Life can change so quickly. We, as humans are more adaptable than it seems sometimes, or maybe more than we can remember when we’re feeling like we’re not. I did one thing for so long, and the parts of it I liked, I really liked. But you know that whole, the definition of insanity is to do the same thing repeatedly but expect different results? That’s where I was in life for quite a while. I have all these complexes – loyalty, responsibility, ethics but you can’t expect things to change when they keep on showing you they’ll stay the same. And when things don’t change, it’s just like that South song “if we don’t make it, nothing changes.” It’s true. It’s the truth. So sometimes we have to figure out how to make some changes, whether they’re temporary or permanent or circumstantial and it’s hazy how long they’ll be around for – they can be pretty necessary. Just one step to tip the scales. So all of this is how I wound up working at a friends store about two months ago, and finding out I really, really like it. It’s shown me things I’m capable of that I probably wouldn’t have envisioned if you asked me two months ago. There are so many things about me, as a person, that don’t change regardless of the situation you put me in. Like group projects – I passionately hate group projects, but I’m always going to want to put in as much work as I can before it’s done. If an area is lacking, even if it drives me crazy, I’m going to want to do what I can to balance it out. And even if I hate group projects, I’m a walking contradiction because I love team work. I love a clean operating partnered effort. The thing is, I know it doesn’t make sense to a lot of people right now, but that’s not important. For right now, it makes sense to me and that’s enough.
I woke up from a dream. And every dream of you feels like a memory, that future me is looking back on. We’re not in real time, or rather our minds are not. We look as we do now, older than we did in our youth, our laughter is deeper, a depth that comes with age as the sound of carefree giggles grow an edge. But I always know it’s you before I see your face in my dreams because I can feel it in the crook of your arms as it lay across my shoulders, or around my waist. I can smell you on your gray t-shirt, the cotton soft against my skin. Dream me could have my eyes closed, and I would still know it’s you. And you always come at times when, when I don’t know if I’d need you or not if it were a choice. But if you were standing in front of me, and had the capability of reaching me, like fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen year old us? Then I wouldn’t walk away. I’d stand there. I’d look into your eyes. And I wouldn’t walk away. I don’t know what words could pass between us now. But so many times, we didn’t need them. We spoke in silence. We spoke in the rise and fall of breaths, in a lazy afternoon. We spoke in the stillness that settles over the room, and we both just listened to one another’s thoughts in the quiet. Dream you laughs raucously like the years haven’t taken toll on who we are, or how we see the world. Your cheek has stubble that faintly scratches my chin as you tilt your had back in waves of laughter. I kiss your cheek and the prickly hair tickles my lips. We ride down an open road, in a convertible that would never suit either of us in real life, but in a dream, we know only that sleek yellow car that lets the sunshine splash our faces, and we’re the only ones on that stretch of asphalt. I don’t know where we were going, and it didn’t really matter. We never did know, anyway. Even if we tried to decide. Those decisions weren’t ours for the making. I awake with the faint distant knowledge of your haphazard curls beneath my fingers, and your whispered breath on my neck from swapping secrets. Sometimes, I like to think our younger selves sent these dreams to our older selves, to remember what it was like to be loved so innocently in a time before we were tainted by what was to come. The wise sliver of my being knows it better to relish in a false memory those first few moments upon waking, than to go digging in the past to retrieve you to occupy a space in present life.
I could feel
Summer in my heart
Summer in my soul
Deep down, in all the places
Winter courage, does not go.
Passing somewhere through the middle of Georgia, after we finally found a rest stop. Bonnaroovians padded slowly down the same sidewalks, sleepy eyed and dazed after days of adventures. I watched a dark haired boy reach his tanned hand through the bars shielding the vending machine, attempting to retrieve some kind of snack. The moms dragging their toddlers across the slick restroom floors, didn’t know how odd it seemed to be using a bathroom with lights and flushing, and running water in the sink. We’d grown accustomed to the plastic box life of portapotties, and keeping a roll of toilet paper in your backpack, and following the path to a dusty street in early morning light. This early morning light was different. We were still alive with possibility, but sleep was battling for my brain waves and all my thoughts started to get hazy in the struggle to resist. I may have nodded off for a few minutes. I may have surrendered to the dreamy thoughts, not ready for all our beautiful moments to start the transformation into memories, a distance that can’t be crossed once it’s been created. I could only think of this land, a paradise carved out from the rest of the world where worries can’t reach you, and every stranger is a new friend to be made. The stories of these gorgeous people, and their journeys and their exquisite passion for life resounded in my ears lulling me to sleep. When I awake, my dreams weren’t real dreams, they were revisited thoughts of the same things I was pondering before I took that snooze. My mind is littered with the sensation of wet grass beneath your feet, moonlight bathing an open field in a soft glow, and the ease that accompanies life and the people you entwine yours with when you are absolutely, positively yourself. Love in its purest form because there’s no space for anything else.
