A few months ago I made the mistake of announcing my grandiose plans to self-publish a book filled with journal entries and excerpts I’ve written over the course of 15 years. My plan was to release it by the end of September.

We are nearly half-way through October and if it isn’t already obvious, I am sorry to report that there is no book.

My excuses are that I merely stopped working diligently on it, that I became overwhelmed with the scope of work, that I grew self-conscious of the pieces, that I didn’t want to set some arbitrary date on a project which required a great deal of effort and quality time.

The point is: I have excuses but I do not have a book.

To be honest, I’m not sure there still will be one. We’ll see, but nothing is promised. I hope you’ll accept the following three pieces in its place for now. Thank you to all those who read this shitty blog and to everyone who expressed an interest in my hypothetical book. Maybe one day it’ll be real.


asphyxiate
i got u
042610, 19

asphyxiate

We live in the most wasteful world.

Not only regarding material things, either. But also the sheer amount of information and advertisements and files saved and statuses updated and accounts and usernames and passwords and Tweets that will forever live on in the ether of the Internet.

It’s overwhelming. The amount of...stuff. It stresses me out.

And from what I’ve gathered, I’ve concluded that hardly any of it even remotely interesting. Or valuable.

We live in the age and era of spam.

And it’s not just in our inboxes and mailboxes anymore. There’s spam, EVERYWHERE.

And, it seems that most ev-er-y thing is spam.

Entire industries (I’m looking at you, online fitness coaching). YouTube commercials. “News.” Noise. Music. Made up job titles so we can feel important.

It’s all bullshit. It’s all a waste.

The “marketing campaigns” we “conceptualize” and “strategize” and agonize over in meeting after stupid, endless, meeting. That we pour money and time and effort and “man power” into. Allowing these things to stress us out and sour moods and strip away time with family and friends.

And what about the apps or logos or Internet banner ads we meticulously build and design and over which grown ass men and women get in fights? Bitching about which font to use or bickering over some other equally useless minutiae.

How about these companies and establishments that dot our highways and line our streets? What the fuck do all of you do? Mile after mile, city after city. The next time you are out and about, I urge you to watch the buildings whiz by from the comfort of your probably-overindulgent car.

A car you probably paid too much money for for no damn reason while fully functional but less-than-“perfect” vehicles are cast away to rust and rot and die at the bottom of some lot in some forgotten town in the middle of Nowhereville, USA.

All of our waste and stuff and shit has to GO SOMEWHERE, guys.

And it truly baffles and disheartens me that more people, myself included, don’t notice more often.

We eat shitty “food” that can really only be described as science experiments which then turns into literal shit. And then we flush it down a toilet, an act which takes over a gallon of water by the way, and the food that we don’t insatiably shove in our stupid, gluttonous faces is thrown away without a second thought.

More stuff. More spam.

More, more, more. Always more.

Our trash sits in monumentally disgusting landfills creating the only elevation in the flat and sinking shithole that is Florida.

Our oceans are polluted.

But so is our air. So are our black, jaded, hearts and too-big TV screens.

Screens that never shut off. Screens that offer us brain-dead consumers these never-ending documentaries all claiming to be so informative and eye opening and educational so that we can feel like superior, well-bred, citizens instead of the absolute human garbage we are. Thinking we are all-important and all-knowing just because we watched a 90 minute documentary about saving whales or something one random Sunday when we were too hungover to get the fuck off the couch.

We tell our families we “have to” travel for work in order to attend very important industry “trade shows,” aka a mess of spammy people, selling their spammy products, services, solutions, companies, or even their spammy selves. For 2-3 whole fucking days. Eating cardboard food with cardboard people listening to some twat “keynote speaker” yammer on about leadership or critical thinking or the power of social media / AI / blockchain / BLAH BLAH FUCKING BLAH.

So much bullshit and noise and selling and pitching and pollution. All day. Every day.

So inundated with flavor-of-the-week trash ass music blasting in our cars that we happily listen to when we’re not trying to keep up with all the real-time “news” that’s trending on Twitter and scrolling in big, bold, fear-mongering letters on Fox News and CNN and ABC, NBC, CBS, TMZ, MTV, BET…

Oh. My. God.

And there is no filter. It is inescapable, this insurmountable amount of noise and sensory overload filling every moment of our meaningless lives, so we never truly know or value a moment of silence or stillness or solitary confinement or nothingness.

Just filling every gap of time and space and silence with more shit, contributing to this giant monster of crap and the rapid downfall of everyone’s sanity and personality and quality of life, including our own.

Scrolling through thousands upon thousands of Instagram posts of different people posting the same content. The. same. shit.

Through years and years of Facebook posts and profiles identical to the one just before it.

And calling this entertainment.

Calling this:
friendship
fame
fulfillment
talent
popularity
REALITY
inspiration
happiness

Calling this human connection.
Calling this Life.

Even this blog and this blog post is spam and it’s BS and it means absolutely nothing.

Most of you who even do me the kindness of reading this or anything I post for that matter will understandably only do so once and then promptly forget I ever wrote it, revisiting my blog only when I cave and succumb to the act of spamming you via social media to READ MY BLOG! with alarming, unnecessary, urgency.

Everything is disposable. Everything is trash. We all die.

We are all going to die one day and it’s astonishing how, fully aware of this reality, we choose to spend our sparse currency of “caring.”

How we choose to spend our limited time here and what we choose to give a shit about.

At the end of my life, the only things that will matter are the real, human, connections I made or had the good fortune to stumble into.

The intangibles.

The life-long friendships. The first kiss butterflies.

