Anxiety, Agency, and Trauma (oh my...)

I recently went out with a guy. It was going great, late into the night. A lot of easy conversation and joking and laughing. Until we got on the subject of why we both moved here. Both fleeing, for one reason or another. He was transparent about why he came here, and that conversation had flowed well until he asked 

what trauma brought me here.

I haven't perfected my light, breezy brush off for that question. I haven't thought about it at all. I certainly hadn't expected it to come up in our otherwise fun and carefree night.And so, typical me, overwhelmed by someone who barely knows me identifying events, which I have only considered in passing, as traumatic, started to cry.Just kidding!I pushed those tears back into their ducts with a sharp pain in my nose and a tight throat, looked down at my drink, and mumbled whatever I could to move away from the question.

What brought me to the other side of the country?

A lot of things! But the final straw was a few terrible people.  And that is what I could and should have said! Or, "A bad relationship and terrible friend." Or, maybe, "I fell in with a bad crowd and spending time with them amplified my worst traits, insecurities, and weaknesses." But even if I had those answers prepared, I probably would have reacted with the same overwhelming panic.Trauma isn't something to be taken lightly, and I'm hesitant to identify anything in my life as traumatic, because of the lingering, subjective question,

was it really that bad?

Some people I trusted were mean to me. Lied, laughed at me, snuck around together. They were cruel. I'm sure that at least one of them enjoyed the pain she caused. BUT no one died. There was no natural disaster. No physical or sexual abuse. No accidents, no violence.I hear the word "traumatized" thrown around a lot. I'm cynical about the reason. Do people open up more about trauma these days? Are they so casual about their mental health? Or has the word been dissociated from the weight of its meaning? My friend was traumatized when she saw a micro penis. Someone at the table next to me was traumatized by a test she took. I don't want to victimize myself. Am I truly traumatized, or am I another person overlooking the true implications of the word?

I'm more affected that I'm willing to admit.

When I think of that traumatic year for what it was, I think about the people involved, still laughing at me because I'm unable to move on. Doesn't she have anything else going on in her life? She's pathetic.I have moved on...but the impact isn't gone. I still don't understand what happened. I don't understand motives. Was my boyfriend emotionally abusive? I don't think so and never have. But he was manipulative, right? I don't know... he seemed too honest to be manipulative. But I am sure that I was manipulated. He did what he wanted, never mind me, and I was anxiously attached, along for the ride.Any evidence I have that points to emotional abuse doesn't seem good enough. I was never belittled or threatened, never forbidden from going certain places or spending time with certain people. He didn't seem to care what I did, or about me at all, for that matter.Emotional abuse can look like many different things. That emotional neglect and disregard for my needs are forms of emotional abuse. But I had a hard time accepting that, because of the context of our relationship. At the point in time when our relationship became categorical emotional abuse, he would not accept the title of boyfriend and would not tell me he loved me. From the outside, I looked like a girl obsessed with a guy who had made his boundaries perfectly clear. I came off as crazy. Needy and overly attached. Delusional. Creating a relationship that didn't exist.

How could he be negligent when the relationship was one sided?

Well, let me tell you! I've written about this relationship before; a long-winded, near-sighted version right after the fact. This is the abridged version: My boyfriend put in the emotional labor when he was wooing me. In more technical terms, he groomed me. He spoke poetically about his feelings and wanted to spend every moment together. We did spent every moment together. We spent time with his family and his close friends. He told me he loved me more than anyone he'd loved before. He told me about countless instances where he had been victimized by life and his dad. How much his mom and sister didn't like any woman he dated.I thought that the chemistry between us was the stuff of epic love stories. I wanted to support him and stick by him no matter what. I felt special because he had chosen me.The rest happened months later.So, you can see why I had certain expectations about that relationship.But, until recently, I refused to accept that 9 month relationship was emotionally abusive, or even manipulative. It seems so mild compared to other kinds of abuse. I thought that I was complicit. I chose to stay with this "man" (who had the emotional maturity of a young boy), waiting for things to go back to how they were in the beginning. I lived for the breadcrumbs he left me.I thought I was in control, that I made informed decisions of my own free will. Except... that's the thing about manipulation. He took advantage of my emotional depth and vulnerability. I didn't know what was happening. I didn't have the emotional intelligence to recognize that my feelings were vicious anxiety, not love. The choices I made were not my own. I was powerless. Without agency, were my choices really my decision?

