These eyes;

The older I get the more I learn that I know nothing.

Sure, I’m a know-it-all with a penchant for odd, and surprisingly useless facts, but still, I’m clueless as they come.

I have so much time in my day and sometimes I know how to put every single second to good use, ultimately benefitting, me, and therefore the universe. But most of the time, even knowing how to put my time to such good use, I end up lying in bed for far too long, staring at someone’s ceiling, or the morning sky, whichever I wake up beneath. I lie there,  peering through my bleary morning eyeballs, dizzily trying to focus through all the blur affecting my already poor vision, not to see anything in particular, but just to see. I’ve always been a little frightened that my vision won’t ever clear up. It’s so foggy in the mornings and sometimes the minutes hit double digits, threatening to stay this way forever, and let me tell you, being blind would absolutely, positively be my worst nightmare.

So, I’m lying there trying to focus on anything, trying to ascertain colors again, and low-key worrying that I’ll never see properly again. Which is when I think about the eye doctor; the arm & a leg, no flattering eye ware to speak of, always a little lost, as doctors generally are when it comes to me, eye doctor. I don’t much care for the physician of sight, or any medical practitioners, for that matter. The dentist is, of course, the worst one but that is a mute point.

So, by now these things are all soaring around in my head, as I blink lazily in and out of consciousness. I dream a lot in the mornings, and they are always of a very real nature, real people from my real life, with whom i am really supposed to spend time, in a very real sense, doing (most) of the things that are really in my dreams starring them. These dreams are naturally nonsensical and I don’t remember most of them when I wake up, partially because I immediately start in with the fault in my eyes, and partly because dreams are just so damn hard to keep straight, ask anyone.

On occasion, I can be in bed in this manner for a matter of hours, or at least an absurdly high conglomeration of minutes. This is when I think to myself about what trash I am because it’s 11 o’clock on a Tuesday and I’m still in bed worrying about my (usually) decent eyesight, and drifting off to dreamland still when I could be making much better use of my time. Or because It’s 12:30 on a Wednesday, and I’m still in bed, barely conscious, thinking that if my eyes don’t clear up, I don’t ever want to wake up anyways, on the grounds of, what would my life be without sight? So I may as well just stay here in bed, checking on my eyesight periodically and in the meantime catching up on all the sleep I definitely lost out on as a teenager. Which let me tell you was WEEKS worth, months even! So technically, I can stay in bed with a legitimate excuse until Christmas, and by then if my blurry eyeballs haven’t righted themselves I’ll just have to get a dog, so that it can cheer me up and take me places. Like to the grocery store. Dogs are probably really good at grocery shopping because I distinctly remember that anytime I’ve ever had a dog it would nose at all my favorite snacks, especially the sad ones. So, really a dog would be the only logical solution to this hypothetical reality of sleeping my eyes into health and wellness for the first time since I was 7.

Somethings gotta give though, on account of, I don’t know how much longer I can stand waking up with a splitting headache that instantaneously transforms into a blinding migraine at the first sign of daylight. A migraine that forces me into my heart shaped aviators in the kitchen while the coffee is poured, and then shoves me right back into my dungeon of a bedroom where I can comfortably switch back into my prescription lenses to give these poor little sight holes a break from the strain of waking up in the wee hours of the afternoon, long after any reasonable human has begun their day.

Assuming, that I get out of bed, and assuming that I don’t just get coffee, turn and shuffle straight back into my bedroom with the shades drawn, the lights off and the covers ever so inviting. Assuming that I decide to swallow the pain with a swig of black coffee and a handful of Advil. Assuming, that I get dressed and get back out there and pretend that I am not imploding from the knives and hammers doing a jig inside my poor, innocent skull. And most of all, assuming that my eyes clear away their morning mist and allow me to gaze gratefully once more, on the day that is before me. Assuming all of this, we can now move on to productivity, which as I mentioned previously, I am quite adept at.

If I live through my mornings, which are simultaneously the most horrifying, part of my day and the most beautiful, peaceful and restful parts, then hopefully I will be moving on to a day of expanding my mind, creating, maintaining, socializing and exploring.

Neu·rot·ic. n(y)o͝oˈrädik: adjective.

steph

I’m very grateful for the people I have in my life, in all their many places, and capacities. I seem to have a unusually high volume of adopted families in my life, paired with an unusually large immediate family. Somehow, even with being an introvert I have hundreds of people in my life. I do my best to keep in contact with everyone, though I’ve been slacking in my old age.

