I sobbed in my bed last night. It was the first time that I’ve sobbed in my bed in about two months, an odd amount of time considering the conglomeration of life events that have happened to me in that time span. Clarification: I’ve cried in plenty of other places, just not in my bed. Looking out the window in a hostel in Vietnam at a the dog perched on a pile of wood, driving across the Aurora bridge, in the food court at the Osaka airport, on the floor of a Uniqlo in Kawasaki. I just haven’t cried in my bed.
Maybe the reason I’ve failed to cry in my bed is because the last time tears wet my pillow (melodrama is fun ok?!) I walked in on someone I love kissing another girl in my apartment. I had given up on them ever making it back from the bar to my apartment–he had said, “I’ll ride with you since my stuff is in your car?” to her, and I knew, I KNEW what was going to happen. I waited on the couch for them for fifteen minutes, then took off my pre-planned outfit and crawled under my safe covers. Two minutes of excruciating sobs and self-doubt later, I heard them calling my name outside my door like nothing was wrong. Twenty minutes later, I went into the bathroom, and when I came out they were kissing.
In the two months since then, I’ve traveled to Japan, Vietnam, China, and Malaysia, had to return to the U.S., Donald Trump became the president and has managed to ruin other people’s lives to an unforgivable extent, found out that those two had fucked while I was still dating the guy, and had my full-time job cut to less than a part-time job. But I did not cry for a month.
But I’m shocked that I still wake up each morning.
My room is a mess, but I still make it to work every time I’m scheduled.
I’ve buried myself in books or movies or podcasts every time I sense a sliver of emotion trying to sneak in, but I’ve still developed eight small paintings.
And last night, I finally gave in. I’m not being melodramatic when I say that my body shook thinking about the sheer amount of change that I’ve endured in the last three years. Just besides the occurances of the last two months, in the last three years I’ve experienced a remarkable and unfair number of instances when the rug was pulled out from under me. Like my feet go up in the air and my butt thuds to the floor, and no sooner can I hoist myself up and rub my butt and hope the bruise isn’t too bad, that some other force pulls another rug from under my feet. It’s at the point where like maybe the only rug I’m still standing on is enjoying my morning cup of coffee.
*cheese alert. Sorry, metaphorical cheese, not cheddar. Please feel free to eat some real life cheese as you continue to read.*
And, you know, people. I cannot tell you all how many times I’ve made my brain play the track of your voices playing in my head, you who have told me that I’m strong, that you like me as a person, that I’m rad, that you’re there, and to just keep swimming.
The hard thing is that the one person that was unequivocally my person, whom I knew and trusted probably more than I knew or trusted myself, slept with another person and lied about it to me for a year and half. And for ten days when we traveled through Japan together, and for three weeks even after I had discovered the relationship that I had suspected had existed since November, 2014. I want to deny the depths that this has totally fucked me over, both in terms of trusting other people and in terms of looking at myself like a valuable, lovable human being. And right now as I write this I have no idea if I can even turn this essay/word vomit into a positive, wrapped-up-with-a-bow present of a “personal essay”. A weird puzzle piece is now forever missing from me, just chillin in some dust bunnies under a cabinet somewhere, and I dunno how long it’s going to be until I can look away from that gaping hole and recognize that it doesn’t compromise the integrity of the whole image too much.
Truly, I just woke up after sobbing last night and started writing this. I don’t know. That’s the other thing. I don’t know. I don’t know, I don’t know. I am going to move to China in a month, and part of me thinks–you’re just running away from your problems. Another part of me thinks–yas girl, run away as fast as you can from those problems! And then I remember how little I know, and I’m like, well, might as well go to China, where you don’t even have to pretend that you know what’s going on. But I don’t know what’s going to happen with the guy. I want to forget him, but we built a love for three and half years, and then he seared himself rather irreparably on my life story with that image of him kissing someone else in my apartment. I don’t know how I’m going to keep swimming, though it might have something to do with morning cups of coffee and books and cheese. I don’t know what rug is going to be pullled out from under me next, or when it’s going to happen, and I don’t know that if it happened tomorrow that I would be able to leave my warm covers even for cheese. I don’t know why people like Steve Bannon want to fuck over Muslims and South Americans and people who are attracted to the same sex. I don’t know why some people find it okay to leave a ten percent tip. I don’t know I don’t know I DON’T KNOW.
There was a song I used to love in high school that somehow recently resurfaced in my Spotify. It’s by K’naan, and it says that “Any man who knows a thing knows he knows not a damn damn thing at all.” Which sure is comforting.
BUT STILL, I ONLY KNOW ONE THING! (That I don’t know a damn damn thing at all.) I want to know more things, to know myself, and the people around me, and if they’re going to pull a rug out from under me.
Okay, except that I do know one other small little thing. Sometime last fall, my roommate, a delightful, artistic stoner, posted on Facebook, “Date yourself. Go buy a bagel and appreciate your own company, and treat yourself like you would treat someone you’re in love with.” (Or something like that–I’m paraphrasing from other conversations with him since then, but I know that original post had the words date, yourself, and bagel.)
And the day after I walked in on the guy and the girl kissing in my apartment, after I had let him explain himself and his cowardly emotions and actions for about a half hour, after I had gone outside to sit on the hood of my precious Volvo before giving him any sort of response, after my brain had screamed at all the fallacies of his arguments and at the pure pathetic-ness of him and his actions, I realized that I would totally date myself. Honestly, I have been for a minute. I’ve fallen in love with myself (time to eat some more cheese!), and I love spending time with myself. I surprise myself with creativity and intelligence and the pure quantity of fucks that I don’t give. Of course, it gave me some degree of satisfaction that the guy sitting inside on the TravelLodge bed obviously does not get to spend every day enjoying himself and his personality, (because a at least a chunk of his personality is the type that would cheat on a woman that loved him without reservations), which is part of why I was able to walk back into that room. But the bigger part is that no matter if he regains my trust, if I find some other marvelous platonic ideal of a man, or if I move to China or if I move to Reykjavik, I still get to spend every day with myself.
So I suppose the ugly excuse for a bow on the top of this present of deep dark thoughts is: learn to love yourself. Make sure you know that you are the most interesting person you know. You are. Well, except for me, naturally.
HA oh the beauty of writing. I managed to turn a twisting hole of running mascara (from last night that I didn’t take off, shut up) and crying in my bed in what feels like unadulturated desolation into something with a moral. Obviously please don’t take my advice if you feel that I am completely unqualified to think that I can say anything with authority because my room and life are a mess and I’m only a baby-ish almost-24 years old. I get it.
But I feel like I can advise with all confidence and authority that eating bagels or cheese or both is a gr8 idea. Do it.