Let’s Count: The Days When No One Else Mattered.

Day 1: You were annoying and creepy. My mother advised me against talking to strangers and that night I had wondered if I was right to defy such a directive.

Day 3: Rebellion reaps rewards. The texts good night and good morning had begun and there wasn’t a part of me that wanted them to stop.

Day 6: I fear that something new and scary may be happening. I’m unaware of where it’ll take me but for once in my life: I don’t give a fuck.

Day 7: One week later and I still don’t believe it. The conversations, the jokes, the flirting. Is this what ‘dating’ is supposed to feel like?

Day 7.5: Does it count as dating if the distance between the two is roughly 2,500 miles? Society says no, but I couldn’t care less.

Day 10: The texts become less frequent and I fear the repercussions of such a short-lived “romance.” I feel the quotes are necessary because even I am unsure of its validity at this point.

Day 15: I’m in over my head. This was stupid. I should stop texting. I should stop checking my phone. Why did I just check my phone? Stop it, Jason, put your phone in a drawer.

Day 15.2: Phone has been put in a different drawer, in a different room, on a different level of the house. The psychosis continues.

Day 17: Move on. This was never, ever meant to work out.

Day 20: Admit feelings in a long, essay length text. Hit send. Regret immediately follows.

Day 21: I never thought I’d get to the point where you were the only one I saw, the only one I thought I would care for, the only one that mattered. I can’t stop smiling, nor do I ever want to stop.

Day 50: I hate you.

Day 80: A month of abstinence. I feel good; Clean…free.

Day 80.5: Why you chose today to text me, I’ll never know…but I can feel myself falling back in. Hands reach out to help me but I refuse. I blindly and gladly accept this fate and am awash in my decision.

Day 95: I’m drowning.

Day 110: I reach the surface for air and breathe in nothingness. It’s lonely in the middle of the ocean; it’s even worse when you can see your ship sailing away without you.

Day ‘Who Gives a Fuck?’: It’s Christmas, I shouldn’t even think about you. I shouldn’t be wondering what your family wrapped for you under the tree, or if your dog is taking sips of eggnog, or how I should be running to your door with a mistletoe in hand. I shouldn’t be thinking that…I shouldn’t be thinking.

The Day A New Years Kiss Should Happen: It never happens.

Day 1v.2: Hello again.

Day 14v.2: Happy Valentine’s Day.

Day 20v.2: A pointless pep talk that leads up to a large, three-worded bomb is the last thing I expected today. But I love it.

Day 25v.2: You called me tonight and I wish I had never hung up. I wished it lasted hours longer. I wished we would fall asleep on the line and act like there isn’t some rift separating us. You said you called because “[you] thought it’d make me happy.” You were right. I was. I am. Very happy.

Day 30v.2: I can feel myself becoming that much closer to saying something so big and life changing that I can’t even begin to fathom the “right” way to start.

Day 45v.2: College is over. RIP Undergrad.

Day 50v.2: I don’t think I’ve cried so hard, yelled so loud, or hurt so deeply. It amazes me how one person can lift you up so high and let you fall so easily and with so much grace. Sadly, I was finally able to say the words I had longed to profess. If only it were under better circumstances.

A New Day: Today, I vow that I will not let something encompass me so deeply. I won’t let someone cloud my judgement. I won’t let someone control me. Yet as I type this, I feel that today is also the day that I vow to break that vow, because I seldom keep the promises I make to myself. In the moment nothing is constant, nothing is set. You were the person with whom I thought I had IT. The person who wouldn’t fail or falter or fuck me over. The use of past tense has never been more appropriate. I want to say that I, in no way, regret anything. This was the best experience, the worst experience, the most fulfilling experience I could have ever hoped to have. But, I felt the need to write this because I can’t even begin to move on without acknowledging where I’ve been. I want to be able to close this chapter of my life and start on a new one. A chapter where you don’t matter as much to me as you once did. I sat here and counted the days where you made an impact on me and those days were plentiful, but they are not inclusive. There will come a day where no one else will matter and I have come to admit that you won’t be the last man standing; I will.

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Let’s Endure: A Kid in an Adult World. 

