I have had some people recently reach out to me privately about my writing, and I decided to go back on here and re-read some of my old posts. I hadn't realized that my last public post was in April of last year. Thinking about how my life has changed since just that day--April 27th, 2018--makes my stomach turn. Some changes have been for the better, and other's have begun dictating how I perceive the world. I feel like all of my reactions are mandated at this point, but at the same time my emotions have never been more genuine.
I'm going to really open up, because I'm sick of people underestimating what can happen behind the scenes of someone's life. Around that date in April I mentioned earlier, I went through something that nearly destroyed me. I haven't talked to many people about it at all, but I did write a personal piece on it that I plan on eventually (maybe) posting. I was sexually assaulted. The words make me feel absolutely numb, now. I told my friend recently that when I recount stories from my past to other people or my friends, especially the particularly traumatizing ones, I tell the story as if it was an intriguing movie I saw on TV, played out by an actor who was receiving compensation for their genuine portrayal of a character. I often forget that the stories I tell really happened. It's surreal, and things happen really quickly. I haven't even thought about this in a while, but it's a good depiction of where I was at about a year ago.
I barely slept back then. I felt myself flaking away in small shreds, and I could see it in the way I treated the people around me. I comforted those I loved with white lies when I really had no control over what I was saying. And then, as I always do, I got over it. I've never been one to necessarily 'dwell' on things. It's more so a feeling I get every now and then that's linked to a specific and simultaneously hard memory.
In juxtaposition to the person I was last April, my life has almost completely changed. I'm no longer a young adult in love, I moved away from New York, I am taking time off of school, I was diagnosed with a mental illness that I've suspected for a few years, I got clean from old vices, I changed my major, I was also diagnosed with a mass in my brain and have begun treatment for that, I moved back to my hometown, I have been working a lot and seeing old friends...
With all of those changes to my lifestyle in mind, I feel like the old me would have just decomposed even further. I also don't think I would have ever allowed myself to prioritize my needs and make some of those changes. Self-destruction was an escape for me, and now I have escaped self-destruction.
Surprisingly, my mental health has remained neutral since I've been back in Florida. I say 'surprisingly' because I've gotten used to a completely different environment in New York. Besides the cold, I was living in my own house in a large room where I'd wake up next to the person I used to love most mornings. I had a big group of friends and routines and classes and different kinds of goals. And it's actually pretty funny, because once I had found out about the mass in my brain, and told my parents about it, my step-father actually wanted me to move back to Saint Petersburg. Secretly, I had wanted that the second I felt New York start to get cold. I had thought about it during a rough patch I went through in September and October.
On December 27th, the day before my flight from Saint Petersburg back to New York City, I was at a bar I frequent with some of my friends. I remember looking outside and noticing a vivid kind of warmth beginning to lure me in. Rather than feeling suffocating, though, my mind began to race around the idea of not getting on the plane. My relationship had ended, I had the opportunity for new jobs in my hometown, and the brisk cold of New York in January repelled me.
That night, something happened prohibited me from leaving Saint Petersburg in general. So I didn't get on the plane. I left all of my shit in New York and threw away the whole damn story I'd written there. Yeah, I ended up going back to say the most rushed goodbye of my life to someone and grab my things, but it was a closed book.
At first it was a little mundane. I felt apathetic about the move back to Florida before I actually had gone and packed up my things at my house in Long Island. But, I remember how it felt standing in the threshold of my room for the last time: It was a sunnier day, then, and the rays of light creeping through the window blinds were illuminating the dust, already collecting, on the furniture. I cried in my friend's car while leaving and forced myself to stop until a sad song came on and I cried more. I cried at the airport, I cried on the plane...and then once I was home I stopped crying, which freaked me out.
Over the past month that I've been 'officially' moved home, I've only gotten choked up a few times. At first I was disappointed in myself for taking time off of school to focus on my health and development as a person, but now, somehow already, I feel like a different, better person. Although I'm scared as hell about my health and what could happen in the future, I've limited the amount of impulsive choices I make, I've been happier, I've been working towards a 'me' who sees a bright future, and I feel like a completely different person than I was last April.