They were not.

My actions and words were always based on his. They were attempts to get his attention and love. Simple as that. The end.But wait, there's more! There were other people in on the joke as well, which compounded the problem. People who were my friends. Namely, a close friend who betrayed me with my boyfriend, and her ex, who I even dated later on. (Clearly my penchant for putting myself in problematic situations didn't stop after that relationship.)The paranoia I've had since high school, that people are playing a joke on me, laughing about me behind my back, was reality.

For years, I wondered what was real.

I didn't move on. I dwelled on questions I would never have the answers to; which of his feelings and words had been genuine, which situations were organic. But I have long since stopped trying. All that I can do is accept the reality of that abuse and trauma.I used to wonder if I would be in the same place I am now--physically, mentally, professionally, socially--if that year was different. I don't think about that anymore. My most significant growth to date has come from my worst mistakes, and without that year, I could be a very different, lesser person. I am not grateful and I'm not appreciative, but I'm in a better place.Trauma motivated me to move the fuck on from the life I was stuck in. To get away from the townie boyfriend who had nothing going for him. To move away from mean girls who have nothing better to do than tear each other down. To find better, more constructive ways to spend my time. And I have!I have good friends and date better men. The friend who inspired this writing is genuine, intelligent, thoughtful, and creative. At first, I was naturally interested being more than friends. But he was not. And at first I was upset; my feelings were hurt. But if I didn't want to be friends with the men I want to date, then what's even the point? I want high quality people in my life, and they are not so easy to find. A good friend is good enough.

Sometimes Things Really Happen, take 2

Part 1 of this post has not been published, because it's close to 3,000 words and I cannot see the end. I got a bit carried away, creating a narrative and the right tone, proofreading and re-writing as I went.Let me go back to the beginning, before that post went awry.In May, weeks before my birthday, I started writing an evaluation of my life over the previous year, with the intent of identifying what kind of changes had occurred, and how I've grown and changed. Or not.


A year ago

I had a crush on an attractive bartender who lacked any noticeable substance. I had a one night stand* with someone who looked at me with awe. Since then, my need to feel wanted ceased.I recognized and embraced my own uniqueness that comes in so many forms; my love for animals, riding horses, my little bratty bird; more than a writer, I'm an artist; I surround myself with plants. I'm hella accomplished, hella smart, and always try to be friendly, be kind, and do good.Around the time of the bartender and one night stand, I put my party ways away for good. I transitioned into the next installment of life. The financially responsible one, that is dedicated, committed, and loyal to friends and projects that I care about.For years I was extracting poison that lingered, from a source I refused to acknowledge, in a successful attempt to move on.(That's right. Successfully.)I have an entire life to lose. It's filled with things that matter, like being a real, functioning human. Existing in the world, in the peripheral of strangers' worlds. To see and be seen. To radiate existence.

A Year of Progress

I became less passive aggressive, but still too possessive. It's jealousy. I feel threatened by other peoples' skills and accomplishments, as if they invalidate mine. But the fewer passive aggressive, possessive, insecure people I spend time with, the less inclined I am to feel any of those things.Many times jealousy has lit a fire under my ass and inspired me to create, but I don't think art can be created from jealousy. Art can be inspired by happiness, sadness, anger, hopelessness, loneliness... most things. To me, jealousy seems too impure of an emotion to inspire. I don't want to create based on the desire to best than another creator. That seems very lonely.Even though I (mostly) don't let me jealousy get the best of me—I cannot begrudge quality, no matter what my insecurity says—I can question the honesty, vulnerability, sincerity, of other art. Criticism is fair, even if it stems from jealousy. Honest, respectful, sincere feedback.I do not like ostentatious shows of self-praise or accomplishment—YES, there's a difference between being proud and being a braggart—but I learned to temper my humility, a trait tied to my insecurity, and express myself in a way that is comfortable and which is intrinsic to my education. Like hey, guess what, I'm smart and I'm educated. I paid for this shit and I won't pretend to be less than so other people feel comfortable when I speak. 

