My Obituary

a public and personal letter in the case that i die young

I’m not suicidal, but this is the letter I want people to read if I die young. Continue reading

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Revelation, 2017.

Even though she didn’t like Vronsky, even though she knew she should be happy for them, there was a visceral reaction within her that rebelled against being “replaced,” that demanded to be wanted.  But didn’t she know better than this?  Hadn’t her whole life solidified her understanding that no human being belongs to another, that everyone has the right to demote others for happiness?  Why couldn’t she internalize what she so strongly believed in?

And she eventually realized that her rational philosophy to let people live without revolving around her was thwarted by her voracious addiction for attention and validation, as if she had a bottomless deficit to fill.  And this selfishness, when it came down to it, was due to her insecurities, the lifelong feeling that she was a misfit accident that needed to be “approved,” that she was undeserving of love.  She had the knowledge to free people from her idealizations; her infirmities caused her to grab on tighter, still, like a reflex.

And while she did not think that all people who are kind also have to be secure, she knew this for herself, at least: she needed to love herself to be fair.  She needed to love herself in order to be a good person. Continue reading

Bright Spots

Over the summer I realized that, maybe, I obsess over my own sadness too much.  This was not apparent to me because I laugh often; I am an optimist; I take joy in little things.  But I also read journal entries from my low points in life, listen to sad music, and tear up a lot.

For a long time, I’ve thought that it wouldn’t be that tragic if my adulthood is luckluster, because my childhood was so bright and rich.  As Charlotte Bronte wrote, “I believe in some blending of hope and sunshine sweetening the worst lots.”  And so I don’t seek out constant gladness: I just try to take care of myself while having opportunities that are so full of pure concentrated happiness that they counteract some of the gloomier parts of my life.  Continue reading

Teenage Manifesto

In one week, I will be twenty years old.

During my teens, I would be kept awake by the thought that I would forget what it feels like to be young.  Maybe it’s narcissism, but I think that adolescence is an incredibly formative and dynamic time that deserves attention.  I vowed to write as much about teens — real and fictional — to document the experience.  Aside from narcissism, I think this was also an act of self-preservation: I could feel myself being replaced by incrementally older versions of myself and the memory of What it is Like to Be Michele at This Second blown away like forgotten dust.  In each moment of my life, I desperately did not want to lose the version of myself at that time.  I guess this is another way to say that I’m afraid of dying. Continue reading

Friendly Skies

Hours after my last final exam, I stepped onto an airplane set for Amsterdam.  I boarded the plane with a single suitcase and a lingering ache from the emotional end of my freshman year.  

Excluding an infant wailing from the back, I knew that I was the youngest person on the plane — it was predictably full of retired senior citizens ready for a vacation.

Except for the guy in the seat next to me.  I remember pausing and blinking upon seeing Mateo, a strikingly handsome twenty-something from Colombia.  I wondered how I was going to survive a six-hour flight next to someone with such a symmetrical face.  I settled in my seat, ready to retreat into some movies and games on my phone, but Mateo insisted that we talk to each other during the flight. Continue reading

Monthly Me (August ’17)

In early August I wrapped up my lab job and headed back home before the start of school.  I made a stop at New York City along the way to see my sister.  Though I was in a rush to go back home, I was also in sort of agony in leaving Philadelphia and remember feeling sad and nostalgic even on the Megabus.  I was in a very strange and oppressive anxious mindset: I didn’t like the liminal feeling between summer and school starting I guess, and I felt, I don’t know.  Inadequate in several ways. Continue reading

Easy

After the first time I had kissed a stranger — in the blushing light of a music festival — I was reeling by how easily it had happened.  He had seen me, chatted a little, put his arm around me…the only reason why we didn’t kiss sooner was because I was too naive to realize what he wanted.

In high school, finding someone to kiss would have been much more difficult, to say the least.  Not because I wasn’t interested in anyone — but my shy and awkward demeanor didn’t attract boys at my school.  The option of hooking up — being physically intimate with someone without the emotional aspect — was never really on the table, mostly because I was idealistic and unpopular, partly because high schoolers are actually more romantic than society portrays them as. Continue reading

Planty

I did not expect, in the heart of a city, to foster some greenery of my own, yet I visit the rooftop deck of my house nearly daily to tend to six lil plants.

I have basil, lavender, chives, oregano, and a mini sunflower.  More practical than flora I used to take care of back in suburbia.  Purchased as teenage seedlings from the farmers market.  I’m not much of a chef myself, but my housemates have used my basil for dishes like lasagna.  It delights me to be useful. Continue reading

Loneliness

The close conversation had reached that point where we had run out of superficial, cheery things to say.  I wrung my hands as a thought forced itself into speech: I had been afraid that saying it aloud would make a tentative idea more real than it actually was, but I couldn’t help it, it had been haunting me for too long:

“Um, I don’t know,” I began slowly.  “I think, more than anything, I want to be in a relationship.  I know that’s a lame thing to say…I believe in feminism and independence and all that, but…it’s true.”

I lowered my head and blushed as my friend reassured me, but I couldn’t help but taste the aftertaste of a remark that was not articulated finely enough.  Because, in truth, I enjoy being single.  I like going to concerts and kissing strangers without worrying about someone back home.  I like quiet moments by myself.  And I see people constantly holding hands, constantly spending the night in each others’ dorms and I think: I don’t want that.  I don’t want all of that, at least not all the time.  

But I definitely want something.   Continue reading

In the Company of Myself

Recently I’ve been smiling sadly my high school self; I’ve been re-reading some journal entries from her senior year English notebook.  Essentially, she was lonely and confused, searching for a sense of identity and starving for companionship.  She wrote down dreams of long hugs and soft hand touches. Continue reading