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I’ll be honest- I’m much better with you around. It’s not just that my mood improves, though that’s the understatement of the year. More like my mood blows up into a shimmering explosion of all that is fantastic in the world. Being with you is like watching corgi puppies play with kittens while eating chocolate cake and Tucker’s ice cream while listening to Motown and being told I’ve won the lottery. Yeah, it’s that good. But I digress- that’s not why I’m better with you around, or at least not the sole reason.

You see, I am a much more productive person with you around. Yeah, I go to work and do my best job there… but since I’m not floating through the days knowing that I get to come home to you when I’m done, I’m not as good at being cheerful under stress. And when I’m at home, I look at my disaster of a room and have no inspiration to really deal with it. After all, it may take me forever to find anything I want, but I also don’t do much in my room. I pretty much sleep in here and use my computer, neither of which requires cleanliness. But the place is still a mess and it’s kind of discouraging in a weird way. I suppose my room is making me feel a little inadequate. But I never feel inadequate with you. You make fun of my slob-like ways, and I eventually am inspired to clean and make you happy and impressed with me. It’s hard to feel that way when I hardly see you, you know?

I really shouldn’t complain. I’m going to be seeing you all the time in a month. But it’s difficult while it lasts. I’m glad you exist. And the title of this post? It’s true. I miss you like hell.

I love you.

Have you thought about the nature of romance lately? Not rose petals and candles and all that rom-com shit. Romance, that grand, elusive quality of certain intangible… it’s not easily defined, and when one tries, it slips through one’s metaphorical fingers.

It didn’t occur to me until today, but love in and of itself is not romantic, not even romantic love. When someone clarifies love as “romantic”, they usually mean that as something more than friendship, something different from familial devotion. Maybe there’s no better word for it, but no kind of love is really romantic. Love is mostly pedestrian moments- sure it’s a lot of fun, and maybe sometimes there are romantic moments, but most of loving someone “romantically” is logistics and certain enjoyable activities. It’s nothing like romance.

Romance is the essence of the most dramatic moments of our lives. The best kind of love is not this way- certainly, it makes better movies when love is so dramatic that it seems romantic at every moment, but love is so much better when it’s easy.

True romance requires hardship as well as euphoria, because it can have no mundane moments. While we all have difficulties as well as some really amazing ones, romance is being something of a mess all the time. We know when we see it- just look at a black-and-white photo of a puddle on the sidewalk with a red rose or a teddy bear or a rag doll and tell me that’s not romantic. Sad, yes, but still romantic. Smoking a cigarette at a bus stop alone in the rain is another romantic activity. Passionately kissing your lover on a boat in the moonlight is definitely romantic. Think about how many great things are NOT romantic, though. Puppies? Not romantic. Going swimming with your significant other? Also not romantic. Teasing your boyfriend about his nerd cred? Not romantic.

I haven’t posted in this blog in months because I haven’t been inspired to write. I’ve figured out that it’s because I’m a romantic writer. I can only write anything good when I’ve got an intense feeling of romance. And you know what? I’m totally in love and happy, and I don’t feel that vague feeling of elevation unless something tragic happens, like the death of one of the greatest young singers. Otherwise, I just live my life and don’t sit here reflecting on it through the written word. Maybe one day I’ll find inspiration without the emotion, but if I don’t, I think I’m okay without it.

Do you know how to walk in stilettos? I think a lot of people don’t realize that it’s a learned skill. Girls don’t just put on stilettos and know how to walk in them. Someone has to tell you to feel like a string is pulling the top of your head to the sky, and you have to learn to put one foot exactly in front of the other and swing your hips instead of your legs. Once you walk well in stilettos, you can walk gracefully in anything. You can wear sneakers or flip-flips or snow boots and people will still turn and look and think, “wow”. Maybe in the snow boots, they won’t think “elegance” but that’s what a girl in stilettos has.

