Dear C.

My first distinct memory of you is from our poetry workshop–you sat across the circle from me, and during one of our impromptu writing sessions, you began playing a Radiohead song from your phone, stating that listening to them is something you like to do when you write.

I remember thinking at the time that I only knew a handful of Radiohead songs and also who were you to be so bold?

And then you created such a deep love affair between Radiohead and myself that, to this day, I get chills whenever I listen to them, and none of my friends listen to them, so I have no one to go on about Thom Yorke to or listen to the entirety of In Rainbows with.

Friday nights were ours.

We would sit on your bed amidst the anti-capitalist artwork you created and the candlestick holder made from an empty brown beer bottle and drink Yuengling and smoke cigarette after cigarette until my hair was drenched in the scent of smoke and my lungs quaked.

The first time I did coke was after one of our group writing meetings, just a few blocks from your apartment. It was a sunny day in winter, and I drank a beer and did a single line and didn’t feel much.

That didn’t stop us though.

You’d play The King of Limbs from your laptop as we cut lines on the floral-print plastic tray. I’d tie my hair back, press the rolled up piece of paper to my nostril and inhale. We wouldn’t even go out. We just sat and let out tongues and teeth move at top speed.

I still have the Javas coffee card you used to cut the lines with. You told me I was great at cutting lines. I guess I can put that on my resume.

I fucking loved you. There’s no doubt in my mind. I fucking loved you. I loved your scratchy voice and how your hair cascaded down your back, how you deliberately let your black negligee glide off your shoulder as you sat with your thighs crossed over the mattress.

I loved you despite the dirt beneath your nails. I loved you when you were a crumpled heap in my arms, and I brought you dark chocolate and Tension Tamer tea.

Not long ago, while at work, I pressed my face into a shirt someone donated because it smelled exactly fucking like your apartment–like laundry detergent and lilies and cigarette smoke.

Hell, there was even one time when I was in your bathroom, and, after reading the back cover of your copy of Slaughterhouse Five, I plucked your discarded black thong from the tile floor and pressed it against my nose.

Because I’m a creep.

I’m a fucking weirdo.

Even at the time, I knew it was a tragic thing, to love you. To want you.

And I don’t even know how we split apart. It just happened. I do that to people eventually–I just inch further and further away. You called me up one evening and I drove over, and it was like old times. I cried about my mother. We saw each other again that summer, sat on a park bench outside and drank iced coffees, talked about our mothers.

I’m truly sorry I became cold. Seeing you at my new school was like seeing a ghost. Your voice no longer charmed me. I didn’t know what to say to you. And I’m sorry.

But I see that you’re happier than ever now. You seem so fucking happy and I’m so glad that you are and even though it makes me sad, I know if I had stayed in your life, you wouldn’t be this happy, because that’s just how the world ties things together. It’s the butterfly effect.

I hope someday you’ll call me up again. I know you won’t. It’s okay. I’ll think about calling you but I won’t ever do it.

People come and go.

God, you’re unreal. You always were.

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Essential Items for (My) Life

In case you’re curious, and because I just watched a video on “life hacks,” and because this will be a nice break from the monotony of melancholy this blog habitually perpetuates.

