i would have whispered you stardust
i would have whispered you stardust
i would have whispered you stardust
i would have whispered you stardust
i would have whispered you stardust
i would have whispered you stardust
I’ve spent the last two years underwater, but somehow I’m still not a mermaid. I suppose I never purposefully embarked on a journey to live in the water, didn’t consciously realize that I had been holding my breath for so long now that it has become second-nature, until that’s all I kept doing. At first, it was just me taking my sweet time to turn things over, muse, set them back down, and drift elsewhere along the sea bottom only to come back to reexamine them to see if I missed something, and this would occur again and again, and again. Of course, I’ve been holding my breath the entire time, so maybe I was never meant to be a fish anyway, since fish do indeed breathe through their gills, these ingenious biological contraptions fanning the sides of its head that allow oxygen to flow into its circulatory system while pushing carbon dioxide out. Or maybe it’s intent that has brought me here, here in my mermaid-less state, hands folded over each other, shoulders hunched over the public pool’s yellowing plastic edge as I let me heart rate come back down, coming to the reluctant acknowledgement that I had never really wanted to be a mermaid even though I checked off all the tacit requirements.
Spend time in water? Check.
Deem the state of underwater to be your home? Check.
A natural at swimming? Empty box, awaiting a check.
I was never a stellar swimmer, always too afraid to drown even when I could swim to wilfully allow myself to float, to relax. On the rare occasion I would let a friend convince me to jump off her dock into the lake, agree to play a game underwater after some prompting. Life in the water was never a choice made with time, made with purpose. Life in the water just happened, the slowest of epiphanies to ever be remarked, something that slowly seeps into your mind that you’ve been doing all along though you don’t know how.
I took my last breath when he left two years ago. Maybe the water in all the ways that it refracts, in my careful study of the way something looks in one angle doesn’t look quite the same way in another, made me unaware. Maybe the way my mind was always occupied and I went on this mission to forget went awry. I just held it, swept by the promise of lost treasures, prizes that may have been overlooked by the big skimmer on its first length across the ocean floor. You think no one’s dropped money down there? A gold ring? Some bauble that contains even the slightest precious metal? A love note that got side swept in the wind and into the water? A body? Did it come by accident? Who cares. It’s the end point that counts at the end, isn’t it? Especially when you’re down in the darkest crevices of the sea floor. At that point, there’s no way it’s not about the journey. There’s only you, the breath your holding, and all the evidence at your feet.
There are no mirrors down on this floor, especially because mirrors refract light in order to be useful. But alas, there is no light down in this trench. This bitch is Mariana. And that’s what makes it perfect: you can’t see yourself, you can’t get distracted with about-faces. You just have to keep going ahead, inspecting albeit blindly the artefacts for worth, collecting the promising candidates in your ever expanding mesh bag, and going on with the search. It never ends. The ocean’s not finite of course, but it takes time to turn over everything but good thing you have some time. And you get greedy, especially when there aren’t other people who can hold their breaths as long as you to nag you, remind you that if you slowly come back up (as to prevent your lungs from bursting from the sudden change in pressure), you can make it back to the surface, and at the surface you can breathe. It’s a fucking midnight kingdom here, and you don’t have to bask in disgust of yourself. It’s not particularly filthy down here, there’s just a lot of stuff. There’s a lot of stuff you want to see again, to search for. It’s addicting.
Sometimes I think about the way he grimaced when I told him that my favorite television character was Gina from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but then I just start looking at a different spot in the sand and the thought passes. I don’t like the feeling that comes over me… this life on the surface… this past on the surface. I can deal with the past, as long as its remnants are all underwater. Sometimes I can’t shake off the time we sat across from each other and he told me everything I didn’t want to hear, like how ridiculous I had been acting, like didn’t I know how much of an asshole I’d been? And I’ve thought about it, fleetingly. Then darted to a different thought. It’s dark down here, it feels dangerous at times, so it keeps me in the present, it doesn’t let me drift to the past. It doesn’t let me float up, I’m here to sink to the bottom with purpose, I’m here to find myself in memories that were abandoned.
