Both Sides Now

I have such a fascination with life, and hopefully it shows in everything I do, say, and create. It always strikes me how unpredictable and difficult life can be, and how we really, truly only have ourselves. For me, I know I have me, and some people I can count on the most, like my mother, father, brother, and sister. I know they have to and want to love me and care about me and my wellbeing, because they feel tied to me through blood and familial relation.

As much as I absolutely value the connection of friendship, and how I recognize that without my closest and even farthest friends I would not be who I am today, friendship is so fucking fleeting. They end over the smallest of things, or end quietly and you didn’t even notice. A lot of times, I find myself running away in friendships, blocking and unblocking them on Instagram, removing their photo on my lockscreen, avoiding eye contact or snapchats. And it’s so much harder to not care about people because of social media. Social media is fucked up in that sense. I want nothing more than to have some people out of my life. But the kid who falsely accused me of raping him in high school just updated his relationship status on Facebook, and my ex roommate posted a cute picture of the room she redid when I left. It’s. So. Hard.

And I was just saying today that I need to do things alone. I am creative when I’m by myself and I am more myself when I am alone. I can look at things differently when I’m alone and am fully immersed in my own voice and thoughts. I watch the videos and movies I want to watch, I pick and choose what I want to wear regardless of what others may think and what I want to listen to and not have to worry about who doesn’t like rap music.

Another part of me is always like Who are you kidding, you need humans to survive. And I know that. I know I am so reliant on human interaction. I love it and I thrive off of it, and I love making friends and seeing people’s posts on Facebook and VSCO. I love knowing what others are doing because half of it is curiosity and insecurity and the other have is just gathering genuine inspiration.

But then I get a mean text, or a side glance at the dining hall table, or an unanswered snapchat chat, and everything changes. I see the red minus symbols next to their heads like I’m playing Sims. And everything changes. I go back into my hole and I listen to Frank Ocean like it’s eighth grade all over again. Then I discover new parts of me and enter the real world ready to repeat the cycle all over again.

But this is also when I am most vulnerable. When I am all alone I feel fully powerful in a completely vulnerable way, like my soul is standing naked at an open window during a winter storm. And this kid came over last night, we ate chips and drank and talked about our childhoods, and I forgot what it was to feel like this. It’s such a thrill but also makes me want to cry myself to sleep. And that’s when I realized that that is love. Not love in the traditional let’s-get-married, we’re-soulmates sense, but the hey, I love life and so many other people do too and we all experience it different ways love. The kind of love that recognizes Manhattan and Philadelphia as someone’s childhood cities instead of Manhattan and Boston. And that’s the best way to think of it. Yeah, you might not have gone to concerts in Philadelphia on the weekends, but you did go to the Met, and so did he, and you both donated $1 like bad patrons and stared at the art like you were trying to become it.

Love is the vulnerability I feel turning on music I was too afraid to listen to because it reminds me of my old suitemate that I didn’t let myself have feelings for. Love is thinking of the three instances you have watched Pepperoni Playboy with people; one with Amanda on a senior snow day falling asleep, one with Olivia in Peter’s bed high off your ass, and one at 2 a.m. with a boy from New Jersey wearing olive green pants. Love is life and connection and disconnecting for a while and not always having to bring things full circle, because you know that the universe will do that for you and it will fill you with awe and raw emotion. Fascinating.

Why I Pour a Lot of Syrup On My Pancakes

The sun has been up for a few hours, but it’s not late. People are out and about, but nobody’s meeting for lunch just yet. There’s no alarm, no getting ready hurriedly in the dark, no apple and coffee while dashing to the bus stop. You have time to heat Passion tea, spread Nutella on rice cakes, cut up strawberries, read, and close your eyes for five more minutes.

This is my favorite time to exist. And it’s great, no matter where you are. Whether you’re dishing out half-cooked pancakes onto a mosaic patio table at 5 a.m., overlooking pine trees and lakes, or watching microwaveable oatmeal make its rounds, wondering if you need to brush your hair today, or climbing into a car with your friends, headed toward the local cafes clad in pajamas, not up to the task of cooking; a calm morning with a great breakfast is a living masterpiece.

Toast is an American cultural classic that personally I didn’t appreciate until recently. Toast has an unbelievable amount of combinations when it comes to spreads. Hazelnut butter. Avocado. Strawberry, peach, grape, apple, pumpkin jam. Honey. Bananas. Blueberries. Cranberries. Bread is amazing. Slathering sweet and savory sauces on top is inundating and luxurious.

