Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The First Morning I Forgot You


The morning started out as it normally did. I woke up early as usual, the quiet sounds of the morning chirping in the air, the day still cold. My roommate forgot to turn off her TV. I could hear the Game of Thrones theme song playing through the wall, the sound reminding me that I haven't finished the latest season.

I stood up from my bed, my head aching from general lack of sleep. My mind was still a blur, causing my motor functions to slow down. It was so early that at first I didn't realize that it was already the next day, and that I have a lot of work to do before the day is over.

After brushing my teeth and running my fingers through my hair, I decided that I was just going to go eat and work out before my classes started. I walked into the living room, and I saw my roommate. I pause for a moment, surprised that she had gotten up so early. She apparently had yet to change from her clothes from last night. Her face looked like it was carved from stone: filled with disappointment.

"When did you get back?" I asked her.

"A few hours ago."

"You haven't slept at all?"

"Nope. Decided it was a waste of time." That made sense. What was the point of going to bed if you have class in two hours?

"Did you have fun last night?"

"Nah, not really."

"What happened?"

"My date ditched me for some other girl."

"That's rough."

"Yeah, can't be helped. What did you do?"

"Nothing much. Just watched some Netflix and went to sleep."

She nodded, and finished her food. After a while, she changed and headed for class. I scrolled through the news on my phone, seeing if I had missed any major news that happened overnight. Nothing major had happened.

The microwave beeped in it's usual annoying manner. I quickly got my food out.

And right when I sat down to eat, I remembered you. Right at the moment when I started my computer, and the smell of coffee still strong in my nose. It was that moment when I realized that you were no longer the first thing on my mind.

This came as a complete shock to me. After months of listening to sad love songs, of self-pity, of waking up feeling like I was missing something, of blaming myself for not "doing better" in the relationship, I had just woken up to a morning where I didn't feel like a big part of my life was gone. And apart from the shock that was this realization, I saw how such a moment could be so mundane. All this was happening while I was at my desk, opening up Hulu, and looking like someone who just rolled out of a trash can. It was a moment that was as anticlimactic as one could be.
Yet, I felt like it couldn't have been any better. Even though this moment was lacking any of the drama that I was expecting, I felt as if a great weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

 "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving." - Albert Einstein 

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Heartbreak


It was 3 years ago when I found myself staring at my phone at a contact that I both did and did not want to reach out to. I was lying in bed in my dorm room, with the only light coming from my phone shining on my face. I remember my gut clenching and my heart racing, and the small voice in my head telling me that I should just turn off my phone and that a conversation would not end well for either one of us.

I should have listened to myself. But against my better judgment, I didn't. I didn't know what I was feeling, just that I wanted to be with you more than I wanted anything. In the back of my mind, I knew that I couldn't have you, no matter how hard I tried. But I had hoped that I was wrong, that somehow, we would work out.

I found myself pressing the call button. While the phone was ringing, I had this unique feeling that I didn't own my own body, that someone else was in control. On one hand, I was waiting for her to pick up, while on the other hand, I was watching myself waiting. To this day, I can still feel my heart pounding and my gut clenching.

"Hi."

"Hey, it's me."

"Yeah, how's it going?"

"I have something to say to you."

"I can't really talk. I'm currently with someone right now."

"Sorry. It's just that I needed to tell you something."

There was a long silence. I held my breath until she finally said "okay."

My words came tripping over themselves. I hated the way I stuttered when I tried to get my thoughts out. "I know that we're just friends, but it sometimes doesn't feel that way, you know? And I was hoping that one day that one day you'd realize that I'd be the one to be able to make you happy. I feel like I can be the one to be able to do that."

I couldn't hear anything on the other end of the line. I cleared my throat and continued, "I guess what I want to say is that I hope you realize I'm better at the end of the day." I knew that I had crossed a line that I couldn't come back from.

I had so much more to say, but I stopped myself. There was already enough damage. I knew her answer before I started talking, I knew it before I dialed the number on my screen.

"I can't be thinking about this right now." She was trying to keep her voice light. It didn't take much to realize that she was putting on a show for the person she was with at the time. "Let's talk about this later, alright? It's nice to hear about your concerns for me, I really appreciate it."

At the end of the day, there were no big realizations. There was nothing, and the silence on the other end only further humiliating me. I had put myself out there, but for what? It was pointless.

It struck me how silent a heartbreak could be. And at the same time, heartbreak could be so deafening to the person it was happening to.

Then, I realized something. I loved and cared for her, but that feeling wasn't mutual, to say the least. Maybe the word "love" wouldn't be appropriate to the situation. Maybe it was just an infatuation.
I shut off my phone, closed my eyes, and attempted to get to sleep. I hoped that when I wake up everything would be better.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Missed Opportunities



My first adventure towards dating in college was through this online chatroom. To summarize how this website worked, it was basically a chatroom where you could chat with the profile that you liked. Basically anyone could put personal descriptions on the home page, and if you liked someone based on her description of herself, you could just shoot her a message. If she accepted your chat request, then the two of you can chat privately. If the two of you agree that you liked each other, the next step would be trading pictures, and then finally make plans to meet in real life.