I’m slowly starting to forget his smile. Isn’t that the saddest thing you’ve heard?
Bullshit. No it’s not. It’s just sad for me. It’s sad because I’ve spent so long at the bottom looking for something.
I don’t know what.
Maybe it’s his smile?
Maybe it’s closure?
Investigative journalism for all the things I’d done wrong.
Maybe it’s just waiting for time to pass until I gradually become a mermaid, an unintended consequence, a different type of obstacle to pass the time, to occupy my mind.
He walks, I swim.
I only came back up because I was caught off guard, getting myself tangled in a trawler as it combed the ocean. And don’t you bet they were surprised when they brought up their week’s catch on that Saturday, laid out their creatures to sort, weigh and count, and saw a mermaid –holy shit no, that’s a human girl… she’s got legs!– among the squirming fish and crustaceans trying to get back into the water for survival’s sake, to go back to their lives before this trawler came to collect its catch.
When they released me from that expansive net, also freed was my mesh bag with its various large shells caked in sea-floor sand, gummy fibres that must have been love notes a long time ago, a few coin-shaped pebbles, and a mollusk-infested anchor lined with gold.
Where’d you find this? One of the men ask, as five of them have their hands on the anchor, trying to discern on the spot whether or not it’s real gold and if that were true, whether it would be worth something.
I’m not sure where I found that, I say. But when I did, I kept looking for another one.
that’s from a slam poem called When Love Arrives. It’s super old, eons in this fickle digital age. It’s been out for maybe six years or something. I think about it a lot. Lately, I’ve been listening to the point again; in ways, it’s taken on new meaning. Some would says “I’ve grown” into it, like a novel you reread when you’re older so you understand it better.
I was looking at pictures of what’s become of him, what he has done in the past two years now that he lives across the ocean. Curiosity got the best of me, despite all I’ve tried to promise myself that I was better than that, that I could move on with my life without any reminder of him. And as I scrolled through the pictures, it slowly dawned on me that I don’t recognize him anymore, that it isn’t the boy that I had fallen for two years ago. He grew out his hair, he had stubble, he seemed relaxed, happy even. I barely recognized him.
I’m at the movie theatre writing this because I don’t know if I want this train of thought to end just yet. It’s strange to think people change, that they change without you, that they move on and become someone else and don’t wait for your input or for your reaction to recalibrate. That I’ve changed, although don’t know whether it’s been good or bad. That you can refuse to change, like gentrification on a land you can’t accept. But you have to, you kick your heart out and tell it that it doesn’t have a right to be here, in this mourning stage, in this past that is long past. And maybe that’s the issue, that my mind and my heart are sisters who have skipped rope together for so long that to be out of sync is an existential threat. That my mind can make up every excuse to let myself mourn when it shouldn’t, that my heart feels no guilt as it laments in its 24 full moons.
Is it a blue moon yet? When does that happen?
It’s so hard to stomach the fact that people change without you. The world moves on with or without your consultation! People move on and they won’t pay heed to your grievances. Do you get reparations? Fuck no.
And now I think I’m just tired. Of myself. For my inability, my ridiculous, asinine, pathetic inability to forgive myself, to move on, to come to terms with the fact that we have both changed and that we wouldn’t have fallen for each other now if there were anything like a do-over, that our memories aren’t consistent with how things are now. That there is something I should dive into and it’s no my long expired emotions whose stage time ran out a long time ago and audience has abandoned the venue. Dive into reality, go figure your career out, go fall in love or something with someone who is not him. And don’t compare anyone to him. Don’t compare yourself to him even though that’s long been a measuring stick of your worth. Your story is different. Your story isn’t as easy as his. That’s what makes it compelling to follow and to write.
This isn’t 2016 sis.
Let him go.
Let yourself go from this twisted guilt.
Let yourself be better.
Let yourself be everything you wanted to be without his permission.
Why do you hate the Valley so much? It’s actually pissing me off now.
