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Raviolis

1 Aug

When we were younger, we got into an argument about pasta. I always said raviolis- the plural, while you said that ravioli was like deer- the term for the plural is the same as the term for one. I thought you were wrong, but after that I always said ravioli when referring to the plural because saying it that way reminded me of you, and I thought you were cute. A few months later you said raviolis to me and a few years later we started dating. I can’t say why, but the fact that we switched our vocabulary of microwave food always meant a lot to me. It was proof that I had changed something about you. It was concrete evidence that you had altered who I was.

I want you to know that you changed so much more about me than the way I refer to Chef Boyardee. I want you to know that you gave me so, so much more.

When we dated, you always told me not to take you into account when I was making plans. You didn’t want me to do the things you wanted to do unless I actually wanted to do them. If I didn’t, then you would prefer to do them without me. And I could do my own thing. That made more sense, you said, and I guess in some ways you’re right.

You told me just to be who I was. When I asked you what would happen if you didn’t like who I was, you asked me why that mattered.

My favorite books were not your favorite books. In fact, sometimes you would give harsh reviews of my favorite books, even when it hurt my feelings. You told me it was better to be honest about the things you hated, because that’s what love is. Being honest. And when it came to your books, you mostly told me not to read them. Because they were your books, not mine.

You didn’t listen to my music, although, god, I really wanted you to. I listened to your music. You thought that was ridiculous. Why would I listen to music you loved when I could listen to music I loved? I told you that I did it because I loved you. “Well you love your music because it’s just what you love, and that’s much purer in my opinion.”

After a while, I realized that there wasn’t any point in changing each other. You were who you were, and I was who I was. When we did things together, we did things we both loved. I never pretended to like your things, and you were never offended when I didn’t. We argued a lot- about politics and social issues, and your opinions of my friends, but I never questioned who I was. I could always see exactly who I was when I was with you, because it contrasted so strongly against who you were.

After a while, it wasn’t fun anymore. Your criticisms of me got meaner, as you lost sight of the person you used to like. Our lives became impossibly different, and soon you were only a shadow of the person I used to know. At last, we lost the final joy we shared together. You were silent at my jokes, and yours made me cringe, and sometimes cry.

I don’t want to be like the person you are. I am far more confident in the person I am becoming. You taught me independence. Sometimes you taught it purposefully, because it’s something you really care about. Other times you taught me independence on accident. You didn’t call when you said you would. You didn’t care. So I put on my big girl pants and cried to my own music, and laughed at my own jokes. Slowly, I became confident in myself.

I really don’t miss you anymore, because I realize this. But still, I know that all of your beautiful philosophy and awful comments and shitty attempts at friendship made me who I am today. So I guess you did change me. Thank you.

Now when I eat more than one ravioli, I’m going to say raviolis. There are more than one of them, and therefore I will use the plural. Because you don’t decide my vocabulary. I do.

The Thing About Heartbreak

5 Feb

The thing about heartbreak is that sometimes, before it happens, we build it up to be something that it isn’t. We imagine it being painful and beautiful and raw. We imagine they will break our heart, and we’ll feel the way that Billy Joel does when he sings “And So It Goes”. We imagine shedding a single tear, as we kiss them one last time and say goodbye forever. The moment rips our hearts from our chests, but also culminates in the most beautiful art in our universe. Gentle tears flow down our cheeks as soft notes on a piano, and we wonder into a world of beauty and loss. We shed our naive skins, and slowly we become wiser, calmer, until finally we are overcome with peace.

Only… in practice heartbreak isn’t quite like that. We sob in their cars, rubbing our wet snot into dirty sweatshirts. We feel more like Linkin Park than Mozart, and find ourselves wishing we could rip off the headphones. It’s sad- and not just heart-wrenching, it’s pathetic. Here we are weeks later, writing them letters in the hope that it might ease this confusion, but knowing that if they write back you will back at square one. We call their number hoping they will answer, and they hang up when they do. What the hell are we doing?