People have always held this unspeakable charm for me, I never know quite what to do with them or where to put them, what capacity to love them in, but I do my best. (my best is an idiot.)

I’m terribly awkward when it comes to people. I’m secretly so unsure of every interaction, always wondering if I did that right or if I could do it better. Naturally, I think of the best things to say after people leave, and such and so.

It takes a lot to make me react emotionally to anything. My adopted defense mechanism of choice has been to laugh or giggle at everything. And I mean everything. Ex. What’s that your dog died? HAH Hahah, oh shit. Oh, you’re mom has CANCER? Heheh hah, wow. You hate your life and you think you’ll never amount to anything? HAHAh, heh ho huh, mmm… I see. Yes, that bad. Or I at least smile beautifully, albeit nervously, and rather uncontrollably, sometimes even to the point of tears. Nerve wracked, happy, awkward tears, but wet and sniffly, nonetheless.

The most common interpretation of my poorly chosen defense of giggles and guise, is to think that I’m flirty as all get out, and have impossibly low standards. However, the one time I actually had a boyfriend one of his main complaints was that I was so terrible at flirting with him, yet so good with everyone else. His mom adored me. I did like him, a little more than a smidgen, and a lot less then loving adoration, and yet I had no idea how to sweetly tell him he was handsome, or funny, or anything else nice without it sounding entirely patronizing. I really did think he was funny (sometimes), and cute and tall, I just don’t know many other nice adjectives.

I’m not a mean person, per se, but I’ve never thought of myself as particularly nice, either. I think sweet things about people semi-regularly, but when I think of saying them out loud I begin sweating profusely in my palms, heart racing and my brain is just bouncing all over the place, grasping at any coherent sentences it can remember until I seize up or blurt out something like your SHOES are really neat & hair… good! Pretty! Needless to say, I’ve more or less given up on complementing people.

Not to worry though, I’m equally maladjusted to receiving complements. When people say nice things to me or about me, I’m in my head either, adamantly agreeing with them or vehemently arguing against their point. I’m quite good at knowing whether or not I have a particular set of skills or am capable of performing certain tasks, and of course I know that I’m beautiful, because HAVE YOU SEEN MY PARENTS? One thing us Moreau’s have for sure, is good looks. Not my fault, just my problem. But trust me, I also know that I am highly capable and adept at looking like a garbage can picked through in winter. It really depends on my motivation of the day. Sometimes I put on full makeup and a clean outfit to sit at home with a raging headache writing words that will probably never be read, and sometimes I stay in my sweats for a week straight only adhering to the most basic personal hygiene standards known to homeless men.

My interactions with others, regardless of where my personal hygiene standards are set for that day or week, are always lacking. I might play it cool sometimes, pretend to be loads better at human interaction than I ever actually will be, sometimes that I pretend nothing scares me and nerves are for banged up knees, and climbing trees. This is of course, far from the truth.

Here’s an example of a humdrum, run of the mill, ordinary interaction with a redundant acquaintance. That is to say, someone whom I’ve met in various social settings, never one on one, and only spoken to in horrifically draining small talks.

He: Hey, how’s it going?

Thought process: Who is this person? What am I supposed to do with this? Okay, simple question, simple answer. What kind of a question is ‘how’s it going anyways? Why couldn’t he just ask how I’m doing. Wait, no. Because that would be hard to explain, or I’d have to lie… Wait, he’s still standing here.

Me: …it’s moving right along.

He: Glad to hear it.

Me: Mmhm.

Thought process: Okay, we’re missing something. Ask him a question. Anything. Go.

Me: You?

He: Me what?

TP: Shoot! A coherent question would be good. Full sentences. Smile. Giggle. It’ll buy you some time. Play it off. Ready, sincere smile, and-

Me: Ha, you. How are you? What have you been up to?

TP: Great job on unnecessarily extending the conversation early. Now what question are you going to use when your floundering for things to say in a few sentences. Genius. Hey, listen up!  He’s talking.

He: Oh, yeah. Good. Nothing much really, just the usual. *smiles*

TP: conversational athlete over here. I have so much to work with. It’s so cool that all of this talking has given me zero information on this person, what does he do? have I asked him that yet? SMILE, dammit. He’s smiling, do it back, you rude girl. Follow up question.

Me: *smiling and nodding feigning sincere interest* How’s work been? Still stressful?

TP: Great faker question. Everyone’s job is stressful at some point, you’re doing well.

He: Oh yeah, works been really blahblahblahablah lately and blah blah blah. haha, y’know?

TP: FAKE LAUGH!! FAKE LAUGH!!