The memories created. Laughter shared. Experiences had. Adventures and destinations that breathed new air into my jaded, cynical, bitchy soul.

The good wine. The great sex. The home-cooked food. The music that changed my life and movies that made me feel something.

Growing up. Growing together and growing apart.

The family dinners before everyone grew up and grew apart.

The day-after-Christmas breakfasts and nights doing nothing and that one time with the hats, remember?

The late night conversations and the giggle fits and tears and beers shared with the ones who, at one point or another, meant something to me. Helped shaped me. Filled my life with joy.

When is it that we become okay with anything else?

i got u

and maybe, you're gonna be the one that saves me.

this is old and was written shortly after the great Thanksgiving incident of 2017, which you can read about in great detail
HERE. I am not a video editor and thus I relied on a free app from the Google Store to help make this, so don’t judge me.
xx, cheers.


Hey, you.
Yeah, I’m talking to you.
Remember when we set each other’s souls on fire?

Remember $10 boxes from Pizza Hut?
Remember study dates at Strozier and the white sand of the volleyball court just outside your front door?

Remember winter?
Remember “Brave” and blankets and searching for each other’s hands beneath the covers?

Remember me?

I’m not that girl anymore.
I’m not in college. I’m not 22 and falling in love for the first time. I’m not quite so naive.

I’m not a lot of things anymore.

But I’m okay with that. Because that’s Life. And Life is inevitable. It happens whether or not we like it.

Ready or not, here it comes.

You’re not the You I fell in love with, either. You’re not so innocent yourself.
But you already knew that, didn’t you.
You’re different. We both are.

But I still like me, even if you don’t anymore.

And (against my better judgment), I still love you, even if I don’t like you anymore.
You don’t make it easy to; I’m sure I don’t either.

Things aren’t like they were when we’d wake up at noon and eat shitty frozen food from Winn Dixie and skip class and only concern ourselves with when the next EDM show was and if we’d be able to swallow drugs and dance the night away.

Things change. Life happens.

Now there are careers. There are finances and pets and pet peeves.
Now there’s baggage and hurt and doubt.
Now, there is resentment.

Now it’s five years later and The Beginning seems like several lifetimes ago.

I’ve never wanted to share my life with someone I hated so much before.
Is this what Love really is, when it’s stripped down?
Whatever it is, it’s a very disorienting sensation.

I am vulnerable and sad and uncertain and scared. And I hate it.

I want to pull you in close to me so I can hold you and smell you and then push you away. Before you have the chance to hurt me again in that way only you can do.

You do it so well.

I’m terrified to lose you.
Not because i wouldn’t be okay on my own or with some other faceless guy.

But because I can’t bring myself to throw away everything we’ve built.
Everything we’ve been through and come out of and everything we said we’d do together.

Travel.
Grow.
Learn.
Live.

Love each other.

Because I can’t bring myself to believe that this isn’t real and good and right.
But that’s the thing. I don’t know what the “right” decision is. I’m not sure I ever will.

All I know is that I’m not that girl anymore.

I’m not the girl walking into your apartment to play beer pong,
or the one standing outside of The Strip letting you kiss me.

I’m not the same girl you fell in love with.

I’ll never be that girl again.
And I can live with that.

The question is: Can you?

untitled 4/22/18

We fucked on the kitchen floor of his second story apartment and when it was over we walked to the taco shack downstairs and each ordered two Modelos and nachos. It was the best first date I've ever had, before or since.

We didn't stop talking or laughing or trading kitchen floor orgasms for the next three years, and when it eventually all fell apart we still loved each other very much, which made everything harder.

I don't even recall why things did end in the first place, but whatever it was that existed between us was special. I know everyone thinks what they have with someone is special, but even after all this time, I still believe what we had was. And I can't quite explain why, even, but it was just...

It was just. It was something that was enough when so many things in our lives never are.

We were, though. Until, of course, we weren't.

It's strange. One day you're 18 or 21 or 23...then 25 then 26 then 27 and you realize you're so far from the last version of yourself that you can't even decipher who the fuck you are anymore. That all the things you vowed to never do you've done twice, and all the things you said you'd never care about suddenly become very important to you.

When you're not enough for yourself it's hard to be enough for anyone else.
When you become a stranger even to yourself you disappear to the ones you love most.

So what happens?

Nothing. And that's the problem.

Sooner or later that dull knife of Nothing severs something between you and this person. This special. This thing that was supposed to be enough.

We ended amicably if there is such a thing and went our separate ways, walking away from the magic and make believe world we'd built around us. A world where everything worked out okay in the end. Walking away from three years of forehead kisses and nightcap beers and venomous, vicious, fights. From Saturday morning coffee in too-big t-shirts and wool socks, weekend trips to the farmer's market in the Village, lazy afternoon naps on the couch.

From the taco shack downstairs that eventually went out of business.

From each other.

Our goodbye was brief and uncomfortable, neither of us wanting to look the other one in the eyes.

I'd never felt more alone in my life.

We exchanged a strained, awkward embrace and headed in opposite directions down 51st street. It was the day before Thanksgiving.

I walked to the closest bar to console myself, or because I had nowhere else to go, I don't remember anymore, and ordered a Modelo. They didn't have nachos.

When I reached into my coat pocket for my wallet I felt the piece of paper.

It was folded neatly into a square and had been placed there earlier, inconspicuously and unbeknownst to me.

"We were more than enough. " It read.

"You are my Sunday morning."

I struggled to swallow the lump in my throat as I stared at the words on the second line. These five words that were ripping me into a thousand pieces while I sat, alone, at a near-empty bar the day before Thanksgiving.

I'd never felt more alone in my life.

