Thursday, August 20, 2015

TO: Self

Oh, how the tables have turned.

It's so funny, and oh so disenchanting, to look back on life and see how much it can change in what seems like an instant. 

I haven't posted here in a very long time, but I think (though I won't promise) that I will start posting again. 

A lot has changed... And I will let you piece that all together with this post, which I have copy and pasted from an email I sent to myself while I was interning at a newspaper in Scotland. 

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of ex-boyfriend and godmother, even though no one ever reads this blog.

What else is one to do but eat Smarties and email oneself?

It's day 6 in Scotland, almost one whole week into my journey. Which means that I have four more to go. I had goals for this journey--I wanted to heal and I wanted to learn.

TO HEAL. I want to be okay without E. I want to think of the memories, of my head in his lap watching Jurassic Park, and I want to smile, not blubber. I want to wake up in that moment of blissful naivety that follows from emerging from the dream world and I want that to last for a little bit longer. At least until my toast burns or the shower water scalds me, but not because I remember that I am without him. I want to have hope for the future, but not so much that it holds me back from future endeavors, just enough hope that I know that what we had was real.

TO LEARN. I want to learn to be happy on my own. I want to explore the corners of my brain that I have been too occupied to explore. I want to learn about what my life could be like in the future. I want to learn to love myself, to know myself fully, and to love myself. 

But in the midst of all of this, right now, on a Friday afternoon, at my desk at The Herald, I want him back. I want the last message I send him at night to say "goodnight baby, I love you" once more. I want to ache with longing for our reunion.

But this ache is a different one. This ache is of absence and the knowledge that the absence will not end. 

We have been texting a lot, against the better judgement of anyone who has given me their two cents. It has been really good actually. The witty banter and comfort of my best friend, who knows me better than anyone else on the planet, was something that I missed so much in that first week.

Yesterday morning, I was lying in bed sick, and texting E. It was midnight for him, and he had been drinking a little, and he was going through the usual E motions of doubting himself and his choices and his future. He wants to drop out of school; he wants to burn his own path. 

And it hurt me. Because I have so many opinions. SO many opinions. But what do they mean to him? What does he care if somebody that he used to know thinks that he is better than that? I can't tell him how much I love him and his brain and the intricate way that it thinks.

But I took a breath and I talked to him like the friend that I am. I told him that the world isn't out to get him--which he countered--and that his parents, his teachers, society, they just want him happy. I want him happy.

 Everyone has their own idea about how you are going to reach that end goal of happiness, and they are going to attempt to persuade you that their way is the right way because that's all they know. But in the end, isn't the destination the same, no matter which route you take? 

And he told me thank you. He told me that I make him happy. He told me that it felt so good that I was actually listening to him. 

You're welcome, E.

And in those messages of gratitude, I subconsciously placed a subtext: "I miss you and I want you back." Now I know that I am reading too far into those messages. And I know that my broken heart is seeking to mend itself my believing that he feels that way.

But I know E well. I know when he's subliminally telling me that he loves me, and I know when he is recognizing how much I mean to him. And in those messages, that it just what he was doing. 

I fall asleep at night and I dream of the day I land in San Francisco. I dream that I turn on my phone and I turn off airplane mode and I text him "I'm home!" and he quickly responds telling me that he is eager to see me...

...And so he comes over to my apartment, and we sit on the couch and watch some really attention-grabbing TV show on Netflix and eat popcorn. And then it gets scary and startled I jump. And I turn my head toward him, my palm guarding my eyes from the screen, and my head settles on his shoulder. I blush. I pull back. He looks at me, I look at him. I lean a little closer. He wraps his arm around my shoulder and he pulls me in closer to him. He holds me...

...And then the dream jumps and we are in my bed, the bed of dreams, legs entangled, under the Gordon blanket, with my laptop on his stomach. I am lying on my side, my arm thrown across his chest and my leg thrown over his. I reach my face up to kiss his cheek. I can smell him, I can feel him... 

And then I wake up.