You wish that you could smile softly when you heard their name; slightly sad, but glad that you had shared love with them. But when their name comes up in conversation, you desperately feel the need to tell everyone, everyone, about every single stupid, selfish thing they did. “It wasn’t me”, you hear yourself say out loud. You wish their friends would stop talking to them, and tell them that they suck. You still care about them, so you don’t really want that, only… you do.

We’re doing heartbreak totally wrong. But that’s okay, I guess. It’s not a competition. One day we’ll make it though this messy, dark forest of whiny emo music and birds that sometimes chirp sadly, but also sometimes take a shit directly on your head. Sometimes it isn’t beautiful and painful. Sometimes it’s just stupid and painful. Sometimes love ends, and it doesn’t wind up making you wiser and calmer and generally better all-around. Sometimes it just makes you angry and hurt, and you deal with all that stuff until eventually you just kind of forget or move one. You know what? Maybe that’s okay. Maybe it was worth it.

I Never Write To You Because

26 Jan

I never daydream about you, because you don’t make me feel all tingly and warm. My stomach doesn’t flip over when I think about some cute thing that you told me. I don’t generally care how you think I look. It’s not that you mind the way I look, it’s just that when you comment on it- and even sometimes say nice things- it doesn’t feel all nice and fuzzy. Like, exciting! I just take whatever it is you said and try to factor it into my routine when I want to look nice. I trust you, after all. You have good taste.

I never write about you because you’re simple. There isn’t a whole lot to figure out. With other people, I wonder if they really like me. How much? But I know you like me. You tell me so. When I don’t see you and talk to you for a week, you tell me in your whiny voice that you miss me. I miss you too, and my brain is whining at me because of it. And I whine that back. And then I feel like we’re set, because at that point I’m blocking off part of my weekend so that we can goof off together. Because I like you. I love you. I’m sure about that, and I know exactly what it means. So I don’t write about you, because there isn’t much to write about.

I never write you letters because there’s nothing I can’t tell you in words. With other people I wonder how well they will take whatever it is that I have to say. I worry that as soon as I’m around them my legs will get all wobbly and my brain will get all fuzzy, and I’ll forget what exactly it was that I wanted to say. But with you, I’ll just say whatever it is I wanted to say and then you’ll say what you think of it, and then we’ll go on with our lives. So there’s no point, really, in writing it out in a letter.

I never tell you in great, complex detail, how much you mean to me. I don’t really think of it, because there rarely is a time where you do something and automatically a huge part of my life changes. You came into my life so slowly. So simply. And there was never really any one time for me to notice what was changing.

But let me tell you, if only just this once, how much I love you. I guess you probably don’t remember that sometimes, because I don’t daydream about you, or write about you. I don’t send you letters, and I rarely make a big deal of saying I love you. But goddammit, I do love you. You helped me to understand what it means to be happy. I’ll be happy even when we go off to college, even when you’re not there, because you taught me how. And even in this strange world of highschool romance, my favorite dance will always be Mardi Gras last year, because we ignored everyone else and made each other laugh until we cried.

Although sometimes I don’t even notice that you’re right by me, I notice when you’re not. When I look over to your seat in Choir, and there’s nobody there who’s thinking the same thing as me. You have become like air to me. You don’t think a lot about how much you need it, but without it, you die.

The Ballad of Love and Hate

6 Dec

There is a song that my neighbor played me. She is 10 years old. The song is about Love and Hate. Love goes away on a vacation. She writes home to Hate that she is coming home soon, and Hate throws the letter away. Everywhere Love goes, people admire how kind she is. When Love arrives home, she waits up about all night for Hate. Hate stumbles in drunk and slurs a half hearted apology, which Love accepts, telling him that she is his. Forever.

My neighbor explains to me how love works. She says that they have problems, but they will work them out. To her, this story is cute. But 10 years old is not so young. She is old enough to have seen stories like this go horribly wrong. She is old enough to have seen Love turn to Hate, and old enough to have seen Hate and Hate scream at each other until both of them are crying. But she believes that it doesn’t have to be this way. If given the chance, she could be Love. And she would tell Hate that it was all okay, and there would be forgiveness. She would continue to learn, continue to grown, and continue to let Hate hurt her. Forever.