Me: *mildly, genuinely, fake laughing just the right amount to match his glee* Oh, my goodness. Do I ever.

Anyways, even fake he was boring me with all of that useless and soul sucking shit chat, I mean… no, never mind, i meant shit chat. That gives you a little taste of what every conversation is like inside my brain. And it only gets worse the more I care about someone or the more serious a conversation is. Because I truly desire to be engaging and sincere, while still being witty and insightful, but dead pan is my natural state of being and people need so much more animation than I know how to provide. It’s not a matter of being true to myself, because trust me, I say the wrong thing multiple times a day, and I’m always making people mad at me for reasons I cannot comprehend.

But alas, I am trying to become a better person, and learn how to be more accommodating to people’s comfort zones. But I digress to say that, people are treasures and there’s something to be gleaned off of everyone, but they also make me insane and are nearly impossible to get along with smoothly. I’ll never understand other humans. I wish I lived among lizards.

Twenty-three;

Twenty-three. Twenty-three is where I find myself. Alone. Homeless. Wandering. Experimenting. Aimless. Arrogant & humbled. Reliant. Confused. Emotionally unaware. Hypersensitive. And on and on it goes.

Twenty-three hit me like a rogue train, jumping the tracks and shoving me into uncertainty. I used to have motivation, direction, dreams. Now I’m just an unhoused vagabond. Bobbing in, and backing out of safety, of security. Constantly distracted by the idea of consistency.

Twenty-three wasn’t made for me. Twenty-three is the stuff of nightmares. Not the big, scary ones, with carnage and loved ones dying off, getting lost forever, not the ones where you say things you don’t mean while chicktopuses pass nonchalantly in the background. No, I’m talking about the kind of nightmare where you’re all alone, the kind where there’s no such thing as the ground and yet you wake up with a sharp, terrified inhale, a cold sweat covering your entire body, because in your sleep you were falling. You were falling and you had no perspective, things were loosely changing shape, size and distance, things weren’t ever as they seemed and yet your stomach is sinking deeper than your physical body and you know the ground is coming, fast and hard and deadly. But you know that the ground doesn’t exist, which doesn’t make a difference until you wake up. But when you open your eyes, you’re still twenty-three. And even with your eyes wide you have no idea what’s next.

The night I turned twenty-three I was 25 miles up a winding mountain road in an expansive dirt turn out, just me, my newly lavender hairs and my little green truck. Out above the city, below the stars. Lying face up on my lowered tailgate, alternating between counting shooting stars and catching up on tumblr shitposting. I wasn’t talking to anyone, just reading silly things and looking at pretty pictures. I couldn’t think of anyone I wanted to spend such a night with, so I left them all down there, the lights of their homes, apartments and cars littering the coast splayed out in front of me.

I thought of birthday’s past when I would turn off my phone, log out of my social media, and refuse to check any of it until the following day, to allay the onslaught of well wishes and good tidings on the anniversary of my independent existence in this world.

I wondered if this year anyone would remember. I always do though, wonder, that is, how many people will forget or remember me, how many people will take a minute to think of me and celebrate my continuity in this life.

Birthdays have never been a big deal to me, and this one wasn’t my saddest, but it was, however, my most insignificant. At the end of the day, I found myself looking at a whopping tally of three in-person well wishers, one phone call and one instagram comment. Only one of which was related to me. My parents remembered, fortuitously, nearly a week later. A stark contrast to years gone by, with overwhelming hundreds of similar wishes scattering my ‘wall’, blowing up my inbox, crowding my voicemail. It was a strange feeling and it was a truer introduction to my twenty-third year than any I could have imagined.

Twenty-three is the night you fall asleep, before you hit the bed, in all your clothes, but it’s also the following morning when you wake up, stark naked, without any recollection of the in-between.

Twenty-three is when you spend all your money on gas and food, and restaurants, and beer that you didn’t want, for the friends who won’t ever fulfill you. It’s wondering how you’re going to survive this month. It’s counting how many people will invite you over for dinner and how many weeks you can survive with one meal a day. It’s not wanting to ask for help, but needing it desperately.

I’ve only been Twenty-three for half a year, six months, 25 out of 52 weeks. I’m twenty-three and a half, and I 100% understand the motivation behind Blink 182’s memorable song, “What’s my age again?” The song in which they claim that nobody likes you when you’re twenty-three, because we’re just adult children, who still don’t want to grow up.

