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“You should go to the moon,” he says. “I’d go to the moon. And Mars. Did you know it takes two months to get there? Or it takes four years if you don’t leave at the right time. So you’d have to leave at the right time.”

He is sitting on top of a table swinging his legs. He needs a haircut. He is excited and scared and smart and I love him.

“We’ve done all the tests,” he says. “We tried the needle one with the string and it swung and it said it will be a girl. My wife is doing good, she’s happy, she’s healthy, we’re all doing good.”

He is going to be a father, this man. I walk away and write poems about him on flashcards. I think about how he has changed me as a person. I think about him being a father.

“I wanted to be a guitarist,” he told me. “A musician. Now I’m sitting on this table.”

Years later I see him again, with a tiny pink sweater thrown over his shoulder. His baby girl is growing up. Is he still growing up?

“What do you think it would be like to leave? To never see your family again? What if I didn’t hug my father goodbye? Do you think I would regret it?”

“I wanted to go to the moon,” I said, “when I was younger. Now I just want to see as much of this planet as I can. I haven’t even seen much of this country, not yet. How much time do I have? Why is it always going by? Should I hurry?”

“Juxtaposition,” he said from the table. “Do you know what that means?”

The moon is far away now. He is far away now. Mars is farther. I still remember what juxtaposition means. The flashcards are duller and the pencil is smudged but the words are still there.

 

 

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First of all, hopefully you didn’t just skip the picture above to start reading. I mean, I totally get if you did, because, let’s face it, the writing here is usually great or whatever. (HA!) But, let’s get on with it.

Ok. So. I love pictures. I think they’re magical. They can be terrible (especially when I take them/with my ipod, omg pixels err’where). But mostly they are wonderful, magical things. I especially love really old pictures, from hundreds of years ago. It’s a peek into the past. No matter how ‘past’ it is. (Throwback Thursday, y’all.)

And I love quotes. Probably less than I love pictures, but I still love them. Many of them are meaningful, inspiring, interesting, etc. And I like to share both of these things, pictures and quotes, like most people, with other people. However, like selfies, there are terrible things out there. And sometimes, like selfies, these things can be, well, lived with. You can scroll past them and it’s over. But SOMETIMES, it’s so DREADFUL, you just have to stop what you’re doing immediately, save the hideous thing, and write a long, drawn-out explanation of why you personally think it’s so bad. Ok, so, here goes!!

I want to make a list of complaints against this THING. I want to meet the person who wrote this down, face-to-face, and tell them how horrible they are. (In a kind way.) I want to make signs and go on strike with my eyes and brain because we all had to look at it.

“Do not fall in love with people like me.”

What, why? This statement totally makes sense if you’re some murdery, stabby, horribly mean person. But! From the definition you give of yourself — I’m totally throwing this all at you, unknown writer! — you sound great! Perfect. Too perfect. Is that what you were going for?

“I will take you to museums, and parks, and monuments, and kiss you in every beautiful place…”

Ok. Let’s go. You’ve talked me into it.

“…so that you can never go back to them without tasting me like blood in your mouth.”

What the fuck? You just ruined that beautiful picture. Also, aren’t those called memories? Aren’t those great things to have? Aren’t experiences wonderful? Aren’t they what make us the people we are? Who cares if places remind me of you? What makes you think you’re so very EPIC, anyway? Why are you trying to BREAK me? Aren’t you a good person? Isn’t that the picture of yourself you’re trying to create? On that note…

“I will destroy you in the most beautiful way possible.”

It all started well, and then it got weird, and now it’s just over between us! Destroying people is not beautiful. It sounds poetic, I suppose, but it should NOT be your relationship goal!? Treat people like people. Always. Go to beautiful places, do beautiful things, make great memories. Don’t revel in the fact you hurt someone. Or WHATEVER this means, exactly. You are not a beautiful destroyer. THERE is a quote for YOU!

“And when I leave you will finally understand, why storms are named after people.”

OK FIRST OF ALL why is that comma there?! Next, naming storms after people is STUPID, so what do you have to say about that? This doesn’t make sense. Not that any of this made sense. But this really doesn’t make sense. It’s not cute. It’s not romantic. It’s harmful and creepy and gross!

So, moral of the story: Don’t fall in love with people like you because you’re crazy!

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

What’s the difference between liking somebody because they’re interesting and liking somebody because they’re… something else?

I don’t think I’ve ever had this distinction. Looking back – looking at the fairly short list of boys I liked through my teen years that I wrote on the back page of my purple diary – I feel like every guy I’ve ever liked has been interesting – and that’s why I liked them.

Think, the great skateboarder in fourth grade. The talented singer in sixth. The funny guy in tenth. The fantastically smart scientist guy throughout all of those years.

Ok, so? I liked them. I like liked them, or at least I thought that I did. Unlike my friends, I never liked someone (like liked them) because of what they looked like, or what they wore, or who they were in the social setting of high school. Yes, I might have found those people attractive – but I wasn’t attracted to them.

To this day, it feels like I have no distinction between respect and love in some instances. Or maybe I’m looking for something that’s like respect but a little closer to love? Is it admiration? Sure. Is it love? I don’t think so.

I realized this fact about myself a long while ago – back when I was writing that list of boys in my diary.

Hmm, I thought. All of these people are, like, interesting people.

