Dear May

Dear May,

Well, we’re well into June and I don’t really want to write to you. Writing to you means that I have been back in the States for more than a month and I’m back into the same old life I was in before I left. I’m back to the same old routine, the same Sunday mornings, the same 9-5 job, the same days that I told myself I never wanted to have again.

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It’s not as if this is a bad life, I’d never say that. It just can be a lonely one. A boring one. One that I don’t even have to think of as I go through the same motions I’ve always gone through. Rinse, recycle, repeat.

I read a quote, May, that said something that I’ve been feeling quite strongly: “I miss being a tourist in my own life.” I miss exploring the unknown. I miss being in a country where I don’t speak the language well. I miss waking up not sure as to what I’m going to do that day. I miss city life. I miss getting on a new metro/tube/subway and trying to figure out where to go when I get off. I miss interesting people. I miss the styles of strangers and wondering where they picked up their Stan Smiths.

I won’t say that being back home is all bad. I missed the easiness of this life. The way I can hop into my car and go wherever I want and not rely on public transport. The way I can get any type of food I’d ever want—including all sorts of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. But that doesn’t cancel out the longing I feel for a country that isn’t mine. It doesn’t cancel out the loneliness I feel when most of my friends are awake when I’m asleep, or asleep when I’m awake.

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May, life is strange and wonderful and lonely and exciting and frustrating and so routine it makes me want to hop on the next plane and never come back. Not until I find something that makes me feel alive again. We’ll see when that happens.

I’ll see you next year.

An Introduction: You

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Photo courtesy of Unsplash

We met at Karen’s going away party in her apartment. She was having people over from work in her place that smelled like mildew off the highway.

I wore a blue dress because Chris told me I looked beautiful in it two years ago when I wore it last. I finally felt okay enough to wear it again.

As soon as I walked in, I was handed a beer and sat on couch, slowly sinking in the broken middle. I wished to be invisible, sipping on the drink that I didn’t want and then I noticed you.

You stood in the corner. Your long hair falling into your eyes. Your fingers holding your beer. Your lips laughing at something the girl in front of you was saying.

Suddenly, I wanted to be bolder. Less self-conscious. More drunk. I wanted to be more of something else. More of someone else. Someone that isn’t me.

For the next hour, my eyes continued to find you. Discovering pieces of you that’ll be forever marked in my mind.

And then you caught my eye. A corner of your lip turned up and you wandered over to me. And there I stood in an outdated blue dress, blushing from your smile.

I thought of how to introduce myself, what to speak to you about, how to sound more interesting. I wished I knew more about politics, art, music. You looked like you played bass in a band. Your hands were big.

I smiled when you got near. There were fireworks in my stomach. I forgot to be nervous while we spoke. I forgot to check my hair, how loud my laugh is, how much I’m talking.

You took a sip of beer and I watched you swallow and wondered what it would be like to kiss your neck, your jaw, your mouth. I put my hand on your arm and your fingers brushed my waist.

We laughed at our age difference. The fact that I’m three years older doesn’t seem to bother you. You brush my waist, my hips, my skin with the tips of your rough hands.

And then that girl with the auburn hair and the perfect skin that makes me want to cry said you have to go. I felt my heart slip to my throat as she took your hand, your eyes, your presence away from me.

I never got your last name. I whispered good-bye. I never see you again.

The Stranger That Isn’t You

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Photo courtesy of Unsplash

It’s dawn and the light casts a shadow across the person laying beside me.
I wake up thinking it’s you and then I remember,
As I smell the scent that’s not your aftershave,
Your toothpaste,
Your shampoo,
That there is someone else sharing my bed.
I smell their musk, their lemon-scented skin
And I remember that it isn’t you.

Their hands are clumsy
And don’t fit nicely inside of mine.
Their skin isn’t the one I want to reach for to cover me from the chill.
The slight intake of their breath isn’t synced with mine;
It isn’t the record I’m used to listening to before I fall asleep.

And here I am,
Alone with the stranger that isn’t you.
Alone with the stranger that I called your name over and over.
The stranger I hoped would help me get rid of the taste of your mouth.
Your skin.
Your touch.
Your everything.