  1. SPF/Sunscreen. I literally don’t care what brand it is (for the most part)–as long as it’s effective sun protection. I try to remember to slather myself (well, my exposed skin) in sunscreen every day in the summer, and every day, no matter what season, I wear a face base that has SPF. Even if my actual foundation doesn’t have SPF in it, my moisturizer does. This is crucial because 1) I’d like to prevent skin cancer and 2) I’d like to age well.
  2. A decently sized water bottle. Literally every day I carry around a 28 ounce Blender Bottle. This alternates between being used as purely a water bottle to a pre-workout bottle to a post-workout protein shake bottle, and it’s fine. I like the size of it because it’s not intimidating. On a good day, I’ll drink around 4 of these. We all know how important it is to drink enough water, but many of us forget to. If you carry a nice water bottle on you all the time, it’s a constant reminder (also, I’m just always thirsty. Thanks, Lithium!).
  3. Car Book. This is literally just a book that I keep in the car (currently it’s a book about Radiohead). This is for times when I’ve either run out of data for my phone or I’m just in my car for a prolonged period of time and my phone has gotten boring. It’s just nice to have options.
  4. Echinacea tea. I’m trying to make a point to drink more tea this fall and winter–I always buy an abundance of tea and then go through it at a snail’s pace. However, echinacea tea is one tea I drink fairly often because I’m so paranoid about getting sick. If I feel even the slight possibility of a cold coming on, or I’ve been around a sick person, or I just saw a little kid sneeze on something at work, I’ll drink a double-bagged cup of this tea to calm my mind. Actually, better yet, if I genuinely feel sick, this is my trick: drink 2-3 cups of echinacea tea per day, combined with 1 fresh-pressed juice (something with citrus and/or cayenne pepper is my preference for times like these), and Vitamin C tablets. Also, take your goddamn vitamins.
  5. Speaking of that: VITAMINS. I have my own array of supplements and vitamins I take, and you can find what might work for you with just a little bit of research. My daily cocktail is a probiotic (or a modest glass of kefir, which I usually have in the fridge), vitamin D (especially crucial for fall and winter), B12, magnesium (it can help with anxiety), folic acid, and omega-3.
  6. Milk, preferably whole milk. Those who know me well know that I am, admittedly, a milk fanatic. This is not without reason, however. Despite what some LA hipsters might tell you–milk is GOOD FOR YOU. You can research it yourself. If you can consume dairy, I recommend you consume cow’s milk on a fairly regular basis. Calcium is so important and, like water, I think a lot of us forget about it, but trust me, your bones will thank you.
  7. Earbuds/headphones/whatever. I listen to music constantly. I’m listening to music now. I listen to it when I’m driving or just sitting in my car. When I’m on the toilet. When I’m out smoking. When I’m cooking. When I’m sleeping. And it’s usually with headphones because I live with other people. Someone could literally walk into my backyard while I’m smoking, shoot me, and I would have never seen (or rather, heard) them coming.
  8. Protein powder. This is the gym bro in me talking, but protein powder is pretty crucial to me at this point, now that I’m a lot more serious about my workouts. I even make sure I drink the shake at the appropriate time. I like the Body Fortress vanilla protein powder–you can get a 5 pound container of it for like 30-something dollars which is actually a steal. I’ve noticed that since my protein intake has increased, my nails have gotten stronger–a bonus! Also, this protein powder works really well for pancakes if you don’t want to feel like a total piece of shit for eating something so bad for you.
  9. Ibuprofen, or some other kind of pain reliever. I almost always have a headache and I absolutely always have some sort of bodily pain (lower back, abdominal cramps, sciatica, sore neck, you name it!), so having something on hand is pretty important to me. I’ve become less keen on taking these things as often as I used to because I’d like to keep my liver and kidneys healthy, but sometimes it’s just inevitable.
  10. A GOOD pair of sneakers. I’ve worked in retail for most of my young adult life, so I’ve spent a lot of time on my feet, and it wasn’t until this past summer that I found a pair of sneakers (or shoes in general) that didn’t kill my feet/legs/back. The Nike Flex 2016 Run sneakers–I’m sure you can still find them online. I have extremely low arches and it’s, uh, awful. These were a godsend. I actually did a fair amount of research before buying them, and it was worth it. Now I own 3 pair of Nikes and a pair of New Balances. #bro.

And there you have it–10 things crucial for my day-to-day life. What are some of yours?

Dear D

I’m pegging our first interaction as you complimenting my pink sweater in what I think was 8th grade. I recall debugging you in my own reserved, shy way. Fast forward to a year later; we’re holding hands in the middle of the mall.

You were the first friend I loved while also knowing what love means.

Our high school days were full of teenage angst, mood swings, but most importantly, the hundreds of folded pieces of loose leaf paper scribbled with blue pen. Doodles of characters you made up, the never-ending song lyrics that I had memorized; talk of boys, teachers we didn’t like, spiralling emotions. God, we were the epitome of outcast teenage girls.