And I still don’t understand it.

Or, maybe I’m just thinking too much into myself. Maybe I’m too caught up in my own thoughts and feelings.

Maybe I’m unsure if it’s OK to respect a guy who’s my own age. Maybe I feel like I have to like like him, especially if he’s good looking. Maybe I just love too many people. Maybe there’s no problem with this at all, maybe it’s what everyone does and I just never thought to ask anyone else.

Maybe there is no difference between respecting people and loving them. There are many different sorts of love, right?

So, that’s fine. I respect/love smart, interesting people.

I suppose I just haven’t found somebody yet that I will respect, and love, and also love in a different way.

What do you think? What’s the difference between love and respect?

So, remember that one time I wrote about how I never do things alone and that doing things on your own can seem strange, difficult – maybe even impossible? Stuff like going to the movies alone, or out to eat at a restaurant all by yourself?

Being the sort of person who always has other people with me when I go do things, the thought of being alone with myself in public, like, doing things, was a scary thought.

Then, I did it. Twice. No, three times. Well, actually – four times.

This summer, I went to four concerts by myself. Well, that’s an outright lie – once I took a friend along to help me sell “merchandise” (wow, that looks sketchy! I swear, it was T-shirts and CDs – nothing illegal!). Then – the next night – I went to the same concert in a different city (this time actually alone) and sold “merch”, again. But, here’s the reason I don’t really count this experience as being “alone” – because I had done it before, and was, technically, meeting someone there  – the guy I was going to sell stuff for. I had an agenda. I wasn’t really going alone.

It all happened about a month later, in late July. Twice.

So, remember that one time I wrote about Father John Misty? Yeah, me too! Well, that musical discovery led me to the additional discovery that Father John himself was going to perform a show in Michigan. My hometown! (state. My homestate?) I had to go!

Only – none of my friends liked Father John Misty! None of my friends really knew about Father John Misty. Same went for my family. No one cared! No one wanted to go to Pontiac, Mi with me! Nooooo!

So, I decided not to care about whether someone else could go. I could go! So, I would! And, so, I did.

Going to a concert alone was basically everything I expected it to be. As I considered myself a concert pro after attending two-in-one-weekend a month earlier, I knew some moments could get awkward. Oh, and they did! Think: standing in the middle of a room surrounded by groups of friends, staring blank-faced towards the stage, waiting almost two hours for the show to start. I stood. I stared. I swayed (not to any music, just from foot-weariness). I was most definitely alone. I did, however, find a companion in the crowd who was there with her parents (so, kind of alone), and we struck up a conversation. See, this is how it’s done! Being alone! You meet people! It’s great!

Father John Misty was just fantastic. A true musician and performer. He danced! He played the tambourine! He danced while playing the tambourine.

The Man Misty

He was beautiful, and tall, and his voice was beautiful, and the band was beautiful, and the music, too, was beautiful. I stood, and stared, and swayed (this time to the music!). The crowd was really into it. I was alone, but it didn’t matter.

After his set, the headlining band came out to play. Youth Lagoon. I had never heard of them. Neither had my new there-with-her-parents friend.

They took a long time to get set up. I thought about leaving. FJM was done, and I was alone standing with groups of friends again – should I just go home?

No, I decided. I would stay. It had already been awkward. I had already stood there alone for 4 hours. Bring it, clock. I was waiting for Youth Lagoon, gosh dang it. Whoever they were.

Thirty minutes later, a short, skinny, bushy-haired boy came out from backstage and sat down at the newly-placed piano. He looked sort of like young Bob Dylan. He sang sort of like young Bob Dylan. He was freaking good. It was freaking weird music. It was freaking fantastic. I was freaking alone and it didn’t matter.

It didn’t matter because that music made us all into a single-brained creature. It was like jamming in a garage with a guy with a guitar. He sang, and rocked out on his piano for long periods of time. He just played.

We swayed. There was head bobbing. Everything became that boy on his piano. There wasn’t a crowd. There weren’t people. There was loud, strange, flowing music. I wasn’t alone; I was no longer there.

The next night, I did it again – went to a concert alone. A different concert, this time. I went to Detroit, Mi (to the coolest concert venue ever, Saint Andrew’s) to see this kid named George “Watsky“. He’s from Youtube. He’s a poet/rapper/awesome person.

Watsky!

His show was so different from the Father John Misty show. First off, the crowd was totally different. At FJM and Youth Lagoon’s show, there were young, hippy sort of kids. Clean cut, pop-drinkers. At George’s show – more young kids. Younger, I think. A lot more males. A lot more baseball caps on backward. A lot more head-bopping and fist-waving. It was cool, though. If a little crowded (we were in the basement!). Also, there was a minute there when I thought I was going to die. (No biggie.) Can you say, everybody in this already-sardine-can of a room rush to the front of the stage as fast as possible? Me, I clung onto a ceiling-support beam and allowed the mass of people to surge by.

It’s really hard to feel alone when there is a human stampede happening all around you.

While these alone-adventures were scary, they were also really rewarding. I felt proud of myself for stepping outside of my comfort zone, and for proving to myself that I really didn’t need other people to go out into the world and do and see cool things.

More and more, I’m realizing that doing things you are afraid of moves you closer and closer to the person you dream of becoming.

So, who do you want to be? Are you good at being alone?