Nineteen.

Unknown

 

 

News flash:  My life is still pretty lame. My boyfriend finally went back to Kent which meant I had to dry my tears, put on my clothes and step out into the big wide world and go back to my uncle’s house. Taking up his place is the derpiest watch dog ever, named Monster, but who is actually not at all like a Monster, but is a giant furry, shedding rottweiler/collie mix of a baby who thinks every second I am not in my bed is either play time or dinner time.  I went to the fair last week, which was lame minus the delicious food, and then to an Asian house part at Kent with my boyfriend, his friends and my best friend Patrice. It was super weird. No one was speaking English, excluding us, an awkward, lanky white guy that was known as the white Chris, a few other friends of his, and these four chubby girls dancing their asses off in the middle of the very, very small apartment. Between the gallon of soy sauce on the counter, the study schedules on the fridge and the harajuku dressed girls crowded around everywhere, smiling at mostly disinterested guys deep in discussion about god knows what, ignoring the giggling. It was a bit much. We went outside where some kind of locust promptly flew at us, and at this point the Wild Irish Rose was starting to actually taste good.

And then we smoked and dipped, because that was really what we came for anyhow.  We had some yummy ass cookies at Insomnia Cookies, which I had heard about but since they have neglected to open one anywhere in Atlanta yet, I hadn’t had them. Lemme just tell you…… Peanut. Butter. If I had a car and a job, I’d be there every weekend, stat. Anyway, besides that, and lots of sleeping and having entirely unacceptable* amounts of sex, and eating tons of brown sugar pound cake instead of food. My weekend was just a weekend.

I have came to this weird (or pathetic) conclusion, that despite my independent black woman persona, and my all or nothing habits. I really need a support system nearby, if I’m going to go back to school, sooner rather than later. Weirdly enough, a friend of mine is having this same existentialistic, maybe I’m not as smart as I thought I was, LORD THIS DEBT! kind of crisis, exactly when I did. A little less than halfway through sophomore year, and now that that was officially two years ago, I’m starting to realize as much as I want to be a self-sufficient bitch. Sometimes I really, really need help, even if help is just someone there to remind me everyday to take my medicine and the shitty things that happen when I don’t, or someone to hold my hand at  night when I have crappy dreams or just someone I can pig out with on McDonald’s even if I’m going to pay for it in a few hours.  Someone to clean the house with, and lay around with and someone to get lunch with or bake with. And have really great, un-self conscious sex with. I used to be the person that thought sex was soooooo overrated, and I hate the misogynistic ass comments like “You just need some dick,” when I’d start voicing any kind of frustration that was too “feminist” for my male friends.

The truth is that it does help to have some regular fucking in life. Just like some days, I need a good bout of nature to feel like a real person, or just need to stuff myself and indulge on pizza, cookies, and chocolate once or twice or thrice a month. People need l.o.v.e..e..e..e..e and affection* to ground them.  To make you remember that even if it feels like you are getting farther and farther away from giving a fuck about your future, whether you live or die, or whether you ever get off the couch again,  that someone loves all the parts of you that you secretly hate, and even loves the part of you that fucks up or makes them super angry or is a petty criminal,  and that someone out there is willing to put up with your fucking bullshit, just like you’re willing to put up with theirs. Whether it’s romantic love, or the unconditional, non-judgemental love of a child, or your parent’s stifling and sometimes ridiculously erroneous, neglective and nonsensical love.  Or that weird combo of all of those things you sometimes get for people that meant everything to you, in good and bad ways.  And it’s even better to be that person for someone you love. I see only win/win here. We get on each other’s last goddamn nerves. But as long as we have other friends and position our schedules in a way where we have some me time every single day for a little while… I don’t know why it couldn’t work. We lived together for nearly four months, and besides shit getting out of hand when we were cooped up and in each others faces’ all the time AND when I was totally off my meds and on my period and stressed out from living with an extra fabulous gay man…. Things were fine.