I’ve couch surfed, camped and lived out of my truck for my entire twenty-third year. I worked two jobs that rarely added up to part time, and paid just pennies over minimum wage. I don’t have any savings because even without rent and other frivolous bills, I wondered almost every day how I was going to feed myself the next week. I wondered if I would run out of gas on my way to work. I considered dating recreationally in order to feed myself on the nights I wasn’t sure what I would eat.

Maybe I was being a little dramatic, or worrying a little too often, but I’ve never seen my bank account so consistently empty in all of my adult life. I spent so many days in parks, up mountains or on beaches because my home was a little green box, and I didn’t feel like I belonged anyplace else. I dyed my hair on a sandy beach, rinsed it out in the ebbing tide. I went days, and weeks without a shower, jumping in the ocean every day or hunting down hot springs. I showered at work, or at a different friends place whenever I didn’t recognize the color of my skin. I couldn’t even afford to sit in coffee shops most days, but sometimes I spent my last few dollars on a drink anyways, so that I could escape the blistering heat outside, hiding in an air conditioned Starbucks until the sun began to go down.

It wasn’t all bad. In fact, I stubbornly chose that life this year. It never went as planned, and it wasn’t at all what I had expected. Sometimes it was lonely, occasionally it was scary, cold, usually it was dirty, and always it was unpredictable.

Twenty-three is that craving you feel for someone who understands you. It’s that sweet, distant, fairytale of a person, or dare I say, people who know what you mean when you say life is too much. When you say that you need physical contact, but you won’t let anyone hug you. People who know why you cry when you witness mothers and fathers still adoring their adult children, when you watch a movie and the father apologizes for the hurt he’s caused and the mother sits down her child, staring intently in their eyes, tenderly holding their hand and reiterating her deep love for them, until they get it.

Twenty-three is wishing for those people who know why it is that I hate people. For those people who know that I don’t hate people at all, that in fact I love people, too dearly, too intensely. That I love them but I’m ill-equipped to stand in the deep end of love, to express how much more than a feeling it is. Those people who comprehend the pain I feel when my people are hurting, rejecting love and feeling alone; the disparity of watching the mistreatment of hearts, the callous, uncaring, flippant remarks we chuck back and forth at each other, in the name of sarcasm, or humor, when really it’s simply uncalled for rancor.

Twenty-three is filthy rap, and angsty punk rock playing loud enough to shake up your brain or bust your speakers. Either outcome is fine, because it means something has changed. It’s a reminder that the world is fucked, but it’s also beautiful, and you’re not required to be a poet to express your frustration, or glee with the whole mess.

Twenty-three is remembering the good times and wondering if there will ever be more, wondering if all our best friends have faded into the future without us, or just the ones we thought we’d have forever.

This year I’ve gathered that all of my best friends are growing up and growing away without me. We didn’t fight, we didn’t choose to stop caring about each other, we just got busy, distracted, involved in our separate lives. Living so differently than when we were together all those years ago, that when or if we do talk, it’s vaguely like discussing your life with a perfect stranger. Quietly asking yourself, as you hold the phone to your ear, “Are they listening? If so, are they hearing me? Do they still get it? Do they even care anymore?”

I’m happy for them. I’m a huge advocate for change, change is good, it’s healthy. I don’t know if ‘friends forever’ is a real thing, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s right up there with the idea of ‘the One’. Maybe we’ll always talk, maybe we’ll never lose touch, but even so we’ll never understand each other the way we did when we were young, when we were growing up, together. It’s a loss, a tragic, sometimes heartbreaking loss, but it’s also a new beginning.

Twenty-three is remembering how easy it was to be 18, when we had the rest of our lives in front of us. When we still stayed up until dawn because the magic of midnight hadn’t yet disappeared. When we could wear anything, do everything and be anyone without direction, because it never mattered that we couldn’t tell east from west, because everything was fresh and new and ready to be discovered. The world was our stomping grounds.

Twenty-three is old enough to know that life will happen without you if you don’t participate, but it’s still so young.

Twenty-three is the pregame for 24, and pretty soon we’ll know what it feels like to exist for a quarter of a century. We’ll look back at all we’ve done, all we’ve passed up, all we’ve skipped over, dashed around, hid from, and danced through, the magic and the misery we’ve experienced. Shaking our heads in disbelief we’ll visualize the notion that we could have as many as three more lifetimes ahead of us, barring death or dismemberment. Three more slots of 25 years a piece. Three more opportunities to use 25 years wisely, splendidly, and recklessly.

Twenty-three is being creative and forgetting that you can be bold. It’s treading water without any arms and praying for the strength to keep your head above water. Twenty-three is the perfect shoe, for the perfect price, that’s a half size too small; it’s the Cinderella story that ends in tear soaked ashes, mucking up the one shoe you didn’t lose, for the dress you accidentally dyed pink in the wash.