Despite all this positive improvement, I just gave myself this last hour or two I've been writing and plotting to ponder how I'd feel if I came to New York to visit. A lot happened there. I feel ready, seeing as I've made a lot of positive changes already, but...
I don't know what it is, really. I'm planning a short visit there in April and another one (to there and Connecticut) in early June for a friend's birthday, and the idea of seeing my friends and loved ones make me feel ecstatic, but...there are some loose ends that should have been tied up by now that I am still tripping over, if that makes sense. And I guess April is still two months away, but based on who I was last April, I wonder who I'll be by then?
I actually have no idea what I'm going to end up writing about. I've been in a really amazing place lately, or at least, for the most part, even though I have a lot going on that would usually make me feel hopeless.
This isn't going to be about that. I haven't necessarily been in deep thought or trying to overthink existence...but tonight as I was editing some photos I've taken over the last few months, I just got lost in the background of each immortalized memory. I wasn't necessarily reflecting on the flashbacks I had of the moments leading up to certain photos, or whatever I was going through in my life while taking them, but mainly experiencing this insane sense of sonder. I feel like I usually do have that anyway-the feeling that each passerby, each random face, is living another version of my own vivid and complex perception. I think it's good to be aware of that sort of thing. For me, it keeps me humble, to say the least. Although compared to this huge universe we're living in, and having the knowledge that we are the epitome of microscopic, I try not to feel small in a belittling way, or think about it in any kind of negative light.
I was thinking about all of the times that I've seen a stranger in an extremely fleeting scenario, like on the train or at the airport, (you get it) and in that moment had thought they were attractive, or noticed what they were wearing, or just had really any passing thought at all. But usually while I subconsciously evaluate their brief presence in that specific moment, they more often than not become another forgotten face later on. Thinking about this alone makes my mind wander more. So here's the rant, which is more like consistent rambling.
(*Mid-writing note: I think I'm going to try to divide this up into topics because I've only written half of what I'm thinking about right now and it's long as fuck...so if people do actually feel like reading my random middle of the night thoughts, then they can choose what's important to them. I don't know.)
According to the info-graphic from Funders & Founders, supposedly we interact/meet 80,000 people in our lives, not to mention the ones that we see once while we're out in public and forget within a minute or less of walking by. While you're thinking some thought about their appearance or behavior, they could be thinking a varied opinion based on your presentation as well.
Some strangers' faces aren't forgotten. I may not be able to pinpoint one exact stranger who has made an impression on me in this very moment, but I'm sure as hell that if I saw a stranger a second or third time that I'd notice. And that leads me to think: How many strangers have thought about me as we passed? I saw a post, I think on tumblr, a couple years ago, and it said something to the effect of: "Do you ever wonder how many strangers have seen you and thought you were beautiful or fallen in love with you?"
I think that's interesting, especially when you apply it to people that you do know personally, or are at least acquainted with. You probably guess that they think about you, especially if there is some kind of deeper feeling there, like love or hatred. Maybe you're a perfunctory phone call; someone they wish they knew more. Hell, maybe you're the surprise guest star in one of their sex dreams. And with a number as big as (on average) 80,000 people, think of all the people who have thought things about you.
The first thing I want to point out about this is something I've been thinking about a lot lately that relates to a lot of people's actions that have impacted my personal life. I grew up with a single mom and later on she married my step-father. I won't delve into the history of it all but essentially, the absence of my biological father in my life accustomed me to people leaving. That sounds darker than what I actually mean. A lot of things have changed since then and I've obviously met a lot of new people, even though I'm still young, but within the last two months I have been occasionally pondering the absence of someone who was a large impact on my life for the past two years. Well, at first it was about them specifically, but then it became something bigger-almost a blessing in disguise, I guess. One of these things that has opened up my mind a little bit is my placement in others lives-my influence. I don't like to focus on titles or labels or any BS like that, but rather the memories I create with a person, what I learn from them, and how they impact me.
