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

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a brief history of me and love

My first love was in kindergarten, in the curly blond hair of Nicholas and his round white cheek that I sought with pursed lips.  He dodged my advances, but still played with me all the time.  I think we were best friends.  Then he moved away, and in an act of operatic melodrama that I wanted others to see, I sat on top of the playground and sang sad songs.

My idea of love was standing in front of my parents with a Bible in my hands, pretending to be a priest that married them after they had a fight.  As if each re-marriage would start their love anew.  I now think that they probably needed a divorce.

Love in elementary school was crushing on every boy who sat next to me when the seating arrangement refreshed.   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

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

Relatable Lana del Rey

Lana del Rey’s new album has been in my life for over two weeks now.  And even though the song is old news by now, Lust for Life expands the concept of “summertime sadness” into explosion — into narrative.  And, for a moody teen living on her own for the first summer ever, the lyrics from this album reflect my emotions this season — and save me a little.

Summer’s meant for loving and leaving,

but I was such a fool for believing that you

could change all the ways you’ve been living — but you just couldn’t stop.

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

Monthly Me (June ’17)

June, a landmark month in many ways: it was my first time I was responsible for my own rent, food, and employment.  Adulting is hard!  I spent most of the month merely adjusting to the new independence.  I’ve enjoyed myself immensely, but I’ve also already learned a lot within these few weeks.

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