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

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reflecting on freshman year

Read my first semester summary here, and here

I’ve been delaying this reflection.  Mostly, because when I try to describe my freshman year, contradictions crop up early on.  For instance, I can start by saying that this first year felt much denser and more eventful than all four years of high school—“I’ve aged ten years,” I joke to those who ask about it.  So, a lot happened.  But then again, not really.  I mean, there were a few milestones of course.  But other than that…nothing that dramatic happened to me. I think about how by the end of the year, I still felt mostly like myself.  It wasn’t, like, I metamorphosed into a different person or had a ton of wild shit happen to me.  But even though the before and after pic is not very altered, distance does not equal displacement.  There was a winding path in between my starting and ending point.  Though not a lot changed, technically, the emotional journey feels long and profound for me.

I can still say, without a doubt, that after this year I know myself much better, and I can say that I feel more grown up.  I can also say that I really like the person I’ve matured into.

Here’s why: 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

Emotional Containers

This past semester, I felt locked in a post-you era.  Even though, after you said those fateful words — “I’m not looking for a relationship” — I stopped liking you and even stopped hurting for you, I failed to restart, like some stuttering obsolete computer.   I felt like I couldn’t, not without some sort of signal to transition.  I wanted to flip over the page to the next chapter of my life, but it felt like the same chapter kept going on and on — even though different stuff started happening, even though you stopped being a character.  I guess I wanted to look up at the night sky and see the stars aligned in the words: THE END.  I wanted a sign.

But now, the semester is over.  There is no boundary as definitive as the beginning of sweet summer.  I brush the dust of you and my leftover feelings into the container called Freshman Year and seal it off for good. Continue reading

Relationships

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about what even is the point of having friends, family, and lovers.  Especially since — if you think about it — the definitions of these things are so abstract and bendable sometimes.  After all, isn’t a group of friends like a found family — a beautiful little eclectic clan brought together by chance?  And doesn’t a family sometimes feel like people who you’re expected to be friends with for a lifetime?  Isn’t a lover just a best friend that you also sleep with — or are friends just lovers that you don’t sleep with?  I guess the confusing thing is that the word “love” blankets all these categories — sure, you can add modifiers like “platonic,” “familial,” and “romantic,” but our clumsy language includes that baffling universal solvent: L O V E. 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

Oyster and Balloon

It was a late college night, and a girl and a boy and I were sitting around a table talking about feelings.

“That’s why I prefer more open guys,” I said to Fiona, shaking my head.  “Like, so many guys are emotional clams: you always have to fuckin’ rip them open just to talk.”  I aggressively mimed an invisible round oyster in one hand and a knife in the other.  “I can’t spend time forcing people to open up.  My arm gets tired.” Continue reading

Favorite Love Song Lyrics

Some ironic and silly, others heart-crushingly emotional.

❤ Ever since we met // I only shoot up with your perfume // it’s the only thing // that makes me I feel as good as you do. — Panic! at the Disco

❤ I don’t care what’s in your hair, I just wanna know what’s on your mind.  I used to say I wanna die before I’m old but because of you I might think twice. — Twenty One Pilots

❤ Somebody told the stars you’re not coming out tonight // so they found a place to hide —  Arctic Monkeys Continue reading

Please Knock

I’m not holding the door open for him (letting the cold air pour in, numbing my ankles), but I’m not slamming it and bolting the lock either.

Right now I think the door is ajar, leaving me an indulgent and toxic crevice for me to peek out of, for those moments when I pretend I don’t know better.  Slowly but surely, I’m drawing it shut, and one day I know I will finally close it in peace.

But I know that I will not lock it — oh, not for a long time.  It means that a brief visit, a careless turn of the knob, will swing it wide again.  That frightens me.  I don’t want to let him in again.  I only want him back if he comes to the threshold with flowers, wipes his feet on the mat — plans to stay.

Continue reading

Trust Fall

So there’s you and me and a precipice, and I saw jagged rocks  under the cliffside, when I was near you.

But inherently, I trust you, and after pulling back, I looked at you from afar and decided to make a running leap.

I’m making a desperate dash for you, in the hopes that it’s not so desperate after all. Continue reading