Inhale. Exhale. Repeat. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.
Inhale! Exhale! Repeat! Inhale! Exhale! Repeat!
Next thing I know, I’m hyperventilating, my hands can’t remain steady enough to pick up my phone, and my lungs feel like they’re caving in on themselves and my entire body is abandoning my mind. It’s a terrible feeling – it really is – to feel like the whole world is falling apart around you and you’re screaming to catch everything while no one hears you. Then you’re left, alone, trying to figure everything out by yourself and for yourself. I’m trying my best, I really am, but it feels like it will never be enough. But from the time I was a sophomore in high school to being a sophomore in college, I have changed for the better and for the worse, but still striving for the better. Each day, I gather another piece to the collection and one day, I will be able to see the whole picture and finally get this puzzle together and complete. As the currents are fighting against every will in me, all I can do is keep swimming. I may not be okay but I am okay.
I hate the way you never cut your hair,
and the way you ripped up my poems.
I hate that you got me to care,
but I told myself, “You’re below him.”
I hate that you had an attitude;
You were always so angry,
it felt like I was in constant servitude
and I’ll always be seen as skanky.
I hate how you said my full name,
so I feel offended when someone else does too.
I hate how I know you don’t feel the same.
I hate how you always said, “You do you.”
But mostly, I hate the way that I don’t hate you. Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.
[inspired by Gil Jungers’s “10 Things I Hate About You]
There was an odd tension that filled the atmosphere – as if my entire world was shifted and I was in a different city in a different diner with a different person. But it was all the same and nothing had changed. But it really did.
It was bittersweet seeing the person I loved, but knowing it would never be the same haunted me. Everything in me told me to walk away, to leave, to get up and not look back. Yet I stayed there because somehow, the person sitting in the chair in front of me felt like it was everything I wanted in the world and nothing else mattered.
We spent more time together, grabbing ice cream and having casual conversation. It wasn’t until we went back to what once felt like my second home where I began to feel uneasy. My stomach turned, my hands wouldn’t remain steady, and my mind was spiraling up and down. I can’t believe I lost him, kept trailing my mind. It was all my fault.
But then he kissed me.
I never thought I would ever get the feeling of butterflies and that “spark” again, but I did and I had been replaying that feeling over and over again and it does not diminish. It is still equally exciting as when it did happen.
Yet, deep down I knew it was wrong. Eventually, I was lying down and I remember him asking me if I was okay with it. I said we shouldn’t, but he let out a half-sigh/half-groan and I flooded with guilt. So I let him have me.
I gave him everything and immersed myself in him. I was full of guilt and shame. But I did it because I wanted to give him all that I can because loved him.
But it was a mistake. And again, it wasn’t love.
Sitting on the side of a dirt road, a minuscule piece of earth managed to find its way where no other pebbles are found. Through every swing and ricochet, it still remains; back and forth, different grass, new sand. With as many people passing by, it has seen, heard, and felt the brutality on this earth and even experienced it itself. As entertainment, it gets kicked around like nothing. But it is nothing, isn’t it? The power of one person or one action can push another’s limits: testing, testing, and testing. Not once, not twice, but enough times that it has degraded into something unrecognizable. It has been stripped away from its originality and purity then became tossed into the rest of the used and abused. Covered in dirt, scarred with silver scratches, and imprisoned into nothing. It has been belittled, abused, and forgotten. I am a pebble.
There was a lengthy line waiting for the ATM, and despite the fact that I had no urgent reason to wait twenty minutes in that line, I did. I was surrounded with people tapping their foot, cross-armed, people arching over their phones, and people huffing and puffing. In all honesty, I’m usually one of those people on a 24/7 basis – irritated, impatient, and basically pissed off for no apparent reason. That’s who I am.
But it was odd. I never spend any time outside, and the weather was beautiful that afternoon. Many of the students had just been released from school, others are getting off work, and the city felt alive. I stood there and let the world take over me. I closed my eyes for a minute, and felt the sun on my skin and the California wind flying against my face. Instantly, I fell into a memory of laying on the grass as a child and being so happy and content with life. My mind trailed back to my elementary school and my friends laughing around me. It was blissful.
A car backed up and almost hit another car. Back to reality. I wish my happiness could last for longer than a minute.
What once was warm and embraced me began to weather down; it became cold and empty and the branches began to wither. My feathers were left on the bed, but that was all. I didn’t look back, and I landed somewhere sunny and fresh. It felt new and exhilarating, and I began to look around and saw that it looked familiar. Of course, the sun was the same, but the smell of the trees, the whispers of the leaves, and the branches felt too familiar. Then I realize I had been here before – it was a home I once knew, but it grew with nature and blossomed into beauty. Over my head, the leaves gleam of rich green and my feet wrap around the mighty branches. I wished it could be mine once more, but it now belongs to another. So until I find the same freshness and exhilaration, it is just my wings and I. And that is okay with me.
It wasn’t love because there was so much hurt. It wasn’t love because you don’t talk to those you love like that. It wasn’t love because there was no forgiveness or understanding. It wasn’t love because sacrifices were taken for granted.
It was me being desperate, again.