Early bird gets the worm. But worms are gross. And I’m a vegetarian.

I am tightly wound.  Like someone has taken a straw and began to turn it until it is a mangled mess of a knot.  Remember doing that as a kid?  Taking a normal straw, and then twisting and twisting.  Someone then takes a finger and flicks it until it snaps open extorting a “pop” as air evacuates from the pressure in the center.  I empathize with that straw.  I just hope no one flicks me.  It will not be a quick expulsion of air, but an agonizingly long deflation that leaves me a quivering, quaking mess of sobbing hormonal twenty-something girl.  You know my emotional state is higher when you receive long, convoluted explanations of emotional blathering rather than quick, Hemingwayesque prose.  Clean, concise, and hiding valuable information underneath the surface.  Along with mountains of empty liquor bottles.

I feel like my brain cannot stop working.  One trivial thing followed by something actually useful intertwined with yet another impossibly stupid, small, incoherent thought.  My lack of sleep is definitely adding a heavy weight of unreality to my every day.  I cannot shut my mind off to certain things.  Last night I finally managed to haul my ass upstairs to turn in for the night around 11:30 PM.  To some, that may seem ridiculously early for a twenty-five year old.  But for someone who has averaged four hours of unrestful sleep for approximately three weeks, I think it is safe to say that 11:30 is going to bed late.  But that’s the thing.  I didn’t go to bed.  I put on my perfunctory television show (I cannot go to sleep without the television on, which is horrible because it is such a waste of electricity) and stared blankly at the screen, uncomprehending of the episode of How I Met Your Mother.  Eventually I snapped out of the my zombie-like stare down and began paying attention.  A few wispy thoughts crossed my mind: Josh Radnor is adorable and the character of Ted is one of the few well written leading male characters; Barney and subsequently Neil Patrick Harris, is by far one of the funniest and most colorful characters to grace television; Marshall and Lily are disgustingly adorable heaping on the perfect amount of “cute” couple hypotheticals with reality driven banter.

After these fleeting thoughts, I removed my glasses and desperately tried to toss and turn my way into oblivion.  The clock read a time well past midnight and I was desperately fighting with the Sandman.  My muscles were aching, my mind an odd combination between being far too awake without comprehension, my eyes were literally burning, and I desired nothing more than to pass off into nothingness; a dreamless sleep.  Needless to say, my mind had different plans.  At last glance, my clock read 1:43 AM.  I turned one more time to my left side, desperately seeking sanctuary from waking life, and then the next thing I remember is jolting awake, breathing heavy.

After my startled return to consciousness, I tried a few more feeble attempts at sleep before giving up, grabbing my glasses and staring at the clock.  It read 5:16 AM.  I had a desperate desire to take my clock, open my window, and throw it through the screen while screaming in aggression as I watched it fly through the air.  Rather I sat in bed somewhere between tying the beast down and holding back frustrated tears.  You see, this is a relatively common occurrence, or has been for about three weeks since my mom went into the ER and landed on short-term disability.  The last two weeks have been especially rough because I was without my father. and therefore all by myself in caring for my mother.  Add into the recipe a week with two adorable, yet needy, puppies, and you have the perfect ingredients for a sleep deprived twenty-something who wants nothing more than curl up in the fetal position and hide under her favorite blanket, The Blue.  (Yes, capital T, capital B, he is that special.)

What is especially disgusting about this episode is that I do not even feel like I slept.  What jolted me awake was a dream I was having.  Typically I do not remember my dreams unless they are particularly weird (I once dreamed I was a guest voice on The Simpsons, but the dream was entirely Simpsonesque, meaning I was a yellow, four-fingered, spiky haired version of myself voicing a yellow, four-fingered, spiky haired character) or frighteningly real (like the disturbing dream I had of my grandparents, who survived World War II, burning alive, which I woke up smelling burnt flesh).  This dream guest starred a friend of mine who currently lives in Portland, another who lives in Milwaukee, and four other guys, one of which is my ex-fiance.  My friend in Portland, though, in the dream said she was living in California, that she had seen Jonathan.  She also mentioned that I “needed to get back out there.”  My friend from Milwaukee informed me in a rather timid voice, and with tears in her eyes that a group of guys assaulted her, but she managed to run and get away, surprising her attackers.  With this confession, she seemed lifeless and small compared to the concerned and bubbly personality that typically exudes from her.  Somehow we found ourselves at an indoor soccer game and Jonathan is there, all the way from California.  As are three more suitors, all of which are watching, not playing.  Each of them, Jonathan included, make overtures, though with some, I am hesitant to even listen because there is an anger that resides in me towards these men.