I don’t know why the universe treated you so poorly. From the moment you were conceived, you were doomed. And, unlike adults with choices, you were a child and you were helpless. You were flung into a household that denied you love and spoonfed you dirt and lies. I’m sorry for the time you hid under the house in the dark. I’m sorry for all the wails against your body. I’m sorry for all the times the people you were bound to by blood turned their back on you and ignored your pleas, your whimpering eyes.

There was one day in February when we were sitting in Dunkin Donuts and you were wearing the hot pink hoodie I had given you. You started crying.

You were in the habit of lying face down on your bed and texting boys until you fell asleep. Shit, I tried to tell you. Not so much in words, I’m sure, but I tried to tell you that you deserved better than to get fucked from behind outside the public library. You deserved better. You wanted love. And they just fucking preyed on that.

God, we had good fucking times. Remember when I ran out of pot and we smoked catnip? Our weed connections were few and far between. I loved smoking with you. I wish I could remember it all, but I remember very little of it. But it brings me a bittersweet feeling.

You always wanted a baby. And now you have one. A little girl. Shit. I knew it would happen but I always hoped it wouldn’t.

Please tell me you haven’t forgotten taking a pregnancy test in my bathroom when you were 16.

Please tell me you haven’t forgotten all the obscene doodles that I would see once I unfolded the pieces of paper.

You must remember when you got shit-faced for the first time on vodka and pissed on your hamster’s grave and I tricked you into drinking water.

I dreamed about you the other night–I know it was a dream, because if it was real life, I don’t know how I would react to you. But in the dream, you were happy. You weren’t doing anything “amazing,” but you were happy. No baby. It was truly like seeing an old friend.

I think about you for a while, and then I don’t for a while.

You’ll always have a place in my heart.

 

Drunk, After Party

I’m a solo cup of rum and butter and cider in and I feel the warmth hit my stomach like a bomb.

I just can’t escape the trenches.

I ask her, “Do you want to leave?” because, despite her sobriety, she’s nodding off on the damp stoop.

“I’m fine,” she says. That’s all she ever says.

So, okay, I go beer after beer deep.

On my third (?), a tall lanky guy who introduces himself as _____ stops in front of us. I first notice his costume; mistake it as Waldo “humping” a leprechaun but he corrects me–he’s riding a leprechaun. He comments on my t-shirt, he asks what I thought about the remake. We talk. He seems stable. Nice. Sober, because he has to drive an hour and a half home.

“You drove over an hour for this?” I ask.

Fast-forward.

The warm feeling has burned out but the inebriation in my brain is full force. I’m socially lubricated and my body is loose. I’m leaning against the wall, I’m laughing at stupid things I overhear. I’m talking to a kid who is younger than me but graduated with a four-year degree sooner than me. We went to high school together. I’m friends with his ex. I have reason to dislike him; I do dislike him.  Yet, his stupid banter and commonality between academia is much needed at this time in the night. Him and his girlfriend are even more of a social lubricant.

“Gangster.”

“Can I buy a cig off you?”

“Mugwort.”

“The competitor of Uber.”

They start playing a live rendition of “Say It Ain’t So” by Weezer and I tap my foot against the stoop.

My old neighbor, younger than me, probably has an IQ of 150, has travelled all over the world, is as lifeless as I remember him being even back when we were small and played house and I got a mouthful of sand and dirt in my mouth and he kissed me.

His house was full of secrets and dimness and smelled like sugared cereal.

I have moments of introspective drunkenness.

It hurts. Vaguely.

My ex-neighbor sort of encourages me to take a Jello shot. Sure, I’m all about having more vivid dreams. I like to remember pain. I usually forget. I swallow a slice of clementine. The Jello is slightly bitter, slightly sweet, and a vivid orange. Where’s Waldo joins me–this pleases me.

I feel dumb.

She and I go back out for one last smoke. I tell her, I’ll talk to him before we leave. Before we leave, though, he’s walking out and we’re telling him to have a good night.

There’s a certain kind of loneliness the stems from being intoxicated, even if you’re having a good time. There’s a moment–perhaps you’re in the bathroom, or you’re having a cigarette, or reaching into the fridge for another beer, or standing against the wall. But it’s there. It reaches up into your  brain and tugs on your flaws, your insecurities, your hopes, your dead dreams.

