Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Letter: Dear Tarzan

Well, shit... This is gonna be a little awkward.

But let me start off by saying that I still love you. It's different, though. No longer am I at that "in love with you" love you part of love with you. And I really shouldn't be, we've been broken up...about five months now. It's more of a "Namaste" type of love; a love that says, I recognize the good in you and the good in you recognizes the good in me. But sometimes I do still catch myself, listening to music we used to love, driving by places we used to visit, reading old blog posts and diary entries and thinking "what if?" What if you were different? What if I were different? What if time worked in reverse and what we knew now we knew then? What ifs do me no good, and I don't indulge them often, but when I do, my brain always circles back to you. Why?

Because you were the first. You were the guy to get through the ice of me and melt my heart. You showed me so many things about myself I couldn't have fathomed were real, and were plausible. For instance, I worked like a dog trying to get to you. Literally, fainted on the job one day, because I was there all the time, working 12 and 14 hour shifts, 6 days a week, saving money to be where you were. I never knew I could be that determined, especially that day, because usually, if I get a little nauseated, I say "Fuck this job," but that day? I got up, took a 15 minute break and got right back to it. That's crazy, isn't it?

Loving you, or trying to get you to love me, drove me a little crazy. Looking back, I can totally tell that now. I was very, very insecure and you were very, very patient. I never told you how much I appreciated that, but I did. I could hear that desperate "love me, love me" vibe sink into my words and tone, and you'd just shrug or sigh, reaffirm me, and keep it moving. Thanks for that. Not a lot of guys have patience to deal with a another person's insecurities on top of their own, but you did.

Now, we're not finished, you and I. We're partaking on the truly scary, winding path of friendship after a relationship. If we're being honest, in the beginning, I was doing it to prove to myself I could, that I was a good enough person to, in the face of a personal disaster, look the other way and smile. I was still broken up about everything and I wanted so much to believe that I could be strong enough to face you, strong enough to face the rubble of the dreams we built together and say "I'm fine." And...well, I wasn't fine. But I am now.

Seeing you grow, and do better and build your ideals about life make me so proud of you. Just think, before we met, were just these two aimless kids, not knowing how to relate to people and now...well, we're still these two aimless kids, not knowing how to relate to people. But, we have lived a little. We've traveled. We've fought. We've loved. We've had so much stuff I was waiting for happen, happen that it seems like, even now, this was the trajectory of our relationship. This is where we were meant to be.

We were always meant to be friends. I think we may have skipped that part, due to loneliness and lust and wanting to feel close to another person. But this, this new thing, this scary thing of friendship seems more right to me. There's no pressure to be perfect. There's no expectations of sexiness. I can be my full, true self with you now, and when we were together, that seemed impossible. That's been the only thing to really change, I think. Well, that and the whole "no sex between friends" thing. We still speak musically. We still bug each other occasionally. It's kind of really great, right?

So here's to us. Not the "us" that we were, but the "us" that we are now. Here's to a friendship, hopefully one for a lifetime. And here's to letting go, and starting fresh.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

About Me: "Somersault"

There's this song by this group Zero 7 called Somersault. It starts "You're the prince to my ballerina," and from that very line, a smile just can't help by carve into my usually stoic features. The song is about a love who's benevolence and strength allow the lover to become who they have always been, and who they've always wanted to be. I first heard it, as a snippet in that movie, "Guess Who" with Ashton Kutcher and Zoe Saldana and was never able to forget it.

Fast forward a few years and I'd finally found the song again, and, the first time I play it, I'm in a friend's truck bed, being driven around a twilight drenched, quiet road in Fayetteville, North Carolina. I'd never felt so struck by a feeling of peace, watching the beautiful darkness wipe clean the smeared pastels of the day. I felt all of the pieces of me had come together in that one moment, and that I finally understood who and what it was I was.

The middle of this past December, I had lost all of me. I didn't know who I was. I couldn't breathe in my own skin anymore. I couldn't think clearly. I was crying and couldn't stop. I wasn't sleeping. I felt like my life was in jeopardy, and that I was the one putting it there. I had frequent thoughts of letting go of the wheel, as I sped down busy highways. Wondered what would happen, if I died young. I scared myself so much that I begged my mother to put me under a 72 hour hold, because I couldn't see myself anymore.