"You are my Sunday morning." 

I ran my thumb over the words, reading them one last time, before leaving the piece of paper on the bar and walking back out into the snow.

September 12, 2012

I wrote this when I was 21. It was a Wednesday. I was sitting outside of the HCB building on campus at FSU, waiting for my Documentary Film class to start and furiously writing down these thoughts on paper that was meant to take notes on. It was my senior year and four days before my 22nd birthday.

Sometimes, I still feel like this.


Do you ever feel like you know people? Like there was never any space between you and this other person? No gap to fill. It’s like they were always “there” somehow. Like you could look at and speak to one another and no matter what, your words would still stretch to infinity. A never-ending conversation.

I hate when the world goes sideways. Like everything is tilting and off kilter but really everything is still and fine. But my vision goes haywire for a split second and I get panicky because there’s nowhere to sit down and nothing to hold onto. 

And then just as soon it was there, it’s gone. Things are still again. Still, but still moving. Bustling. I realize the noise is still there and the same chaos of the world, the chaos that both propels and destroys, it is still happening all around me. Only, the only one that seems to notice is me. And the only one that’s falling apart is me.

It's so frustrating. It makes me want to escape myself. To fly out of my own head for a bit. Like I want to watch the world for a little instead of being a part of it. I wouldn't need to think so much. My head would just be clear and free and unpolluted and light. Like the sky and breeze, and feel of beautiful days. When the weather is so close to anything that could ever be perfect that it almost hurts, and your head and eyes and heart might explode.


We're all chained to our feelings. To our emotions. It's scary. That's just the way things are...

Sometimes, I wish I was a fraction of the person I pretend to be. Sometimes I believe I am this person. Maybe sometimes I am. Maybe sometimes we all are. But no one is completely authentic, right? We all have expectations and agendas. Even and especially for ourselves. The person we lie to the most is probably ourselves. And we save the worst lies for our self-destruction -

“I’m happy.”
“I’m fine.”
“I'm not hungry."
"I don't love him/her."
This is what I want...”

At the end of the day, I think we’re all so tired from the effort it takes to try to be the way we want ourselves to be. Not from work or school or the long drive home. We’re tired from exerting so much effort to FEEL a certain way...maybe to feel anything at all.

And then all we feel is tired. And we get to close our eyes and turn it off. Until the next day when the machine starts again. The machine of monotony. Eventually, even adventures become monotonous. 

I fear monotony. I think everyone does. Why is it that what we fear most is usually inevitable in life? Probably because we can’t change any of it. Maybe that’s the defeatist in me. I’d like to think it’s the realist in me.


 

delirium

On top of every mountain
There was a great longing
For another even higher mountain
In each city, longing for a bigger city

"Stillness is the Move" - Dirty Projectors

  *I chose to write this piece about Andrew (and my relationship with him) in past tense, for the sole reason that it just sounded better than present tense. We’re still together (for now...), but rest assured that the next time we break up you’ll be able to read all about it.

*I chose to write this piece about Andrew (and my relationship with him) in past tense, for the sole reason that it just sounded better than present tense. We’re still together (for now...), but rest assured that the next time we break up you’ll be able to read all about it.

Andrew was the type of partner who made me believe in karma. Like every bad thing I’d ever done, and every person I’d ever wronged, conspired against me and sent him barreling into my life to wreak havoc.

Loving him was a disease. An unintentional, accidental, disease. A mere byproduct of oxytocin. By the time I realized I / he / the whole thing was sick, it was too late. The disease was malignant. Fatal. 

I was terminal.

Being with Andrew was more a test of character and resilience and less of a romantic endeavor. My patience, sanity, and eventually, my threshold for messy living spaces, were pushed to their limit on a daily basis. But it was nothing compared to the emotional torment he inflicted.

I suppose it started with music. 

It was fall semester of our senior year at FSU when we started sleeping together. I was at the campus gym one day when he texted me. 

“Skip the rest of your classes and come over,” he wrote. “Let’s smoke and listen to music and then I’ll make you food.”

I obliged, the first of countless times I would do so in our relationship.

We sat in his living room talking and listening to music, much of it original songs and beats and raps he’d created. He was animated, excitable, buzzing. It wasn’t an energy I’d ever seen in him before. Then again, we’d only been fooling around for like a month, what did I know?

I didn’t know the first thing about Andrew yet. I didn’t know that things were about to get much harder and much more complicated. And I definitely didn’t know then that, no matter how hard I tried, I would never be the catalyst for that energy, that exuberance, that drug-like elation, in him. Ever.

As promised, after we’d finished passing the joint back and forth and the music conversation had ceased, we went upstairs. We kissed as we stood in his room, a small space with only a bed, a desk, and, in the corner, a weighted piano keyboard, this inanimate object that I would soon have to compete with for Andrew’s attention.

I wasn’t thinking about the next five and half years as Andrew began to peel off my blue athletic shorts. I wasn’t thinking about music or the significance of our otherwise uneventful, lazy, afternoon. I wasn’t thinking about anything, really. We were young and stoned and together and we were still free of life’s responsibilities and obligations. 

Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt. 

Yet.

That was probably the beginning of the end.


Ma·ni·a
noun
an excessive enthusiasm or desire; an obsession.
Synonyms: obsession, compulsion, preoccupation, passion



I. Music


I started to see him less.

He would hole up in his room for days. Ass in chair, headphones on, not to be disturbed. He didn’t want to talk. He didn’t want to eat. He didn’t want to sleep or party or have sex or just hang out. All he wanted to do was make music.