So I don’t know. I really want to move in together and we are scheduled to talk about it realistically soon, because if that’s the case, we both need about three jobs and we need to save and talk about how/when/where we’re going to do this. I want to start school again next year but I’m also tempted to wait until I am twenty four so I can get all of the financial aid I possibly cacn, but that can only happen if I make sure I keep paying them on time and that requires me to ask for money every month.

But it would be costing less than I usually do to my parents and I think I need to really re-adjust to living independently, and to dealing with my depression and anxiety in a way where I’m not doing emotional acrobats to stay sane. Because after Aris died (Immediately after my life changing experience at VONA and after really solidifying my first really real relationship) , I went off the map. Couldn’t tell you where I was. Both a great thing and a terrible thing happened in the space of three weeks. It was emotional vulnerability times a million, and all the stress of actually learning things that not only were difficult to me, but had also lost their wonder and their interest…. I’m literally speechless as to how I made it out of February with my life.

And I have been working and working, piece by piece to build myself back up but between that appropriating Miley wanna be ass bitch I was living with, two dramatic gay white men and my cat dying all because someone would not hold to their own offered promise and shit. I cannot. I could not. A great friend that is like a sister to me told me that this is just my season to have a seat and relax and heal until a time comes when my goodness, and my talents and my strengths can be used in the best time and place possible. Whether that’s at Spelman or any other school or at school at all, it doesn’t matter. Details come later.  And she has seen me through so much of my own bullshit in the last eight-ish years (that in retrospect wasn’t shit) that I have no reason not to trust her and know that I will be fine. Even though I am lost as shit sometimes, navigating my own life, there is a part of me that feel anchored, and a part of me that knows truth and authenticity and ingenuity , and I have faith in that, since my faith in people is a little jolted, as it’s never led me wrong when I can tell what it is that part of me needs me to avoid.  And living with my boyfriend, I think, is a step I think I’m ready to make. Most of it now is on him, and I’ve braced myself for either answer. I know he’s scared. I’m scared too. But that part of me that’s real and true wants him in my life because he makes me happy, even when I’m mad at him, and when I’m happy, I feel myself being restored. And I want that.

As I watch so many of my friends who are nineteen, and starting their second year of college, start to freak out and come home from school and lapse into depression and become fearful of making decisions when before they were the surest people in the world…. I feel like I am reliving that fear when I talk to them, and under fake complaints about classes and professors is the fear that they are doing something wrong. That they are inadequate, not the class, and that it isn’t worth the effort to try to be more than who they think they are.  And as its closer and closer to the anniversary of Aris’s death, I can’t help but think, god. Nineteen is just a hard age. It’s a hard world to be nineteen in. Any age really but especially that. So much of life changes for you in what seems like no time, what seems like is the future suddenly is like that demonic face in Insidious that was everywhere.

At nineteen, the most vivid thing I remember is lying on my counselor’s couch in her office after I had been drugged with a shit ton of Benedryl, with the trees outside on Spelman’s campus beautiful as ever and with everything in her office the same colors as outside. Red, golds, dark greens, fiery oranges. And I felt so afaird. Everything was beautiful out, and my campus was full of beautiful black women just like me — but they had their shit together. They went to class. They didn’t lie in bed and shake and have tremors for hours on end because they were too afraid and embarrased of a fucking C- to even step outside. I couldn’t even cry. I burned myself constantly, I worked out until I literally could hardly make it to my dorm.  A degree of perfectionism can be admirable with the right kind of stress relief and mindset in your life, but this was perfetionism on steroids, this was the Hulk of perfection and at nineteen, I looked in the mirror one day, with my 18.5 credits, 3.7 GPA, full time job as an RA, and long list of extracurriculars and it stared back out at me and laughed at my attempt. And in the middle of all of that, the two people I liked had moved on and so had my friends— my now boyfriend, then friend, told me about some random bitch he liked and my best friend of ten years and lover of a few months calls to excitedly tell me that she has a boyfriend. What? The cursh that I had dogged and who had kissed my ass for years suddenly had found someone with my name who was not only white, but pretty and not an idiot. He was over me. What?? The guys I fell back on to make me feel better had all given up on me and found someone else. All my friends were having sex and I wasn’t still. What!?