What I mean is, I'd look in the mirror and it was like looking into a wall instead. There was nobody there. Nothing to relate to, nothing to remind me of the person that I was, or wanted to be. It was empty. I was empty. I'd always prided myself on being so in touch with who I was and here it was, some random fucking Tuesday, and I had the most tenuous of grasps on my sanity after weeks, months of saying "You're okay." I was not okay.

I started therapy the following week, pretty much going to the first place that popped up to look for answers. and found someone to help me through it. It's been almost a month, and I'm proud to say that, I'm so much better.

Now, I bet you're wondering, "Tes, what does that song have to do with you and your depression?"

Following my break down, just like with the mirror in which I couldn't see myself, I cut myself off from immersing myself in the things I love, and instead tried to bury myself in them. I read so many books, just to not think about myself. Listened to kick ass, independent women songs and pumped my fist, but I was never in  the music. I didn't feel it anymore. I was afraid to feel anything and tried to stay at a 5 on the emotional scale as to not cry at the drop of a hat for being too happy or too sad.

"Somersault" was the first song after starting therapy that I actually immersed myself in. Sitting on my balcony, as twilight turned to night, I blew bubbles at a full moon. I was back to being that little girl who believed in princes and true love. I was back to being that kid who believed in being nice just for niceness' sake. I was that teenager, in the back of a pick up truck, marveling at the everyday miracles of the world and at the breathlessness of freedom, of flying.

It brought all those fragmented and tarnished pieces of my inner mirror back together. And through the cracks and the smudges, I could see myself again. And whether I was sad, happy, angry or any emotion in between I was me. I was beautiful. I was whole. I was everything I was meant to be in that moment. And even now, I'm wiping away tears of just...relief at that recognition.

With pieces of yourself being chipped away everyday, be it by outside forces, or the more insidious internal ones, never forget the whole picture. Be relieved and grateful that you are who you are. It was a hard learned lesson, but one I know I'll never forget.

Let Me Stop Lurking

I've been taking care of me for a while now. Stopped writing for the longest, because the honesty and fear of said honesty was looking me in the face every time I picked up a pen or stared at a blinking cursor. It's true, that my fingers betray who I am all the time; they tell what I'm thinking, by either fidgeting, writing or giving the finger. :)

I'm back.

How have you been? Been good? You look good.

Me? Oh, I've been going to therapy after having an emotional breakdown and feeling like life just wasn't worth going through anymore. Stopped listening to music. Stopped singing. Stopped writing. Stopped...everything at that time. I was afraid. I was spiraling and turning into this person I couldn't recognize or reason with and this person I was turning into was scary. Dark, and just...not who I am. So, I got help. Meds (which I'm now easing off of) and an amazing therapist have brought me back around to who I am.

I've missed this. Even though I'm not sure if any of you are there, if any of you are reading me and learning who I am. Even though I'm not sure if what I write hits deaf ears (or, in this case, blind eyes), I missed speaking my truth into the void. Letting some of it go is the sweetest freedom for me.



Give me a chance to reintroduce myself. I feel like I've changed, and maybe, if you've been seeing me around, or if you just go back after this very post and read everything I've ever written, and note the difference from this point forward, you'll see it too.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

On Longing

As a child, I was never really sure what people meant by "being jealous." I had no siblings to contend with, truthfully, I was usually the only child around and my parents and their friends made sure I never wanted for anything. I didn't become acquainted with jealousy until I was about 13 years old and the boy I liked was dating someone else.

Jealousy is like that for me. I never crave things. I've lived in my apartment about four months and still have no drapes, no rugs, and no couch. Instead, I do my reading and writing in a little nook, complete with a faux fur-ish type blanket, lavender and tawny decorative pillows and one kneeling cushion that I sit on. Or, in bed, which, let me tell you, is the most comfortable bed I've ever laid in in my entire life. But no, I don't want your man, or her man, or his man. I just want, for just one moment, what people in functioning relationships have.

Even in my own relationship, which I tried so hard to make work, I was always striving for what I call fullness. Fullness is the feeling you get when you're around those you love, things you love, doing something you love, that makes you feel that at any moment, you could burst from said happiness. I've felt that way maybe twice in my life thus far, and ever since, I've been chasing it's elusive high. My mother says it's a curse I've inherited from her, this need to be loved and loving with everything I've got with very few slivers of reward.

