“and what about you?”

i hate fireworks.

apart from them being loud and obnoxious and an obvious fire hazard- they remind me of a really crappy time in my life. one time, a few years ago, i was dumped over a one sentence text message on the 4th of july. yikes. so every time that day comes around i remember crying all the way home from a friends house while watching fireworks on the way home. aren’t they usually supposed to make you happy? people propose with fireworks. they get married and run down the aisle with sparklers. they don’t cry during them. not unless they’re afraid of them at least.

and i guess the reason i bring this up is not because i necessarily feel bad for myself or really want anyone to. its because i’ve been thinking about how interesting it is the way that we relate simple things to big things. and then we can never look at anything the same. although to be honest, i’m not quite sure if other people think or feel that way. i can remember something someone said to me years ago and most times i don’t even know where it came from. and recently i thought: why do we do that? i mean- its not a groundbreaking question. its simple really. am i just a chronic over thinker? who knows honestly. all i know is that my life has been so shaped by others. whether big or small. its shaped by each and every person i’ve ever loved. i was reading this poetry book recently and in one of the poems, the author is talking about how she is so tired of writing about someone who hurt her in the past, but she somehow can’t stop. its the only thing she knows so she can’t stop writing about it, even when she’s happy now. and as someone who probably writes on a daily basis, i couldn’t agree more. i write because people and things and places and moments stay with me long after they leave. long after i don’t even remember what their voice sounds like anymore. i don’t remember not ever doing that. maybe i think way too much about the things that have happened to me. i guess to try and make some sense of them. so the only thing i can do is write and write and write. and i don’t know how else to get the things that have hurt me out from inside of me other than to write them down. in hopes that i don’t have to think about them again. i feel like writing in a blog space has helped me in more ways than i initially thought. i remember a few years ago i wanted to start a blog- probably when i was still in high school and very much into all things tumblr. but i couldn’t do it. i put it off for a few years. and then someone broke my heart. and then i got in a car accident. and then i quit my job because i couldn’t get myself to get up. and then i started writing. and it just flew out. everything that i had kept inside just exploded. like it had been waiting to be written down. and i guess ever since then, this has turned into something that i didn’t even know it could turn into. i genuinely feel like whoever takes the time to read any of this (and doesn’t potentially think im crazy) is like my best friend.

even now, i look back and read my first ones and i can’t believe that little me was in so much pain and confusion. she didn’t even know what was coming. and i don’t know, i guess i haven’t written here in a while because i feel like i write the same things over and over. but in reality- im only trying to make sense of things. i’ve probably said this here before, but this past year-more than ever i have realized and seen that healing isn’t linear at all. sometimes it makes the biggest turns. sometimes you can’t sleep again but this time its only one night and it doesn’t happen for a long time again. one of my friends recently told me this: “its okay to be working every day towards being happy.” its okay to feel like that. and i couldn’t stop crying (as the cry baby that i am) because no one had ever said that to me before. it was always, you should be happy, you have everything you wanted-but no one ever gave me the space to grieve and be sad over all the things that i deeply wanted that didn’t work out. i guess i’ve lived in this narrative for a long time that tells me time after time that everyone will leave. and id be lying if i said that it hasn’t proven itself at times. because it very much has. i’ve spent far too long having nightmares where i wake up alone. they don’t happen very often anymore, but when they do i always wake up so scared. because i love the people in my life so much right now that i never want to lose them. i don’t ever want to wake up and not have them. but sometimes i still get scared. i remember the feeling of someone not loving you back anymore or your best friend replacing you or your family making fun of everything that you are and that you want to be. sometimes these feelings are so deep inside of me it takes days to get rid of them. it takes days to get rid of the fear that comes after them. the world is brighter now with what i have now. having things that make me feel like i can shine without changing everything about myself. those are the things that are helping me be a better person. those are the things that are helping me become the kind of adult i always wanted to be. and im nowhere near what i thought id be at. but im closer. to be completely honest, a few years ago i couldn’t even have imagined what 24 would look like. mostly because i didn’t think i could accomplish anything. i couldn’t even see past the day i was in. my mind was always racing and i couldn’t think of what anything in my future would look like. not that i didn’t have hope for it, of course i did. having hope for the future is a part of who i am and what i believe in. but this- this feeling was different. i couldn’t fathom going on with my life if i didn’t have some of the people that i loved so much.

and i remember my mother telling me it would get better as she sat next to my bed watching me cry, trying to get me to eat because i couldn’t stomach anything. every bone in my body hurt. my whole heart was hurting. and me and my mom are two polar opposites, but that day i felt like we were the same. she looked at me and wiped my tears away and told me that she wished she could switch places with me so that i wouldn’t be in as much pain as i was in. i think thats when i decided i would never have children. not because i don’t like them, but because i didn’t want to have to tell my daughter the same thing. i didn’t want her to be in bed heartbroken by a mediocre looking guy who was just gonna get married to the next girl anyway. i didn’t want her to think she was worth nothing just because one person decided she wasn’t. i didn’t want her to do that. i didn’t want her to have a soft heart like me. i didn’t want that. because sometimes i still have bad dreams. or good dreams that turn bad. bad because i wake up and they’re not true.

a fraction of a poem that made me cry (surprise) recently:

“just because someone left the biggest wound that you are still trying to sew shut

just because it keeps re-opening and snapping all the stitches

just because you may let it bleed a little bit

sometimes until it makes you lightheaded and stumbling

just because you sometimes miss the people that hurt you doesn’t mean you want them to come back and it doesn’t mean they should have never left

obviously because they nearly killed you

obviously they are bad for you obviously you have done the right thing in pushing them out of your life

but it does mean that sometimes you’re going to want to text them and ask them how they’ve been and you won’t

but you’ll want to sometimes

you’ll wish you could run into them at the coffee shop or a grocery store so when they ask what’s going on in your life you could tell them

and sometimes you will even want them back you will think that this time things could be different and you would both do better now even though you still haven’t heard a sincere apology from them

because in your dreams they are kind and soft and wise and do everything right and don’t cheat on you or lie to you or make you feel like you don’t deserve to be loved

and in your dreams you can miss them and feel like its an okay thing to do

and in your dreams you can even still love them and it won’t seem like something foolish

so sometimes i fall asleep thinking about you and when you come to me like i thought you always would i feel a little less broken

and when you ask me how my day has been i don’t feel like i’m lying when i say better now.”