I just do. It’s one of the oldest rivalries in baseball; I know it makes no sense to you because you don’t care about sports, but those attitudes are ingrained in me. Hold on, the exit’s should be coming up now.
Before we go, I wanted to ask you something. What’s happening with us?
I’m tired and I don’t want to get into it in detail. Why don’t you go change and we’ll go to bed?
Sometimes people change their minds. I just… I didn’t want to do this here in the car, but I think we need a break.
People change their minds, Kayl. Life happens.
You can always change it when you think of something better.
You said you were going to start a new chapter of you life, and take things seriously.
No, this is not the time to talk about this. If you want to get into some deep discussion about you and me, warn me beforehand because I’ve worked all day and I’m not about to deal with this shit.
I don’t know if I’d change my mind on that.
Maybe I don’t need it. With a few more years on you, maybe you’ll see that the world doesn’t span Malibu beach to the Valley. It’s a big fucking world.
I always feel out of place when I’m there. Like when I’m in Calabasas, I feel like I’m not edgy enough or brash enough to be roaming the streets. It’s like I’m just a visitor. It’s just a thing, don’t overthink it.
What are you up to?
You should look at yourself once in a while and dig deeper into why that bothers you. It’s inane. You’re insane.
You’re fucking insane that you need an answer. Just let it evolve into whatever it is… we’re not running out of time for anything.
You’re too old to be using that excuse, this was going to happen eventually and it’s going to be right now. If this is going to break down, let it be right now because it feels like I’ve been wasting my time for the past six months.
Yeah it’s right there, okay now merge right… wait for that sedan to pass, he’s not looking… okay, at least that nightmare is over now. I try to avoid Ventura whenever I can.
That’s your excuse every time. You haven’t thought this through.
Well if that’s the case, I’ll shut up and I’d like you to leave.
Awfully cliche of you to say that you’re walking on glass when I haven’t once asked you about whatever sus shit is going on with you and Niko.
Are you fucking kidding me? I’ve been putting up with your shit this entire car ride and not mentioned that Thomas told me that you’ve started talking to Britt again after a full fucking year.
You’re scared of commitment.
I’ve been trying to write a screenplay, but every idea seems like some one-man play about myself masked as a whimsical story. Is that weird to say?
Do you mean that? Because I’m scared of Niko. The circumstances are so different.
growing up is realizing whose texts to ignore, because they take up so much emotional labor. It’s like walking on eggshells, it’s like talking about all these negative things when I don’t care because it’s draining and it’s okay to do it once in a while but it’s like EVERY SINGLE FUCKING TIME
honestly, i just need to vent. i’m not happy with my life, i’m worried about my health especially my vision, the amount of exercise I get, my hearing, my mental health. like I’m so fucking frustrated. I’m not using my money well… I feel like I could always do better. I need to finish something for an essay contests. I don’t really want to talk or see anyone and other times, usually spur of the moment I do. I would rather not talk to anyone. Part of me wants to cancel my phone, delete Facebook, and just get on with my life. I’m so done with fixing friendships where the effort isn’t equal. like honestly, fuck it. this is draining me, makes me sad, makes me helpless, and obviously the situation can’t improve.
i am angry. maybe i can channel that anger into something. i need to get this shit together.
Ty says that I hit Pat too hard,
says it like it was venomous,
that got me
in the two-minute box.
I went for the kill and snap.
Ty reads from a newspaper.
I say it came from the gut.
Heartless, Ty says,
he can’t believe I’d do it
and then walk around aloof like
I own the room and I own the kill.
But it was all heart, I insist,
you know, that way when your heart has been ripped in two
twisted like a little bitch
out to wring in the sun
been slapped around,
maybe add in a punch in the gut.
And all you ever did to retaliate
was smile pretty
and throw your whole body into a wink
to one of the few people who were in on the joke.
The one person who watched on the sidelines
sided with the killer
sided with the guilty.