She walks toward him naked, barefoot, and she still has that high-heeled walk. She wears big, steel-toed, clunky combat boots when she goes out at night and she still has that walk. Maybe she has to think about it a little to always walk perfectly, but she practices whenever she remembers. And walking like that makes her feel radiant, like sex appeal is beaming out of her skin like sunshine in the arctic summer.

It’s too bad everything else isn’t as simple as stilettos. She walks around life, knowing that as long as she keep her composure, keeps her abs tight and her self light while she walks, she won’t fall over, won’t embarrass herself, won’t break an ankle or a heel or a heart. She can’t always remember, though. Sometimes she forgets and the potholes come get her: does he still love me? Am I ever going to know what I’m doing in my life? Why am I afraid of losing 10 lbs? Why do I think about myself so often?

And she breaks down, and she can’t do that beautiful, graceful walk. She slumps and she looks ungainly and awkward. She walks over to find something to distract her, something to sit down with so she doesn’t have to keep walking, doesn’t have to keep embarrassing herself by not looking smooth and unruffled and perfectly composed. She doesn’t like people to see that side, because she’d rather not admit that it’s there.

But he sees it, and he tells her not to worry, to smile for him, please baby, smile for me. Because maybe he’s macho but it’s hard for him too. And she cleans up, and they part ways, and they say they’ll meet up later, but they don’t. That’s all she has of him.

She’s full of doubt. She hears him say “I love you, I miss you” but she’s not sure whether he means the whole her. Maybe he can’t deal with her when she’s awkward and ungainly and so very imperfect. She doesn’t know whether he just loves her when she’s sexy and funny and graceful, or whether he loves her even when she’s not.

And this is exactly the kind of thing she can’t ask him. Because she’s not sure she’d rather have the wrong answer than no answer. So she calls him, and she hears his voice, and she falls again.

…I wrote this:

There is a thing such as homesickness. One may not believe in it for a long time, over a decade in fact… but it most certainly exists. Knowing that it is Christmas Eve and you haven’t had any eggnog all season, or listened to Bing Crosby sing any carols, or seen any of your good friends home for the holidays, or even kissed your mother and said “I love Christmas”… this is homesickness in essence. It isn’t truly wanting to be home, and really, there’s nothing that special about it- it’s just doing nothing or something other than what you want to be doing and being prevented from doing what you really want to be doing not by time or money or other people, as is usually the case, but by place. It is knowing you are in the wrong place for what you want to be doing, and wishing you were in that place so you could do what you always do. It’s wanting to be home not because you like your home, but because you do things at home that you cannot do in Mazatlan or Bahrain or even the next town over from your home.

Perhaps most people are more attached to their family members, to their friends than I. It’s strange to think that because so many people are important to me, to the extent that I would donate a kidney for them and I would let them call me at 3 am if they thought it was important enough to wake me up. But up until now, I have never been homesick. Most people, especially children, get homesick at least once before they really leave their parents for good. I witnessed many children at summer camps and sleepovers being homesick, and for me it was much like my relationship with shyness- I could see it happening to someone else, I could recognize it, and I knew what its effects were, but I honestly could not understand it. Shyness is still beyond me. I truly couldn’t do it if I tried. But homesickness, I begin to understand. For children, it is the fear of the unknown. If something goes wrong, they can’t run to their mother to save them, and they feel very alone and unsure, which isn’t a nice feeling. They cannot run for the familiar help of their parents if something is wrong- place prevents it. It’s another thing that they cannot do not because they don’t have the time or money or because their parents don’t have the time or money, but because they are not home.

And as children get older, they don’t need to run to mommy. The fact that they can’t get their parents to solve their problems becomes less of an issue, because they find that their parents can’t really solve their problems anyway. They may fear the unknown, but their parents couldn’t save them even if they were at home.

