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Epiphany. A sudden realization of great truth. My little brother learned this word when he was like ten and went around for the next six years of his life (he’s currently sixteen) saying, “Epiphany. A sudden realization of great truth.”

I’m not saying that is what happened to me, a sudden realization of great truth, but, the truth snuck up on me, at least.  Or I was ignoring it, as it approached, attempting to wish it away, the fact that I’m missing something. You can tell yourself that you’re happy and whole, and do everything possible to keep up the ploy, but eventually, if you’re honest with yourself at least part of the time, you’ll find the truth for yourself, or someone else will accidentally shove it in your face, and, bam. Epiphany. Maybe.

This is about friendship. This is about people. This is about life.

This is about me, and relationships and reciprocation and a lack of both. Something missing, or everything.

This is also a little about heart-break, or -ache, feeling a little of the magic of other people disappearing, feeling that that will never come back.

This is about love, and not understanding what love is, and loving someone who loves someone else, and loving a few people who don’t love back. Missing all of that.

This is about place, location. Wondering if I’d find this somewhere else, with a different city and a different group of people. Wondering if this is just another aspect of life, that this happens everywhere to everyone, wondering if I should feel wise instead of foolish.

This is about choices, about choosing people. Choosing to hang out with those who make you feel happy with yourself, or at least feel something, not like something’s missing; not empty. This is about choosing the right people, about letting go those who make you lose your people magic, even though you don’t want to, even though you wish you could keep them.

This is also about personhood. Being a person, being independent. But missing something. Being a person but not feeling like a person, not being treated like a person.

This is about life, of course, because everything is. This is about learning. And this is about truth, if it even exists.

Nothing like an epiphany, not quite. But, at least, understanding.

 

 

 

Here’s a question for you: What are you most afraid of?

Me? Not the dark, or heights, or strangers. I’m afraid of living the wrong life.

I’m afraid that I’ll take a job in San Francisco, or Los Angeles, because it’s in San Francisco, or Los Angeles, and I’m afraid I’ll be satisfied with doing a job that isn’t satisfying, and, therefore, living a life that isn’t satisfying.

Maybe me saying this negates all my worries. Maybe I’m  waging a war that hasn’t happened yet; that won’t.

Maybe what I’m most afraid of is not being able to find it, the job I always assumed was waiting for me, somewhere. I still believe it’s out there, I just don’t know how to find it, where to look. I’m afraid I’ll miss it, pass over some link on the internet, or walk by the man wearing a puffy winter coat (I’m imagining this will take place in Chicago, in the winter, of course.) who could make it all happen.

Then again, I feel like if I can’t find what it is I’m looking for in San Fran or LA or wherever I end up, I’ll just make it. I’ll make my dream job. I honestly believe it’s possible.

This is my war, my battle. My I-just-graduated-college-and-have-to-find-a-job battle. I’m off into the real world (because people tell me the real world is a real thing), yet refusing to let the real world happen to me the way I’ve always expected it to attempt to.

And yet here, at the end of this thought, I’m still left where I was when I began a few sentences back. The war is still waging, the fear is still real, and there’s no one-liner that can end it.

1. Take what you can get. Something is definitely better than nothing.

2. It all depends on proximity and timing.

3. People are never going to act the way you assume they will. If you stop expecting people to live up to your expectations, you’ll be a lot happier, and live a better life.

4. Nothing lasts forever. Including friendships/relationships. People leave, or move on, and it’s ok. Even if you KNOW that the person you’re spending time with won’t be in your life for too long, you should still be happy and be with them and treat them like a great human being who you’re happy to be with, for however long you’ll be in each other’s lives.

5. Do something today you’ve never done before.

6. Seriously, I am super funny. I just wish you could understand how funny I am. I am so funny.

7. “Smile! Don’t look so depressed, it’ll be OK!” – guy outside the drug store, to my retreating self. Uh, two things. First of all, no one smiles all the time, so why should I be smiling as I walk out of a rite aid? Second, rite aid does not carry muffins, so why the hell would I be smiling/not looking depressed as I walk out of my local rite aid at nine in the morning, muffin-less?!