Eventually both of my friends begin to ask why I am so distant.  These guys are cute, they say, they appear gentlemen-like and exhibit a deep appreciation for me.  I respond that no one is perfect, that everyone has a secret, and I am not sure I can handle having secrets in my life.  I buried one so deep and for so long that I injured not only the man I loved, but scarred myself.  There is a shadow on these men, and I can do nothing but see those shadows.  Of course my girlfriends roll their eyes and call me too poetic for my own good.  My friend from Portland stands up, walks to the guy she was rooting for and begins a dialogue, to which I blush, giggle, and turn away, feeling far too much like an adolescent than an adult.  And what seems most odd is that rather than picking the guy most like her, someone who loves good food and outdoor activities, someone who appreciates art and music and lives in a community dedicated to these things, she decided to approach the guy who pours over video games, plays in a band, is completely unreliable and childish, but she saw made me smile.

My friend from Milwaukee then approaches a guy and begins a dialogue.  I assumed she would approach Jonathan, having stated she loved us together.  But rather she chooses another suitor, someone just as surprising.  She picked the guy who reads literature and hovers over writing, integrating the English language and the beauty of words into his every day life, the guy who lives with artistic ambition and dwells in a place that makes him feel real, stimulated, appreciative of the chance to live the way he is.  I blush red as a tomato as she talks to him.  And I try to concentrate on my friend from Portland as she describes the favorable qualities of her choice.  All the while I am staring at the other two men, wondering how complex and complicated things became.  I feel an overriding sense of joy and relief when I look at one and sadness when I look at the other.  However, the one that brings me joy brings a deadening blow of emotional and mental pain, while the sadness of the other is masked by positive memories, a certain hope and maybe hidden desire.

I stand up, look at each guy, drinking in their features, swimming in the feelings they evoke, and I make up my mind.  I begin walking towards the one.  And I jolt awake.  And what bothers me is not my decision.  It is the fact that as soon as I awoke, for the life of me I cannot remember where my subconscious settled.  With the reality of waking life, I know my feelings, I am slowly beginning to understand them and work with them.  They are malleable, while at the same time maintaining a rigidity making them impossible to swiftly change.

Yesterday in one of my photography posts, there was a picture of hearts hanging on a wall.  My mom made them when I was a freshman in college and sent them as a gift to decorate an otherwise unremarkable dorm room.  I still have them to this day, and refuse to rid myself of them.  I feel like my emotional canvas is much like those hearts: roughly hewn, a patchwork of color and lace, and dangling from long strings hoping never to fall abruptly.  I hold on to them not only because of the kinship I feel, but also because in their simplicity they are the single most beautiful thing in my room.

Since becoming single I have had a litany of commentary on my casing.  For years I questioned my beauty, always alternating between believing I was a plain Jane and maybe just pretty.  I once mentioned on here that to me the highest compliment is being called beautiful.  Though I take pride in being called “hot” (there is a certain confidence boost knowing that others find you attractive), I miss hearing and feeling confident in the knowledge that my mind and my beliefs and my thoughts are also as stimulating.  That was one thing that Jonathan, when we began dating, excelled at.  He made me feel his equal.  By the end, however, I felt like he thought I was dumb compared to his contemporaries, all of which were PhD candidates and fiercely more intelligent in his scientific plane.  I was an English major with no job who wanted nothing more than to write for a living; someone who can wax on about the enigmatic wit and subversive commentary of Jane Austen, but could not carry on a meaningful conversation about the giant garter snake of the Central Valley.  It already felt like a tear in the seam of our relationship had begun, and when we moved to California, thanks to my immaturity and inability to handle these thoughts and emotions, a gulf passed between us.

Despite settling into a comfortable recognition of these feelings, I have a deep curiosity about where my subconscious fell.  What choice could have jolted me awake?

Two dimes and a nickel.

Today is my twenty-fifth birthday.  Quarter of a century.  Twenty-five seems so young still, until you begin to look at the numbers and the fractions and how it fits into a grand scheme of things.  Such as, quarter of a century old today.  It’s still a small number, but I am one-fourth of a hundred.  When I was with Jonathan, every birthday we would look at the numbers and figure out how long we had been significant others compared to our age.  At twenty-four, Jonathan and I had been together for one-fourth of my life.  Again, the actual numbers are relatively small, but the idea is monumental.  But here I am, twenty-five and single again.  In my small amount of time on earth I have found love in the truest form, gotten engaged, and have broken up.  And I am not lamenting it.  Every day brings new thoughts and understandings on the events of the last year and a half, and the biggest is this: I am growing as a person and I don’t think I would have this understanding, these new ideas and emotions and thoughts, had I not gone through what I have.  For the first time since we broke up, Jonathan feels like a friend.  I am comfortable talking with him and running through ideas of him seeing other people, experiencing what he needs and wants out of life.  I have settled into that love and friendship that live between two exes.  It finally feels right.  I know there are still plenty of bridges to cross, and there will be some time before I can move on to the next step of seeing him or having a face-to-face dinner or lunch, but now, I am in a good place.  It is a relief.