When it comes to people who have left my life and basically vanished as if we never knew each other, whether the terms of this disconnection were positive, mutual and neutral, or torrid and have led to a lot of negativity, it used to bother me a lot because of the history of abandonment I've had in my life. I used to only think about the good memories with said people, and sometimes even suppress the bad ones...sometimes to cope, sometimes just to feel a little more numb. Now I like to balance the good and bad memories, but also concentrate more on what I've learned from interacting with that person.
I am rambling and I absolutely hate ramblers. To be direct, it is a way to move on from that vacant spot in your life. I used to hate when people would tell me to move on from my problems, and I think most of the time they mean it in a different way than what I'm trying to explain right now, but thinking about what kind of learning experience you've had from that person is a perfect way of moving onto the next one. This doesn't have to be in a romantic way, either.
The one thing that I will say that concedes everything I've said so far is something this guy I was with a while ago said to me after we had talked about some trauma I endured in my past. To justify what I'd been through, I had said to him, "It was a learning experience." I didn't mean it in the way I do when I use that phrase now, and in this case specifically what I had been through was not a learning experience (but I guess that's all subjective). His reply was stern but gave me something to think about:
"Not everything is a learning experience. You shouldn't have to learn from that in order to progress in life and make positive changes. Some things are terrible. You shouldn't let things that are in the past hold you back, but you also shouldn't deny they happened and deem them 'something to learn from'."
On another note, the next thing I thought about was what we teach other people. I do really cringe at my past relationships, mostly the romantic ones. Although this whole thing that I'm writing about isn't exclusive to romantic relationships, the example I'm going to use is, and I think it's kind of helpful, at least for me, on its own as well.
FEELINGS & PERCEPTIONS
I was thinking about my placement in peoples' lives, especially those whom I've been involved with and had feelings for-or at least, the people I thought I had feelings for. You hear it all the time, the phrase "young love". You see this commonly in movies, when the teenage daughter says she "loves a boy" and gets into arguments with her parents about her lover, and they retort in the most stereotypical baby-boomer-parent way, "You're too young! You don't know what love is." Even last December, which was almost five months ago, my best friend, Carly, and I were talking about the past and just reflecting on random memories, especially with different encounters that we had perceived as romantic at the time, and things we had felt for people that we considered to be 'love'. I counted quite a few people-some of which I had never even admitted these feelings to, or even been in a romantic setting with, etc.-that I would tell my close friends I "loved" or "was in love with". I definitely haven't told very many people I've loved them directly to them, but if I were to think hard about those past conversations with Carly, or how my heart used to flutter thinking about someone that I (key word coming up) THOUGHT I loved, there were definitely people I can now say I exaggerated my feelings for.
That's not uncommon though and it's not something I feel guilty about, although it makes me cringe in a kind of embarrassing way or whatever. I think it's okay to be young and experiment and learn about what love means specifically to you, because when I said everything is subjective, it really fucking is. And even if you're older, it's okay to be doing the same thing.
To go back to what I was saying earlier, in my opinion, all our consciousness is really made of are those things that distinguish us-feelings, memories, and things learned. It's only been a few months since my mind changed on this topic, where as before I was still fascinated by my affections for people; some that I didn't even deserve to fantasize over because of their minimal presence in my life, others who didn't deserve to be loved by me...
I feel like a completely different person in terms of my attitude towards the expression of feelings. Over the past few years when I really got into dating seriously or just even would catch feelings, I went through periods where I would either be zealous and super eager to find someone to love and to give my big-ass heart, but I also went through periods of complete cynicism-that whole 'love isn't real' bit.
There are people who really don't believe that. I disagree with them, but it's not up to me to decide which feelings are valid and which aren't. Whatever feelings that you acknowledge are real are your own, independent truth. The part where it does become wrong is when your truth negates a factual reality and you begin to do damage to the good things in your life.
For me, personally, I'd definitely say 90% of the time where I said the word 'love' in a romantic context, although it wasn't really about that large of a number of people, it was any of the following things, or a combination: infatuation, lust, admiration, curiosity, deviance...when executed into situations I've dealt with, it would be things like me meeting someone who was exactly 'my type' --
(NOTE: Until like last year I had a specific type and I would deviate from it but for the most part my initial attraction to a new partner would be completely based off of an idealistic mold I had made in my mind, which is just shitty)
--and like, maybe having one really fun night with them, whether it be in a platonic setting or ending up completely amorous, and then daydreaming about it progressing...like a snowball effect...when the entire thing was based on lust or friendly misunderstanding.
