Some people are so comfortable in their own skin that they create their own sense of belonging. It is not fostered by their surrounding environment, but simply just by being. I wondered what that kind of a life would feel like as I walked down the streets in Toronto, deep into the evening. The important buildings that lined the streets where important people went to work intimidated me. I tried my best to not be fazed and hold my spirit together, I looked cute today after all. But there’s only so much a skirt can help you with.
I am important too, I am useful too, I have a job waiting for me too. Where is the basis for my feelings of insignificance? Why do I let new shiny buildings make me feel so entirely worthless?
We live in a kind of world where happiness is never effortless. The idea that laughter only comes with sweat from hard work and tears from turmoil is so sad. I spend a lot of days cooped up in my room thinking that it makes me happy. No, it only makes me comfortable.
Yesterday evening I took my bike out for a “spin”. I struggled to stay on my bike and to go forth in a straight line. I bruised all parts of my legs and cramped up my hands. But when I felt the breeze flow through my hair, I was okay with all of it. I couldn’t feel my hands when I came back, my muscles were sore, I was sweaty, but I felt so deeply satisfied it was okay. Happiness doesn’t come whole and perfect. At least, mine is always tattered and beaten before it gets to me.
Today driving to Starbucks for a half-priced frap, I felt free with the windows down and music pumping. I wore a cute outfit and didn’t get annoyed with the traffic. I didn’t want to cry even once. I reversed into parking spots twice without hitting a car or a person. The customer service I had at my bank was so good I could’ve thought the bank teller was hitting on me.
It’s a good start to May.
Summer time is always scheduled for intensive damage control. From head to toe, out to in, I don’t know how to count all the things that need fixing after the extensive damage acquired the past eight months. But I have faith it can be done. Not overnight, not easily, but just because I cry easily doesn’t mean I’m not strong.
1. I got hired!!!!!!
Having a job will give me a sense of security and responsibility. I don’t think anything feels as good as knowing exactly where you have to be every moment of the day. That makes me sound incredibly boring, but I can’t help but feel that way after having too much free time to think this year.
2. I have a bunch of events lined up for upcoming months
I think I’ve spent entirely too much time by myself. There are lots of big events and festivals in Toronto this summer and I’m planning on attending all of them, with or without a companion. Nothing quite like being surrounded by people to focus on other things in life.
3. I need to burn a new CD for the road
Yes you heard me. I still use CDs. But depending on how much time I’ll be spending on the road, maybe it will be time to switch to using an aux cable this summer.
4. Some other big plans
I want to buy a bike that can take me places that are those awkward distances where driving feels wasteful but walking is too far. And I need to learn how to swim. Seriously. Hopefully advance my Korean a bit (so much willpower is required for this) and write regularly (also difficult). They aren’t entirely possible but they give me hope. I should probably also read a bit more this summer even without my internet problems.
So here’s to a fulfilling four months! Here’s to conquering again and again, rebuilding myself from the dust again and again, and always having faith in life. I may have wanted to have an emotional breakdown while crossing the street fifty times, but life is still beautiful. I still believe it. And I always will.
Last night I said goodbye to my third year of undergrad, and my new beginning started at 5:30 AM this morning. The past eight months were hell and I have yet to leave it even though I’ve been at home in my pj’s for 7 hours. I lost my way in second year, but this year I lost myself.
I don’t know where to begin. I cried so much. Everywhere. If I didn’t cry, I almost did. At night under my blankets, walking to the bus stop in the morning, during my run on the treadmill, looking at the stars at night. I was powerless. I still am. Some nights I was so shaken up I couldn’t calm down until I watched five YouTube videos in the dark before bed. My heart ran with it, my hands trembled, I couldn’t breathe. And it happened again and again.
And I realize that somewhere along the way, among frustration, disappointment, and fear, I had lost myself. I stopped valuing me and became nothing. 16-year-old me would’ve been the first to call this pathetic, but here I am now. For months I lived in a dark place where I couldn’t find solace in anything. Nothing was permanent, nobody was reliable.
In my moments of desperation I wanted to break something, to hurt someone. I wanted to cause as much damage as I’ve received. I wondered if I kept living like this, will I one day want to walk into a speeding car? Where is the end of my strength? Why do I no longer have a bottom line for what I can take?
It’s because I’ve stopped respecting myself probably. I didn’t receive the respect, support, and love that I needed. Eventually I didn’t know what to do with this body that has no importance.
It’s summer now and I can make it a new beginning. I know I’m valuable. I just have to live like it now.
The body is such a miraculous thing. Upon hearing those awful words, my appetite and hunger for that slice of apple pie disappeared in a matter of seconds. My mouth turned dry and my heart, pounding vigorously, began to disassemble my ribcage for its grand escape. I held my phone with my cold fingers, hands shaking harder than during that presentation I made three days ago.
I wanted to eat that apple pie. It was my reward. But all I want to do now is to break something.
“What’s in that box?” He asked me, his breath white in the coldness of the air. I turned back to glance at him, and I saw the cigarette between his two fingers. I pretended not to notice.
“Birthday present,” I said and I remembered the day I caught him with a smoker’s breath. I walked alongside him, my words stale and dead. I caught him I caught him I caught him. I didn’t want to.
“That’s cool, who’s it from?” He asked again, like he knew me well and he wanted to continue our conversation. And he did know me well, but that was back then. Am I the same person? I don’t know.
“Amanda,” I told him and he nodded because he knew that name. That day I caught him and I told him that his breath smelled like smoke. I did it before we parted and I told him calmly. He held me with his strong arms and he said he was sorry.
I told him it was okay and left.
“Tell me what’s inside after?” He called out to me as I walked away. I told him okay without looking back and I was just thinking of that cigarette in his hand, burning away.
He told me he would stop, but I guess there’s no use to worry about somebody who is no longer mine.
I wrote this when I was 16 on my Tumblr blog for writing at the time, where I also wrote terrible “poetry”. To this day I’m not quite sure what it was that I felt after I broke up with this boy that made me write all kinds of sad things. Looking back it all felt like a bad Korean drama with a sad ending.
At first, I folded my legs and held them close to my body. Then the space got smaller and I do everything in my power to bend, to flex, until I’m the size of a speck of dust. Around me are strangers who sit with their bodies spread out, in the space I used to occupy. I wonder what they could’ve possibly done to take the place that I thought was rightfully mine. But if I’m brought along, that’s okay. I don’t need to take up space. I don’t need a lot. I’ll become so small that I weigh nothing. Just don’t leave me behind. Please take me with you.