And where am I now?

At an office job in the best office environment I'll ever find, not that I was searching in the first place. I'm exhausted by Friday; being around people is exhausting, making eye contact, saying hello, making actual conversation. And then there's the part where I do work on a computer all day, and talk about work on conference calls, and talk to my team about strategies for work.After the first couple of months, feeling like I was back in high school, I got past the curves of settling into my place. I'm not the same as my high school-self, and I'm not the same as my one year ago-self.I like work. I like the people in this community. The work challenges my mind. 

A woman can be many things at once.

Because still I am my high school-self, and she is my elementary school self. I do the work to be more than the young women before me, and there is more work to do. I think there always will be, but want to do that work, and I try my best.


There you have it. A blog post that, by my standards, is unfinished and unremarkable. I don't want to post it but I don't want to keep writing it. The only way I would feel satisfied publishing these words would be if I spent all my time going over every word choice countless times, cutting, pasting, re-arranging, only to decide the original was best. But to even write a complete post would take weeks, if I really committed. But this is a personal blog, not the New York Times. So I'm DONE.I think that's progress.

The Thing About Garbage People

I just spent almost half of my tax return on making my car run better. This is awful and I haaaaate it.I had this friend who was broken up with and pretty upset. For a while. Like to the point where people who didn't know her that well we like "get over it" and then even her good friends were like "get over it." And I mean I get it, because she was super selfish around that time. Lots of drama, Coachella, this and that. All very Southern California and annoying.But at the same time I'm like... people can be pretty insensitive when it comes to others' feelings. Telling someone to get over feeling shitty and hurt by someone they care about is just really presumptuous I think. No one really gets to have a say in how long you're allowed to feel a certain way.Then again, feeling unhappy or bitter doesn't give you the right to talk about yourself all the time and ignore everyone else. We've all got some pretty serious first world problems. Like me not wanting to spend the money that I very much do have on a car that my parents bought me that very much needs new tires.I'm all for letting people feel their feelings but it's really not the biggest problem in the world and eventually everyone stops caring. So feel your feelings all you want, but don't expect that everyone will continue to care with you.Getting over something isn't just about the way it makes you feel though. It's about adjusting to a new lens and a new way of seeing life. When someone you love dies, you have to grapple with them never being around again. It's not like they just aren't talking to you; they're gone forever.But we're not talking about death here because I'm not really familiar with it and also because comprehending the reality of it is super depressing.But I AM familiar with breakups. Urrrrgly breakups. And like general betrayal and lying and confusion. I don't want to presume anything about this friend's breakup, but it seemed like a normal and healthy breakup to me. So whatever, maybe mine have been too and I'm just delusional and self-centered.For shits and gigs let's pretend I'm not delusional, for the sake of my reputation.The reality of life is that we exist within relationship to everyone else in the world. Six degrees of separation and stuff like that. Our lives consist of our interactions with other people and relationships with those around us. Close relationships with people we love have a particular impact. Especially when you get dumped. Even more so when someone dies, but we're not going there, right? Just the dumping.I can confidently say that at one point, the getting dumped and friend shitting on your life combo scrambled my brain pretty well, for a few years. Now I'm finally getting back to being a sane human being (but possibly delusional). A solid 3 years later. Getting dumped is rough but it's a fairly normal thing that can be handled in a respectful manner. For me, that wasn't what made a particular relationship (or two, really, actually sort of three...) so difficult to handle. For the span of a year or so, I kept finding out about how people had lied to me, had spun lies about me, and had made sport of laughing at me behind my back.I spent a year coming to terms with my actions as a garbage person. Actions such as dating a guy that my friend had a crush on and then succumbing to this hellfire that was created after. But like honestly, thinking about it, I just cannot fathom that anything I did was so awful that I deserved to have people intentionally hurt me.What was so hurtful about it? That this person who I thought was my friend, who never told me that my actions bothered her, made it apparent that she had never liked me or cared about me at all, to the point where she TOLD me about about how she had sex with my ex, how often they had make out even before that, how the two of them had a threesome with her boyfriend, how the three of them laughed at the things that I texted to my ex and made fun of me together.In the end, I've spent a good chunk of my life feeling bad for shit that I shouldn't feel bad for. I pissed of a wretched person and dated a narcissist. Blaahhhh.Then for a while I was like TRUST NO ONE, EVERYONE IS HORRIBLE but it was in a far less conscious manner. It's honestly pretty difficult to find people who don't say negative things about people behind their back. I've settled to allow light gossip. Re: the dating sitch, the dating pool in Los Angeles does not set a great standard.I suppose something positive came out of that situation. You know, with the friend who snuck around with my ex-boyfriend for months, who later told me that I was pathetic for being so broken up about that breakup. Thanks to her, I decided to stop being friends with such awful shit monster people.Since then, I've befriended some fantastic and intelligent women who actually contribute substance to my life. Even so, I have to repress the urge to overthink actions and words. Honestly, it's a little self-centered to assume that everyone is out to get you. But passive aggressiveness ties so closely to insecurities. It's sort of easy to think that people are intentionally needling me in parts that are most sensitive.Even so, I'm satisfied that my old shit monster pal seems to be continuing to make the same shitty mistakes in life. Because yeah, I totally creeped.I also have a new cruuusshhhh. 