One of my favorite things is to get dolled up and enjoy a night out with friends.  For past birthday’s this has been a priority, however, this year I feel like to just have a relaxing day where no obligations hound me would be the best present.  If I end up going out to eat, or seeing a movie, or enjoying a drink with my friends, good, but if nothing comes to fruition and the day passes and I just feel like it would benefit me to lounge with no plans, then I am just as happy.  I do know, however, that I want a coffee, some time to read a book, and possibly my choice of any meal, like CPK soup or pesto or whatever my taste buds fancy.  Maybe this absolutely non-committal attitude today is a result of getting older.  Either way, it feels right.  It’s like my muscles are relaxing.  The day feels like one massive breath of fresh air, deep and calming.  There are moments of realization that in the end release the building tension you didn’t know was there.  I feel like the dichotomy between Jonathan and I hit a new stride… one of the best messages I received today was from him.  It simply said: “Happy Birthday.”  It said a lot.  It said that he was working towards us being friends, too.  And that may have been the best present he has ever gotten me.  Two simple words and an idea.

 

California, weddings, and time.

I have a bit of a headache.  This whole week feels like it has run full speed towards this day.  Everyone in the world is in a wedding induced haze, commenting on the beauty of the marriage between Prince William and Kate Middleton, and all I can think of is my LACK of a wedding.  Today would have been Jonathan and I’s six-year anniversary.  Earlier this morning, around 5:00 AM, when a bird was chirping directly outside my window, my mind was not shutting off.  I desperately wanted to not think, I didn’t want to re-open wounds, I didn’t want to think about the ups and downs, plusses and minuses, I did not want to go through the perpetual pros and cons that have haunted my every thought for months and months.  I knew that today would cause problems.  I am self-aware to the point of being a stuck up hypocrite because even though I see disruptions in my mental and emotional states, I am too shy, too scared, too angry to make the necessary changes.  Even though I am positive that our break-up was for the best, when a day such as today arrives, it is hard not to think about the years before this.  It’s hard not to have memories cloud my mind and make my heart hurt, and make me cry.

When the birds woke me up this morning around 4:30 AM, the first image that came to my mind was this evening in 2008 where Jonathan and I were at my apartment.  I lived in this dingy one bedroom subterranean, and the kitchen was literally this 4×2 feet dirt covered linoleum in an ocean of carpet, and Jonathan was making me dinner.  I had come home from working at Scheel’s All Sports, and I had been on my feet all day, and my legs were in so much pain, along with my lower back.  Jonathan has this habit, when bored, of jumping up and attempting to reach the ceiling.  He is a tall guy, and so nine times out of ten, he will reach the ceiling without jumping that high.  He jumped, touched the ceiling and landed gracefully.  Somehow we thought it would be humorous to see me perform this same act, and so I bent me knees and geared up for a soaring leap.  The only problem was that when I pushed off the ground, my ankles, knees, hips, lower back, and shoulders all cracked simultaneously so it sounded like somehow I had cracked into a billion little pieces.  There was an amazing flash of pain but then I felt less stiff than I had in years.  However, that moment of bone crunching caused Jonathan to start laughing uncontrollably to the point where he started reenacting it over and over and over.  We ended up laughing for a good twenty-five minutes to the point where I couldn’t breathe and was in the midst of my hyena inspired bursts of laughter mixed with none other than my other relative secret laughing mannerism, the snort.

