Let’s Ask: Would You Go Back?

Take a second and turn back the clock. Your first day of college. Your last day of high school. Your kindergarten graduation. Your last relationship. If you could, would you go back to those moments with the full consciousness you now possess and attempt to notice what you couldn’t before?  If you could go back, would you?

There are specific moments, like prom or a breakup or graduation, where I’d think about seeing it all from a different perspective. Would I have enjoyed prom more if I had danced on a different side of the room, would I have been happier hugging different people at graduation, would I have seen the warning signs before it all blew up in my face? But what I’ve come to realize in all of this retrospection is that things are never what they were. In the moment, you’re greedy and self-righteous. You don’t think because there simply isn’t any time. You dance where you danced because there was free space, you hugged the people you did because they’re the ones that mattered at the time, you said he was an ass because at the time you couldn’t fathom to see it from a different perspective. Only in time do we realize that things begin to change, because we are changing. We’re growing up. Congratulations, you’re an adult. I suppose it then becomes the question of, is it worth going back?

As of late, I get these flashbacks to the happy little moments. Sharing a joke with a friend in class, noticing the exact moment I felt love for this person, and the absolute joy of hearing my name as I accepted my diploma case (sorry to break it to you kids, when you graduate you just get the case and then wait four to six weeks for a diploma to come in the mail).

In a way, I would want to go back for those moments. The ones that made my heart flutter, my eyes water, and my hands twitch. Those are the ones worth it. If I could bottle those feelings up and save them for a bad day, life wouldn’t feel so bogged down. The other ones make me wonder why I would pose such a broad question. Who would want to subject themselves to a torturous moment? No one wants to see their heart break in front of them or see their friends drift off into nothingness. That’s just terrible. It may make for a great Oscar worthy scene in a movie, but there’s no space for such torment in the real world.

Everyday we should strive to be happier than we were the day before.

Let me ask you again, dear reader: Would you go back? Is it worth going back?

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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.

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.

Let’s Redefine: The Villain. 

Once upon a time, a small child grew up thinking that life was simple. Life was merely saving the damsel, slaying the dragon, and living happily ever after. It was black and white, right and wrong, heroes and villains.

Of course, we all know that life is anything but an odd mixture of varying dualities. We realize that a middle ground does exist; some may say that there are an even number of shades of gray. There is always room for reason. That being said, we can’t judge the small child for being disillusioned or misled. Mostly because it’s only a child and very much fictitious. But it really does get you thinking: Who really are the heroes and villains in our lives? Are heroes always draped with capes and are villains always distinguished by the horns protruding from their foreheads?

Short answer? There are no clear, tell-tale signs for either.

Real-life answer? You never truly know until you get to know someone. That’s where life deviates from the fairytales. Figuring out the villains isn’t as easy as The Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen made it out to be. As much as we hate it, it is only through becoming vulnerable that we realize who will hurt us. The only thing “right” with the idea of the villain is that they’re someone who hurts others regardless of reason.

This is where I feel that the entire concept of fairytales, albeit traditional and clean-cut, shouldn’t be the monolith for all relationships. We all see villains as something or someone different. Just because someone is complicated and vindictive doesn’t mean they deserve the title of villain. A person plagued by circumstance and poor life decisions shouldn’t be held down by that.

Maybe we do so because we find it so much easier to hate someone, as opposed to understanding their situation? It certainly makes logical sense. To hate someone, all you have to do is delete their number and walk away; but to understand is to become vulnerable again, this time in a situation in which that vulnerability can be exploited.

I feel that’s a risk worth taking.

Vulnerability, in this sense, can be a good and powerful force. It can almost act as a sixth sense, being able to let you know who is going to hurt you. It’s scary, sure, almost like being naked in public. But that also makes it liberating, in that you don’t have to hide beneath anything.

Think it over and realize that there are other possibilities. Close the storybook and open your mind; welcome to reality, we’ve been waiting for you.

Let’s Write: An Open Letter to A Love.

Hi.

I know it’s been a while and I haven’t said much…or anything really, because, well, it would have hurt too much. Whether you’ll find this or not is beyond me, but I feel comfortable enough sharing this with the faceless masses of those that have the ability to access the internet.

Hello, faceless masses. How are you? Good? Good.