“I’m twenty-two years old, I look like I’m sixteen, and I am not an adult…”

Sometimes I feel like the numbers that make up my age are in reverse and am therefore not what my license says I am. Well, that metaphor used to work when I was twenty-one, but since I’m twenty-two, it doesn’t really hold the same weight. At this age, I am genuinely curious if the stigma of age, both in the present and in the future, will finally stop being a nuisance on my being. What’s sad is that I lack the ability to straddle both sides of this ageist gap; I have always looked much younger than I actually am. Yes, I know that it will pay off in the long run and that in the future it will work out in my benefit, but right now I’m getting tired of getting the side-eye from a bartender who thinks that what I just gave him was the world’s best fake ID. In a sense, it is the world’s best fake because it’s real. I feel that it’s because of this curse of perpetual youth that I get treated as a child. My worth feels dependent on my looks than it does on my experience, knowledge, or wisdom.

While I acknowledge that my parents will see this, that does not mean I will relent in the following section. I get treated differently when I’m at home. How I talk, what I do, with whom I speak is scrutinized and belittled because I have returned to a space where I have not grown. Where I have grown lies beyond the confines of my hometown and the new “grown-up” me can no longer strive at the homestead. I get that “home is where the heart is,” but who is to decide what my home is other than me? Home should be a state of being and not a state of physical presence. Who I’m comfortable with, how I act, and where I feel right should be home. While my home does have these qualities, it just feels stuck in this bubble where time stops and I’m still eighteen. You can see the pattern here, I’m always getting younger and not getting older.

However, that’s not to say that once I finally grow up or once I finally look my age (which I have estimated to be when I’m forty-two) that the bubble will pop. As far as I’m concerned, the bubble is impenetrable and whatever attempts to kill it only makes it stronger. There is no escape. I will forever feel like a child in an adult world, forever running towards the goal of adulthood with no chance of getting any closer. That being said, I still won’t let up. I still won’t let that stop me. I have a voice and I have a lot to say and I’m going to keep saying it:

“I am twenty-two years old, I look like I’m sixteen, and I’m an adult!”

Let’s Redefine: The Process of Re-Identifying the Third Wheel.

“It’s sort of like being the sole training wheel on a bicycle. It’s fine, but every now and then it begins to lean.”

–On Being the Third Wheel

We’ve all been there before, quietly lurking in the shadows; edged out by the now-handholding entity that used to be your best friend. It’s always funny to compare how others have taken up the title of the “third wheel.” Laid out here are some of the main stages* of being the third-wheel, from being an awkward bicycle to an awesome tricycle (*stages are not universal, apply to your life at own risk):

Denial:

There is always a sense of claim that attaches itself to your best friend. You were there first. They’re your friend. Then the significant other sweeps in on their white pony, carrying them off to happiness. You manage to keep up on foot, but barely. You tag along on “group dates” as they suddenly become a thing and attempt to schedule time with your friend around their pre-determined make-out sessions and utensil-type cuddling. You try to understand it all; how they could leave you all alone when they used to spend all their time with you. “It makes sense!” you tell yourself as you go to the movies alone for the fifth time that week (considering you like going to the movies for recreation). As you watch the film, you lazily eat your popcorn and think, “fine, be that way. I don’t need you anyways!” when in reality, you feel like you do.

Hostility:

The significant other is now your enemy. He or she is the proverbial dragon guarding the tower of your seemingly doomed friendship. The dragon must be slayed at all costs. You begin to talk shit about them to your friend (when you have the chance to talk to them, that is): “I think he chews funny,” “Dude, she asks too many damn questions,” and my favorite one, “I think they’re just dating you for your money.” Unfortunately for you, love has a shield that is impervious to your Iago brand of bullshit. You relent and move on to different tactics. If you’re brave (or in some cases, idiotic) you’ll approach the significant other, chest extended and fists clenched. It’s at this point you delve into two modes: Active Motherf*cker or Passive Motherf*cker

  • Active Motherf*cker: Strategies may include: having the big sibling “talk,” finger pointing, and Olivia Pope inspired tirades in front of the significant other. The presence of your friend is not require or pertinent in this mode, but you are going in claws out and thirsty for blood.
  • Passive Motherf*cker: Strategies may include: Continually throwing shade behind his or her back, seeking out tertiary friends who have no opinion and are therefore malleable to yours, and passive aggressive comments about how they look, act, eat, or talk.

Neither of the above are acceptable under any circumstances. Alas, no one can control how you act except for you.