This memory always used to bring positive reinforcement.  It would create a sly smile across my face and even, on occasion, an encore of the laughing fit that ensued that night.  Today it just created this weight in my chest, a tightness, and it brought tears to my eyes.  We needed to break-up.  There is no doubt in my mind about that.  It was necessary.  It doesn’t mean that this is any easier.  When a multitude of negative behavior is the reason for a break-up, it is common sense that the relationship would not and could not be salvaged unless the two people in it changed their ways.  Nothing but negative reinforcement happens when the two people cling to the relationship as a floatation device and not learn to swim on their own.  I know this.  Like I mentioned earlier, pros and cons, plusses and minuses, I have used them.  It was the right decision.  But here I am, thinking about that night and the hyena laughter, and I cannot find the same humor in it.  And I am wondering what would go through his mind if that same incident graced his memory.  Would there be fondness?  Or a metaphorical sigh of relief (“Phew, I escaped that before it was too late.”)?  And the worst of it is this: how come I still have that mentality?  How come I am still wondering what HE is thinking?  That was one of the many things that caused the demise of this relationship.  Why am I so focused on HIM and how HE affects my life when I was not a determining factor when HE made decisions for HIMSELF.  If I was ever a factor in his decisions, it was never whether the decision was good for me, but if it was good for me in regards to him.  Would I be willing to relocate 2,000+ miles away from my family and friends to support him and his dream?  His advancement in education would affect future job placement, and therefore us as a couple, that is true, but what about those unquantifiable factors, like whether or not I would be happy, whether or not my depression would increase exponentially, and how would that affect how I relate to people, my ability to make friends, or even find a job?

And here I am again, going through the many factors that added to the demise of my relationship with him.  Disappointment and anger cloud the happy moments, and sheer sadness rains down.  I sit here thinking these things, writing them out trying to understand, and I cannot help but wonder what the fucking purpose is.  The past cannot be changed, what happens in the future is under my control only so much as I am willing to control it.  Do I want to try to reconcile with him?  Do I want to go back to the familiar?  Would I be going back because of it being familiar, or because I genuinely see the great potential in us and OUR future?  I talked to him a couple of weeks after we broke up and said that I didn’t want us to close the door completely, that we should never say never.  He responded in kind, and then days later, he said never.  He said he didn’t want me.  He didn’t want us.  It was after he began talking with a certain person, again.  I am not sure there is a large correlation, but I am sure it had something to do with it.  If he can receive attention, fawning admiration from his friends, and if he is in the presence of two great things, then I can see where I would pale in comparison.  I went out to California to get more of my belongings and my car.  While there he hugged me, walked around with his arms around me, following me like a shadow, he even kissed me.  And his reasoning was that it was all in the name of “goodbye.”  After hearing him tell me he didn’t want me, all of his actions hurt more than any other thing he had done in the past year.  No longer was it that he genuinely loved me or was sad to see me go, his actions boiled down to he was horny and needed to press his crotch against something, might as well be me.  And once again I allowed this to happen.  But who am I to speak, right?  We each used and abused each other in ways far beyond our comprehension.  Twenty-four and engaged; I am not sure either one of us was mature enough.

I have been back in the midwest for a little over a month now, and that is one thing that seems sublimely perfect to and for me.  This is where I belong.  I fit.  Through many discussions on here and with my friends, I have said I did not feel at home in California.  I feel like I stuck out.  I could not get excited about the scientific aspects of the town we lived in.  One of the only things I loved about Davis was Armadillo Music, a petite record store that felt like the kid brother of Amoeba music.  I loved San Francisco, but without the money it would be impossible to merge it into our life.  California was never home to me.  My belongings, the books I surrounded myself with, pictures and art, were the things I missed when we traveled (and I missed Jonathan when I went somewhere without him).  I never looked forward to being back in Davis, I looked forward to smelling our home and hugging him.  I still feel somewhat displaced, but unlike when in California, this displacement deals with the material things.  In California, it was internal.  It felt hopeless.

I’ll leave you with some lyrics from Peter Bradley Adams (from his song “The Longer I Run“):

“When my blood runs warm with the old red wine, I miss the life that I left behind.  But when I hear the sound of the blackbird’s cry, I know I left in the nick of time.”

I wish I could sing this out but there is a problem with the lyrics, they aren’t the whole truth.

“Because life is way too short, and I can’t wait no more.  Here I go, I’m gone, I’m going!  I’m so over you and I don’t care!  And I won’t go back because I know if I do I won’t make it!  FORGIVE ME, I can’t take it anymore.  So sick of falling apart and crawling back again.  So sick of playing the games that I can never win, I’ve really had it, just so sick of it, just watch me, watch me…”

Words courtesy of Lesley Roy, from the song “I’m Gone, I’m Going“.

Have you ever…?

Have you ever had one of those songs that as you listen to it, you go, “HOLY SHIT!” in complete shock because the lyrics are dead on?  Here’s the best part: it’s “My Happy Ending” by Avril Lavigne.  Commence laughing… now.