And so children grow into teenagers and adults who don’t get homesick so much. But there are certainly things that can bring it about once again- a crisis, Christmas, food that has the same name as it does at home but really isn’t the same. You wish you could have a hug, you wish you could see your family and wish them a Merry Christmas in person and sing “Break Forth” the way you always do, you just wish you could get a damn milkshake that tastes right. And you know that you can do none of these things, because of place. Again, it is the problem of place. You are sick for your home because you are not there. And so you realize that at some decent hour today, you must call home. Because certainly you cannot cure your homesickness- being in the wrong place- but you can do something to assuage it. You can call and listen to home, whatever that happens to mean. And maybe you will still wish you were home, but you will feel better knowing that at home, everything is the way it’s supposed to be. Knowing that maybe home changes too, but in the important ways, it is still the same home you left. And with that, you can enjoy the experience of being away from home and wish everyone else a very merry Christmas and happy new year.

I come from a world of beauty. Everyone else lives in this world as well, but so often they fail to see it. I get up in the morning, and while some people sleep through it, and some people appreciate the sunrise, I notice the beautiful graffiti the neighborhood boys have made on the previously bare white brick wall. I went to the Louvre in Paris, and while nearly a hundred people crowded around the Mona Lisa, I gasped at the amazing Titian works around the back. Truly, I do find the balance and perfection of the Renaissance paintings beautiful, but I find the slightly off-kilter figuratives of the Mannerist era (Bronzino, Greco et al) more appealing.
I ride the public transportation, and although there are many attractive men arriving or departing at every station, I smile at the woman who gives up her seat for an old man or the father playing hand games with his six-year-old daughter. Her smile is always brighter than I think possible except in that moment.
I admire Rhetoric, that refined goddess of the silken oration, the passionately lowered voice, the persuasion of the masses. Lovelier, however, is the raw appeal of Truth; no graceful garments has she. Truth weeps in the gutter, dirty and scarred, recalling her story to anyone who listens. So many pass her by, but stopping to admire her and hear her tales is more than worth it when one finds that her history is more fantastically dramatic than anything one could dream.
I live in the world where “anything essential is invisible to the eyes,” as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry says in The Little Prince. I live in a world where the most beautiful picture might not be of a Hawaiian rainbow, but of a puddle of dirty water, where one’s mother can be beautiful at any weight, where gray can be the most vivid color of all.
I come from the real world, and the beauty is all of humanity, feuding, embracing humanity, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. I am its observer; I intend to be its advocate. Whether as a doctor, a politician, a writer, an art historian, a teacher, a mathematician or something else, I will serve and protect the beauty of humanity. I will serve my world.

I just watched the Sex and the City movie with KL, and I feel downright optimistic. It’s funny, I hardly ever talk to people online. I feel like I don’t translate well to facebook chat, like it’s so much harder to come up with something to talk about, and because the talking is all there is, it gets a little awkward. And I practically spent the weekend hanging out with Miss L and I realize I miss all my high school friends- but I’m not going to miss them any more when I go to Mexico. Because they’re already gone. They’re already off in their own lands, spinning away at their own lives trying to make sense of it without me. I might visit band before I leave for Mexico, but on the other hand, maybe not. That high school world is just gone and behind me. I like seeing the younger kids, but it’s really not the same- they still live in a world where passing English is important, where the science teachers are mostly incompetent, where they don’t know if they’re pretty or ugly or whether anyone will ever love them or if they’re just in a relationship for the sake of being in one. I’m rapidly leaving my teenage years and I’m glad of it. I may continue to lead a dramatic and exciting life, but I’m not going to do it with that teenage angst attached. And I’m going to remember that some of my friendships may fade, but often, you see someone again and it’s like you were never apart. I can hear the Oktoberfest music through my window, and it sounds so much like life, you know? You spin around and you laugh in each others’ arms, and then you spin off to another partner and keep laughing, keep turning with the music. Of course you hope it never stops, but the musicians can’t play forever. You just try to have as much fun spinning as you can while it lasts.