I'm only negating my own childish feelings towards people that I thought I've loved. It's my perception of my past, and of course that example definitely doesn't apply to everyone, but it stands for itself. It's kind of a summary of just how fucking loose my definition of love was. Like I said before, it's not wrong to not know what it is because it's not just something you can define on paper, it's actions, it's a look, it's gestures, it's communication...it can be everything and anything.
So a while has gone by since I realized everything I thought I had known and everything I thought I had felt was fabricated. I feel like a lot of people have this same epiphany as they mature. I think it's important to not mourn over realizing that certain feelings were enhanced by impulses and human nature. In the moment, you really do think you're feeling it. But that's the thing--No matter how young or old you are, how mature you think you may be, what you've been through, what you've learned, who you have felt things for, there is still MORE to learn.
In my battle with depression I've used a lot of different coping mechanisms that ended up doing more harm than good. Of course, because depression is a serious mental illness, it should be treated as such and not completely based off of one college girl's opinion of a semi-remedy that you are reading via her blog. What I'm trying to say though is that a lot of the times where I'm at my worst, I'll tell myself I have nothing to live for, and I end up feeling worthless and without purpose, when in fact I do have the drive deep down past my chemical imbalance, and I do have a purpose: TO LEARN MORE.
The LAST THING I WILL RAMBLE ABOUT because this is already way longer than I meant for it to be is more on a personal note. I've had so many conversations with people about love, whether it be in minimal ways, like about how a relationship is doing, etc., or in a hardcore, deep talk about existence and feelings. Sometimes I'll ask people who I know have had a past or have a current partner about their perception of what love is. I've gotten so many different answers and blended together they are fairly similar to what my own idea of love is, but independently they were all unique.
However, now that I've had enough experience with all of this and thought about it for way too fucking long, I know there are things that love is not, and it's important to instill these beliefs in people so they don't get lost in something toxic or futile.
"Loving" and "Being in love" are two different things. I know a lot of people who know this, and I also know a lot of people who do not, but these are so important. For those people who have had experience in the dating world, you may feel something for someone who used to be present in your life or was labeled an ex, and if you're with a new partner you might feel like this is wrong. But this is a total misunderstanding. It is completely natural to feel things for anyone, romantic or not, who impacted your life. But especially in a romantic sense, maybe they'll always have a part of your heart. That's okay. As long as you're not cheating or actively wishing that you were with them instead. Those things don't exhibit still 'being in love' with your ex, but they are a problem that should be solved before you move on.
Love is not dependence. When you love someone, there's always a sense of needing them in your life or craving their presence. That's okay. But obviously there's a very clear and well-known difference between wanting and needing. Dependence can lead to addictive behaviors, fairly similar in actions that substance-abusers may have. Obviously not as biological and concrete in nature, but needing someone to validate your feelings and happiness is a step towards forfeiting your autonomy. Real love lets you preserve your independence while also having someone who shares appreciation for it.
Love is not limited. ...not to a definition, a mold, a person, your past, your future, what people tell you, your opinions, others' opinions...love is abundant.
Love is not toxic.
Love is not perfect.
Love is not manipulative.
Love is not fearful.
Love is not predictable.
Love is not about being a martyr.
Love is not about looking to someone to find yourself.
Love is not status.
Love is not using protection as a disguise for controlling behaviors.
Love is not one thing.
I'm not sure if life has a defined purpose or if people just try to make up their own versions of it based on their subjective convictions in order to make themselves feel more comfortable. I feel like everyone I've built a relationship (of any kind) with has impacted my life in some way that has changed my perspective as a whole on everything. The weird part that makes me question the 'purpose' of these exchanges is how easy it is for people to just disappear from your life. And yes, sometimes it's inappropriate or even just futile to overthink the comings and goings, but I think it's impossible to ignore them, or at least it is for me. I don't think I've ever completely dissolved from someone's life. It just feels odd to me. I always leave with cause, or break away with a promise of coming back when _____ happens. It's not a conditional type of relationship, but I get that some things are toxic and you kind of have to let someone breathe or make their own changes. I'm rambling.