You know, at first it came in flashes; quick bursts of memories, one right after the next. All the happy times, as well as the sad. All of which hurt. For about a week, I wasn’t sure if I could make it a day without bawling my eyes out. I did make it, but that doesn’t make it feel like any more of a success. There are moments when I reminisce on the late night talks on the phone and how often we talked at the very start of it all a year ago. Then I find the moments where I began to think that this was something real and indelible. Those are the moments that make you lose yourself and that make you realize how good it all was.

Then it begins to shift.

The bad moments begin to bubble up. The ill-communication that shook our foundation and the way the tremors shook up my mind and my heart. Those are the moments that make your fists clench and make you realize why it had to stop. This isn’t what it was supposed to be, this wasn’t our life. Life Love shouldn’t transpire like this. We’re told it’s supposed to be easy and like a puzzle. Then you realize that it’s bullshit and life has different obstacles in store for everybody and how they’re dealt with personally affects everyone around you.

Then they say hindsight is twenty/twenty. You’re supposed to see everything clearer, but right now it’s all blurry. I sit here, typing and squinting, because I need a new prescription to be able to see how everything was suppose to work out this way. Everyone says that things happen for a reason and, well, I don’t know what that reason is because I still think about us. About you.

I can’t stop thinking about what could have been, nor do I feel I should ever think of stopping.

There’s a place in my heart especially reserved and there’s no one else that can or will sweep in and take it. I won’t allow it. Where does this leave me? Am I hung up on the slim chance of something happening again? Am I holding on to an empty chance? Will this matter in the future? Where will we be in five years? Is this moving on or am I dwelling?

Sometimes I think if I feel these things for someone else that what I had once felt will start to disappear. A thought came across my mind one night, and it was telling me that our capacity for this kind of love is limited. You can shift and change the dosage, but it would affect how I would always feel. Would I ever love someone as intensely? Was that all of it? Will it be different? Will it be worse? Then I woke up the next day and realized that it doesn’t work like that. At least, it shouldn’t work like that.

Honestly, I don’t care what it is, because I don’t think the love will go away. I don’t think it should. It’s out there, roaming the world, with bright eyes and a hope as relentless and stubborn as I am. And I’m going to let it roam because, who knows, it may lead me back to you. It may lead me astray. All I know is that wherever it leads me, I’m sure it’ll be somewhere great.

Let’s Figure Out Who I Am: A Giver of Chances

A second chance can make all the difference. At times it can leave doors wide open; other times it can obliterate them from their hinges. The thing with chances is that we’re told that they only come once. How does the saying go again?

“Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on you?”

After this second offense, what’s supposed to happen? Upon whom is the shame thrusted? Is anyone truly to blame or is it the universe telling you to let it go for good? Personally, the third, and even the fourth chance can still open doors. Doors that can lead you to the darkest places. Places that make you question your sanity, as well as your morality. It can also lead you to the places that make you feel warm and safe. But with all those doors left wide open, it’s hard not to let all of the other situations converge on you in a large, crushing wave. You feel the waters hit your ankles and your fight or flight response kicks in. Is there a way out? Which way is up? What’s happening? Stay calm…STAY CALM!

Before you know it, you’ve been submerged. The chances have overcome you and you’re left to swim in your decisions. I’m not sure if any others are out there, but I am a swimmer in the sea of chances. I search for the best and hope to be rewarded with such. So far, I haven’t been rewarded so much as punished. Call me stupid. Call me naive. Call me an idiot. But do not call weak. Weakness is leaving things behind without trying. Weakness is not seeking out the good. Weakness is not me. I am romantic. I am hopeful. I am a pretty good swimmer.

I will say that I’ve learned what giving chances can do and feel like. It’s a feeling that brings about the best and the worst outcomes, yet you never really know which is more important once you’ve realized that you’re out of chances to give. I sit here looking back at what I’ve done, looking back at the person I let into my life, looking back at the words I said and the chances I had given. The water begins to drain and I can finally reach my head above it all and see with fresh eyes. I don’t regret a damn thing. In fact, I’m glad I did what I did because I learned from them. I learned that it hurts. I learned that it feels amazing. I learned that I could love someone immensely and be hurt by them just as strongly. I’m growing, I am learning, I am moving. It’s difficult. But giving chances is something that makes me who I am and there isn’t a reason to be ashamed of that. There isn’t a reason to peg myself as naive or stupid or an idiot. I am not those things, nor can I be limited to the thoughts that people thrust upon me. I am what I make myself. I am me.