Say You Will, Say You Won't, Make Up Your Mind

Is life really about doing what you want? Is that all there is to it, in the end? That's a sort of selfishness is appealing but can also be hurtful to others. So then it becomes a matter of which you care about less: getting what you want or hurting someone. There are a few things to consider. Like do I care about this person enough that I don't want hurt them? What if I choose not to hurt this person, don't get what I want, and I suffer instead? To what extent should we force ourselves to suffer so as to not cast that struggle on to someone else?Shit happens and people get hurt. That's the way it goes. We have to be selfish to make the best lives for ourselves. Other people can't be our main priority.For the record, I'm talking only about participating adultish people here. Not like people with families or major responsibilities or anything. That's the point of it all anyway, isn't it? To get those major responsibilities? To rely on ourselves. To find people who deserve our selflessness. Maybe being selfish comes first, so we can be selfless later. We're all working to get to what we want. To get the big career or family or that rad vacation or whatever it is. There's always a price to pay, something to lose, sacrifices to make.

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The In-Between

I wish I didn't feel such a great need to understand everything. I'm not talking about how computers work or anything like that. That sort of stuff has answers, as complicated and confusing as they are. I'm talking specifically about the question why. WHY do I feel the need to question everything? WHY does this person act like that, WHY did this or that happen? I want to understand intention and the way everything fits in the universe but at the moment I'm stuck on my own role in all this mess.If I had a job I'm sure it would be a less daunting question. We're all insignificant, but working for the Man or at least someone creates a sense of purpose. Make money doing a job you hate, or love, and then spend it on stuff you want or need or trips you want to take or whatever you want, really. Create fulfillment. But I'm still looking for a job since the store that I'd worked at closed, and I don't have those opportunities.I could take the easy way out and work in retail again or even In N Out. They make good money. But now I have this stupid thing called standards and want to find something stable. I don't want to commit, especially when I don't know exactly what I want to do, but I don't want to work in a glutton factory anymore. Glutton for materialism, glutton for food, whatever. I don't want to sell people shit they don't need or food that will kill them. I don't want to work with people at all, really, but that's probably asking for too much.So in the mean time I apply for jobs and go to interviews and nothing works out and this feeling of inadequacy grows. Logic is no match for the simplicity of emotion. As if emotion is anything but intensely complicated. But it does what it wants and despair is a tough feeling to conquer. I'm lucky to have parents who continue to support me while I continue to try and try and try but I'm starting to wonder why, why, why.Like I could move back to Maine. I don't have family there anymore but I have friends. I could fly back to LA twice a year for my school workshops. I was hot shit in Portland. I stood out. But it's different here. There's nothing like being surrounded by flawless females to crush a girl's confidence. Then again, that probably has a lot to do with the whole dating thing not working out. I couldn't have decided to give up on that game at a better time. Sometimes giving up really is just for the best. It's not like having a boyfriend matters. My standards are really not that high for what I want at this point, as far as commitment goes, anyway. But somehow it always ends in disappointment and disappointment is tiring.Then there are my friends. I have a few excellent ones, which is