Here I am alone with a stranger I didn’t want to be you,
But cried because he wasn’t.
They say it takes twice as long as the relationship to finally get over someone,
Then I will wait years, months, weeks to get rid of this hole.
I’ll have to wait years to feel whole.
Healed.
Human.

And I’ll hold my breath whenever someone has your name.
Your laugh.
Your scent.
I’ll still turn off the radio whenever I hear that song
And fall into the arms of strangers,
Hoping to find someone that has brown eyes, not green.
Someone who doesn’t care that I wear my heart on my sleeve.
Someone that will be okay with openly loving me.

For My Brother’s 30th…

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The first movie I remember watching with my brother is “Space Jam.” He had friends over in the basement of Ruth’s house and they watched it as I snuck in and laid on the floor watching the movie with him and his friends. They laughed at everything—most of the things I didn’t understand, so I laughed along with them wanting to belong. Feeling like I was part of my brother’s world that I only got occasional glimpses of growing up.

I asked everyone I met that was the same age as him if they knew Scoot. And when they did, I got a look of surprise and respect because everyone who knew him, liked him. And that made me feel instantly cool because nothing was cooler than being Scoot’s little sister. There are a lot of things that I did growing up because of Scoot. I took French because he took French. I played sports because he played sports—specifically basketball because he loved it and I wanted to love it too. I fell in love with Dashboard Confessional, put scrambled eggs on toast with jelly, and practiced front flips on a trampoline (and failed miserably) because he liked those things and I wanted him to like me.

We didn’t and still don’t have the most conventional brother/sister relationship. Growing up apart from one another can do that to anyone. A lot of the time, sad to say, I think we forgot about each other when we weren’t pushed together at Christmas or birthdays. As an adult, I look at my friends relationships with their siblings and realize how much we missed out. How much we still don’t know about each other. How I don’t know the things he’s allergic to. What his favorite song is anymore. I never teased him about his first kiss. Or had the opportunity to be the annoying sister who switched his shampoo for hair remover and took his car without asking (that’s what annoying little sisters do, right?).

Throughout the years we’ve gotten to know each other better. Finding out stupid shit to create a relationship we never had in the past. While we don’t talk like other siblings do—hell, we haven’t seen each other in years—we’re still trying to figure out this whole brother/sister act. Trying to figure out how to fit in one another’s lives. While most siblings are constantly communicating, we’ve never quite figured out how to consistently stay in touch. But, as soon as I text or he texts me, we always immediately text back, even if it’s a simple “hey.” We really try, which is more than I can hope for. ❤️

Now, he’s turning 30. It’s a new chapter. A new story. It’s the next step in his life. For both of us, we’re still trying to figure all this out. Life, family, love, relationships. For him, school and work. For me, what the hell I’m doing next. Life keeps slipping by and I’ve decided that this year, I’m going to be a good sister. I’m going to be communicative and talk to my big brother about things. About life, love, relationships, all the crazy shit in-between. We’re not the conventional brother/sister duo; he may be my half brother but I whole love him.

Happy birthday, Scoot. Love you lots. See you sometime this year because it’s been way too long since I’ve seen my stupid big brother.

Notes on a Train

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As I sit on a train, passing through Brussels and on my way to Amsterdam, I can’t help but have tears spring to my eyes as I think of how wonderful and beautiful and how much I love the world. How much I want to explore every inch, even the parts that scare me. When I woke up this morning, I was nervous, like I always am, when I’m traveling somewhere new. It’s a nervous excitement where I have to make sure all my paperwork is in order, my money, my clothes, my travel plans and my accent when I speak. Will they understand me in this new country? Will they laugh at me? Will they be accepting? As much as I traveled for the past seven years, ever since I got on the plane the first time I went to Paris when I was 18, I’ve learned that most people are accepting and want to learn your story, your culture, your experiences. Although I’m one of those people that screams “ugh, I hate people!” when a minor inconvenience happens, it’s not true. In all reality, I love people. I love laughing with strangers, and hearing their anecdotes, and learning new curse words in different languages “putain!” It’s exciting and wonderful and everything the world should be.*

*Notes found in my iPhone

How to Fall Out of Love

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I was 16 when I first picked up a copy of “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” to try and figure out why the guy that I liked wasn’t texting me back. I couldn’t understand that someone who chased me for months, said they really liked me, kissed me, and as soon as I confessed I liked him too, disappeared. It was later on that same year the movie “He’s Just Not That Into You” came out and things started to click into place. He just wasn’t that into me.