Breakfast is so personal. It’s one of the first decisions you make in the morning; what to eat, where to eat it, whether to skip or be late, delegating dishes to different time slots. It is the meal most commonly eaten alone. Who you spend your mornings with is important; you choose these people. These are the people you kick awake after a long night, the phone call you make groggily at 11:04 a.m. The mornings where your existence feels like an over-watered paint brush touching down on thick card stock, runny and spilling colorless water all over a pristine page- these are the days that can be doctored with a friend knowing that cool place in the city that makes great Eggs Benedict with a side of grapefruit.

Breakfast is messy. You are supposed to get syrup everywhere and stuck on your fingertips. You are supposed to spill a little bit of the Splenda sugar packet after three consecutive dumps into your morning coffee. It is supposed to rain, and you are supposed to wear sweatpants or heels from last night and there is supposed to be eyeliner under your eyes. Breakfast can be silent, or filled with spirited discussions about the dog walking by on the street or the merits of saving for a new car if your car isn’t that bad on gas mileage.

You breakfast with people you want to talk with even with no makeup on; you breakfast with people you won’t mind unevenly splitting the check with. You breakfast with the people you want to scoop, even if they live on the other side of town.

Breakfast is for love, for friendship, for the relationships that you know will last forever, or at least how long your forevers are.

 

 

 

 

Comparing Love to Seemingly Poignant, Unimportant Events in Daily Life

 

I don’t know how you can tell if you have had your first love yet. Some people say it was their first relationship, that one person you dated forever and you aren’t sure how it lasted so long. Others insist it was Zac Efron or their second grade teacher. Most people say it’s the first person they considered marrying or their first “real” relationship in college (because anything pre-college isn’t real or valid and everything only counts if your courses begin with four random letters and end in three numbers). My question, forever, has been whether it needed to be shared love, requited love, to be a first love. Or a love at all.

I was reminded of my first love when I was craving grilled cheese today. And my friends reading this may cringe or groan or want me to shut the fuck up about this already, but fuck you guys, because this is my blog. But I am here to tell you all that a first love can be whatever you feel it to be. My first love, the one that sparked a lot of drama kind of like an HBO movie or soap opera, works at the one diner in my town that anyone really cares about. And from June 16th until now, I haven’t really craved a grilled cheese yet. I haven’t had my heart broken this summer, so I haven’t required one.

Seeing him evokes the feeling of my hair being super crunchy after driving with the windows down on 95, the itchiness of a day-old bug bite, and the uncomfortable sticky chill of a summer night all at once. Conveniently, I was experiencing all of these things physically when I saw his unwanted presence at his place of employment. I thought about how I had been feeling about him lately. Had I listened to Marina and the Diamonds recently? I think about his terrible driving skills whenever I impatiently pump my brake at a red light. But that doesn’t really count, because nobody else does that and it’s really muscle memory. As expected, he avoided me, and I was wondering if I was supposed to be sad about it. I wondered if he noticed that I blocked him on all social media. I wanted him to come over and ask if I wanted marinara sauce with my sandwich because he knows that’s what I get. And I wanted him to joke about the fake butter sauce on the popcorn.

But I also didn’t, really. I just wanted him to feel left out and stupid, like I had felt for the past one and a half years. Maybe I did that to myself, but I really think loves only end when you don’t see the person for a long time. Because I couldn’t get far enough away from him until I had to be; until we finished high school, and he moved, and he didn’t answer my text once and went canoeing with his girlfriend instead.

On the way home I put on the playlist I made November 15th when everything felt really heavy and important and every song I associated with him mattered. But there was something fake about the words of the song as I sang them. I wasn’t sad. I was just uncomfortable. My soul felt crunchy and like my driveway when I do a 32-point turn leaving my driveway: gravelly and punctured. I was trying to make a hole in myself with my own tires. And I know I was just testing myself, because I hadn’t revisited my first love in over a month. Doting on him felt grossly comfortable, like I was returning to a school year routine I had missed during the messy, unplanned summer. But I think being comfortable with abuse and misconduct is gross. My first love is gross and dumb and smells like fake butter when he gets home from work.

I think I am going to delete that playlist for a while and only listen to the Lumineers until I go to school.

And who are you to tell someone that their definition of love isn’t what they think it is? Love is relative. Love can exist in spaces and people that humanity refuses to acknowledge. I can love a shitty person and it is valid and real. I loved a shitty person and it was valid and real. I am so lucky that I get to leave him behind. I am so lucky that he is not my last (the fake butter thing would have gotten old).