How was I supposed to deal with that, other than the way I did?

It’s getting easier now not to judge myself so harshly, when I’m in the right state of mind, when I’m grounded and thinking logically. And I think most of the healing you do on your own time is forgiving yourself for not being the perfect adult your child’s mind wanted you to be. That other’s might have expected you to be. And after you forgive, you have rebuild your own trust in the things in life you have done and the things and people that make you happy.

And if I have any regrets, I regret I never got to tell Aris this story. I have always, like she was with me, been the person who would never tell you what was wrong unless you could pry it out of me, and you couldn’t do that unless you knoew me very well. Even know the only people who can tell something is up, are my boyfriend, my childhood friend and my brother. It’s instinctual for me to handle things on my own outside my tight circle of support. So I never knew her story, and she never knew mine because when we spoke, we kept it happy. It kind of went like, “I feel kinda shitty today, but its mostly good and that’s what matters, maybe itll be better tomorrow. Maybe it’s just stress. Idk!”. Enter subject change and we’d nerd out about memes or Harry Potter or music she’d say I had to listen to or books that were 1000x better than their mainstream, Americanized ripoffs. I like to hope it might have made a little difference, but as someone who has been suicidal and has thought it about it with full intentions of doing it. I know that sometimes, in the back of your head, there’s nothing that can be done about it that will make you change your mind. It is a choice. I believe that now, that I’m still here, but it’s a hard one because that is the very nature of a mental illness; to convince you that your realities that keep you grounded, like love, and family, and friends and all your favorite smells, foods, and things to do, are never going to be enough. I think it comes mostly from our American culture, and when you are a black woman in the world, you feel the sting of that in a different way that men, and that white women, and definitely different (but not less traumatizing and devastating) that white men. My only real regret is that it could have brought us closer. But like everyone. I assumed I had so much more time. And that assumption, I think has really helped me take everything as it is, and react with love and kindness when things go badly. That white guy I was living with owes me two hundred dollars. But it’s okay, I’m pissed as shit, will never speak to him again, save ignorant remarks or what I want on my fucking burrito (Works at Chipotle now). But he;s going through shit too, and I don’t like him or respect him much more than need be to be human, but I respect that going through shit is hard, and it’ll be harder with me reminding you of the fucked up person you are and asking for my money back. A lesson in forgiveness. I try not to be mad at my boyfriend or my family (As infuriating as they are often) for more than a few hours or maybe a whole day. I still love them. And that’s more important than bickering about my boyfriend’s shitty temper or my aunt’s occasional selfishness, or my brother and mother’s harshness and my dad’s vague disinterest in life (They’ve all got lots better at it though). It’s stuff that comes with being human. And it’s okay. It’s not exactly fixable though it can be more seldom and we can work on that. I’m a total bitch for no reason much of the time. I have a control issue. Stuff I work oon. Every time I neglect to correct my boyfriend’s shitty driving or resist the urge to troll about lyrics to a song with my friends, I get Karma points, or so I hope. I give myself gold stars.

It is hard to choose to struggle when you know your chances on the other side are good that you won’t hurt anymore. You make it every hour of everyday. And you start to realize that it’s not the big questions in life that determine it’s quality. Its the small statements that people hardly realize about themselves. That they are happy when they’re held, or that food is fucking great, or that sleeping and getting rest is restorative, and that a rainy day with a mug of tea an a cat are sometimes the very thing you needed to breathe, and that kisses make you feel loved and whole. Those things are what life should be about, while you’re here.

Those are the things you should remember.

 

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