and I thought it was funny

and I thought it was funny at the time

the way you tore down everything I built

and I remember I laughed

when I caught you in yet another lie

and I remember thinking

I’d be better with you in my life

well

then why am I thriving now?

platonic

And I remember thinking back on the night you left. And I remember thinking I was glad. But I wasn’t glad, I just didn’t know how to feel so sad. So broken. And the months that followed, I felt sad, and I felt broken, and I made mistakes. I made a lot of mistakes trying to get over what you put me through. And I thought that would be the end of it. And it mostly was, but then I realized I’m a year into this new relationship which started way too soon, and I don’t even like the guy. I don’t know what compelled me to ask him out. Or why I was on Tinder so soon after my last heartbreak. But I was and I didn’t want to be. I tried to end it, and I fell for other people while we dated, and I made more mistakes, but I never felt complete. I didn’t realize at the time and I would come to realize in the year after I left him, but I didn’t need someone else to feel complete. And that’s not something anyone could’ve told me, either. That’s something I had to realize the hard way. After five years of basically back-to-back dating people I barely cared about, and all I really needed was a few close friends. And to care about myself. I didn’t need love. And sure, love is great, and I wouldn’t turn it down were it presented to me now, but there’s more than just romantic love. And I think platonic love is beautiful in its own way. I think friends, true friends, would walk to the ends of the earth for each other. And I think true friends would be there for each other when they needed each other. And maybe it was the guys I was dating, but I never thought they’d do that for me. And my friends, I know they’d do that for me.

molting

There are days

I’d rather sit in silence

than talk about our problems

than talk about our days

I go silent

I’ve always been

floating in and out of people

in and out of obscurity

of consciousness

It’s like I’m molting

the way I completely change

when I drift in and out of

people

obscurity

consciousness

but I’m not so sure anyone else notices

because they’re busy wondering

where I am

because I disappear

for months at a time

only to come back to say

hey

how’ve you been

it’s been a while

and repeat.

a diner on a Wednesday at midnight

They sat across from each other in a vacant diner at midnight, high out of their minds, and pancakes in front of them. The pancakes, had the couple been sober, were bad. They sucked. No one comes here and orders the pancakes, especially not in the middle of the night. But to them, two stoned 21-year-olds, they were the best pancakes they’d ever had.

The man, tall, about six foot, unshaven, stomach just about reaching the table in front of him from where he sat back on the booth, made a joke about the pancakes and the woman, despite her best efforts, laughed. She didn’t think the joke was funny, in fact it might’ve even been the worst joke she’d ever heard, but she had the social obligation to act like she cared about him.

And he thought she cared. He was so certain that she cared because he lied so flawlessly whenever she came close to catching him. He was so convinced no one would ever catch his lies; he’s been doing it his whole life, at this point change his name to Lyin’ Brian. And she didn’t want to believe he would deceive her like he did. He was so nice, and so caring, how could someone be so heartless?

So, she had her suspicions and he had his bad jokes, and together they had bad decisions. They both thought they were made for each other, how silly that seems to them now. Because when it came down to it, she could only manage a laugh with him when she smoked, and he could only exist in the world when he did. And what kind of life is that?

a man who cared for everyone but himself

I once knew a man who cared for everyone but himself. He would walk to the ends of the earth for his friends, but he wouldn’t do a thing for himself. And people tried to make him care about himself, I tried to make him care, but it was hopeless. I wasn’t sure he knew how to care for himself and that made me sad. And he couldn’t wrap his head around how that made me sad, and I never expected him to because I knew how he was.

He was selfless and he thought that made him good. But he would drink his problems away and couldn’t understand how that hurt me, too. He would invite me over to watch over him while he drank and I tried to get him to stop, but it was no use trying because he did what he wanted and he would never listen to me if the advice was about his own safety.

And I cared for him. I cared for him more than I’d ever cared for anyone. And he knew that, or at least he knew part of that. I cared for him because he was good. He had good intentions, at least usually or when it came to his friends.

And I tried for so long to write something for him, but I could never get it right. Because it’s all so complex and I could never put it all into words. Maybe if I was given more words, I could explain what it is I feel for him. But for now, I’ll say I care.

Okay again

It was the smell of spring that brought me back,

it was the heat radiating off the gravel.

It was the first time I remembered how to smile

after my final breakdown last winter.

It was the feeling of knowing things will work out

despite not knowing how to get there.

It was the relief after the weight in my chest lifted,

I’ll be okay and nothing can stop that.

dysfunctional

I felt a wide variety of things that night,

drove home with a smile on my face but

a sinking feeling in my stomach that told

me to run. This was nothing but bad news

and I knew it. And I was sick of how many

times this had happened. And I was sick

of always letting it happen. But on I went

to make another bad decision. And the only

conclusion I can come to with all this is I

like being upset. Is that why I stay? Is that

why I can’t seem to let you go? Because I

like being sad? Or is it because I’m hoping

you’ll change? Or I’m hoping I’ll change you.

Or I’m hoping someday we end up working

and we can laugh and roll our eyes at all the

pain we put each other through. But I don’t

want that. I don’t want you. I just want pain.

So I guess I want you.

The little, mundane parts of life

I fall in love often. It happens suddenly and I’m all in. And it’s not just with people. I fall in love with the way my coffee tastes, I fall in love with the way the air smells in the springtime, I fall in love with the first snowfall of winter. I fell in love once with the way a boy smelled and from then on when I smelled that same smell, I thought of him. And I thought of love. I didn’t even love him, at least not at the time, but that’s a story for another day. I fell in love with the feeling of love. Of admiration. Of romanticizing little mundane parts of my day. I think that’s partly how I got over my depression. I fell in love with constants in my life, like the way the sunrise woke me up every morning, or how the rain sounded inside a car while music played softly, or even my own quirks. That was when I learned to love myself, when I learned to love my quirks. The things that made me, me.

And being a writer throughout all this, I would write about falling in love and it was never about another person. It was falling in love with learning to love. It was falling in love with these little, mundane parts of my life that I knew would never leave. It was falling in love with being genuinely happy for the first time since I was twelve.

Sure, I’d fallen in love with people before. But it never felt as pure as falling in love with the way sitting under a tree and reading feels in the middle of summer.  It never felt as hopeful as the first warm day of spring. And maybe I’m just saying this now because of what all my exes put me through, but doesn’t that just prove my point?

That my true happiness doesn’t come from another person, it comes from within me. And for so many years, I put all my self-worth into what my boyfriend thought of me and if we were happy and if I was in a relationship at all. And it was miserable. Life is about finding purpose, it’s about finding happiness through all that it throws at us, and I never felt that in a relationship. I always felt like I was drowning, or that I was fighting with some thing that would never see my way and it was miserable.

So, I took a step back and I thought about what makes me happy. Forests make me happy and the ocean and the way the early morning sun looks illuminating the grass in backyards. And I fell in love with all these little things, these constants that would never hurt me. And I realized I was terrified of being hurt and I thought to myself, “That’s a part of life and I know I’ll have to deal with it, but why? Why can’t I just be happy? Why do we have to feel pain, too?” but I knew the answer, I always knew the answer. It was because I had been hurt so many times that I could understand what it was like to truly be happy. It was because I had felt such brutal heartbreak that I could learn to love these little, mundane parts of life.

And then I fell in love with that fact, too.