Twenty-three is realizing that your family is worlds behind you, and even though you can’t talk to them right now, your love for them is blinding. They would never understand your parallel universe, they wouldn’t even try, because we’re all preoccupied with our own lives, our own experiences. And that’s our own fault. It’s not okay, but we’re all guilty. I’m guilty, too.

Some of my sisters have been twenty-three, they survived and I’m sure it was vastly different and remarkably similar to me. I’m sure they sometimes wished to be older or younger, I’m sure they got lost, they cried, they drank, they hoped and lost hope in a vortex of of unimaginable  losses and triumphs, spinning around like a tornado that never rests. I’m sure twenty-three had them on their toes in a permanent pirouette; not the dance they’d practiced for, but sensational, nonetheless.

My younger siblings are still years off from the horror and brilliance of twenty-three. They have so many things to do before they reach this dreadful age of distraught, and electrifying emotions. They have so far to go, but they’ll be here before they know it. Spouses already in hand, it’s going to be a breathtaking ride, unique from the rest of us, but still unrelentingly, twenty-three.

My parents won’t ever know what it’s like to be twenty-three, even though they’ve done it before. They won’t know because they refuse to let their minds go back there, and I can’t really blame them. I wouldn’t want to relive twenty-three, either, not even if you asked me nicely.

Twenty-three is broken dishes and whiskey teas, for headaches that don’t subside and dull, sleepless night with your newfound pal, anxiety. It’s ripped jeans, stained t-shirts, and cheap department store blazers. It’s trying to impress self-absorbed employers who see you as disposable. It’s watching the boys, and the men who once wanted you, want someone entirely new. It’s being a single in a world full of doubles, and full houses. It’s not being able to keep anything straight, but fighting like hell to keep your breath steady.

Twenty-three is still living with roommates, and making it through each day with the mantra, “When I grow up, I’m living alone. I’m living alone.

Twenty-three is not for me, but one day I’ll be 24, and I’ll just keep counting from there. In an upward spiral I’ll define each age, and then I’ll burn the dictionary. Because life doesn’t fit inside a neat description, with evenly spaced lines, and measured confines. Life is always less and more than we’ve bargained for. None of us asked to be born, but we’re all demanding to live.

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The Boy;

Beginning

     I found him charming, but I wasn’t sure why. Maybe it was his strawberry shaded stubble that glittered in golden hour, his boyishly handsome good looks, or his impressive stature… But no. It couldn’t have been any of those immaterial things because I had been drawn to him before I saw any of that. We had met in the dark and our first date was a blind one, I knew nothing of his dapper looks, or his candidly contemplative face.

     Our first date was one of those, once in a lifetime, practically perfect happenings of chance, just the universe dancing with the details of our evening. Shaking things up just enough to enchant us with one another, and leaving us infatuated. When I related the (ordinarily) shocking tale of the Suburban &the Surfboards to explain a few of my many scars, he countered with his own tales of woe, having been struck by 3 vehicles in his lifetime, he still is the only person to shoot back at me with such close fitting stories.

     He seemed slightly out of place, but I had to admire his willingness to maneuver through his strange surroundings with an eagerly curious, yet altogether patient bewilderment as to how the night would unfurl. He was a Yes Man that night, acutely aware of his surroundings and obviously fluttering at my closeness. It was adorable, delightful even, to see him so unnerved and yet so composed at the sight of me. I’m not one to relish in attention, but I found his gaze somehow alluring, one might even say, flattering.

          Our lips didn’t touch this first evening which, in my humble opinion, only made the whole caboodle more captivating. I’ve never been one for titillating tales of love and ravishing romances, and I didn’t leave his side that night with galaxies in my eyes and butterflies in my gut. I’ll spare you anymore details of this most winsome date, but suffice it to say that there was something about this one that I felt compelled to explore further, and so on I went, into the dark unknown.

Middle
     He said he wanted to see me again. Soon. He made it sound urgent and exciting, and being as it was that we had confessed our mutual fondness the evening before, I agreed to see him. I had no interest in a boyfriend, but I was blithe with anticipation of what a second night with such a creature could hold. We had done so well the first time around, what could be the harm in a second outing?

