molt / melt / heat
Sometimes my eyes itch so hard my whole body shakes starting with my arm then growing down into my legs until it takes over my abdomen too and I start convulsing because the itch is so strong. I refuse to scratch these itches. I live and love like a bird as a raging storm begins- urgent, afraid, and focused yet distracted by my surroundings. Everyone around me seems to know that I need affirmation except for me. Still, no one confidently knows who I am. Often told I am an enigma, myself not even knowing who I am or who and what I want. This leads to me being indifferent about selection processes but highly reactive to outcomes.
I define my life in stages: before him, becoming them, a learning period, and after her. This is not true. None of that is true. I am young. I should not define my life around others, but I think I do. I also think I fell in love at a very young age. Many times, at various young ages. What does love mean? To know someone, to want them, to accept them? Is there a difference in platonic, familial, or romantic love? This is all still a mystery to me despite having loved so many of you. One can argue love is based on how well you know someone. Following that logic, some would say I cannot love myself. I do not think this is true. I believe I struggle with delusional thinking. :) My therapist completely disagrees. She reminds me I am actually, incredibly logical and (unfortunately) very Type A. I’d argue I exhibit moments that are antithetical to my being. I think it’s why I seek love everywhere I go. There are so many people and so many things around me that I can love.
Cisgender men and women and transgender people all love differently. The body is different to each one of us- a vehicle, a vessel, a miracle, a curse. My gender has been fluid the same way my body has. Everything serves its respective purpose, understanding that the purpose may change.
I have approached my life rather whimsically, making rash decisions and dangerous choices. I’m not a rash person but I am fairly reckless in the wrong situations and possibly too wary in others. This is all secretly motivated by an underlying fear of existing. I think to be known is my biggest fear.
I am a very dramatic person. I’d go as far to say I am insufferable at times. How does one begin a story? Dramatically to catch attention? DO I just seek attention? God I am insufferable. I am frequently an insufferable asshole. But mostly only to myself. Not all the time, but for a very very very long time I have been an asshole. I have been and continue to be mean. I have enjoyed being an asshole. I have hated being an asshole. You see, I am overdramatic and I make lists. I refuse to share myself with the world in a vulnerable way and that is why I have yet to tell a story. I make (not so) happy little lists instead.
I’m supposed to tell a story that has shaped me and changed my perspective. In reality, there’s just so many that I’m extraordinarily overwhelmed by choosing just one. I have changed so much so often, my view of myself and the world have evolved over the years. I’ve let go of myself many times- in ways to grow, in ways to disappear, in ways to cope. All I do is make lists.
More than anything, I guess my relationships have shaped me. My interpersonal experiences. Probably why I define myself based on others.
I think I might have loved her the minute we met. Not to be confused with love at first sight, for our love grew once we watered it until it was no longer nourished.
My ex and I both abhor feet. There’s too much that goes on with feet that is undesirable. Even when I asked if they’d be uncomfortable if I shared this, I was met with, “you mentioned feet and I immediately felt ill.” Anyway, one night a few months early into our relationship, we had just finished showering and were laying on my bed (which was a mattress on the floor) and we were just relaxing together. They were laying down across the end of the bed and I had my head on my pillow already. I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but somehow I wound up with their foot in my hand. I remember looking at it though, and thinking I loved them. What the fuck kinda moment is that? But I did. I felt it in that moment so deeply, so righteously. Looking at their toes and just being... enamored. It wasn't soon until we were lying with each other's heads at our feet, holding each other with the utmost care. We weren’t talking, just taking in that the person in front of us was wholly beautiful, appreciating the trust and intimacy between us. Each other's feet— something we hated about everyone else as well as ourselves— became a pathway to falling in love with each other.
Thinking of that intimate moment now compared to the last time we saw each other while dating still fills my whole chest and stomach with this weird burning, sinking feeling. The look we shared as I closed their front door for the last time after spontaneously staying the night and returning my set of keys. Or the anger and hurt in their eyes while on vacation in that tiny room after yet another public fight. All the many looks of love feel so distant from me now. We are still in touch fairly regularly, but we haven’t seen each other since February. I check to see what they’re listening to on Spotify whenever I think of it. When it’s a playlist they made about me, I send them the smallest, most gentle ounce of cosmic love I can muster.
I almost always get emotional though, because our playlists about each other share many of the same songs. It’s hard to think that even a year out, we both still have similar sentiments towards each other and the relationship we had. Fundamentally we have different world-views and along the line, we stopped working to understand those differences. The space between us just got too big. I think about the various degrees of closeness we once shared and where we are now. It is difficult to articulate properly, but I no longer want anything from or of them. I've been exploring the idea of love without ownership. I’m not satisfied or happy about how things went, but I accept the beauty and the pain we shared, I understand we moved separate ways, and I still regularly send that positivity and love directly to them. A love without expectations.