Reluctant Acceptance:

So you’ve attempted to take on one of the two personas and neither brought you the results you had hoped for. So now what? You still feel left out and want your friend back. Here is what I’ve learned in the past: you can talk to your friend face to face and it won’t ruin the friendship. If it lasted through past bullshit, it will probably last through this. And that’s what gets me sometimes; we are consumed by accepting and embodying these societal identities that we forget who we truly are. Once you realize that, you also realize that your friendship wasn’t in any real danger. The significant other is possibly the coolest person you’ll ever meet! Their “dangerous” attitude turns into spontaneity and their ugly mole you saw that one time really was just a piece of chocolate from a cookie.

It will all work out! Your friend is still your friend and now you’ve scored yet another one to hang out with and possibly buy you lunch.

Once you’ve realized that, I highly suggest you throw out that ridiculous bike and trade up for an equally appealing tricycle; I mean, they’re supposed to have three wheels.

This article is also featured on Elite Daily.

What Each Myers-Briggs Personality Type Is Like As A Friend

INFJ and accurate.

Thought Catalog

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ENFP: The excitable yet surprisingly insightful friend who subtly gives you a pep talk every time you hang out and leaves you feeling like you could be the next President.

ESFJ: The friend who lets you live at their house for two weeks after you break up with your significant other so they can make sure you’re eating, sleeping and going to work like a functioning human being.

ENTJ: The successful and slightly bossy friend who is constantly challenging you to reach your full potential – because they see it in you, even when you don’t see it in yourself.

ISTJ: The super-organized friend who always shows up fifteen minutes early for your hangouts and whom you’d pretty much trust with your life.

ENFJ: The wise mother hen who’s there come hell or high water but isn’t afraid to give you tough love if ever and whenever you need…

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Let’s Attempt: Speak Your Emotions.

To those that feel the need to bottle your emotions, I personally invite you to acknowledge the word itself, because it has clearly been devoid of all meaning for you.

Emotion (noun): a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others. It is something felt. It is something that should be dealt with. It isn’t something to ignore. Let’s break it down a bit:

It is natural and instinctive: which means you don’t control it.

It is from your mind: it is who you are.

It interacts with others: it doesn’t just affect you.

To those same people, I have a few questions: Why do you bottle it in? What good does it do? What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing.

To be honest, I feel that the ultimate regret anyone could ever possibly feel in their lifetime is not letting these emotions out. These are the words that lie on the tip of your tongue, wounded and dedicated, trying to gather enough energy to roll over the edge and into the world. More often than naught, they roll in the wrong direction. Back into the mouth, down the throat, and deep, deep down into the bowels from which they came. This is an unfortunate truth. Perhaps it’s the world telling us to grow thicker skin or to act like mindless automatons, roaming the globe steely and cold. Perhaps it’s conditioning us to fit inside a box that isn’t universally applicable. Then again, it’s so rare that any box is universally applicable, so why bother attempting to fit in by betraying who we are?

I’ll tell you this: it’s nearly impossible to keep them bottled up and the feelings always find a way out. Some way, somehow, they will forge a path and walk, hand-in-hand into the world; into the light. Sometimes it takes a push and sometimes it takes a bulldozer to carry them off the cusp. It is never an easy process. It takes practice. Say them alone, say them aloud. Just know that you can say it a million times to a wall, but to say it out loud to a person is a million times harder.

The fact that it’s hard isn’t an excuse. There is no way to wave a magic wand and will them begone. They won’t go away like that, if at all. Explore your emotions and ask yourself: are these real? are these true? Am I better off keeping them in than letting them out? Chances are, no. These are only a few questions that would take time to explore in order to express them. While I still firmly believe that magic exists, I would not rely on it to solve all of my problems. It just takes time.

Time either will solidify those feelings or let you know that they weren’t real. It is the moments in between then and now that are the most formative, the most frustrating, and the most cherished. They are the moments that validate everything that you’ve ever felt and will continue to feel. They test your doubts, as well as your patience. Those are the times where you cannot lost faith, you cannot let up, you cannot let go. Your emotions make you who you are, without them do you even exist? Is all this actually real? It’s better to live knowing that you said what you wanted and needed to say, because if those words linger around, unable to reach the person they were meant for, what then? To not speak your emotions is possibly the biggest regret someone can live with. Don’t live that life.