Whenever I did manage to tear him away from his keyboard, he was miserable, as was I. Andrew made it a point to look and act like a complete brat on the very rare occasion I was able to convince him to grab a beer or do something equally innocuous, which only made me regret ever asking him to participate in the first place. He hated doing anything I wanted to do because it meant that it wasn’t about him for, God forbid, five seconds. And if he talked it wasn’t much, just enough to complain or tell me he was leaving to make a new song, or, of course, to talk about music. His music, to be exact. 

This boy who’d spent months trying to woo and win me over suddenly, after only a few weeks, had no interest in anything other than this one, singular, obsession. Which, as it turned out, had absolutely nothing to do with me. I was okay with that. I didn’t need Andrew to be obsessed with me. But what I wanted was for him to want to be with me, and he didn’t. At least, his actions didn’t say that he did. And that, I was not okay with.

Screenshot_20180213-084711.png

Spending time with me was now a chore. Making me happy became an obligation. Doing (less than) the bare minimum as ½ of our crappy excuse of a relationship required a tiring amount of effort for him. And Andrew made that clear. I could read it on his face and feel it with every strained movement between us.

He didn’t “have time” to be a boyfriend (his words, not mine). He didn’t want to be a boyfriend (my words, not his). What he wanted was to be a musician. To be successful. Famous. To travel the world producing music. He told me that when his dreams came true, he wouldn’t miss his friends or his family. He told me that he wouldn’t miss me.

He told me this constantly. Nonchalant and aloof, the first and only person I’d ever romantically loved repeatedly reminded me that I was second best. Actually, no. I was less than second best, and that, given a lucrative enough opportunity to be a producer, his answer would, unequivocally, be “Yes.”

Yes, of course he would take the opportunity. Yes, of course he would leave me. 

His answer would also be “No.”

No, he wouldn’t consider our relationship, nor would he miss me. He wouldn’t be sad or have any second thoughts or ever look back.

This, he said, is what he really wanted. This is what he’d have to do to follow his dreams.

Never mind that there are people on this planet who have achieved and maintained and exceeded their wildest dreams while sustaining a healthy, non-emotionally torturous nightmare of a relationship.

Nah. ‘Cause fuck that, and fuck me, right?

No. Fuck Andrew.

//

I wrote him a long letter in early March 2013 and read it to him one Saturday night. I poured my heart out about how we’d drifted and how we were continuing to drift. How he’d allowed music to drive a wedge between us and how much it hurt me. How we were both freaking out about graduating in two months and what life would be like after college. 

My throat began to swell as I canceled the backpacking Euro-trip we’d been planning. And it swelled tighter as I read aloud that I knew our relationship wouldn’t last, that we should just try to enjoy the last few months of college having fun together.

“I want to drink green beer with you on St. Patty's Day and listen to good music and go to the Rez and help and support each other because we're both freaking out about life. I want to be able to hug you when we both graduate and say that we fucking made it.”


He didn’t say much, but we embraced quietly in what I thought was mutual agreement, and then went out for pizza with Brendan and Thomas. I thought we were on the same page. I thought, naively, that things would be okay now that I’d cleared the air.

We never made it to the green beer.

//

When we broke up less than a week later I gave him a poem. It was about him, obviously. I’d written it months ago, when things were just starting between us. We were on the way back to Tallahassee from the Kennedy’s lake house and Andrew had seen me scribbling away in the passenger seat. 

“What are you writing?” He whispered from behind the steering wheel, not wanting to disturb our friends who were asleep in the back.

“Nothing,” I whispered back. 

  Kennedy lakehouse, October 2012. Picture taken with a potato.

Kennedy lakehouse, October 2012. Picture taken with a potato.

At that point in my life I’d never read anything I’d written to another person before, and I wasn’t about to start then. We were all stoned, for one thing, and there were like, other people in the car, albeit unconscious, but still. No way. Andrew and I had only been hanging out for a few weeks. I didn’t want him to know I was writing poetry about him. He would think I was fucking insane. Which of course, I was.
 

He stayed at my place that night after we got back to Tally and asked me again if I could, pretty please, share what I’d been writing in the car.

Again, I obliged.

I’m sure it wasn’t a very good poem. Writing under the influence was never really my strong suit. But I’d meant every word I’d written. I felt them in my bones. I was completely, hopelessly, enthralled by Andrew and the effect he had on me, this sort of gravitational pull that I never realized existed.

I wasn’t in love with him yet, but I knew. It was only a matter of time until I was. 

The next morning we parted ways to go about our respective Mondays. When I texted him later in the day to see how class was going, he said he hadn’t gone to any.

“I got an idea for a song,” he replied. “I’ve been making music all day.”

Like I said, by the time I realized I was sick, it was too late.

I was terminal.

//

It was pouring the night I drove my Mazda to his apartment. I knocked on the front door and both of his roommates answered. 

They started to invite me in for a beer and to watch the rest of the game with them, but stopped short when they saw my face. 

“Where is he?” I asked.

Without a word, Thomas pointed upstairs. I pushed past him and Brendan and ran up to the second floor, letting myself into Andrew’s room. It was dark. He didn’t see or hear me. His headphones were on and he was working on some song or another, completely oblivious to my presence -- as usual. I tapped his shoulder.

He stood up to kiss me, excited by the surprise visit, which only made the next part more difficult.

“I can’t do this anymore,” I said. “We’re cool and we can still be friends, but I --” 

I couldn’t find the words. I’d never actually broken up with someone before and I had barged in, guns blazing, without any sort of plan. 

“I love you,” I said, taking a deep breath. “But I can’t be your girlfriend. I just can’t do it anymore.”

