I made this amazing, color-coded to-do list for what was left of my final semester submissions during spring break, a few days before you went off the grid.
I look at it now, and it feels prehistoric. I’ve struck through
a bunch of paper submissions, but so what? It did not change anything.
You came back, and then you left. And it changed the way I look at everything. I lost, and now nothing else will hit me as precisely, and sharply — right at the heart of it all. Everything I thought life was all about struck out, in one fell swoop.
I never had to make time for you. Your presence was simultaneous to everything I was, and everything I was doing.
The day we started talking, it was the start of a
1.5478 year 565-day long conversation: an unparalleled streak of willful mockery, giggles, idle rants, pseudo-existential awakenings, morbid, lazy theorizing, pictures of food, gossip, book recommendations substituting for life advice, hope amidst a harsh, tearful reawakening, unconditional love and support. You sent me emoticon flowers the Monday after the Sunday a person whose last name I barely remember broke my heart (or was it my ego?), because everyone needs Monday morning flowers, you said, and they cost nothing. You showed up repeatedly, when I needed to know I was needed, and when I needed to know I was loved (and deserved more than I thought I did) and I would not fall through the cracks. You made me want to show up and be just as discerning yet giving with my time and energy. Your words, your presence and your actions were timeless. I will spend a lifetime catching up to it.
- Saving up for BEA
- Getting a summer internship I’m excited about
- Aspiring towards integrity. None of this “go with the flow” nonsense. I can’t anymore.
- Valuing time.
- Learning how to drive
- Reading a book a month.
- Getting the book blog active again.
- Developing a good work ethic.
- Integrating work and leisure, rather than separating the two so much that both feel like a chore.
- Wading past the white noise, and figuring out what I want for real.
- Doing what I want to do but if I find myself stuck somewhere I don’t want to be, getting the most out of it because you can get what you want out of things you don’t want, it is all in the mind, it is just less of 3.
Happy almost-new year 🙂
She ran her fingers over the tiny prickle on her forehead – a frickin’ pimple in the beginning of December. Winter was her favorite time of the year. All of those snuggly jackets and unapproachable boots – she could pull them off. The bulk makes her look healthier, unlike the summer skirts that betrayed her carrot stick legs. But clearly, winter was not without its warts.
She finger-combed her hair as she hunched forward, trudging past the zillions and zillions of people making their way from one metro-stop to the next. She hated the way her bangs fell flat, and then curled so frightfully near the ends. She stared at the Asian girl in blue sweatpants who walked past her, the girl’s pin straight hair parting so effortlessly. “How did it feel to have wonderfully approachable hair like that?” she wondered.
She tried pulling her hair behind, but of course that exposed the scar near the beginning of her hairline. She let it fall back down her shoulders. Her hair was greasy from hairspray, and terribly layered. She felt like Professor Snape.
Her lips tugged downwards as someone bumped against her, muttering “Sorry.”
She nodded vaguely, her bangs still covering her face. How did the blonde woman in front of her have such bouncy, salon-style hair? How did people manage to style their own hair? Did they wake up every morning just to make their bangs fluffy and wonderfully soft? She had tried styling her hair. It made it greasier and wavier in all the wrong places. She pulled her hair back again, her fingers clasping it into a ponytail. She pulled it to one side, letting it hang down one shoulder, as she reached Platform 6A.
She tried to picture how she looked right at that moment, with her hair like that. Oh lord, it would be like that Instagram picture of hers from a year back. She was with her best friend Eric, whose face reflecting his sunny disposition. She, on the other hand, had one side full of hair and the other side of well… air. it looked awkward and unnatural. She untagged herself from the picture, but when she did stumble into it on Eric’s page – she always winced.
She continued finger-combing the front section of her hair, as a text from her ex-boyfriend popped up on her phone. It was an even more obnoxious reply to her obnoxious text. She caught her reflection on her phone screen, as her screen faded to black. The corners of the tiny hairs that blended with her bangs were curling up again. She pressed it flat. They curled up again. She pressed it flat, tucking the piece of hair under her bangs.
Her train finally arrived and she thought, I can’t wait to get back home, shower, grab a bite to eat and then study. I can’t study with my hair like this – no.
He was making his way to his stop when he bumped into something solid.
“Sorry,” he said reflexively- and caught sight of the woman as she blended with the crowd.
Only she didn’t quite – blend with the crowd.
She was slightly hunched, but walking at a remarkable pace. Her hair – there was so much of it! It was neither straight nor curly – it tumbled down her back in mesmerizing waves. He hadn’t seen hair like that before!
As he reached his station, he saw her again. She was peering into her phone – but her profile betrayed elegant, sharp features. She turned around and he met her eyes – but she was looking past him. She hadn’t really met his gaze, she was lost in thought.
He wished she would’ve met his gaze – those were eyes that had the potential to sparkle and light up the lives around it. She looked wistful. There was a genuineness about her that was absent in the vacant glee of the lipsticked woman on his other side, who was squealing “How ARE you, Carol! You look FABULOUS, simply FABULOUS, dear”.
As the train droned in, and she disappeared with the crowd – he caught the last glimpse of those untamed, beautiful, beautiful locks that her fingers wouldn’t let go of.
He wished she’d smiled at him when their eyes had met. He would’ve made some inane comment about the subway service. And over the course of that conversation, he’d have told her, quite tactlessly, how distractingly beautiful she was.
- Eat while you are eating
- Study when you are studying
- Watch TV while you are watching TV
- Cook when you are cooking
- Say what you are feeling (you don’t get coolness points for not saying what you should be saying, and are thinking, and are feeling so intensely)
- When you are on the phone, listen to what the other person is saying and respond to it
- If you can’t help someone, say you can’t help them
- If you feel like staying in, stay in
- Tasks that take less than ten minutes, start and finish immediately. This includes random shit that bugs you, which you can just clarify (“Did I annoy you too much that day?” “Was that insensitive?”)
- Text when you are texting, but probably not when you are studying, eating, talking, on the phone or in the middle of an urgent task
- Ask for what you want
- Accept that people will put themselves first, because they are protecting their interests and their heart
- Put yourself (and your friends and family and anyone who contributes to your well-being) first
If you are thinking “well, duh” and “this is intuitive” – great. Oftentimes though, it should be obvious but it isn’t.
From: The girl who eats while she studies, lets the pot boil over when she’s worrying about a term paper due in 24 hours, texts when she reads and reads as she texts, says something and means something else as she’s scared she’ll lose coolness points
It’s you, your earphones, your notes, printed words. It’s the rustle of paper of the person next to you, just as involved in her music, her squiggles, her rented text.
It’s your love of learning, heightened – expanded.
There will be no movie-like storm-ins, interruptions or revelations here. It’s a quiet buzz that takes you closer to your truest inclination.