When I was 10 years old, I too was this girl. I thought that with me, it would be different. A year ago even, I was this girl. But I have been Love. I have poured my heart into people who never really understood. I have pretended to not mind when their apathy leaked in. When they got bored, and invented excuses to end the conversation. I have told people that I love them, and felt only pain in my chest when they said it back. I have panicked as I felt my heart slipping further and further away, wanting to stay with a person who didn’t really have any clue what to do with it.

I wonder, now, if this is really what love means. And if it is, then why do people speak of it so highly? Because as far as I can tell, it mostly hurts. At least for Love it mostly hurts. But I guess it wouldn’t hurt if Love found Love. Although Love is rather hard to find. But I hope she finds Love, one day. Because she deserves that. And so do I. Forever.

 

I Don’t Want To Be Worshiped

3 Jul

Thought Catalog

Recently, after an alcohol infused altercation with a good friend, who decided that 2 a.m., in front of the famed bar Sluggers in Chicago, was the perfect time to announce feelings for me I was never aware had existed, I was left with the closing words, “I hope whoever he is, he treats you like a goddess. Because that’s what you are.” (Swears and drunken slurs edited out for clarity). This statement was followed minutes later, after he had exited the scene by taxi, with a barrage of text messages that consisted of phrases like, “I know you don’t want me,” and even, “I know you would never date me.”

I’m not going to, and will never, claim to be the representative voice of any person but myself. But, since I exist, I can assure the men and women still pursuing romantic hopes, that there are some of us who…

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We Are Never (Ever, Ever) Getting Back Together

20 Mar

“Now I know why all the trees change in the fall, I know you were on my side, even when I was wrong”- The Best Day/Taylor Swift

Dear Taylor,

I remember the days when I started to like you. Too much, actually. I was young, but I was old enough to know that your music was not quality. I was embarrassed. I made excuses for loving you.

They were true, these excuses. Because it’s true that I never liked your music. Not the music part, anyways. All I ever loved was they lyrics, and even those I knew were bad.

Yes, they were bad. But they were how I felt. I would have been better fit for the guy who liked the popular girl (You Belong With Me). Then there was another boy, and he may have looked the slightest bit like an angel (Hey Stephen). But in the end he let me down (White Horse, The Way I Loved You, The Story Of Us). And you were on my side Taylor. You were on my side even when I was wrong.

That’s the thing, though. I was wrong. In hindsight that first guy would have been a horrible match for me. He would have been bored with the things I talked about, and the things I thought about. I would have been bored with him.

And that second guy? Well I screwed up that one, Taylor. Back-To-December style screwed it up. If anyone was crazy, frust-er-ating, complicated, it was me. Yep, it was definitely me.

See, the thing is, teenage boys are not perfect. They’re not. But neither are teenage girls. There were times when I should have let it go, should have considered my own issues, should have apologized. But you didn’t tell me that part, Taylor. You told me that we were hurting together because he hurt us. But did you ever wonder- did we hurt him?

I don’t know who “he” is, really. He changes from album to album, from song to song, from blog post to blog post. When you’re young, sometimes that’s how it is. The “he” changes. People come and go. You learn and grow. And I want to change, too. I need to.

But you haven’t changed. So I need to tell you, Taylor, that we can’t be together anymore. I’m growing up, and I’d rather listen to Radiohead. Because the music is beautiful, and I’m sick of blaming him.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

14 Mar

By T.S. Eliot

“If I thought my reply were to one who could ever return to the world, this flame would shake no more; but since, if what I hear is true, none ever did return alive from this depth, I answer you without fear of infamy.”
              — Dante, Inferno

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question. . .                              
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,                              
And seeing that it was a soft October night
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;                                

Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions
And for a hundred visions and revisions
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—                 
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”)
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all;
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,                      
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?                  
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?
        .     .     .     .     .

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets              
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? . . .

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
        .     .     .     .     .

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep . . . tired . . . or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?                  
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet–and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,                                
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say, “That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,                                      
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”                                
        .     .     .     .     .

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old . . . I grow old . . .                                  
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown              
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.