But before I lose the blissful naivety, I am flooded with hope. Can the subconscious not be reading the signs and piecing together the clues to predict the future?


What will instead happen is something more like this: I will tell him I'm home and a few hours later, he will respond something very open-ended and vague. I will probably ask him to hang out. We will probably go to a coffee shop. He will drink a large coffee, I will drink a small coffee. It will be awkward, we won't have much to talk about. He will take his bus home, and I will take another bus headed in the opposite direction. And then I will go home and wrap myself up in the Gordon blanket all alone and watch something shitty on Netflix and cry into my pillow. 

He wants to be single. He wants... (gosh it's so hard for me to even think it, let alone type it)... to be with other girls. To kiss other girls and to fuck other girls and to love other girls.

And I want to get home to the wifi this afternoon and send him a text: "Just please don't let it be with someone I know. I only ever want to hear about it from you, not from someone else. Promise?"

But I can't be that pathetic. I can't be that desperate.

Or can I?

I want so badly to play hard to get. I want to come home from Glasgow with new clothes and new confidence and a newly slimmed down figure. And I want to go for that coffee date and tell him tales of my solo adventures and the boys who would buy me drinks when I went out and the barista who gave me his phone number. And I want to look up at him through batted eyelashes and tell him that I like being alone, I like the independence and the freedom. 

And I want him to look back at me and feel his face flush and a knot rise in his throat. I want him to go to that bus that will ship him off in an opposite direction and put his headphones on and listen to angry punk ballads about lost love. And I want him to text me more and flirt more and endear me more until, finally, I kiss him. But without any strings attached. And then the texting and the flirting and the endearing will go on and on. And then one day, when I have him begging, I want to say yes and kiss him and be held in his arms and I want to cry tears of joy with him as we both successfully complete our conquests.

I truthfully don't believe any of these scenarios will happen. I could invite him to a party and drunkenly cry when I hug him and get a whiff of that all-too-familiar smell. Or I could fall in love with someone else. Or he could fall in love with someone else who forbids him from talking to me. It could be anything, and that is what I hate the most.

Because how will I ever know which it will be? How can I prepare myself for any number of scenarios when the most likely ones I can't even come close to imagining?

But I don't want you (you? You are me, I am emailing me) to think that I haven't progressed. Because I have. I really, really have.

First of all, just in writing this email, I am learning about myself. I am writing in a writing style that I like--a style that flows naturally from my fingertips and a style that I love to read. And that gives me hope for writing in the future, which is something I want to do, but I have always doubted my abilities. 

Secondly, every morning that I have been getting ready for my internship, I have looked in the mirror and I have felt hot. Now, I don't know if I owe that feeling to L's mirror or to my new Next jeans, but either way, I am looking in the mirror and I am seeing someone that could get hit on at a bar or who could warrant second glances on the street. 

And most importantly, I feel quite happy.The Herald is fun, I don't know if ever I have enjoyed work, but I am enjoying this and envisioning a future doing this. And L is loads of fun. She listens to me and understands my side of things and she takes care of me and makes fun. Being around her and her friends and talking to them, it almost feels like I have friends of my own. 

I don't want to wallow, I don't want to sit around and feel pathetic. I don't know how to handle all that I am trying to handle, but I am doing my best. Step by step, I really am healing and learning. I know that it will only get better with time.

I am taking this pain and this thrust into the complete unknown for good. I told myself that I want to become the best version of myself. And I think a good gauge for that is try and become the version of myself that E most wanted me to be, the version of myself that E would most love. And to banish the qualities that E didn't like so much.

Now I know that seems silly. But I am not trying to do this so that he will fall in love with me all over again. I am doing this because E made me a better person. I always knew that, but I have really begun to notice that while being without him. The person that E would most love is the person that I would most love. 

I want to banish my outbursts of anger, and I want to let loose, and I want to be unafraid of consequences, and I want to always think positively (although I don't want to lose my realism), and I want to learn the guitar, and I want to write a book, and I want to learn all their is to know. 


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