In two years, two months, two weeks, two days, two hours, this moment, this night, this experience–it will not matter.

 

Temporary 

I don’t know what I’m doing.

I don’t even feel like a person anymore. At least , I don’t feel like me, although who else could I be? This is just another facet of who I am but it seems so foreign and feral and disconnected. I can’t even jerk off without disassociating. I lie on my back and stare at the ceiling, feeling inhuman.

Everything feels cinematic and unreal. I feel reckless, on the brink of frenzy. All my instincts are primal and I keep them in check because I’m not completely psychotic, but fuck, I just really want to beat the shit out of someone or get beaten by someone else, spit blood, break my knuckles, something. Snort a bunch of lines and never come down because the goal is to never come down. I’m functioning incredibly well on less than 6 hours of sleep a night for at least two months. 

And I fear that whenever I wake up, I won’t be like this anymore.

I would take the compulsive masturbating and rage and OCD and racing brain and agitation over deep depression any day. 
I remember not being able to get out of bed. I remember needing 12 hours of sleep just to barely function. I remember dozing off in every class, pushing my work until the last minute, being a zombie, the constant mental breakdowns and wishing I would die because I already felt like I was.

I would do anything to not be that way again. And every time I have a second to myself, I fear I will slip back into that place and I won’t be able to escape.

Porno Flickers

Am I doing the right thing?

I mean, everything feels like a wrong turn.

My manic energy, however wavering, and lack of sleep has given way to a compulsive, stressed, panicked being who needs to cum six times a day just to distract themselves.

That is, until the questions pop up as pounds of flesh and blood swirl around on my computer screen, and suddenly I can no longer feel my own body.

It all just feels so…hopeless.

I know that’s a cliche.

It actually feels surreal–to know there is no right answer, no correct choice, no way out, no solution to anything.

When I was younger, I didn’t even think about the possibility of my whole life becoming, well, shit.

Every smile feels forced. Every laugh is followed by internalized anxiety and paranoia. Every conversation is emotionally draining, usually followed by irrational rage at people I love. I’m tired of the blank stares, the tired half-smiles that are a poor attempt to reassure me that I’m not going to sit on the train tracks and wait for my body to be run over and crushed into nothing.

My hatred for others has grown immensely and quickly. I lash out. I make jokes but they’re meant to burn. I dread seeing people I call friends.

And you know what? They don’t actually care. Nor should they have to.

They have their lives. And despite all their own problems and all their own complaining, I would take any single one of their lives over my own.

I feel like my best friend and I are drifting apart. And I’m self-aware enough to know this isn’t because of my current state–I’m always in a good mood when I see her, but that mood is dissuaded throughout our interaction because she just seems so…distant. So irritated by me.

I have my guesses as to why.

But I don’t want a repeat of last year, where she held everything in until she exploded via text message and I had to drive to her house and threaten to leave if she didn’t fucking talk to me about what was going on.

I know she doesn’t like to talk.

I just keep feeling like I’m letting her down and I don’t even know why. I feel insecure. I don’t really ask her to hang out anymore. I’ve almost stopped completely. I’ve learned not to text her because she never texts me back.

Every time I’m with her, it’s like we’re not actually together.

It makes me even more sad.

I just want to sleep for a while, stop jerking off so much, eat an actual meal, wear clothes that aren’t work clothes or gym clothes.

But tomorrow I’ll be back to staying up until 3am watching porn to, what? Distract myself?

I’m running out of distractions.

Unidentified.

Ignored. Ignored for screens.

Feel the tears, hot and wet, down the cheek, the chin, the slope of the neck.

Outside. Dusk. Sapphire skies, plumes of grey clouds. Kick the bag of cans. Like music. 

Grab the beer.

No goodbyes.

Slam the door. Scream. Drive. Scream more. No one can hear. 

Light the cigarette, open the beer. Feel the panic. Feel the panic anyway. 

Remember. 

There’s a pounding in the skull. An ache in the legs. Muscles feel weak. 

Feel the loss of self.