All you did was show him
that the condoned are complicit,
that the beaten bled out some time ago,
and everything is good now,
because the blood transfusion erased all the bad,
cleansed out the impure
that faded with time.
No bad blood.
No blood at all.
Let’s not bring it up,
focus on the present Ty sweetie,
let’s move on.
I cackle because I have nothing to lose
even if Ty thinks it’s heartless,
even if everyone thinks that cruelty snakes through my hair,
like I am a monster instead of something much simpler.
Pat knows why I did it.
Pat knows why this bad blood is all about being a good sport.
Pat knows everything.
Pat knows everything that happened to me
and Pat never fucking did anything about it.
Pat hasn’t said anything to me but good game,
never in private,
always so someone else can hear.
Pat is so good at this game.
And a good game it has become
because I’m finally learning the rules
and know that the secret to winning
isn’t winning over hearts
I’ve already lost
The trick to winning is to play along
to play the long game
so what’s a spear, what’s a hit,
what’s a broken rib
if it’s all for fun.
Spilling blood is a small price to pay
when you won’t spill the guts.
there’s a lot happening in my life and i’ve found that i cannot relax. like i cannot stop. i’m not unstoppable, i just… cannot pause, i cannot take a breath when i need one, i cannot go to sleep and stare at the ceiling and let myself drift to bed because when i do go to bed, i fall asleep immediately from exhaustion.
i have been piecing together a lot of my life, a lot of the state of things, trying to take some type of rash inventory of all the things that i need to do and all the things that i want to do, but i haven’t focused enough on it. i am exhausted physically, but i deny that this is the case by convincing myself that i am not exhausted mentally. at least not exhausted in the moment that i tell myself i’m not exhausted, where i am merely at the brink, but that counts because at what moment will you will plunge to your death -when you bend your legs to jump or when you’re already 50 feet down?
i didn’t win a writing contest i’ve entered and in ways that has upset me, but that should make me work harder, that should make me hone my craft, that should make me learn that this life doesn’t stop for you, but that doesn’t mean you should not prioritize. i’ve bought so many fucking expensive clothes lately, because i can’t stop in some convoluted sense. it’s not even the high… i’ve stopped getting a high from buying things. it’s just this… image? this imagined view of myself wearing it? the anticipation of spring when i can wear the skirt i want with the heels i have in my head, and maybe i’ll buy some necklace and ring to go with it? i’m not an inspiring blogger or instagram model… i just… i guess in some ways that was the woman I always wanted to be when i was little… who had it all together, sophisticated but not stuffy… still young. and i’ve got to live in. in many ways, and maybe this statement will someday haunt me, i’ve been living my life trying to check off the things that i already set for myself when i was little, when i was 11, when i was 13. in ways, that has been my purpose in my life, becoming Her. That’s why I take French classes, that’s why I have been so confused, that’s why I buy those clothes, that’s why I buy the things I do, I go to the places I go. I had the idea of who I wanted to be when I grew up and I’ve spent my life trying to become her, her unchanging although admittedly tweaked for the times. Her, unfazed, unquestioning, her unattainable and I claw at it, touch the ghost of where it had been and crave for more. ahhh… i have three minutes left in this ten minute thought but i have so much to say, and i might as well let it flow.
i’m travelling in a few weeks… super far, and i keep thinking about all the places other people have been and maybe it’s some type of paranoia like keeping up with the Jones but i think about all the places that i still haven’t visited… like italy, like southeast asia, like australia, and when do I go? Am I holding myself back? But these visions conflict with my need to save money, and I’ve been horrible at this lately. My dry cleaning spend is about half of what I spent last year and we’re only a quarter through the year. I’ve considered (once again) rewriting my GRE, which is a substantial investment of time, money, and mental health. I know a lot of these problems could be solved if I come to terms with the fact that I can’t compare myself with other people, but isn’t that natural? I’m sure there’s some weird evolutionary explanation for why we look at others and ask ourselves why we’re not doing what they’re doing. What if I’m not as happy-go-lucky as I used to be? I’m superstitious in the most hilarious, trivial ways. I’ve been reading a lot, I guess, it almost feels like homework, it feels like a second job. It’s like I read Crime and Punishment and it left this void in me and now I see it, and I don’t know what to do. It’s made me sad, I feel isolated but I don’t want to talk to anyone… is this depression again? I noticed I haven’t taken a day to just do nothing, with nothing in mind for a long time. I’m thinking about going to the art museum tomorrow. That will be a relaxation. Today, I’ve got to do my part-time job, perhaps write a short story, change my phone. I run errands all the fucking time. I both loathe and love errands, because it’s a check box waiting to be checked and then you can check it.