But the thing is...I realize, often, that what I'm in want of is not necessarily a person. I'm in want of the feeling of fullness, of belonging to someone who belongs to me in the same way. So now it happens that I can look at a couple and feel genuinely happy that they've found each other...while at the same time wondering when I can find that for myself. I don't ever wish for another's relationship anymore, which is such a big step from my formative years, instead I wish them well, and wait, somewhat impatiently, for my own.

Longing, as I am coming to realize, is not a dirty word. We all long for something, whether it's to be a great parent, a world-renowned doctor, we all aspire for things that are typically just out of our grasp. I long for love, or rather, the right kind of love for me, which will take, I think the right kind of person.

So, moral of the story, I need to chill on the love shit for awhile. It'll happen when it's meant to happen, and in the meantime, maybe I can try loving myself again? Easier said than done, but it's a definite start, and a step I'm more than willing, more than ready, to take.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

On Being Open and Facebook

I am an open person, but still am deemed by folks as mysterious and closed off. Oxymoron, or just the truth of my character, I can't really say. In any case, my openness is sort of a defense mechanism, a way to put out who I am in the world so that it can never be misconstrued what my intentions are, so that it's never hard to say what Tes is about and what Tes is striving for.

So, it happens that on Facebook, a person I knew years ago, a person who was my best friend at the time, comes out of the woodwork to tell me that I've changed; I'm a mean person, a closed off person, and unforgiving to boot. He told me that and then asked for my phone number to call me to talk. ...excuse...what?

Sidebar: What is it about Facebook that makes people think they know all there is to know about you? You post a few pictures, list a few favorite movies, and now people have insights into your inner workings based on arbitrary likes and dislikes. What's that about?

This person literally disappeared from my life. I'm talking, one day we're on the phone and hang up as usual, then four years later I get a Facebook friend request. And now he comes out his face to call me mean, say I'm changed for the worse and haven't forgiven him for pulling a Houdini at a time when I needed all the friends I could get. 

Anyone who knows me truly, or is on their way to knowing me truly can attest that I am a kind person, almost to a fault. I'm the kind of person who actually thinks about living her life in a way that doesn't harm other people; how many other people my age can actually say that? 

There is a difference, though, between kindness and foolishness, forgiveness and being somebody's Patsy. Dude straight up called me to the carpet, disparaged my character and demanded my phone number like I owed him something. And let's not even get into his indignation when I told him "no."

The long and short of it is I had to tell him about himself, let him know I had forgiven him a long time ago and no longer even thought of him. Explained that people change, and grow and not everything under the umbrella of "being nice" is actually nice or entirely black and white. And then, when he demanded a better response, I told him to fuck off.

When he knew me, I was 18 or so. No responsibilities. No school at the time. No real goals. Since then, I've gotten an apartment, am on my second car, two years at my job, been in a committed relationship, none of which I had accomplished at that time when he knew me. I've experienced things, and thus I've changed. And I no longer need or want him in my life. It's part of growing up, figuring out who the leaves and who the roots are in your life...

What he fails to realize, I think, is that I don't need more people in my life. I need more good people. More like-minded people. People who respect my choices and know that I'm on a journey in life to find the zenith of myself and are not gonna impede that process. He was never that person, never one of those people. 

Open or not, some people just don't deserve me, which is oddly something I learned after my break up. I've started to realize that I am better and thus deserve better, so if that means losing points in somebody who I don't know's eyes, then that's just what it's going to have to be.

Sometimes I forget that the folks who were your friends, were your friends. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My Birthday

I think it's weird that I never have anything to say on my birthday. I truly just spend the day being thankful for being where I am and thanking people for their birthday wishes, but this year seems so different.

For starters, I was excited. Although it snuck up on me like it always does, when I realized it was coming, instead of the "Oh, shit," feeling I typically get, I got a real happy, giddy feeling. I don't have anything special planned, just dinner with my Mom, and I don't plan on getting a whole lot of gifts, but I just finally feel different.

I feel like all of my birthdays I was waiting to feel my age, or waiting to feel some way about it one way or another really. That's not to say I feel my age now (I always feel older) but I feel like I'm finally a person. For a lot of my growing  years I felt like an idea, something that was supposed to be happening, maybe, but just...wasn't. I feel now that I'm actualized. I'm living, and breathing and functioning to the best of my ability and I'm proud of that. I understand that a lot of people don't get to feel that way about themselves, or don't feel that way because they feel like they can't be proud of the little things.