I sob while watching “Hook” or any remotely emotional film and I cry after therapy, but I do not cry anymore thinking about our relationship. Ok sometimes I do. Generally speaking, my larynx raises, my throat burns, my chest heaves differently, I kinda get the feeling I have to pee, I may or may not shed a tear...yet I have found peace with where we are. It was an incredibly deep and visceral relationship. I don’t think I have loved someone more. Despite how angry and closed off I was at times, I don't think I had ever been known in that way. However, looking back, I'm not even sure how much of “me” I was. Not sure what walls were real and which were smoke and mirrors. Not quite sure what it was they saw when they looked inside me. I don’t think they did either. College was a traumatizing time for me. Between the losses and reckless behavior, it’s hard to say which caused which and who it made me become. I think about how I viewed the world across those three years, trying to pinpoint the experiences that changed my mind and perspective. The past six years have all been dedicated to getting lost and found over and over again like a toddler’s favorite stuffed animal at a daycare center. In and out, finding and losing sometimes within a single day. Sometimes multiple times. Never really belonging in the way I define belonging. One-ness even without understanding, even without love. No expectations. Just the acknowledgement of unity.
I don’t like that I have to write about my ex. I’ve been avoiding it for months now. But I know I do. Writing is the only way I’ve ever processed experiences. Whether I add the writing to music or as a spoken word piece or a simple journal entry, a creative story —whatever now I'm just having fun listing as I often do— I am happy with writing. Similar to my relationship, I've accepted what it is. I’m continually learning to love the voice I have and the words I use. The matter at hand is how fickle I am, changing within only seconds, yet sometimes stagnant for weeks, even months at a time.
That said, I am satisfied with where I am in life, with the experiences I have had. Everything else just is. I am as fulfilled as I will ever be. Fulfillment doesn’t come in levels, it is a feeling. I am as happy as I will ever be. I am as sad and as angry as I will ever be. There is nothing I have not felt, only more of the same but from different perspectives with new knowledge. My perspective has constantly changed, constantly been challenged. If not by others, by my own self hatred. I find it so difficult to actually share memories or anything about myself other than these analyses. Isn’t it fun to listen?
I wished for a long time to find myself again the way I was when I felt free, an impossible-to-be-static being, doing what I loved. The memory that hits me is curating my soundcloud at age 16. Sitting on the floor with my computer, journal, ukulele, and guitar spread around me feeling like I was creating in its purest form. Probably a little high. Sharing what I believed to be the most intimate things in the most vulnerable ways. I had everything and anything to share.
These past years have been dedicated to creating and deconstructing a blockage. A huge, giant fatberg in the sewer that is my being. It took years to realize drugs do not bring happiness. (Though, the voice in my head says that they do chemically). Remembering what it is to love as deeply as I have, but for myself. Loving myself in that way regardlessly. Trusting what I am putting forth. Not allowing gaslighting to confuse me and what I am experiencing. Trusting my perception. Letting go of my self hatred, my satisfaction and expectations, my dreams, and my identity— several times. Not to sound depressive. But on that note, something that terrifies me more than anything is letting go of my memory. I struggle with memory loss a lot already. I think about my childhood, and only flashes and certain events come to me. I think about the past six years and only flashes and feelings come back to me. I often wonder if I am simply unable to truly process. My therapist would disagree emphatically. But like i said- I'm in the PROCESS of letting go of my self hatred. In a way I do not let go of anything but I do subconsciously bury it so that it can be processed later. All of that said, out of the few clear memories i do have, many of them are joyful. So here’s a list:
A dogpile cuddle with all my closest friends on the hallway floor in our high school, tucked away in a corner. Sharing love and dumb hormones and laughs.
Wugging with my first set of roommates. Those roommates in general. Thank YOU!
Every single time I've had a first kiss.
When I would come home to my late dog and she’d be at the door, waiting..
Waking up after unexpectedly falling asleep on a picnic with the person I loved at the time to see him already staring at me with wonder in his eyes.
Reaching the tip of the island at sunset and falling in love all over again, but somehow with even more fear.
Taking my first bus ride back up to college after smoking a joint at 7am on the highline with an old friend w benefits from high school. Listening to Frank Ocean's “blonde” on that bus ride with one of my first college friends and going in and out of sleep, leaning on each other’s shoulders. Intermittently waking up and smiling at each other, then going back to resting. Sometimes looking at the tears in each other's eyes. The warm golden sun of the Hudson Valley pouring in from the bus windows, the stagnant recycled air. Our 60mph bodies hurtling through space, yet feeling static on the 390. Calm. Love, beauty, and maybe even purpose. Focused birds in the frenetic storm, hoping to nest and find home.
I wish I could open up like an egg
I wish I could crack onto the pan and heat up
Spread and sizzle and cook all over
I could let someone slide me onto a plate and
Cut me open
And put me in their mouth
Taste me and bite me and tear me apart
Tear my heart apart
While still tasting me
I wasn’t like a pill
I wish I was easy to swallow at first try
I wish my taste was true
And not sweet on the outside and bitter on the inside
I wish I was coffee
On a cold morning, ready to warm you and make you aware of your own pulse Whoever you are
I wish you knew I was bitter at first so you lightened me up and sweetened me down so you could taste me
I wish I was warm
I wish I was cooked all the way through and didn’t give you the flu
I wish I wasn’t bad food
I wish I wasn’t bad for you
I wish I knew what dish I was
And most of all, I wish I knew how to prepare that dish and serve it to others
I have no instructions I am a kitchen concoction with a missing ingredient:
The love is there, it is inside, the chef made sure,
But where is it?
How does it taste?
Do I taste good?
Do I still taste good without love?