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

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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

Shedding Light

For my creative writing class, I’m writing a lot about how scattered small/distant lights influence my life.  (It’s abstract and artsy, I know).

Walking around the campus of my east coast school in autumn, I was trying to figure out why the season evokes such a sublime sensation within me.  It was mostly to do with the beauty of trees during this time of year, I thought.

It wasn’t until I came across a sidewalk strewn with orange, red, and yellow leaves when I realized that fallen leaves are a variation of the random lights that I write about.  Leaves are, if you think about it, concentrated reservoirs of light (OK: more accurately, they are sponges that absorb light in which plants do their most important chemistry).  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

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

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

Glimmer of Hope

For my school newspaper, I was covering a panel about reproductive justice.  One of the panelists said something that changed me a little.  She said, “One of my priorities is to consistently and unapologetically be proactive on my word.  Just because the political climate changes, doesn’t mean that my goals and my values change.  Regardless of who’s in power, regardless of who my constituents are.  What I need to do as an organizer is to change conditions to make sure that happens.  We forget how powerful and impactful people power is.” 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