To all my girls, I love you. To all my boys, I love you too. And to all those of you who aren’t mine yet, I can’t wait to meet you 🙂

Sometimes I avoid people. Sometimes I avoid people I like because I don’t really want to talk about the things they want to know about me. Sometimes I suck myself into a ridiculous little cocoon and hope nobody notices what I’m doing, hope people will just leave me alone because although I have nothing to be ashamed of, I’m not really proud of myself anyway. Living without a deadline is killing me. Have you ever really thought about the word “deadline”? It kind of suggests what it is: this is the point at which something dies. It suggests mortality in general. There’s no life without death, and right now, I feel like I’m drifting through life because I’ve got no deadline. I suppose part of this problem is my overdeveloped sense of perspective- nothing REALLY bad happens when I miss a deadline. My life doesn’t get unbearably worse- it just doesn’t get better. I should want to get better way more than I do, but I think I’m overly grateful that my life isn’t terrible, so I’m too willing to settle for mediocrity. Perhaps I have a brain, but I don’t really have any use for it. I dislike being purposeless, but I don’t dislike it enough to really try to change it. My central quality and greatest sin is my own sloth. People want to know what I’m doing, people care about what I’m doing and I don’t answer them because I don’t really want to tell them that I’m doing nothing. My talent and my cute blue eyes and my charm and my humor are sitting here, whiling away the hours, not doing anything. I don’t really want to tell people that- they react badly. They always think that it’s through no fault of my own, because that’s the way I tell my own story. My habit of telling it more optimistically than it is comes to bite me in the ass now- I’m never going to be destroyed by outside forces. I am so powerful that the only person who can bring me down is myself. But good lord, it’s so likely…

How dare you. How dare you say things like that. How dare you talk about something you know NOTHING about. That’s what I want to know. Except that I know it already. Your ignorance is brazen and crude and it gives you the garish audacity to spout shit from your vocal chords, squirting it all over me. Can you tell that you’ve incurred my wrath? Because you have. You do not ever, EVER insult my mother that way. I cannot believe you said that. “The love dies after years; then they just choose to be together out of routine and convenience.” You really said that. About man who never forgot to tell my mother that she was beautiful, not because he was doing it habitually but because he never stopped thinking it. About the man who was mouthing “I love you” to my mother as he was dying, desperately trying to gather breath so that he could actually say it, so that he could be sure that she heard him. My mother, who asked me so many times how she could live without him. You seriously think their love died after 22 years? You know nothing. You are so suspicious of people that you cannot imagine being so in love with someone that you wouldn’t “check” to make sure they are where they say they are. My question is, how the hell can you love someone like that? Always looking over your shoulder, never ceasing in your inability to trust them. That’s so much work. If you have to check on them to know that they love you, that’s not love. That’s convenience my friend. Many long marriages may be convenience, but you can’t take the generalizations you learned in psychology class and apply them to all people everywhere, because guess what? So often, they’re wrong. I know more about people than you can ever learn in a psychology class. I’m not always right, but at least I don’t sit there judging people I don’t know. Who the hell judges a case when they don’t know all the arguments? I judge cases based on their merits; you judge them based on your own naïve biases. Even if you do apologize, I’m not sure I’ll ever be friends with you again. None of my other friends EVER piss me off this much, let alone do it twice. I don’t need to have fights. I really don’t. I am sick of your narrow-minded bullshit. Do you understand that? You think you’re so philosophical. You’re not. You just move shit around in your mind in a way that makes it sound good. It’s like remixing a crappy song. It’s no worse than the way it was organized before, but it’s still crap. This is why I hate talking about things with you. You like the theoretical, and when I disagree with you by offering evidence, you just decide my evidence is somehow irrelevant based on no evidence of your own. I’m pissed, and I don’t like it. I think this is the end; have a nice life, sir.