Sometimes, when I’m the only one out in the neighborhood on a Tuesday night, walking up the driveway in the dark I find myself laughing. That’s a different kind of laughter though, the softer one that happens when you’re laughing at yourself. Usually because my roommate or I forgot to take the trash to the curb the previous week, and now the bin weighs two of me, and it takes all my effort to drag it to the street. I always think what a humorous sight it’d be to see, but it’s always just me. This laughter was different, I couldn’t stop it from bubbling up and roaring out. The volume drowned out the sound of the plastic wheels scraping the cracks in the cement. I hadn’t laughed so hard, in so long. The kind where if I wasn’t gripping the handle of the trash bin with one hand, and holding my phone in the other, I’d be clutching my stomach and doubled over trying to catch my breath. (Which is what happened anyways when I made it to the street side.) I sucked in air in a quick moment, as I looked up at the stars, and felt the stillness of the night and wondered if any of the neighbors were going to take a peak out their front doors, or through the curtains from the street facing windows of their houses to see what all the commotion was about. That might be a tad bit embarrassing, but not enough to keep me quiet because those uncontrollable laughs that spill out like that, they don’t happen everyday and it’s not worth squelching them.
Talking on the phone is a weird thing. It’s funny because what used to seem such a simple, obvious form of communication has turned into something else when we can just type words on the screens of our phones, or shoot someone a Facebook message. All these other ways of “communicating,” that use words, but they’re different. You don’t hear the way the octave of someone’s voice rises when they get excited, or the quiet contemplative hmm as they carefully choose words to describe this opinion they’re conveying. You don’t hear when you’ve made someone laugh those deep belly laughs, or when they’re surprised at your understanding of some off the wall thought you blurt out. It’s different when someone whispers some meaningful phrase and the words travel to your ears, instead of seeing them in an instantaneous flash on a back-lit bright white grainy page. Sometimes I get lost in the weird black hole of time spent on the internet, but I’d much rather loose track of time swapping stories, and learning a person out loud.
It doesn’t seem to matter what phase of life we’re in, middle school, high school, college, post-college – things don’t change that much. (I would say people are the same, but I know deep down we’re really not or that would be so boring!) By this I mean, I don’t think it matters how simple something starts off as – people always seem to be looking for more. If something begins on a kind of platonic level, I always find that the simplistic, basic, normal level of things doesn’t seem to last long. Maybe I give off some kind of vibe I am unaware of, but this is has happened my whole life. (Until you know you meet a person that you want to have a non-platonic relationship with, and they don’t see it the same way. So it goes, right?) But really. I mean, why can’t a straight guy and a straight girl just be friends without some kind of underlying expectation? I for one, have always operated using The Butterfly Test. Sure I’ll hang out with someone with an open mind, but if I don’t feel it, if it’s not there it’s the truth when I say I’m not going to miraculously develop feelings for you later.
Maybe I need to just start posting Craig’s List Missed Connection ads. Would it be totally creepy to write something like “Hey! Bearded guy running down Thomasville Road on Tuesday around 630pm in front of the bike shop. I liked your pace, wanna run sometime?” Yeahhh, and that’s probably how you meet the serial killers…
I’m driving home from work, rambling to the ever-faithful listener, my mom about how maybe I just don’t like anyone? (Not like as a human being, but in a romantic context.) Then I see someone running down the street and blurt out how they’re pretty cute. And of course, this is better than just some stranger you see in a parking lot somewhere because I can already deduct that we have running in common. Then about .7 seconds later I see my ex-boyfriend pulling out of a local park. Surprise! That seems very typical of life, and the weirdness of the way things happen.
All of my dreams this week seemed to revolve around weddings in one way or another, which is completely strange. Sure I have two to attend coming up (one at the end of May, one at the end of June,) but really? Why so on the brain? Earlier in the week I dreamed that I was a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding for the second time. I didn’t know the groom. It was a chaotic ordeal. I felt really uneasy about the whole thing. Then I was talking to a friend about her own wedding in the dream, that I was in, which didn’t happen in real life. (You know like your subconscious creates fake memories?) Then last night I dreamt that I was wandering around in my compression socks (they’re obnoxiously hot pink and bright) and I wasn’t even running which was so weird, and I was apparently looking for a wedding date? I got set-up with one of my male friends who is gay, at the same time as I got set-up with a stranger. It was just, weird. Completely weird. I woke up kind of disoriented.