I both love and hate finding new events and things to do in the city, because I feel this onus to do it even though I don’t have the time, and I think about all the things that are underutilized, underpromoted, and what now… is this some type of start-up that I need to birth? I’ve been numb from a lot of things. People, mainly. People I don’t want to talk to, because I’d rather talk to no one. I keep thinking back to him, even now even though it has been soooo long, and like always, living this perfect life. And I found out A might still be dating this guy from what feels like a lifetime ago, and even though it shouldn’t bother me, it does. it’s like A has it perfect, even though I’m sure she doesn’t, but that’s the image that she gives off and that’s what I always think about. that she’s pretty, she’s perfect, and she got the boy, she got everything, she got the career change she wanted and she’s doing amazing. and i have my victories, but i lost the boy. like the boy was some tug of war between the two of us, which wasn’t the case at all. but resentment is visceral, heartbreak makes no sense, it still makes no sense and its faint pain can still be felt 5 years later.
youth, as always, is fleeting. i think about it a lot. like maybe i should see a psychologist, but then i would need to be diagnosed in order to get treatment, and i think it sounds stupid. like maybe they would laugh at me and so that keeps me from getting help. armchair psychology is a real thing and i don’t want to be stuck in some skit with someone in their dream second profession. i am shaped by the things that have happened to me. i see it all the time. i am shaped by all the things that happened to me when i was thirteen, when i was 11. i’m still that same person, but older, perhaps more jaded, perhaps panicking that it feels like time is running out.
i’ve been thinking about returning to charleston and making that pilgrimage to the angel oak. been thinking about where else i should go… back to london? mexico city? milan? amsterdam? finally go to ireland? go to wales? go somewhere where no one knows me, and this desire, ding! goes off in my head because isn’t that what i always suspected? that there is something wrong with me. not a flaw, just an… aberration, an abnormality, something that can’t be fixed. i’m not broken, at least… i’m not broken by my mind. i’m broken by what has happend to me, but i don’t think what happened to me made me the way i am, i think i was just born wanting to be a stranger everywhere.
i’ve thought about… a lot. i am guarded. i have not disclosed everything i want to talk about in case someone happens to pass by this blog and find what i want to do. not evil. i promise. just… negotiating power is diminished if people know exactly what you want. so i’ll leave that there. i couldn’t concentrate at dance today… and that leads me to think about whether or not i should start doing ballet again?
i’ve gained weight, my clothes tell me and i can see it every time i glance in a mirror. these days… these days feel very trying. i think i just hate juggling 100 things at the same time, but that’s life… it gets that way, right? hopefully i’ll feel better after i’ve written this post, like taking some long breath out. figure it out as i go, i suppose. i won’t edit this. i can’t. i’ve let it go, haven’t i? exhaled it out, it’s not mine anymore to bend and warp, trying to fix this mangled creature.
i haven’t been able to concentrate much, a few things haven’t gone as I’d hoped, and it’s thrown things off kilter
been reflecting a lot on the past couple years and where i am now and where i want to go
haven’t felt like talking to many people, sometimes i feel like i’ve forgotten how to speak. i think i empathize with Raskolnikov in Crime & Punishment; is that something I shouldn’t even admit?
is this what the next chapter feels like?
what do i ever want to do? how come i have no idea what is in store for me over the next 10 years? even the next 5?
who will i meet in the future? is that future coming up soon?
why do I still think about him sometimes? it’s been so long
how does the state of my potential (in its rise or fall) fit into my yearnings, my frustrations, my goals?
am i still bitter? am i never not bitter?
the next couple months will be strange.
why can’t i be better when i recognize where i’ve fallen short? i’m selfish, self-interested. i am conflicted, embattled. i’ve forgotten words, perhaps from the lack of using them. i’m going far away very soon but for a very brief time, and i don’t know how i feel about it. i guess i feel anxious, i’m not sure how to process it… i don’t how to make myself feel less guilty about it. i don’t know how to balance this need to relax with this stress of doing everything.