My hands were shaking as I reached into my pocket for the folded up poem. I’d ripped it out less than an hour ago from my journal. 

“I don't know if you remember this, but just, um...just read this when I’m not here,” I said, shoving the paper into his hand and turning away from him.

I rushed to leave, not saying goodbye to Thomas or Brendan on my way out, and drove home, devastated.

When he texted me a few hours later, I was awake on my couch, crying and ruminating and unable to sleep. 

“This is so beautiful,” he wrote. “Would you mind if I used it in a song?”


e·go·tis·ti·cal
adjective
excessively conceited or absorbed in oneself; self-centered.
Synonyms: egocentric, selfish, self-interested, self-absorbed, narcissistic, vain, conceited, self-centered

self·ish
adjective
lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure.

in·sen·si·tive
adjective
showing or feeling no concern for others' feelings.
Synonyms: heartless, unfeeling, inconsiderate, thoughtless


II. Austin


It wouldn’t be the last time we broke up, just the first. For anyone keeping track, hopefully the third time really is the charm. 

The music obsession continued for a few more years, although the intensity of the obsession varied. 

Sometime in 2015 he started a side project with a friend, setting out to build a mobile app that would connect musicians wishing to collaborate on projects. That obsession took precedence over music. And once again, me. We broke up for the third time (the second being some time after graduation), and I moved out of our shared apartment in Austin.

(You can read about Break Up #3 in "I Said Yes" and "Because the Only Way I'll Get Through This is By Laughing".)

I was furious with him for always putting his endeavors before me, but I was more furious with myself. I naively thought that once the music obsession had run its course, the same tired song and dance would be over. I wouldn’t have to play second string to that fucking weighted keyboard or some random melody that popped into his head, dragging him out of bed at 4 AM. 

But I was wrong.

Because, you see, it was never really about the music. Or the app. Or the video game he was creating or cryptocurrencies he droned on about or the business ideas he had or the work he brought home each night and hunched over each weekend. It was just about being obsessed with something. Anything.

Some people have an addictive personality and take drugs or gamble money. For Andrew, his drug is the addiction itself. His obsession is being obsessed. He gambles on himself and, in the process, is willing to sacrifice everything, me included, for the big win: Success -- whatever “success” is to him at any given moment.

Last Thanksgiving we had a huge fight about this elusive thing of success. Music had become a long-abandoned afterthought (he sold the thousands of dollars worth of equipment he spent years accruing). His focus and view of success was now about his career in the tech industry and as a software programmer.

We’d managed to smile at each other on Thursday and play hosts as all of our friends ate turkey and pie in our living room, but the next day it all came to a head. 

We sat on our balcony as Andrew spent hours unloading months (or years, who knows) of pent up resentment toward me. How he was on a career path taking him somewhere but that I’d been at the same dead-end job for almost three years. That I didn’t work hard, at least not hard enough in his eyes, and that my writing and this blog didn’t count for anything. 

He said he felt like he settled with me. And for me. He said eventually we'd have nothing in common because he would inevitably be more successful than I would. And make more money than I would. And continue to grow and improve and learn and move up in the world, and that I would be in the same spot, envious of his accomplishments, spinning my wheels. 

Andrew was the type of partner who made me believe in karma.

“What’s going to happen one day when I introduce you to my CEO, or I am the CEO, and someone asks what you do?” He asked. “You’re going to be embarrassed.”

I wasn’t letting him off that easy. 

You’re, going to be embarrassed of me,” I corrected, my voice even. “In fact, you’re embarrassed of me already,” I said. Andrew shook his head, vehemently denying this. But I knew the truth.

"Why do you even want to be with me then?" I asked.

"I don't know," he sighed, exasperated. "I keep thinking you'll change."

God, I missed the music.

"I still want to be with you in spite of all of these things," he said.

What a guy. My knight in shining armor...

I remained calm throughout the verbal attack, mostly because I just needed it to be over, and I knew it wouldn’t be over until he’d gotten it all out and said what he needed to say. It was almost fascinating how much my partner seemed to hate about me. I kept prodding for more reasons as to why he now found me unattractive, imploring if there was anything that he even liked about me anymore.

I guess I’m a sadist. 

RACHEL: Kind of ditzy? Too into her looks? Spoiled?...Just a waitress?
ROSS: No, no, wait! Look at the other side. Look at Julie's column.
RACHEL: She is not Rachem. What the hell's a Rachem? Is that some stupid paleontology word that I wouldn't know because I'm just a waitress?

“Imagine the worst things you think about yourself. Now, how would you feel if the one person
you trusted most in the world not only thinks them too, but actually uses them as reasons not to be with you?”

The validity of his statements was irrelevant. It was the animosity with which he spoke about me, someone he claimed to love, that stung. He seemed disgusted by me and was cruel with his words and careless about the way he delivered them. He spat his tirade on the bright and sunny Friday morning after Thanksgiving, and I chose to remain the bigger person, enduring all of this anger and negative energy directed at me and only me. 

I broke down by Saturday afternoon.

After running a few errands I came home and barged into his room. I spoke calmly at first, telling him that he said some really hurtful things. Inevitably, I got so heated that I was eventually crying, full on screaming at him in a way I'd never done before. 

“You think I don’t know I’m a fucking loser?” I yelled. “That my life isn’t going anywhere? I don’t need you to tell me that, okay? I already know!”  

Andrew just swallowed hard and stared at me.

“You are a HORRIBLE person! Do you know that? You know that right?” I said. “Answer me!” I screamed.

“Yes.” His voice was small.

"I am a good person. I am a good girlfriend. Just because I'm not motivated in the same way as you doesn't mean I'm lazy!" I shouted.