After having my dad 'leave' or just be completely absent I've paid more attention to others' presence(s) in my life. Even from a fairly young age I knew how to detect if someone was going to abandon their post in my world. And it was fine, if I could see a clear reason. I have accepted each person leaving and tried my best to remain calm and stable, no matter how great the loss, but sometimes its easier than others.
The worst is not realizing what you're feeling in time to help yourself. I'll completely ignore things that would usually bother or even completely devastate the next person, and not realize the weight of the matter until it's too far down the road to react. It's more of suppression than taking someone for granted, I think.
Another scenario is when you feel confidently secure with someone but they are in a point in their lives when the timing just isn't right. I've been stuck in so many ultimatums where I either have to wait around for the person or just try to move on. I believe in giving people their time apart, but I find that when this happens I become collateral damage. I see it happen with other friends of mine, too, all the time. It makes sense. I've probably done the same thing subconsciously. But there's always that sting of regret when you see that they were able to do _____ with someone else and just not you. It's a self-worth crisis. I have tried to ignore this feeling so many times and it ends up resulting in...definitely not leftover feelings, more like a sense of curiosity that I can never cure. It's still not something that invades my mind often, thankfully. I think mainly it makes me wonder less about the other person involved and more about human connections in general. Is it so easy to stop thinking about someone? To stop wanting to talk to them? To stop being a part of their lives?
I'm grateful that I can be aware of this feeling, though, rather than pining over useless people, useless things, useless relationships. I don't find myself thinking back on things and wondering if the word 'love' was a lie, or wondering if there was some kind of ulterior motive the whole time.
All I wonder is if you're okay
You feel it the most on those fast drives...when you look out the window of the backseat, only to see the blur of trees just barely touched by autumn's remnants; hues of bright red and faded yellows. The car slows down sometimes, in which cases you get the chance to appreciate the obscured skyline--mountains and hills blended into the milky-grey of the clouds. Every few moments as your eyes scan the narrow cliffs barricading the road, you can pick out a single upcoming tree to follow with your eyes. You watch it as a solid object for a split second until it melts into the background and becomes a dream left behind. You do this with a few more chosen trees, until your brain wakes up from this conscious-hypnotic state, alarmed to hear a familiar song being played on the car radio. Your song-something shared at a certain point; something given, something chosen, something that now makes you resent the fateful outcome that has completely transposed the meaning of the melody. You loved this song. You loved each other. Now a phone call that would never be made as well as thousands of miles separated you two. Or maybe it was more than that...more miles? More radio silence? You almost ask the driver to skip the song, but something about this bittersweet sting of nostalgia beckons your wandering brain. Memories of waking up next to messy blond hair smelling of lavender and weed raid your mind. Somehow you begin thinking of the scent of those poorly made blueberry waffles you ordered when you two went to lunch. A smile begins forming across your tired face. You forget the trees, you forget the driver, you forget the still lingering fog, you forget why you let this feeling of warmth and safety ever leave you. The song draws near to its end. You try to hold onto those few final seconds. Then it hits you-was that the last time? There's a vision: him kissing you on the forehead, slowly moving in to kiss your cheek, and finally appreciating your sleepy lips. That was the last time he said those three words to your face just before he left through the hotel door. The song ends, seeming to have lasted longer than usual. You're surrounded by vibrant trees and you forget the song. You forget him. You're okay. You're happier now.
(lil excerpt of a book I've been writing or whatever but yeah)
4 those reading:
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Welcome to my blog (again)! For one of my journalism classes, a semester-long assignment was to start a blog on a topic about which we were passionate. I chose horror movies because I am actually obsessed with them. I ended up enjoying keeping up with the blog so much that I decided to move it over to this account and continue reviewing scary movies. Enjoy.