great, but this crew as a whole is just so unreliable. I don't know. Maybe it's me. I don't like the way it works, the one-on-one or little groups or big parties. Why can't it be a handful of friends, nothing prepared to death or rager reliant? Why do we always have to go out to dinner or a bar or fucking trapeze class or Palm Springs? Whyyyy do people need to plan even the littlest thing on Facebook? Why can't we get a group together and hang at home, drinks some beers, maybe smoke some weed, and watching a fucking movie? Maybe I'm just not invited to those casual hangouts. It's possible. Probably not. But maybe. But everyone has their stupid little drama and I'm sorry friends, but it really is stupid. It shouldn't be so difficult to get a handful of people together, but it is because one person already has plans and someone doesn't like someone else.I like the mix of chicks and dicks that I grew up with, a mix that apparently doesn't really exist here, because maybe men and women really can't just be friends. Or maybe it's just me. Is it? That's the worst question and I'm sure if I actually asked, I wouldn't get a straight answer. I miss my old friends, the ones I've known since middle school. I miss the friendships that are reliable and rock solid. I liked having a small crew of people who all liked each other, who had gotten over the bullshit years ago. It takes years of interest and effort to create that and I want it now. Right now. But I don't even know who's a reliable choice and who's got that brand of LA flake that I'm learning to hate and simultaneously become.I don't like this in-between.

Run For Your Life

You know those slasher films, where the stupid teenagers decide to split up to go looking for a murderer? The movies where you KNOW what's going to happen and you just DON'T UNDERSTAND why those teenagers are such idiots? Well I'm pretty sure that can be applied to relationships too. Like when you see your friend making the same mistakes she always makes while you're just sitting there like WHY CAN'T YOU SEE WHAT YOU'RE DOING?But then you end up in the exact same position with the most successful tunnel vision that's ever occurred in the history of mankind. We all have certain patterns that we're comfortable with which tends to cause history to repeat itself. To what extent do we try to change these habits, though? To what extent should we accept certain aspects about ourselves, rather than trying to change them, and instead make the most of what we have?At some point we're all saddled with some sort of baggage. I mean all a relationship really is is two people whose issues are compatible. Try as we might to improve our weaknesses, we're all flawed and we always will be.

The Camera Flashes Make It Look Like A Dream

LA and I have a weird relationship. Well no, to say that we have a relationship would imply that LA cares about me. LA does not care about me. It doesn’t care about anyone. It is a desert and a horrible place to live. It is unbearably hot in the summer and somehow even worse in the fall, particularly in the Valley, yet somehow people still choose to live there.*

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It is incredibly dirty. Like people always say how gross and dirty New York is but I cannot believe that it is dirtier than LA. I just can’t. It’s possible that the dirtiness is an illusion caused by the literal dirt that is everywhere, but that’s because it never rains here. Ever.Just like in Hell.Living in LA has actually given me conflicting feelings about grass. Seriously. Grass. Because if you have grass, I judge you for wasting water on something as insignificant as a lawn. Yet I just can’t blame you for wanting just the tiniest sliver of emerald green happiness. Yes, it will only be a tiny sliver, because even the lawns in Beverly Hills are ridiculously small. You know how much money my parents’ house and land would be worth in LA? Do you? A lot. Do you know how much it’s worth in Maine?Not nearly as much as it’s worth in LA.

