wonder whether I'm going through an Alanis Morissette phase at twenty, in the year 2016.

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journaling around boys

Dani drives through the long back road at night, exiting the ranch-and-equestrian community she lives in.  I told her before I hate driving through here; it reminds me of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  The road merges and we're in a deserted, winding road.  Over the music she yells:  "Is this the place you're scared of?"

I smile sheepishly and nod,  "Yeah, dude!"

Dani turns her face back to the road, and before I realize, she switches off her headlights and she lets out a long, high-pitch scream.  She begins to cackle as I smack her shoulder.  She rolls down her window and turns down the music and she screams again as I alternate between looking bewildered at her, and watching the road.  It seems like the sound of the engine has gotten louder, my knees feel weak, but I still throw my head back and laugh while shaking.  My teeth begin to chatter and I still chuckle here and there.  Dani lets out a Whooo! and she turns the headlights back on.

22 February, 2016

My Worries as Big as the Moon

my worries as big as the moon

✍ CURRENTLY WRITING FROM: SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

I grew up a person that scoffed at the zodiac, but, like every mild narcissist and / or young person caught in the constant influx of horoscope memes circulating the internet today (this post has already dated itself and it’s only one sentence in), I appreciate hearing about myself. Or at least, what I’m supposed to be like. Whenever someone does something that either poignantly reflects or deflects me, I ask them what their birthday is.

I’m prone to anxious tendencies, so I’ve naturally worried about what the zodiac means lately. I’m a Virgo. My sister, my best friend, is a Gemini. We’re aggressively incompatible. She doesn’t find this a big deal. I, naturally, do. 

I’m obsessive by nature. 

I’m not an astrologist, and my knowledge of the zodiac goes as far as astrolocherry updates. But… Dakota Johnson is a Libra and Jamie Dornan is a Taurus and that compatibility is low so it’s no wonder they hate each other, allegedly, so obviously astrology is correct and I’m doomed to never get along with anyone ever again.  



It’s amazing how much the world shrinks when you have anxiety. I’ve been re-reading the posts I wrote while I was still in high school, and reading my words and listening to songs I used to when I was sixteen has re-awakened a lot of the hope I used to feel, reminded me of all the aspirations I used to have. I used to not be afraid of riding on airplanes, now just the thought of being in one for more than thirty seconds makes me nauseous and irritable. My world has gotten so small. I will never leave the American continent again.


summer in february




Me obsessing over the Zodiac is inherently selfish and egotistical. Because, subconsciously, I’m trying to decide which kind of person is right for me. And that can be a form of self-care from one perspective, but the principle is still selfish. Like, what am I offering to those people? This is me aligning my principles, maybe other people have a firm belief that they should not associate with people they don’t connect with, but it’s always been my modus operandi to serve and be helpful and make other people feel better and safe and okay. And worrying about whether other people will understand my humor or whether they’ll be easier to communicate with doesn’t seem to be as equally important as being with these people and loving them.


I don’t know what this says about me, maybe my future Psych major boyfriend can psychoanalyze me (and then I’ll grow up resenting him for it, but subconsciously, it won’t be until years down the road when I’m ready to leave him and flee with our kids and all the carbohydrates in the house in the middle of the night that he’ll intercept me and he’ll shove his hands in his pockets and look down but flick his eyes up and softly say, “It’s cause I tried to psychoanalyze you back in 2016, isn’t it?”), but it’s nearing six o clock in the morning and I haven’t been able to lull myself to sleep all night, so I’m watching the opening scene in Footloose (1984), where many feet are dancing… footloose… and fancy free… and I feel something welling up inside me, are these tears pooling? They are and I feel something growing in my chest, in my heart, and in this very moment I realize that we’re all human beings and we’re all the same and dance connects us, art connects us, expression connects us, we see ourselves reflected in other people through the expression of their emotions! I throw my hands in the air in the dark and I close my eyes! Oh! Oh, what a revelation, says I! I’m on to something here, I really am, and I feel such a fervent love for the human race all of a sudden and and!


It’s 7:20 am. I sleepily realize it’s 4:20 in Hawaii, and I point finger guns at nobody in particular. A couple of seconds later, I softly wonder to myself whether I could think about growing the hell up anytime soon.



My hair is shorter since the last time we spoke, Selena Quintanilla short, and it brings me a sense of freedom. Short-lived, of course, since I am also prone to low self-esteem, but every time I look in the mirror, I wonder whether Patti Smith would respect it.


"I can't believe you and I get to be alive at the same time" summer in february


On the twelfth, I watched First Aid Kit make Patti cry after singing “Dancing Barefoot” to her.  I re-watch it with the lights off, and as it closes, I get goosebumps all over my arms and legs. I re-watch it once more, and the Oh God I fell for you repeated by Klara sends shockwaves through my body. I shudder. I watch it one more time. I get goosebumps a third time. At that moment, I wish I was the third Söderberg sister. I wish I had Klara’s youthful bravery and heart, I wish I had Johanna’s mystery and soulful spirit.

I am grateful it’s getting warmer: my spirits will be lifted, and I’ll be able to tiptoe around my home barefoot.


Trying to lull myself to sleep, I read up on Gram Parsons. I read about his death and my boots get heavy and suddenly, my heart lurches forward and I think about M. and I begin to worry about him with the same intensity I did a week earlier and my eyes dart around the dark and I worry and I worry and I begin to demand answers to a lot impossible questions and I don’t have the answers so I begin to get frustrated and!

And then I slowly recline and I lay on my back and I close my eyes. And I clasp my hands together and press them to my forehead to make it clear that I’m praying and I whisper wishes for him. I telepathically tell him to please stay out of trouble and to maybe bother sending a message that tells me he's okay.


Writing this had me re-visiting my compatibility with the rest of the signs and I’ve just realized that one site said that I was most compatible with Capricorn, Taurus, Scorpios, and other Virgos, but another site said I was most compatible with Capricorn, Taurus, and Cancer, another said Capricorn and Taurus and Pisces, and I should forget about other Virgos, and now I’ve decided to hell with this… that won’t stop me from indulging in Virgo narcissism in the future, though.


summer in february