-catarine hancock (sometimes i fall asleep thinking of you)

i don’t know what it was exactly that got to me here. maybe its the very last sentence. i don’t want to lie when someone asks me if im okay. its so easy to hide how i really feel, especially lately. i guess its not necessarily not telling the truth, its more like hiding it because you don’t want your friends to feel bad for you. i tend to think im doing better and then something happens. or ten things happen in a row. or at different times. and then someone asks you “what about you?”, “whats new with you?”. and you wish you didn’t know exactly what they mean by that. but you do, unfortunately you do. its always like the elephant in the room. and it always ends the same. because you have to keep your cool even though you feel a knot in your throat that could end with you crying if someone even as much as asks me if im okay. i don’t know how hard it is to just not make people feel bad just for not having something that you happily have. something that came easily to you. and its embarrassingly hard to say hey no, im sorry. i don’t have anyone because no one likes me like that. ahhhh if i had a dollar for every single time i’ve had to explain this. you would think that people would have common sense. when i moved away from my family i thought this would be over, but i guessed wrong. sometimes i feel like disappearing. will the questions stop then? im kidding. i know i can’t do that. my days of running away from my problems are long gone. i guess i just hadn’t realized how hard it was to not run away from them.

and its even harder to accept that people will be people. they will say things that hurt and never think of them again. meanwhile you feel like you’ve taken 20 steps back because someone asked you why you were still alone? insane. i guess thats what i get for feeling way too much, literally all the time. i wish my brain would shut up once in a while. i hope that not only for my sake but for others too, that people stop doing this. maybe ask your friends how they’re doing instead of asking them who they want to date. maybe ask them what books they’ve read lately. maybe ask them where they want to travel when they can. maybe ask them if there’s anything you can do to help them right now. even if that thing they need you to do is literally just listen to them cry. as a deeply emotional person- i can assure you that sometimes thats the only thing we need. i don’t need you to tell me that ill be happy one day or that things will get better. i sometimes just need someone to tell me they’re proud of me. because it gets tiring to be the only person telling yourself that. and i understand human nature is very much correlated to us making mistakes all the time. i’m sure i’ve said things before that have hurt my friends. but sometimes i just want people to understand that you can constantly be working on yourself. that you can think before you speak more often. that you can say something nice to your friends. you may see some things as a joke that they don’t. and to be honest, i’ve always struggled with this, putting everyone elses feelings above my own. and i guess thats the selfless and bigger person thing to do. but i miss myself.

i miss my 17 year old self who would be driving down the highway singing girls by the 1975.

” she can’t be what you need if she’s 17″ was always my favorite line back then.

and i really really really miss that girl. i really miss the girl i was before that one 4th of july. i wish i could remember what she was truly like. i just know that her smiles were more genuine. and i’m sure she trusted others more. i wish i could tell her how proud i am of her. because she didn’t know what was coming. and she was so obliviously happy. she didn’t dislike herself. i know that much.

and the fact that i’m 24 years old just doesn’t sit right with me. and its not really because of the age or the number. its the connotation that comes with it. who decided that girls expire when they’re 25? who decided that?

i wish i knew so that i could refer them to that scene in little women where jo march talks about how it feels to want more for yourself but also feel like time is running out. i shouldn’t have to feel like that. i truly don’t think anyone should feel that way. i’ve heard of way too many of my beautiful, talented and just flat out amazing friends who still get these comments. and i wish i could shed much more light on this, but i’m only one girl in her 20s . but i truly wish i could give everyone who goes through this a big hug. because if it was for me, i don’t think id even think of it much if people weren’t so insistent on bringing it up. on making it apparent that their lives are so much better just because they have someone to share it with. and im exhausted. i wish i could explain in words how truly exhausted i am by all of it. i just want to live my life like a normal person. i just want to be with my friends and not have to think about those things, you know? it seems like that gets harder by the minute.

and i guess i wish i wasn’t so exhausted from this. i wish i could end this post on a much more positive note but i don’t feel that way myself right now. all i can hope is that whoever reads this understands that their words have the power to hurt someone. and that they also have the power to help them too. i still remember all the times someone has told me they were proud of me.

you get to choose what you’re going to do. and honestly, regardless of all these things-i still have some pretty amazing people in my life. people i can call at 3 am if it really came down to it. people that have become like my family in the ways that they support me and don’t expect more than what i can give. and im really thankful. i’m thankful that every july i know i have people who love me, truly. who i can call. who won’t judge me for still processing things that maybe i shouldn’t be processing anymore. what can i say? it takes me a while.

so i guess at the end of all of this- i want everyone who reads this to really really think about it before the next time they’re about to ask one of their friends, “and what about you?”. as someone who gets asked this quite often, all i can say is that you never know what someone is going through. and that simple question can cause a a lot of damage. make sure you check on your friends. they aren’t there just to fulfill the role of being your friend, they are also human beings who deserve love and respect above all of that.

its something everyone deserves.


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