I am proud of the little things. I've maintained a job for two years. I've lived on my own for about four months and haven't ruined or wrecked anything. I'm paying off all my small debts. I'm healthy. And most important, more often than not, I'm just happy to be.

I won't deny it was a hard year for me, what with my break up and the stresses of moving, but I feel like with those hardships I got to find out who I really was, and what I was really made of. Getting through those two things was like breaking a glass ceiling that I didn't know was so thick until I got to the other side. Sure, I'm a little cut up, but no worse for wear. In fact, I may even be better than when I started.

So, for this birthday, more than the others, I may not do a whole lot of moving and shaking, but I will revel in the pride I feel and the joy. Bask in the well wishes, and look towards the ever-brighter future.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Breaking Up Is Truly Not The End of The World (But It Hurts Like a Bitch)

So, if you know me or follow me anywhere else, you know that Tarzan and I are no longer a couple. Can't lie, it really really sucks. Is it childish I wanted us to last forever, that I expanded and changed all of my dreams to fit in another person?

A few years ago I would've said hell yeah, that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Why would you change and do this or that for some other person who's not even guaranteed to stay with you? The truth is though, that's what faith is. I've always had a shaky relationship with faith and expectations and the like because whenever you put faith in anything you run the risk of being disappointed, and in my life, up to a certain point, I'd become so heartbreakingly used to being disappointed by the people I trusted and the ideas I put faith in that I sort of stopped believing in the good things. Sure, I'd think about the good things, write about a few good things, but the sky was always falling and I was the one chicken just sighing and waiting for it to take me out.

I always had this idea that being in love with someone would heal all wounds and make everything wonderful and perfect. In that aspect, yes, that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. With experience comes a really big picture in 20/20 of all the teenager-y things you thought and the silliness of them, because I'm still not perfect. I'm a person who did the best she could and loved the hardest she could and for that I'm proud, but surely not perfect. Love doesn't solve everything for you, but it does make you realize what your real problems are and for me, it was holding back.

I was so scared of trusting people and letting people into my life. They could trust me with anything; strangers would tell me deep dark secrets and horror stories and I'd simply pat them on the shoulder, tell them everything would be okay, and then go on about my life, but didn't trust the people in my life enough to tell them something simple as how I was feeling, preferring instead to deflect and talk about them. Trusting people, is an easy way to get hurt, but it's also a beautiful way to form attachments, which I've learned life is all about.

Breaking up hurts, especially when it's from such a great person, someone you learn from and become a better person through knowing. But I was lucky; my former steady is a gentleman, a sweetheart and a scholar; he hasn't dogged me in the street, hasn't leaked any nudes, and I've avoided a lot of those horrible break up stories you hear about or read. You'll never hear me say an unkind word about that man. I'm trying to maintain a friendship with him, because over the year and change we were together he became my best friend, sometimes understanding what I was feeling before I knew what it was I was feeling, and because you never give up on the people you love.

So what's next for this girl?

I can tell you honestly, dating is far off. It's not that I don't want that connection with someone again or that I'm immune to the loneliness that creeps in after a breakup, but rather, I know that getting over an old man by getting under a new one rarely works. Plus, the guys that I like are really really hard to find :) . Next up for me is biting the bullet and finally going back to school for my Associates of English. I know it may not be a lot to people, but it's the world to me, a first step towards a new horizon.

After I get that degree, I'm thinking on a move to Philadelphia or Seattle, some place I've never lived but that suits the type of person I am and hope to grow into. The Hip-Hop scene in Seattle (or lack thereof) is not a draw exactly, but Seattle is like my Los Angeles - that dream place where you meet people you've always wanted to meet and do things you've always wanted to do. But I'm thinking Philly suits me a lot better; the few times I went for a visit (though hopelessly lost on one of those visits) it was beautiful and the people were really nice.

A lot of times, folks use breaking up as an excuse to give up on their dreams, on love and on life in general. But it's like Brandy said, life's not over (and you can start again). It hurts, like a bitch, it hurts, but it's not the end of me. It's not the end of all the love I have to give or the lessons I hope to learn in life and it's not the end of my dreaming.