I talked to and met a few girls on this chatroom. Electronically at least. I wasn't really ready for an actual date yet. But talking to people online eased me into this process.

I remember a few weeks into this I met a girl named Laura. She seemed really interesting. We both liked the same things, so we ended up talking for hours on end. After maybe four or five hours, she asked if it was okay to call me. I was hesitant, but ended up agreeing. I gave her my number.

She was just as good with conversation over the phone as she was online. I found her very easy to talk to. After a while we bonded over appreciation over dystopian novels such as The Hunger Games and movies such as V for Vendetta. As a "sort of" date, I thought it went pretty well.

She then asked me to ask if I wanted to meet her in person. I knew this was coming sooner or later, but it still felt like a surprise. I didn't know what to say, so I stayed silent. I could hear the worry in her voice when she asked if I was okay. I told her everything was fine. Then I told her that I'd think about it.

We then hung up on that note. It was late, and we both had very busy schedules the next day.

 I texted her the next day saying yes to meeting in person. She said that was great, and we could meet at the Starbucks near campus.

I spent the entire day worrying about meeting her. There were a lot of things that were going through my mind. What if she ends up not liking me? What if I'm too ugly? What if she's ugly? What if I come across someone that I know when I'm with her? What if the date goes sideways? What do I even wear to a completely casual date?

I decided to take a nap to calm my nerves, but I couldn't actually fall asleep. I flipped through my phone for two hours instead.

Ten minutes before we were supposed to meet, I made a decision to not go to the date. I was too nervous. I closed my eyes to try to go to sleep. I still couldn't drift off.

I heard my phone vibrate. Then again. Then there were several rings. I never bothered answering. I deleted her messages without reading them. I already knew what she had to say. I was ashamed, but I was more angry than anything. I was acting like an asshole. I hated myself for doing what I did.

After that there was a voice in my head that told me that I would be alone forever. I was too scared to take a chance with someone. Maybe it would be better if I just lived my life alone so that I would not hurt anyone with my cowardice.

Later, I told one of my friends about what happened. She told me that it was alright, and that there would always be another girl who wanted to be with me. I agreed. Then I thought about the real problems that was bothering me. I couldn't put it in words. I knew that saying it out loud would make my thoughts a reality. But that thought was insistent to make itself known. "What if no one wants me?"

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Loneliness



One morning I was sitting alone in a Starbucks, eating a doughnut with a frappuccino with too much whipped cream on it (just as I liked it). I watched cars move on the street, my eyes passing over the top of my drink and onto the parking lot. Pretty soon, my mind wanders to random thoughts, and my mental direction goes to places that are usually reserved for when I'm engaged with people I enjoy talking to. Tired after finishing finals but at the same time buzzing with the energy provided by caffeine, my thoughts were allowed to roam freely, and the end result usually happen to be both unusual and surprising.

It is at times like these where I don't understand why most people are afraid to be alone. It's in moments like these, perhaps, when they are forced to confront themselves in conversation, that they also have to confront something in their lives that they do not want to face. Believe me, I have several parts of my life that I would not like to confront, but that does not stop me from enjoying moments like these. For others, maybe loneliness is an emotion that they feel like they must overcome by making scheduled appointments with everyone else in their life, faked enthusiasm for events they have no interest in, all in the name of trying not to be alone. Maybe they are afraid because they equate loneliness with darkness.

But in my experience, this darkness can also be a friend. It's not always like that, sometimes this darkness can try to bury you and it can be very hard to find your way back to the light. But I'm always grateful for the moments where I can engage in moments with myself that usually cannot happen until we have dealt with our loneliness. Through this feeling, I've discovered so much of myself that I would not have discovered otherwise.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

A Conversation Between Friends


"So you think I'm in love?"

"I didn't say it like that. But I was just teasing."

"Okay, seriously what do you think?"

"It's not my place to say anything. It's your decision at the end of the day."

"I know, but I also want to know what you think."

"No you don't. You just want me to confirm what you believe so you can feel better about yourself."

"So you think my emotions are easy to read?"

"Girl, please. I've known you since what, we were five? I could read you as if you were a book. Even if I met you an hour ago, I could still tell if something was up."

"That's debatable. I'm not that transparent."

"Okay, let's get down with examples. Take the girl you were talking to before. You act like you no longer care who she's with, but really, you're still hurt that she didn't fall in love with you."

"That's incorrect."

"I don't believe you."

"The only reason why I acted like I didn't care was because I thought it was hard to be friends and have romantic feelings. I felt like I could only choose one."

"Yeah, it can get hard sometimes to draw the line. But it doesn't change the fact that you were hurt when she started seeing someone else. You always seem to want to exude this cool, chill persona, as if no one can hurt your feelings. And that's fine, it's a way of living life. I'm just saying that you don't have to pretend when you're with me. Or even if you decide to pretend, just accept the fact that I know how you're feeling, even if I don't say anything.

Also, I know how it feels when someone doesn't pick you. Having feelings for anyone that's not reciprocated hurts like hell. But even though I sort of understand why you feel the need to lie, there's no need with me."

(a period of silence)

"I hate it when you word situations like that."