"You don't fucking deserve me. I don't deserve this!" I said. "Do you even feel bad?! Because you should feel bad!"

"I do..." He said. "That's why--"

I turned away, cutting him off. I walked to our bedroom closet, gathering all of the Christmas presents I’d been hiding from him.

When I returned to the doorway of his room I started throwing the gifts at him one by one, still screaming and justifiably hysterical.

Unfortunately, the gifts were just various items of clothing and not a new set of kitchen knives or tornado of meat cleavers.

It’s probably the closest I’ve ever come to experiencing a rage blackout.

"You are probably going to be a very successful computer person. And you are going to go through life thinking girls don't like you because you're a nerd. And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won't be true. It'll be because you're an asshole."

Being with someone that intense and driven is not the way it is portrayed in movies. There’s no witty script or perfect lighting. There’s no poppy soundtrack, no sidekick best friend, no sudden “I can do this” revelation followed by a montage of you in a spin class symbolizing your journey to emotional healing. 

That motivation and drive is sexy, but it’s not always sexy. And it comes at a price. Most importantly, it doesn’t just last for an hour and a half, in a fictional world, on a screen. It exists every day, in the real world. And it lasts for life.

People think they want to be with a James Franco or Donald Glover because they’re insanely talented and weird and fine as hell. But they’re also individuals who never stop working. They’re method actors / filmmakers / college students / college instructors / published authors / painters / performance artists.

And that’s just Franco.

(Donald Glover is an actor, writer, director, comedian, and producer, as well as a singer, songwriter, and rapper under the stage name Childish Gambino, and as a disc jockey, he performs under the name mcDJ.)

//

Most of us get upset when our partners have to work a little late or opt for a night out with friends, because it cuts into time spent together and the latter usually means they’d rather spend their free time away from you. Now imagine choosing a significant other who will choose their obsession over you, every time. It’s emotionally exhausting, and it never stops hurting your feelings, even if you support them.

Especially if you support them.

Accept that you will be their biggest cheerleader and most loyal fan. Accept that they might be the type of person who needs that constant affirmation. Someone to feed their ego and encourage them of their creative genius.

Accept that they will come to you, always you, whining for support even though they don't deserve it.

You have to accept that you will be loved differently, and that much of the time, you might not feel loved at all.

Accept that you might have to completely redefine what you’ll accept as love, or what you’ll take in its place.

Accept that you will be lonely sometimes. That while other couples are picking out pumpkins or clinking wine glasses in dimly lit restaurants, you may be listening to the 427,000th iteration of an original song or explaining to friends why you're riding solo tonight.

Accept that it will force you to constantly evaluate if you love your partner, and if that love is enough. If all of the horrendousness and bullshit and ups & downs and struggle is worth it.

Accept that these are questions you will ask yourself every time you go to bed alone or spend a New Years Eve fighting instead of getting wildly inebriated and fucking. They are questions you’ll ask yourself after every fight, every break up and almost break up, and after every reluctant reconciliation. 

Accept that you may never know the answers to these questions. I still don’t.

Accept that this is the price you will pay for creativity, mania, obsession. For drive and desire and big dreams of big success and even bigger houses.

Accept that this is the price you pay for Passion. 

Footnotes:
For the record, I got a job as a copywriter less than a month after that Thanksgiving fight. I still work there. I still moonlight as a freelancer. I still get paid to write. I still contribute to this blog, and it still means something to me. It still "counts" to me, no matter how infrequently its updated.

Andrew’s comments about me were not without merit, but they were unkind. Being with a person so hungry for something is undoubtedly an emotional roller coaster that not everyone finds appealing. But if you let it, it can push you. Motivate you. Give your skin that extra layer of thickness. 

It can force you to face harsh truths, no matter how cruelly those truths were shoved down your throat. It can ignite that ultra-competitive flame inside of you to prove to your asshole of a boyfriend that he's wrong about you.

I know this, because Andrew was wrong about me. I may not be manic, but I am motivated. I'm driven and I have every intention of being successful in my own right and within the parameters of what I define as successful. I may not treat the people I love in my life like shit to get to where I'm going. I may not make as much money as a software developer. My life may not be as plastic and beautifully fake as an Instagram "influencer."

But I'm smart. I work hard. And I am a great fucking girlfriend, even when Andrew doesn't deserve to have one.

I'm in this game, too, and I'm fucking slaying it.

a collection of somewhat related thoughts

I wish I could tell you some romantic story about how or why I started writing, but the truth is that my affinity for the subject was merely born from my not being good at anything else, academically or otherwise.

Math was particularly traumatic for me when, in 3rd grade, Mrs. Waddell introduced us to long division. Up until that point I’d actually quite enjoyed math. I was in 3rd grade, what was not to like? Adding and subtracting made perfect, logical, sense. Multiplication could get tricky at times, but the puzzle, and how to solve it, was clear. Linear. And of course, long division and its messy, ugly, ambiguous remainders had not yet come to ruin my 8-year-old life. That is, until that fateful afternoon.

The day I learned how to do long division (and I’m using the word “learn” rather liberally here…), Mrs. Waddell put a problem on the board and told us that we were to solve it independently and then raise our hand to have her check our work for accuracy. Then, and only then, would we be dismissed and allowed to go home.

I stared at the numbers on the projector utterly confused and quietly humiliated. I hadn’t the slightest clue where to begin, and even less of an idea as to what the answer was.

I watched with urgent despair as classmate after classmate raised their hand and inevitably left and went home. I began to panic and eventually, I just accepted that I would never see my family again.