I’ve done morally ambiguous stuff lately, and I went to band camp and made all sorts of jokes about my invisicock, and I felt pretty good because people at band camp genuinely like me. But for some reason, it felt weird. I couldn’t figure out why until Friday night, and I realized why and I didn’t want to deal with all of the jokes and fun which everyone else was having, so I sat by myself, contemplating the thought that stopped me from being surely okay with myself: would my dad still like me if he were alive?

I know it’s a fruitless thing to wonder, that I shouldn’t think about it, because I was so vastly shaped by his illness, death, and my nearly 3 years of life without him. But I still wonder if he would approve of the person I’ve become. I was a sweet little girl- sometimes really bossy, but sweet. Now I masturbate and I have a “guy card” and I’ve slept with a guy who was cheating on his girlfriend. It’s not so much that I regret doing these things, or regret being the way I am- it’s just that I don’t think I could hide my lack of innocence from him now if he were still alive. I think this would be the point at which he’d realize that I’m no longer the sweet little girl. And I don’t know how he would deal with that- I’m the last one. And I suppose it depresses me to realize that I’ll never know if he would’ve been okay with the way I’ve turned out.

I didn’t tell Eric and Jeff about this because I didn’t think they could say anything to make it better, and I didn’t want them to think about it. But I was so glad they came and talked to me anyway. I’m pretty sure most of my friends wouldn’t even have noticed that something was wrong.

So I was thinking last night, about this last relationship, now that I’m over the initial shock of the end of it. I think I understand it now. Much as my girl friends all want to tell me men are assholes or whatever, I’m damn sure that wasn’t it. I think it really was me who ruined this relationship. I remember him asking, “Do you think we’re going too fast?” My answer then was no, but it worried me when he asked the first time because it basically implied that he thought we were. I didn’t really get it until after he broke up with me, why he thought that. I was too caught up in me to see what he was talking about.

We were going too fast. Straight up, that’s it. Somewhere along the line, my words about not pushing him and not trying to be high maintenance stopped having any actual meaning, because I wasn’t really thinking about it- hell, I wasn’t really thinking about him. I was trying to be the world’s most perfect girlfriend, but I was trying to be the world’s most perfect girlfriend for a representative of Generic Manhood, not the world’s most perfect girlfriend for HIM. At the same time as I was making that transition, he stopped REALLY talking to me. I remember him remarking once on the fact that I did most of the talking in our conversations. That was back when it was still okay, when we weren’t in trouble yet really. Now that I look at those conversations, I notice the same thing he did: mostly me, a little of him. But at the same time, reading those conversations from the first month, when it was really good, there’s something different about them. We’re telling each other anything, not afraid of what the other one thinks, not afraid that the other isn’t listening. We haven’t had a conversation like that in ages, a perfect as you like it solid conversation. Somewhere along the line, I guess I stopped listening to him the way I had before. I started waiting for him to say something so that I could start a monologue off of what he said, to fill up space, instead of REALLY having a conversation.

He was right; we went too fast. Instead of thinking of him as a friend, I treated him more like “my boyfriend”, and I stopped really thinking of him as a person in relation to me outside that role. We got too physical, and to be honest, I started not thinking of him any other way. It must have been so burdensome for him. So degrading to be treated like that. In retrospect, I can’t believe I did that to him. He’s such a sweet, funny guy; it’s not like I don’t enjoy his conversation, his brain, his hopes and dreams; I just forgot about them in pursuit of his other charms.

I sure hope the next relationship he’s in is better than this one. And I hope the same for myself. I think there’s a snowballs chance in hell that we’ll get back together after all that I did to drive him off, so I’m not going to bother to hope. But whatever relationship I pursue next, I’m not making the same mistakes. I’m not going to throw all the responsibility on someone else, because it’s not fair to them. Maybe I got a D+ in this relationship (I don’t fail only because I made him fudge), but at least I learned something. I’m willing to bet that these lessons aren’t relevant in my next relationship because that’s how it goes, but I’m a better person anyway. In my opinion. I suppose you might think otherwise.

Thank you, subject of this post. And thank you, anyone who read this. It has been an education.