     We lived a fair distance from each other, so he drove his Triumph out to pick me up. I grew up on motorcycles and they have never lost their appeal. I feel like a kid again, bouncing at the idea of a ride, positively wiggling with expectancy. We rode fast in the cold night to a restaurant that would soon become our usual. We ate on the patio and discussed topics predetermined by the boy himself. I found it strange how much thought he put into the content of conversation, whilst saying and answering a precious little himself; but instead I chose to take it as a complement that he came prepared, with good intentions of a pleasant evening.

     The next time we saw each other we had a full plate, I took him to beaches and bookstores galore, coffee filling every pore. I dressed nice, and we ate locally. We hiked to the panoramic vantage point of Calavera Hill, racing the sun. Barefoot I trekked, in my dress up the side of that tall hill, but it was worth every step to see my kingdom from the sky, with a boy becoming more significant every hour. After dinner we found ourselves on the beach yet again, parked near the sand, making music together by the waves, we sang & we laughed & we kissed, but just a little bit.

     I could tell this boy would be dangerous, and after 10 dates he proved to be just that. We had so much potential to be the power couple, scaling mountains, climbing thousand foot faces, waking up with the sun in the cozy bed of my truck with a JetBoil full of liquid gold in the brisk morning air, slowly regaining our consciousness, bracing ourselves to take on the world again. Our future was a budding accomplishment, with a shaky base.

     I thought it was a neat ideal, but I was never in love with the concept of taking on the world with this same human always beside me. Our honeymoon phase lasted 10 dates. 10 dates and then the monotonous tragedy of hollow dreaming came out to play. I never felt very connected, but I saw so much potential for future kinship. And so I stayed and agreed to that cadaverous cage of ‘girlfriend.’ I’ve always been vehemently against the idea of being owned. People shouldn’t own each other, it isn’t right. I don’t belong to anybody and don’t ever try to tell me different. I wasn’t giddy about saying yes to my first *shudders* boyfriend, as so many young girls are. I was shaken and stirred and completely out of sorts, wondering without pause, what on Earth I had just agreed to.

     Yet, it seemed the logical next step in a string of dates, and kisses so long and close together it was becoming difficult to keep track. I’ve always been a logical sort of girl, and I thought perhaps this discontent I was experiencing would gradually fade and be replaced with the excitement and pure bliss of being exclusively enjoyed by another human, constantly.

     Well, that didn’t pan out.

     It also didn’t help that as so many guys do, he sort of gave up chasing me, once he believed me to be his. He didn’t try so hard to impress me, or to know me. He was endowed with a constant, endless stream of sweet nothings. Which was all well and good, but as the nature of the thing suggests, it amounted to nothing. He was completely taken with me physically, and deeply enjoyed exploring that realm with me. Don’t get me wrong, I can enjoy sexual physicality, but just as with sweet nothings, the acts of physical closeness mean precious little unless accompanied by an emotional, intellectual intimacy that quite frankly, we never tapped into.

     He was a sweet young thing, but still very preoccupied with himself. Too much of the time I found myself an afterthought, an apology, or a nuisance. I never felt like he enjoyed giving me gifts, paying for my meals, or driving us around, he was silently reluctant, and dutiful. He wanted everything on his terms, and in his timing, but I am a strong, stubborn person too, especially when dealt with carelessly. We butted heads and wills in small ways, and dealt with it with passive aggression and mood swings. He was insecure in common and natural ways, but this translated into small attacks on myself in the form of rude, over the top, negligent and repetitive teasing over trivial, commonplace mistakes and mishaps. I wasn’t ashamed or embarrassed to have made these missteps, but the way that he went on and on as if my blunder were the most comical joke he’d ever heard and I was always the punchline.

     And that’s when it hit me. I was dating my dad.

End

     He wasn’t a bad guy and he wasn’t always or ever terrible to me. I’m sure he didn’t have anything more wrong with him than any other man I’ll ever meet. The problem was that his shortcomings were my comfort zone bad qualities. I knew I had to end it. I knew it for a long time before I got up the nerve, and found the timing to do so.

     We were sitting in his house, in relative silence, as we had been for the majority of the day, it was blazing hot outside that day and I didn’t have the motivation to do much of anything except read. I knew this was the day, and I was completely preoccupied with the logistics of such an event. I finally decided that I really had no control over how any of it would go, so I would just proceed the only way I knew how, with opening lines of little eloquence and even littler sense, a brief and blunt piece of my mind, and pause for dramatic effect.

     His parents had both left, he was about to shower and was trying to be flirtatious, but I was resisting. He pulled back from me, looked into my eyes, and asked if I was happy, with such sad conviction, that I visibly winced. My eyes darted to his and back down to his chest, where I pushed him back, and said, “Go take a shower and we’ll talk when you’re done.” He dejectedly acquiesced. I grabbed his guitar, sat on the couch and waited, helplessly picking at the strings, a gloomy melody playing in my head, translating poorly into the atmosphere.