It all makes it sound like I really have relationships on my mind, but honestly I don’t. You know what I’ve been thinking about lately? Friendship. I have some incredible friends in my life, but they are scattered everywhere. Literally. So, I don’t get to see them as often as I’d like. (I’m working on this because money is just money, and who ever knows how much time they have? And I don’t want to be sitting here saying “I wish we could’ve hung out just one more time.” Though don’t we always wish that when the inevitable happens?) But really time goes by and as we get older some of my friends are settling down into a different life. Getting married, having babies, real jobs that mean you can’t just take off days and days of work for some exotic spontaneous trip…And it makes me ache a little because although in some people’s worlds it doesn’t seem to work like this, in mine it has – it feels like as these life changes happen, new boundaries are drawn, and I feel confined to small little boxes in each relationship. And I get it. There’s an appropriateness to things, certain parts of life have to change because we aren’t who we used to be when these changes come. And most of my friendships have always had this weird dynamic, a certain energy that buzzes in the air, that’s heavy with an intimacy not of the physical type, but in the connection – the depth of the heart. And I know these can’t carry on when others are added to the equation.
But lately, I just miss what it’s like to pile in a car and drive around, adventuring. I miss cramming on a couch having movie nights, (or Olympic nights, or Degrassi nights haha.) I miss sprawling across beds staring at the ceiling, talking about life. The future a fuzzy cloud of uncertainty in front of us, imagining the possibility. I miss sitting on kitchen floors with my feet tucked under me, giggling at everything and nothing. Feeling like in that moment, I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I miss going on walks in the still of the night, only the light of the stars shining down, and the things that only go spoken in the safety of the dark. I miss making pancakes at random times of the day. I miss the way that music sounds different when you’re listening to it with someone else, as it fills the space between you in a room.
There are certain people who just know me like no one else. The silence is comfortable. The laughs are the deep kind that make your stomach hurt. Lately those relationships just feel far away, and like they’re slipping through my fingers. I know the tone changed here, but the thing is I’m not really looking for what people probably think I am. It’s not about boyfriends or romance. It’s that sense of companionship, a partner, sharing experiences with people who get it. This is the stuff I’m carrying around all day. It makes me smile because I’d have to know the happiness of such moments, to miss them but it gives me heavy boots to feel the weight of it, too.
If our comfort zones are like circles or squares, I feel like I’ve stepped out of mine and have been living in a trapezoid. I’ve just been thinking about life lately, (or my own life to be exact). And you know, I keep telling myself I cannot be the only person that feels like this. (Honestly, I think J.Law would definitely understand.) But do you ever feel like a fake adult? Like I’m in my mid-twenties now and I feel like I’m just a wolf in sheep’s clothing, or whatever parading around pretending to be a “grown-up.” I do these things, like meet new people and I say yes instead of saying no so I’m not like hanging out in my own little world all the time. But then as I sit across the table from a new person, I just keep thinking you don’t know I’m really just a weird fifteen year old under all of this. Somehow I feel like my teenage self and current self are merged into some weird hybrid of a human. The last time I met a new person my own age was like, never. Age is just a number, but with numbers comes time and with more time there’s more life crammed in. People have had enough time to get married, have kids, get divorced, work for three different places for extended years. Here I am, single and childless, (which I am perfectly content with right now, by the way) and I feel like a child myself most of the time. Really I just work to afford rent and to buy running gear, and pay race entry fees. Sometimes, I spend it on going to the movies on Saturday mornings, or brunch (because let’s face it other than fro yo it’s my favorite thing.) Sorry I can’t make more plans this evening because I’m looking forward to going home and live chatting with my girlfriends as I watch Pretty Little Liars on ABC Family. Maybe we shouldn’t hang out with your eleven year old because the last time that happened, I totally identified. We talked about the required reading list, finally having the same lunch time as your friends, what it’s like to at last get that back seat on the bus, how much math sucks…which is great for the person you’re communicating with but do you really want to know how in sync I am with the younger version of myself? Sure it may sound like I have stunted growth emotionally but I really don’t think so. I’ve grown and changed so much, (especially over the past two years,) I just so happen to be able to get in touch with all those other layers of my being as well. The new people won’t see this because it’s thinly veiled under the pseudo-act of having it together, not that I intentionally project this idea, it just appears because sure I get up and go to work Monday to Friday. I can meet up at the time and place I say I will. I can be responsible. I can carry on a conversation. But then, as I talk does my utter unstableness shine through? The fact that I feel like I might up and leave on any given day in the future doesn’t just scream of something less than “normal” adult life? And I respect you. And I don’t feel like you’re speaking down to me, but on the other hand I also don’t feel like your equal. Much of the time lately, when I meet people considerably older than me I think – you can’t really like me, like me. Because honestly, I feel like I’m talking to say a teacher from high school that I completely respect, like as a person, but do not feel in the same realm as. I feel like they have experience to share and learn from, but I don’t feel connected – like that. And maybe it’s just lately because while some days I feel like a teenager, other times (ha! of course, when I’m hanging out with people my own age it seems…) I feel like I’m 107, that my soul has lived a thousand lives. I am just constantly in limbo, caught in the in between and I haven’t found the place where I fit yet…