I was the very last student out of that classroom. And I didn’t even solve the fucking problem.

Mrs. Waddell had to walk me through every step of the process until we (read: she) arrived at the correct answer.  I left the room mortified and demoralized.

Fuck long division.

That was when my disdain for math truly began, and it has never ceased since that day.

My aversion continued in middle school, when my 7th grade teacher Mrs. Namey insisted on looking over my shoulder to watch me unsuccessfully work out a problem and became irritated when I couldn’t solve it.

It remained when I meekly asked Brittany Johnson if I had correctly ordered the fractions from least to greatest.

“...least to greatest,” she said, looking at my paper before turning back to her own work without further explanation. (A simple “no” would have sufficed, bitch.)

It persisted in high school, and my sophomore year I paid a classmate $5.00 to copy her homework so I could pass geometry.

And it lingered in college. I failed quiz after quiz as a lowly freshman in College Algebra 101, forced to hold back tears of frustration as I walked, full of shame, back to my moldy, cold, microscopic dorm.

Math has always been a constant battle throughout my life, and a subject that will forever induce immediate panic. Unfortunately, I just didn’t get my engineer father’s knack for numbers. That much, I can tell you, is for damn sure.

*For the record, I did eventually learn long division. And I'm still traumatized.

I’ve always felt the desire to create things, but I never actually know what to create. Nor have I ever had the natural talent (or intrinsic passion) for any specific medium. I’m aware that creativity / art / success doesn’t just “happen.” Obviously it takes painstaking dedication to hone a skill and twice as much dedication to continue improving, but that’s not what I’m referring to. I’m talking about that undeniable, tangible, raw talent that some people just, have, and have always had since birth.

“Well what’s the one thing you can’t not do?” Everyone asks. For people like Andy Warhol or Patrick Stump or Marina Keegan it’s creating art or making music or writing an insanely good body of work, respectively.

For me it’s more like, sleeping, you know? Eating, breathing. The thing and things I cannot do are not compulsions that possess and drive me to greatness. It’s just stuff my body does involuntarily in order to keep me alive and afloat in my sea of average.

That, and complaining. I can’t not complain. Seriously. I am a world class complainer.

A previous therapist (ew) called it being “passionately annoyed.” I’ll take it.

“What’s the one thing you can’t not do?”


A few years ago I was talking to my sister, probably complaining about how lost I felt, how I couldn’t seem to find my way. And she told me that she didn’t really find a groove / clarity / feeling of being at peace and settled until she was about 27 or 28. That gave me some hope.

“Only five more years to go,” I thought to myself.

Well, today I stand here, 27, and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I still don’t feel like an adult or a woman who pays taxes and emails HR asking about 401k plans. But I am, even though I still feel like a little kid on the inside. I go through the necessary, socially acceptable motions of being an adult, but I’m kind of just improvising. I think we all are.

When I was in first grade I wanted to be an author, Juilliard-trained dancer, and Oscar-winning actress. I think now I just want to be happy.

I’m sure that sounds depressing. Maybe it is, but maybe that’s just life. Wanting and striving to be happy does not mean I am un-happy, it just means I know that I have to work for it. I have to earn it. It means that, rather than being a thing, I’d rather be a person, who happens to do a thing.

I mean, when we ask kids what they want to be when they grow up, they never just say “happy.” Isn’t that weird? They always, always provide an answer. They tell us what they want to be, what they want to do. But what if we’re asking the wrong questions? Perhaps we should be asking them who and how they want to be? What kind of person they want to become? What they want out of life?

Thinking that happiness is achievable or achieved only when we reach these arbitrary statuses or begin working in specific professions is just a recipe for inevitable disappointment.

“So you see every day, every week, every month and every year of my life, my hero’s always 10 years away. I’m never gonna be my hero. I’m not gonna attain that. I know I’m not, and that’s just fine with me because that keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.”

- Matthew McConaughey, 86th Academy Awards ceremony

As children we have these preconceived notions that happiness is a guaranteed destination. That once we get there, we’re there for good, and that getting to this coveted destination is a byproduct of merely being alive. But we’re wrong. Because here’s the big, ugly, secret:

Happiness is conditional as we get older.
Happiness takes work as we get older.

When we were young and we did things, it was easy to have a blast. If you were lucky like me, the adults thought about everything / all the boring stuff for you, i.e. “I need to bring a change of clothes to the water park for the kids. Don’t forget to pack Band-Aids in case someone gets a water blister. I should probably carry cash in case they don’t take American Express.”

And all we needed to do, as a wee human, was get in the car, excited and blissfully ignorant.

I think the reason why a lot of us don’t want to do certain things we used to deem as “fun” anymore is because the fun that used to be served to us on a silver platter now comes with conditions. A fucking essay of fine print, if you will.

Think about it.

Going to a birthday party as a child, you just automatically assume it’s going to be a gas. Ice skating, pool parties, sleepovers, who cares? It’s going to be a blast!

When you hear about a birthday party as a teenager, you start to ask questions. Is it drunk ice skating? Will there be beer at the pool? Can I get laid at the sleepover?

And as an adult? Ha.

"I don’t want to pay for ice skating, that’s boring." 
"You want to go at 6 PM? But that’s in the middle of rush hour!"

"They’re serving Bud Light at the pool party? Bud Light is terrible. Don’t they have IPAs? $11.00 a beer?! Fuck that party!"

"A sleepover. Are you kidding me…"

Conditions. A million "It'll-be-fun-IF"s. 

Edit: “You know the things are good when you’re* young.”