     He came and sat beside me with his guitar, and taught me some chords and strumming until my fingers were sore. It really was one of our more enjoyable interactions in the whole of the relationship. In that moment, I was happy as I looked into his eyes and followed the up up down up of his strum; only for a few seconds at a time until I would break rhythm.

     We put away the instruments and he pulled me over to lean on him. I breathed deeply against him, knowing this would be the last time. Finally, I braced myself and we both felt it coming, I sat back, grabbed his finger, looked into his eyes, and did it.

Long pause.

     He looked up at me, leaned in, and slowly, slowly kissed me. Calmly, he leaned back and said, “Thanks for letting me down easy.” Before he melted back into the couch. I still held his finger and I shyly, softly stroked it, glancing up at him every now and then wondering if there was more than this. I couldn’t tell if he would act cool and unaffected, or would want to talk it over, so I waited.

More moments pass.

     He takes a deep breath, smiles halfhearted and crooked through sad eyes, “So, do you want to just make out for a while?” I laugh. But he’s serious, so, “Sure.” I say. And that’s what we did. We kissed more meaningfully than ever, with processing breaks. Each time our lips touched, the sensation was more wistful & heavy hearted than the last. We both cried that night, knowing more of our loss every minute. He still told me sweet things even as I was breaking his heart. He didn’t ask me to explain myself, but he did ask me to stay. I told him it was better this way, for both of us. He deserved someone who could be wholly his, excited, giddy at the idea of getting to keep him. I couldn’t and wouldn’t ever be that girl, and knowing that, I refused to let attachment grow. “It’s better this way,” I reiterated.

     He walked me to my truck and we kissed goodbye, he said he didn’t want this to be the last time we kissed, he didn’t want this to be the last time he saw me. I said it had to be. He pulled me of my seat kissed me against the window, and said, “Promise me, you’ll save a kiss for me someday.” He held out his pinky, and I took it. “I promise,” I whispered. I didn’t know if this was right, but I was too fascinated to resist. I got back in my truck and told him to go inside, he stood on the curb and waved as I drove off into the night, back to my beachside paradise.

     I camped that night up one of my favorite mountains, because being outside at night is, and always will be, one of the most soul soothing experiences. I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing the hard part was behind me and held my breath for the vague sense of loss that set in. I was relieved and comfortless in the same breath, and I had no words to describe the twisted, disconsolate, free & weightless feelings I had spinning around in me.

     That night I vowed, once again, to never become involved with another man. “For their own good,” I tell myself, “for his own good…

North to Alaska;

Okay, here’s the story; last August I quit my job of almost two years, bought a truck and drove to Alaska. I knew it was probably irresponsible, and it would mean many months of uncertainty and a general lack of security, but I also knew that I needed this.

     I’d spent months losing my mind in the everyday this and that, hoping for something to wake me up, to make me feel alive again. I started trying to think back to the last time I felt passionate about something, the last time I was excited to get out of bed. I looked back on some of my old, forgotten bucket lists, and at the top of every one I read “drive to Alaska.”

     I realized that I felt most alive when I was deciding my own destiny, I remembered that I was fearless, and brave and that the only thing holding me back was myself. So I let go and I started driving. It was exhilarating! And wonderful! And breathtakingly gorgeous.

     Then one morning while I was sitting near my truck, hot coffee in hand, in one of the most insanely beautiful campgrounds, I chuckled to myself, because I was living my dream. Looking out over a glassy lake, watching my warm breath fog up the air in front of me, I remembered that life is extraordinary. Every minute, every hour, every day in each of our lives there is something extraordinary happening. We are all walking miracles.

       It’s my responsibility to make something of myself, to follow my own dreams and to appreciate the peculiarities of life, to keep an eye out for those little miracles happening. And so in the spirit of remembrance and inspiration I got a tattoo, with the ancient Greek word for extraordinary, at a little tattoo shop in Juneau, Alaska on my last night there. And now every time I see it I remember that something extraordinary is just around the corner, and I don’t have to settle for ordinary or mundane because I was made for so much more than that.

I’m getting so sick of never sleeping;

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And always being tired. I’ve been trying to watch less TV and read more books. It’s so much easier to watch movies, but the fact is, I’ve broken the internet with my television consumption and I’ve currently been reading a child’s book for over a week. I wish I could find nocturnal work so that I could get on a sleep schedule that works for me, because it’s simply impossible for me to be well rested AND awake with the rest of the world.