8. I’m (re-)learning French on this super cool app I just got on my phone (Duolingo). Je suis une femme blancheSo useful! I’m off to France!

9. Do people really listen to the radio these days? I don’t believe it. Who are you?

10. The closest anyone can come these days to visiting another planet is to go to any Home Depot late at night. Just try it. This sort of thing you just have to experience first-hand.

A few days ago I woke up and somehow almost immediately decided that a good way to become a more active Instagram-er would be to take one picture every hour — sort of a documentary of a day in my life, in pictures. It went well… for a few hours, anyway.

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“8am #adayinpics”

A hotter-than-normal Michigan summer morning, therefore, fan on full speed.

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“9am #adayinpics”

Eggs for breakfast with the morning email scan-through.

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“10am #adayinpics”

Tiny potted plant gardening.

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“11am #adayinpics”

Running work errands, sweating profusely, examining the beautiful city I live in.

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“12pm #adayinpics”

Heading back home, stopping to admire the potential of a once-abandoned building that’s already being realized.

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“1pm #adayinpics #resume”

Working on my resume, attempting to create an image of myself on paper that shows my own potential.

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“4pm #adayinpics #walden”

A resume rest and Walden in the living room.

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“6pm #adayinpics #naptime #hidinginsidethehorribleweather”

Finally retreating back to the relative comfort of my bedroom and box fan.

follow me on Instagram: @ohnewfree

1. Don’t ever wave at cars without the driver/passenger of said cars waving at you first. Otherwise the person driving won’t see you and you’ll end up having waved at a car. This is an important life lesson.

2. Nope. I still don’t like babies.

3. In High School you’re told to choose what you want to be when you grow up. In College you’re told to pick a major that will help you become what you want to be when you grow up. Then you graduate and do whatever the hell you want. People find themselves in places they didn’t expect to be back in High School, or even in College, but it turns out alright.

4. Just do what makes you happy. Don’t over-think it.

5. I think the sort of music people listen to matches the beat of what’s usually going on in their heads.

6. Every day that you’re hesitant about doing something is another day that passes you by. Life rolls on. Keep moving.

7. Make it happen. The days of waiting for someone else to do it, or, “You know what’s a good idea?” are over. Who’s going to do it if you don’t? No one. Exactly. Or, someone else will steal your great idea and become super famous and successful and happy. (Probably not.)

8. Life rolls on. Keep moving — but slowly enough that you head in the direction you truly want to go.

9. Know when to get out of the way.

10. Can we (we= everyone on the entire planet) please stop (over-)using the following words: “gentrification”, “millennials”, and “creatives”. I must have missed the please-use-these-words-every-other-sentence-in-order-to-sound-hip/intelligent memo. Stop. Just stop.

I don’t want it to be over. But it might be. I didn’t want it to be over before, but I thought it should be, so I let it end. But leaving early to avoid awkward silences doesn’t leave you, in the end, with anything more than what you’d have otherwise. I should’ve stayed. I should’ve asked questions. I should have been less afraid of awkward silences, because silence was all I was left with in the end.

I learned my lesson, though. I didn’t want that to happen again. I wouldn’t let it happen again. Sometimes you think you know what’ll happen in a given situation, but you never know. It’ll never be like that, like the way you saw it happen in your head. I know that now, although sometimes I forget. But I didn’t let it happen again, not really. It ended, but I refused that ending; I ended it again, and then again, like re-doing takes on a film set.

The first time, I walked out to my car and didn’t say goodbye. I got in my car, closed the door, and stopped. It could’ve ended there. I didn’t let it.

I went back, said goodbye. Then I went to leave again, I walked half-way to my car, but then I turned around and walked right back because I wasn’t happy with that take, either. It wasn’t going to end like that.

I walked back again, said hello, and refused the previous ending. I fixed it, I made it better. Everything has to end, but you can guide the ending. You don’t have to accept everything that happens to you without doing something about it. And while you can’t stop endings, you can make them be ok. You can make the silence that you’re left with in the end be ok.