It never occurs to us when we’re young that happiness is a thing we’ll ever have to earn. But it is. No one is entitled to this elusive, subjective, emotion just, because. You gotta want it. As the old cliche goes, “You gotta work hard for what you want, and twice as hard to keep it.”

But what if we don’t know what we want?

What if we’re someone who knows we want to create, but doesn’t know what or how to create?

What if we just know that we want to do something? Something bigger, different. Something that has meaning.

I think that’s okay. Because I don’t think any of us ever truly know what it is that we want to be. And that forever just-out-of-arm's-reach, ambiguous, goal keeps us hungry, alive, motivated.

I think all we know for certain in life is that candy is sweet, cumming feels great, and explosions in action movies are epic. And sometimes, jaded as we may be, that's enough.

two-twelve-ninety nine

I didn’t love him but I wanted to.

I wanted to because he was older than me. Because he was tall and cool and goddamn was he beautiful.

I wanted to because he reminded me of endless days of freedom, fighting the boredom of a lazy, too-small town. He reminded me of summers spent at the beach and the smell of sunscreen and salt and sweat and cheap beer. When our skin was red and freckled. When emo music was the soundtrack to our effortless lives. When everything was easy. Every hot and humid day the same, yet somehow held the excitement of new adventures.

I wanted to because for a long time, I couldn’t remember wanting anything else.

I thought about him incessantly. Insatiably. I daydreamed about holding his hand, smelling his shirts, clasping my fingers together behind his neck. Entire weeks, months, years spent just, wondering. What would it be like if he kissed me? Touched me? Felt about me the way I felt about him? I knew he’d always cared for me, but it wasn’t quite the same. It wasn’t enough for me.

I was young, younger than I am today. Still inexperienced and ignorant about most things, love especially. All I knew was that it was a foreign emotion, one I barely believed was real. But I wanted it to be. I suppose maybe we both did. But it wasn’t, not for us. It never was.


Much later, when my romantic daydreams had ceased to exist, his were just beginning. He’d finally come to feel for me the way I’d always hoped he one day might, but now it was me who didn’t -- who couldn’t and wouldn’t -- reciprocate. I cared about him, but it wasn’t quite the same. And it certainly wasn’t enough for him.

He didn’t make me laugh and he found the things I liked and thought funny to be stupid, which drove me insane. We had a few things in common but it wasn’t enough (is anything ever)? We did a lot of Nothing together and shared sporadic and bad sex that was devoid of any real connection (or orgasms).

Still, we both kept trudging in place, naively thinking it was forward.

I was careless and crass when it came to his feelings, a sort of unintentional emotional terrorist. I felt burdened by his affection that I’d once longed for, but was now suffocating me.

We just didn’t fit and most importantly, we didn’t have a future.

I didn’t love him, but I’d wanted to for so long that when the opportunity to be with him was finally in front me, I convinced myself that I still wanted the same things. But I didn’t. Not anymore. Still, I believed my own deceptions, and I’d made my decision.

I grabbed at the chance to feel something big and magical and held onto it too tightly and for too long. Playing games I didn’t really understand the rules to and refusing to let go of this thing that had become a chore. This person who I thought, at one point in my life, meant everything to me. A person who used to be the object of my desires and the star of my fantasies. But someone who has here, now, in front of me. Real flesh and bone and perfect teeth and hair. Still so tall and still so goddamn beautiful.

And still I didn’t want him.

I am older now. Older than I was then. Still inexperienced and ignorant about some things, love included, but not especially. All I know is that it’s an intense emotion, one that I have been fortunate enough to experience and find out for myself that yes, it is thrilling and terrifying and wonderful and heartbreaking and that most importantly, it does exist.

Love is real, but he and I never were.

Driftwood

We started smoking again.

I don’t think either of us really wanted to, but it was just too easy to fall back into our old habits. We’d both been doing so good, but the days were getting shorter and colder. It was always harder to quit in the winter. Plus, it was finals week and we were both on edge. 

Mostly though, we were just running out of things to say to each other. 

It was already starting to get dark out even though it was only 5 pm. We sat on his front porch in silence and waited for the other one to say something first. 

I lit a cigarette and took a drag. I didn’t even want the rest, but I kept smoking it anyways. My hands were fidgety and it was something to do. 

“Let’s go out tonight,” he said.

And suddenly I felt very sad. The kind where there’s nothing to be sad about really. I just was.

I took another drag and flicked a bug off my arm. Thought about how nothing ever felt new anymore.

“Okay,” I replied, exhaling.

This was our routine. Our carefully constructed interaction masked as spontaneous conversation. I guess we were both trying to hold onto something that wasn’t there anymore. Maybe it was never there in the first place. I couldn’t tell anymore. 

We didn’t know each other. Not really, anyways. 

I looked at him and had this overwhelming sensation that we were wasting our time. Not just me and him either. Everyone. Weren’t we all just talking to make noise? Stringing together consonants and vowels to say things that sounded good? Things we knew other people wanted to hear? None of it meant anything. 

We didn’t know ourselves. Not really, anyways.

He brushed the hair out of my face and held my head between his hands. He kissed me, and whatever I was supposed to feel I didn’t. When we opened our eyes we smiled at each other, but only because we were supposed to. 

“I’ll be right back,” he said, walking back into the house and up the stairs to his room. I watched until I couldn’t see him anymore, and then I stopped smiling.

I lingered on the porch, feeling out of place. I didn’t belong there, but I wasn’t sure where else I was supposed to be, so I stayed. It seemed as good a spot as any to just, wait.

So I ashed my cigarette and continued to sit. And I waited for him to come back. And I thought about how I was always waiting for people to come back, and how they never really do.