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Yet somehow, I find myself really liking it here.  I've found good people to have life convos with and who like to do fun things.  Did you know there's a lot of fun to be had in LA? Because I didn't.  I mean logically yes, of course, but now that I'm here I 'm like hey now, slow down with all these Fun Town shenanigans.  I've never been exactly hard to please when it comes to outings.  Give me a dive bar to drink at, a mountain to hike, or a beach to bum around, and I'm good to go.  A great thing about this place is that is has all that stuff and then some.  Like a lot of then some.  Outdoor movies, epic dance parties, sample sales, comedy shows, and getting to say you had your first kiss on the corner of Melrose in front of a comic book shop.

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I’m leaving out something obvious though. The celebrities. They’re everywhere. From hiking the same trails at Runyon to being buried in the cemetery that you’re going to see an outdoor movie screening at.Everywhere.Out of all the people that I know in this city, one girl has dated a guy from Pretty Little Liars, I went to the same concert as yet another guy from Pretty Little Liars, and the guy I’m dating met one of the main actresses from, you guessed it, Pretty Little Liars.And those are just the people we’ve met from one show.Coming from New England this felt like a really big deal until I realized that it just isn't.  They all have to live somewhere, right?  I finally stopped being surprised when I saw Chloe Moretz walking down a random ass street in my old neighborhood months ago.  I blatantly stared and then called a bunch of people. Don’t get me wrong, as common as it is, it’s still exciting. I would be lying if I said otherwise.  Like more recently, I got to chat with one of the actresses from Veronica Mars.  I love that show.  A lot.  Like it gives me hardcore fangirl feelings.You know what we talked about?  Athlete’s foot.  For about 20 minutes.

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I mean aside from Stephen King and I guess Glenn Close, Maine has nothing going for it when it comes to celebrities. Stephen King is a big deal, but I grew up in the same town that he lives in. The appeal regarding his status is lost on me. That’s the thing about celebrities. They really are just people. For most of them, fame is just an unfortunate side effect of their actual jobs.Honestly, the whole fascination with them is pretty strange.  People's lives are used as entertainment.  Where they go and what they wear are current events.  The part that gets me the most is that none of it is even real.  Actors "date" to create press for movies.  Tabloids spin stories that aren't true.  People become icons become idols.Us common folk think that celebrities are commodities to be stared at, whispered about, and taken pictures with.  Like what is really the point of a picture?  To prove that you spotted a famous person out in the wild?  They're not animals.  They don't stop existing when the show is over and the movie ends.   I’m not a religious person but there’s probably some pretty sound logic behind not worshiping false idols, you know?  These are human beings, not to be idolized, but to be respected.  Not because they have familiar faces, but because of the work that they do.  At the end of the day, they're just people doing their jobs, just like you.With hackers leaking nude photos of female celebrities left and right, our culture's obsession has reached an all-time high.  Even worse still are those who are victim blaming, saying celebrities don't have a right to privacy because of their status.  Like seriously?  Fame is such a weird thing.  We think that because we recognize a person's face from a movie or a billboard, we have a right to know what their life is.  Some say that they chose this life, knowing what it would be like and maybe they did, but that's not an excuse to act like they're exhibits that exist solely for our pleasure.So I get it.  I do.  We all have those people whose work we're actually really big fans of and would freak the fuck out over if we got to meet them.  You want to take a picture with this person to remember that magical moment forever?  Why the fuck not.  But if you're a show off who wants to feel impressive because you got to meet someone with a recognizable face, then you can get the fuck out.Stephen King is just a guy who writes books. Glenn Close is just a lady who throws epic Halloween parties. Some of them are great and some of them are the worst. Most will have a conversation with you and be really nice about it, no matter how horrible you are, and none of them are going to actually befriend you, no matter how nice you are. Let’s be real here. You’re probably the kind of person who makes a big deal about befriending someone famous, which means you are not the kind of person someone famous would actually befriend.