"Haha. You know you love me. You just know when I'm telling the truth."

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Open Letter to a Friend



I don't remember how we met. It was definitely in elementary school, but other than faded memories of you running around at school, but other than that, I don't remember much else. You had long golden hair, much longer than it is now, which always seemed to get in your face when you ran from one classroom to the next. From what I remember, you were a bit arrogant. Even at five years old, you knew your self worth.

I don't think we were friends back then, though we would tell people we were because our parents told us to be nice. I was extremely reserved, and you were extremely outgoing. Sure, we talked to each other occasionally, and probably played together, but we were never "friends". At the time, I don't think it could have worked anyway, we were too different.

I grew up nerdy and with extreme self-image issues, which were masked by self-deprecating jokes that I threw out as a defense mechanism. (Even then, I had a talent for insulting myself). It was unsurprising that you grew to be a social butterfly.

There was this one memory that I have, of you coming out at the ripe age of eleven. This was particularly funny now that I look back at it because when you had accepted who you were as a person, I had no idea of the person I was. I thought it was great that you managed to surprise the school, even the teachers, into accepting who you were. It was an achievement.

And this triggered something in me. I couldn't exactly point to what it was at the time, or maybe I didn't want to, because to admit the truth would mean facing truths that I was not ready to accept yet. Maybe it was envy, envy of your ability to not give a damn about what others thought of you. Your ability to be happy with who you were.

I remember feeling very envious of you. I couldn’t admit it to myself at the time, or I didn’t want to, because to admit it meant accepting a few truths about myself I wasn’t ready to confront yet.  And looking back, I realize that that was precisely what I felt envious about. Your ability to be happy with who you were.

It's not as easy as people think it is, being happy. Sometimes it takes a lot of bravery.
We started talking more at a dark time in my life. I had just lost my friend, and I was struggling with self loathing and depression, and you were still yourself: outgoing, confident, and most importantly, happy. Just like you have always been.

Memories of us talking about life and how you had everything to look forward to, while I didn't have faith in my future and where my life would go. It seemed like we disagreed on everything, but the fact of the matter was we felt comfortable talking to each other about things that mattered.
Our talks became an almost nightly tradition, sometimes I would look forward to it at the end of an otherwise boring day. And, in the midst of these conversations, what started as a casual friendship turned into a true friendship.

But, like most things, we changed. Our life values changed, and what relationship we had built weakened over time. The changes seemed small at first, and the gradual disintegration of our friendship barely noticeable, but it happened, and neither of us could have done anything about it.
This continued until the moment when our friendship was tested, and because of its weaknesses, it broke.

At the end of the day, I can't blame you. Your decisions are yours, and being true to yourself is the best thing. I didn't hold a grudge, just know that I am still your friend.

Sometimes I catch myself wishing that things were simpler, and that whatever problems we had can be solved by picking up our phones and talking to each other. But sometimes, it feels more complicated than that.

However, I still have hope that, given time, things will settle down and we can continue our friendship where we left off. Maybe in a few years, when our lives have progressed, we can still find space and time for each other. But even if, in this lifetime, there never comes a right time, when time and silence and growing distance erases the possibility of a friendship we could have had, the fact remains that in the twenty years that I've lived, I had met someone truly special in my life.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Dark Sky



When I was in high school, the school in the neighboring city decided to hold a dance that included students from neighboring school districts. One of my teachers had a nephew named Henry who was my age, so she asked if I could go with her nephew to the dance as his date. The thing was she didn't say the word "date", she just asked if I wanted to go.

I took a few days to think about it and ended up deciding that if I wanted to stop not being sure about my sexuality, I had to start going out on dates with guys. So I walked into her classroom and said I would go.

Things started out fine. My dad decided to drive us, so I picked Henry up at his house at 5 pm. We didn't know each other, so the ride there was extremely awkward. He tried to initiate conversation, but we both knew that we were forcing ourselves to talk. It was definitely one of the most uncomfortable situations I have ever been in.

When we got to the campus, I just sat at a table in the corner of the event. Later he joined me at the table, and we sat some more. We didn't speak this entire time. To this day, it was one of the longest nights of my life.

Fortunately, I knew some girls at the school, and they decided to come to rescue me from Henry, who was the worst date created in history. He looked like he understood. I made up a few half-hearted apologies and ran off with the group of girls. I never looked back to see if he was still there.

After meeting up with a couple of friends, I just went out by myself and stared at the various couples hanging out. I think I just felt sad more than anything. I tried to go back to Henry and sit with him, but there was no point. With my friends beckoning to me, this situation just kept getting more awkward by the minute.

So after a while, and sat down on the grass. My dad wasn't outside. I called him and he said that he'd pick me up before midnight. I still had to find a way to waste the next couple of hours.

I remember leaning back and staring into the sky, and it looked like a deep gray marble. After a while, I had a strange feeling like I was falling. I straightened back up with my heart beating quickly in my chest. I felt like I sensed loss, even though I couldn't explain it. I definitely felt lonely.

Henry and I never spoke to each other again. The few times we saw each other, we acted like we didn't know one another. It was just an uncomfortable situation all around, one of which I'm glad to never have had to repeat again.