…okay you can stop.  But there you have it.  Part of the emotions I have experienced.  Unfortunately sung by Avril, who I do not think has the best voice.  But please remember this, it takes two to break up a relationship.  And like I said in my earlier post, mutual does not mean easy.  It means mutual.

Someone come and someone come and save my life.

I had one of the best night’s sleep last night.  For months I have combated insomnia and tension filled sleepless nights.  Even if I did manage to fall asleep, I would toss and turn throughout the night feeling like something was just out of my reach.  Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally.  It was like there was this glimmer of understanding that was always curtained.  I have the image of the black curtain from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in my head.  Those whispers that Harry hears are like the thoughts and emotions that have haunted me.  I lay wrapped up in my blankets, staring at the wall and just wishing that the questions, the what-ifs, the should-I’s and would-I’s would just leave me alone.  When it feels like you boiled your life down to a single thing, it is fucking hard to walk away from it.  But there lies the problem.  I lacked the discipline to concentrate on making myself happy.  The further I tried to dig and find out the truths behind these nagging feelings, the more I realized that I didn’t know who the hell I was.  I have likes, I have dislikes, I have dreams and goals, but I was nowhere near completing them.  Not only completing, I was nowhere near beginning them.  My life no longer was MY life.  I was no longer happy because I was no longer listening to my wants and desires.  I was trying to make everyone in my life happy and I was trying to support everyone in my life.  At one point I decided that I should just say “screw you” to the world and do what I wanted.  The problem:  I no longer knew, or know now, what I want.  The avenues are there, the paths are drifting in and out of my line of vision, there are options, but I am still having difficulty taking that first step.  The what-ifs are still haunting me.  So why did I have such a blissful night of sleep?  I can only assume it had something to do with pure exhaustion.  The type that comes only after months and months of barely getting by and your body is asking you, desperately trying to show you, that you have to sleep, or nothing will be okay.  So last night I wrapped myself in the Blue, completely snug to the point of almost being mummified and immobile, and finally drifted off.  There were no dreams.  There was no tossing and turning.  There were no questions.

You would think that after such an amazing nights rest that I would have had a fabulous day and it would cash in on the high that was this past Monday, but today felt lacking.  I am beginning to draw conclusions and formulate this utterly simple hypothesis: too good to be true means it’s too good to be true.  When you are soaring high and you think things are finally going well, the stars are lining up, there is always something to knock everything out of alignment again.  There is always “the catch”.  It is that nagging thing in the back of your head, the weight on your chest, those moments where you sit there and everything goes still and you think, “Shit is about to hit the fan.”  It’s the calm before the storm.  I guess in my case it is the eye of the hurricane.  Winds are picking up again, waves are crashing and a swirling cloud of destruction is making its way towards me.

Yes, I know I am dramatic.  Or cheesy if you will.  Call me Pepper Jack, then, because I do have spice.

I need to keep a positive attitude.  I was doing so well this week.  But, in all fairness, there are some things that need to get done that will cause anyone in my situation to have heart palpitations and tears.  Like having to contact the venue you were going to have your wedding at and tell them that, actually, you no longer are getting married.  The man-who-was-going-to-be-the-groom and you have parted ways, mutually, and that the next happy couple who wants that date and that time and that place can eagerly gobble up the space.  I know I wrote this before, but mutual does not mean easy.  It means mutual.  It means that as individuals we looked at the hard-to-swallow-facts and made the decision to part ways.  I just have to think positively.  It is the small stone that starts the avalanche.  A single positive thought has a lot of weight.

“I awoke only to find my lungs empty.  And through the night, so it seems I’m not breathing.  And now my dreams are nothing like they were meant to be, and I’m breaking down.  I think I’m breaking down.  And I’m afraid to sleep because of what haunts me, such as living with the uncertainty that I’ll never find the words to say which would completely explain just how I’m breaking down.  Someone come and someone come and save my life.  Maybe I’ll sleep when I am dead, but now it’s like the night is taking sides.  With all the worries that occupy the back of my mind, could it be  this misery will suffice?  I’ve become the simple souvenir of someone’s kill.  And like the sea I am constantly changing from calm to ill.  Madness fills my heart and soul as if the great divide could swallow me whole.  Oh how I’m breaking down.  Someone come and someone come and save my life.  Maybe I’ll sleep when I am dead but now it’s like the night is taking sides.  With all the worries that occupy the back of my mind, could it be this misery will suffice?  Oh… in my life.  Someone come and someone come and save my life.  Someone come and someone come and save my life.  Someone come and someone come and save my life.  Could it be this misery will suffice?” – Sleeping Sickness, City & Colour.