I realized there are 3 areas I want to budget better this year: clothing, dry cleaning, and dining out.
GOAL: Spend only $1,500 TOTAL on shoes and clothing (less than half of what I spent in 2017)
How I’ll do it: Ideally I have most of the pieces for my wardrobe that I will need, and will only need to replace a few things here and there. I don’t buy a lot of clothes and instead, I buy quality clothing that I will wear frequently and for a long period of time, so I’m not worried about buying too many trendy things.
2017 Clothing – $1812
Abercrombie silk camisole – $80
Abercrombie mom jeans – $40
Aerie underwear (x10) – $40
ALC dress – $240
Babaton camisole (x2) – $80
Babaton pants – $110
Iro jacket – $700
Kit and Ace grey turtleneck – $22
Kit and Ace pants – $100
Vince blush sweater – $180
Vince yellow sweater – $220
2017 Shoes – $1714
Alexander Wang Gabi boots – $1200
Rag & Bone suede sneakers – $154
Reiss heels – $180
Y3 x Adidas sneakers – $180
2018 Budgeted Items – SO FAR SPENT $2,473
I can’t put a price tag on these prospective items because if I find the right pair, then I will buy them
New pair of black work appropriate leggings (one pair has a hole) – Reiss $220
New pair of work appropriate jeans (no holes) – Rag & Bone jeans – $300
New pair of tall boots (depends how bad my current pair of Mulberry’s continue to get)
Another work jacket or blazer
Summer sandals (not flip flops)
Work bags – Cuyana $800
Suitcase – Away $350
+ Unbudgeted items
Amur skirt – $500
Abercrombie pyjama pants – $18
Abercrombie silk button down – $55
Lole Bonavy leggings – $60
Lole rain jacket – $70
Alo Yoga leggings + bra – $110
mama told me to knock it back and swallow,
you’d never seen a whiplash so elegant
told me this pride is slowly killing me,
but i wave her off and insist that
this bitterness hasn’t gone rancid
this acrid is not burning my nose
my throat’s still intact
this acid reflex is old news
i do this all the time
with a smirk on my face
the words flow out of me like i just rinsed my mouth and this is what’s left. this was everything that tried to stay inside me and i forced it out,
smells just like me,
sounds just like me,
so much swagger that it’s got to take it’s time
to circle the drain
recently i realized that all my poems are about heartbreak
never written about family
never touched the ocean for the hell of it
never learned to surf
never learned to properly drown
never recounted the miserable life of a bus driver
never arranged prose about men
only about the boys
one at a time as they left my life
would i even know how?
this is no rhetorical question.
i wrote a poem
after olivia gatwood.
all the teenage girls are gone
i called it
and sent it to a magazine.
i haven’t heard back,
i’m not supposed to yet
but i felt like it fell flat
like i wasn’t talking about what i know
even though i was once a teenage girl
even though i still feel like i am
and by that i mean i haven’t figured out who i am,
i want to be everything to everyone
but this has been reduced to some shadow self
i don’t feel like i’ve grown up yet
i don’t feel assured enough in my own skin
although i’ve started finding role models who are
but all i know are writings about the men
who left my life
and what a sad circular story that is
with enough of them
maybe their stories will blend together
maybe that’s what gets it to hurt less
that you can’t remember where one ended and the other began
like you can’t find where the story cuts to an abrupt end.
you can’t find me in the stories
because it was always about them,
never about me.