When I was 20, it happened again. The exact same cycle I put myself in before. This time with bigger repercussions—a broken heart. Something that I never thought would happen to me. I was too protective of my heart, I thought. No one was going to break it. I wouldn’t allow it, until one day they did. I honestly don’t know how it happened. The warning signs were there from the beginning but I chose to ignore them because he was sweet, charming, attractive, and quite a good kisser. And I was young, naive, and wanting someone to like me. Then, kiss, bang, boom. A broken heart.

The thing about the self help books that I turned to is that none of them told you how to mend a broken heart. Yes, they explained the “10 Signs A Guy Isn’t Interested” or “5 Ways To Make Him Jealous and Wanting You Back,” but there was no listicle on the “10 Things To Do To Fall Out of Love With Someone” or “5 Ways To Stop Eating Ice Cream and Heal Your Broken Heart Quick.” They never tell you the one thing that is true in all heartbreak: how hard it is to get over someone. They tell you all these things you should be doing—working out to get that revenge bod, sleeping with someone else, finding a hobby, anything really to get your mind off them—but they don’t explain what to do when all you’d rather be doing is wearing joggers, eating pint after pint of Ben and Jerry’s, and watching Bridget Jones on repeat wondering if anyone would really love you like Mark Darcy.

I’ve tried a variety of ways of falling out of love—mainly drinking copious amounts of coffee, throwing myself into work, and avoiding any mention of the one that got away. Any mention at all. For me, it was a coping mechanism and probably not the best one, but after a month of his name not being uttered, it got a little bit easier. You almost forget about them. Until you see them in line at the grocery store while you have your hair in a not-cute messy bun, no makeup, and wondering why the universe does this to you. Then you have to rewind and redo all the progress you made before.

There’s no checklist of how to mend a broken heart. If there were and people could get over a break up in “5 Easy Steps,” would it be worth it? Was the relationship really that meaningful if there was such a quick fix? Would we cling to that list throughout the relationship and never really commit to that person because we know what could possibly happen?

I’ve always been the type of person looking for the exit. I know exactly how many rows behind me and in front of me there are to the exit doors. I can find the escape, the loophole, the way out of any given situation and how to not get myself hurt in the process. But, what’s the fun in that? When I finally allowed myself to be vulnerable and open up, it was exciting and scary and wonderful and horrifying and all those things rolled into one. It was everything I hated and longed for. And looking back on the end and the goodbye and the months that followed where I was wallowing in this strange pain, when there was an emptiness in my stomach, and I constantly felt like I was outside of myself, I wouldn’t trade those days. I wouldn’t want a checklist of items that I needed to fulfill before my I was well and truly moved on. I learned what I could take on. I learned about myself. I rediscovered my identity. That piece I’ve been missing for far too long.

The thing about falling out of love is that it takes time, it takes screaming your lungs out, crying so hard your body hurts, laughing until you can’t take it anymore, eating too much, drinking too much, sleeping with the wrong people, sleeping with the right people, swiping right on Tinder, deleting Tinder, breaking your phone, deleting social media, waking up at 3am and not being able to fall back asleep, calling them, texting them, regretting everything and regretting nothing. It takes whatever it takes. It takes you however long it takes. It takes you opening your eyes one day and thinking, “holy shit, I’m okay.”

This is London

London is

Simple moments

Friends kissing each other’s cheeks

Translate bar in Shoreditch

Kissing strangers in toilets

Not knowing what to say

Walks through Primrose Hill

Being charged ÂŁ40 for getting on the wrong train

Watching strangers puke in front of you

Canceling Uber last minute

Saturday’s walking around Southbank

99p ice cream

Tesco Express and Waitrose

Barry M nail polish in every single shade

Hang ups and missed connections

George

Trying to remember who you are

Never saving money

Going through Borough Market for samples at lunch

Camden Lock and all the punks

Wishing you’d bump into Colin Firth

Films being made on street corners

Early morning birds

Time

Happiness

Content

Life

Love

Always

London is all these things

And way more to me.

London is moments

That I can’t quite grasp anymore.

 

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