Of course the one person I want to be around is always nowhere to be found. Of course we can’t be together. Of course there’s never any time to say anything. It’s never been like this before. These new   experiences are fun and interesting and overwhelming. And I can’t even say that; there’s no time. There’s never enough time. It’s never been like this before. There’s always been silences, breathing room, space to think. No longer. Days move by, solid chunks of time filled with work, with doing things, with emails, with phone calls, with brisk walks across bricked streets. Days blur together: is it still Wednesday? Isn’t this what a Saturday feels like? How many days has been since we were in that room together? How many days since we last spoke? Too many. Too many days altogether. Too much living. Too much life.

And yet at other times there’s entirely too much emptiness. You sit across the table from me but that space between us might as well be stretched across an entire continent. It doesn’t matter how much time there is if there’s nothing to say, if no one is willing to say it. It’s never been like this before. It’s always been easy or it’s always been nothing. This is a combination of something and nothing and difficulty. I’m struggling against something I can’t quite see and there’s too much time to wage this war. It never ends. Nothing changes. It’s always you and me and silence. And no one wins.

1. If you find a project you want to work on, or a job you’d like to have, or a movie you want to be in — but for some reason, you can’t work on that specific project, or have that job, or be in that movie — make your own. Don’t give up or change your dreams or goals just because they are not readily available or simple or easy, and especially don’t rely on someone else to make them happen!

2. People are not going to live up to your expectations — ever — whether that be for good or for bad. That’s just part of what makes life so interesting… and also difficult.

3. Speaking of life being difficult (this is a cheery post, eh?)… You know those difficult situations/problems that arise in life, that you struggle to overcome, and once you’ve dealt with those things, you feel like a stronger person? Until, of course, you find yourself in the same situation again later, and realize you haven’t really learned yet how to cope with it. I guess that in itself is a learning experience.

4. I’ll admit it… sometimes the universe seems like it’s either playing a joke on us… or helping us out in major ways. Crazy, right?

5. Don’t feel bad for wanting more.

6. Write down the quotes, words, and/or blips of conversations you hear that mean something to you. Collect them. Keep them in a jar and read through them when you need to.

7. Do the stuff you don’t want to do first, that way it’ll be done and over with and you can get on with the stuff you like/want to do! This is like the opposite of what happened when you were a kid and had a pile of green beans left on your plate after dinner.

8. I’m an introvert, and as an introvert, I totally understand the not wanting to talk to people thing. It’s just so much easier to stay quiet and just listen. However I’ve come to find that talking to people is another way of listening — if you can get people to talk, they just might turn out to be an interesting story. I think introverts have the right idea — the whole not blabbing on the whole time thing — we just need to take that perspective and use it to interact with the outside world.

9. Bad things happen sometimes. A lot of times. Every day. But good things happen just as often, maybe more often. The trick is to accept that both the good and the bad are going to keep happening, and learn to live with this roller-coaster of a thing that is life.

10. Sure, your smartphone can tell you what the weather’s going to be like for your birthday in three years, and it notifies you the second someone likes that picture of your dog that you just posted on Facebook, but don’t let all that take away from how amazing it is that there are tiny cells in your body keeping you alive.

It’s always the same thoughts in different situations:

 
“He’s so close, yet so far away.”

“It’s going to happen.”

“It’s never going to happen.”

I hate feeling this way, this deep-down bubbly terrified feeling that seems to be a product of either evolution or of thinking too much. Maybe both.

I wish it were easy. I wish you could know me, without the awkward pauses or silliness, without the socially-agreed-upon acquaintance behavior.

I wish words worked better for me, wish I could tell you about how a few nights ago I sat in the dark grinning to myself, thinking about how wonderful and horrible it all is. I wish that would flow out smoothly from my mouth, make you understand that I’m a creature just like you, with dreams and plans and more than just an empty swivel chair figure taking up too much elbow space.

“It’s going to happen.”

“It’s never going to happen.”

But it’s always the same: always too much bravery or not enough at all the wrong times. Always too much contact or not enough; You’re either always there or never there and it doesn’t matter which because nothing ever happens anyway.

“It’s never going to happen.”

Always the same: a lot of laughing and smiling and refusing to cry over something so silly, over something so nothing.

“It’s never going to happen.”

And it ends the same, too: me, alone, grinning in the dark at how horrible and wonderful it all is.