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Except me. I am definitely going to become friends with Kiernan Shipka.  She will be my personal stylist and life guru. I know some people probably think that’s weird because she’s like 10 years younger than me, and to those people I say, just be glad Suri Cruise lives all the way in New York, ok?Regardless, getting to meet someone famous is momentarily pretty awesome. The kind of awesome that maybe you will take a picture of and that you tell all your close friends about immediately.  It's the kind of awesome they will be immensely jealous of for about two seconds and then promptly forget, because beyond that, no one actually cares.Just like LA.

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*The Valley is a safe haven for white people who are not so comfortable with the not-so-minor minorities that exist in this city.  Because oh yeah, living here has placed me right in the reality that is how white washed and racist the media is and just how biased the rest of the country is, too.

 

You Are Lovely and You Are Loved

The following is a letter to one of my dearest, most darling friends.Dearest Friend,I love you.  Fate and a mutual pal brought us together and I'm so thankful for that.  I had my reservations at first, you being a stranger and all, not to mention the stories that I'd heard of your shenanigans.  I needed someone to live with and so did you.  You came highly recommended though.  What was the worst that could possibly happen?That was one hell of a year.You brought me out of my shell.  You were so kind and open when I was very alone.  You included me.  You respected me.  You were one of the few good things in my life that first year that we knew each other.  It was during that year that you became someone who will be important to me forever.  I don't think I've ever told you how much I appreciated your friendship during that time, but I did.  I still do.You have such good stories and I'm so glad to be part of them.  Well, some of them, because girl, you have quite a few.  It's because of you that I discovered that I have the ability to create my own.  To live them.  Maybe not as wild as yours, but you sure did love trouble (your words, not mine).  Life was crazy and you were wonderfully fun and young.Let me remind you: you still are.You are still wonderful and life is still crazy.  It always will be.  There's never any rest.  You are an incredible human being and you have survived far worse.  I know that you know this, but I felt like reminding you.  You have an amazing support system of people who love you.  You're an amazing friend, one of the few that I'm lucky to call my best.There is this spark in you that draws others to you like moths to a flame.  I recognize you as a kindred spirit in that way.  But you burn far brighter than many realize.  Too often, you're somehow the one who ends up burned.  It's so unfair that someone so bright and fantastic has such misfortune, but I suppose that's the way it goes.  You set the bar so high just because of who you are.  Few can measure up.You will be ok.  I know you know that, but it's always good to hear anyway, don't you think?  Don't let anyone stifle your flame.  Don't settle.  I think that's one of the hardest things in life, especially for people who shine as brightly as you.  It's difficult, but you're better than that.  You are not alone.  You will never be alone.You are lovely and you are loved.  Always.Love,Me 

It's Time To Leave and Turn To Dust

Picture this.  You’ve just gotten out of the shower.  You’re doing your thing.  You know, that after shower routine that we all have, different as they may be.  And you notice that something isn’t quite right.  Something catches your eye.A cell phone.  Unusually placed, kind of tempting to snoop.  It’s just right there for you.  But you get distracted, by something else.  Why is it placed like that?  It’s so suspicious, but that’s just you.  You’ve gotten used to the paranoia, but you check anyway, knowing you’re wrong.And it turns out that you aren’t.  That your paranoia has for once proven true.  The phone’s camera has been turned on.  It’s recording.  It’s recording you.The moment that your privacy has been invaded to such an unthinkable extent is very unfamiliar territory.  It doesn’t matter what you were doing, what you were wearing.  Or what you weren’t.  There was trust, and just like that, there isn’t.  There’s just a blank.  But you know one thing.  That you’re crying.  It always comes down to crying.  Because that’s it.  How much worse, after everything, after this, could it get?  The one person who was actually supposed to be good, the best person you knew, was not so much anymore.  Not really.So that one person you were supposed to be able to depend on was unstable.  Certainly not the rock you’d always assumed.  What’s left after that?  Who even is there?I’m glad to say, and finally realize, after far too long, that I always have my parents.