If I was capable of deep, frequent sleep, then I think I would be a genius. I think my memory would be a work of art, my vocabulary one for the books, and my wit as sharp and edgy as Potato Chip Rock. But instead, I find myself in a room wondering when I entered it and if I was the one who turned the light on, I can’t remember names to save my life, and I feel as if I’ve already forgotten half of my short life. I find myself lying awake cursing at that damn bastard the Sand Man, and wondering if any of the things I do remember are true or if their just weird dream like imaginations and exaggerations of situations I’ll never recall perfectly.

It makes me feel like a crazy person.

Meanwhile the craters (yes, craters, moon sized holes) under my eyes are ever growing, and deep as the ocean, and I’ve officially adopted “sleepy bed-headed vagrant” as my aesthetic. I don’t even bother with lipstick anymore as it tends to prefer my coffee mugs to my face, leaving only a vague raisin colored halo of what once was. I fall asleep inches before sunrise, calling it an early night, always believing the mantra ‘it’s five o’clock somewhere.’ I’ve heard the early bird gets the worm, but I’ve always been partial to bacon anyways. I can’t be sure, but my heart would definitely, without a doubt stop dead in it’s tracks if it didn’t have the proper blood-to-coffee ratio circulating through it’s ventricles.

The other cool thing about never properly resting my head, is my permanent subscription to Migraine Daily. It’s free, it’s consistent and it only comes with slight chance of liver failure, and hermitage. I grew up in California, I’m sick of seeing the sun anyways. But I digress; I’m almost late for my 2:15 snack time.

Pleoplings;

I like to take pictures of people, places and things, and I post them in a few separate locales.

Currently: Santa Barbara, CA

22 years

5 feet, 3 inches

Glasses: Optional

Intentionally vague & blithely sarcastic

Caralee^Lacie

Cotton Candy Clouds

Cotton Candy Clouds

Close by;

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oh the delicate life we live
where love is so difficult to find
& even harder to give

we’ve invented ways to keep together
in spite of miles, time & space between
love suspended at our fingertips
inside the cool hard glass
we wish for miles to dissipate
that this illuminated presence would be yours alone
your smile glowing
your eyes shining
no artificial light beheld

technology;
what a cool, unfeeling middleman
oh to have love surround & engulf me again
to leave behind the insufficient device
& return to the natural,
to the suffocating delirium “face-to-face”

Writer;

Processed with VSCO with a9 presetI could never become a writer because the things I would write about would be true; they would be about all of you.
I would dramatize & elaborately describe our lives; as seen through my very own eyes.
These memories drift through my head all day, but I am constantly shoving them away.
If only your feelings weren’t all hued grey; there is so much in this head I could say, plenty to write about someday.
I could paint my words with elegant brush strokes ‘based on true stories’; snap simple black and white photographs of the most creative lies.
I would be at a loss for names & faces vividly recounting the facts & places.
How would you feel about your life being broadcast for anyone in the world to see? No one has to know it except you and me.
It will be our little secret and we’ll trust each other to keep it.

Cynicism at it’s finest;

Every now and then I have this epiphany that I’m pretty dark & emotional as the world would describe it; really I am just deeply introspective & I am a realist, I say things how they are. That scares people. It frightens them and makes them awkward, not many people know what to do when confronted with the truth of a matter, it’s hard enough for them to swallow with a spoon full of sugar, much more impossible a la carte.

The temptation to be light and careless is always a lingering taste; while I love adventure and spontaneity I will not roll over and play dead when directly confronted with reality. I chose many moons ago to stare fantasy, fabrication and aggrandizement in the face and declare, “You’re not real.”

Reality & truth are antonyms to fantasy. I claim imagination, creativity and extraordinary joy, but I will not live in a sacchariferous world operating on candied lies. If that makes you uncomfortable, good. Get up on your feet & walk it out, deal with it. Confrontation is so biblical and its as real as it gets; learn the difference between tact and dicing your words.

Real life isn’t always magical and perfect; real life is dirty, gritty, rough and overwhelming. It spins you around and drops you on your head- so stare it down, somersault, smile your best, truest, most beautiful smile, say “that was stupid.” And try again, being honest that this isn’t easy & it’s maybe not your favorite thing to do, & maybe you hate it, but its your life and its worth cherishing & carrying on through each precious, maddening moment of it.

So yeah, maybe I’m cynical, and blunt sometimes, but I’m okay with that because that’s what is real to me, and I’m not going to cover that up for anyone.