One Table

Have you ever sat in one place for a prolonged period of time and just…. observed? A restaurant, a library, a coffee shop. The latter is the case with me on this snowy December day. I’ve been sitting here at my station in Starbucks watching the small round corner table with interest.

When I first came in 3 hours ago, an aging man sat alone, playing on his computer, much as I was. Though we made brief eye contact, it was nothing memorable. I began to wonder: why is he alone? Did he drive here in the snow or walk, as I had? Is he a towny or a passer-through?

He left after 20 or so minutes, and I returned to my work, waiting for my next subject.

In came a girl, about a half hour later. She had glasses and looked chilled by the cold. She ordered breakfast foods and a coffee and sat in that back corner alone. Like the man before her, she seemed content in her lack of a partner to eat with, and she too stayed for an extended period of time, nearly an hour. More questions arose in my head: Was she a student? Had I had class with her before? Did she live on or off campus? Where are her friends? What else would she be doing today?

After her departure, a couple came and took her coveted seat at the back corner table. They seem happy, laughing over their large drinks. The woman is facing me and we make eye contact and smile every 10 minutes or so. I wonder what she thinks of me; does she find our eye contact creepy or endearing? Is the man her husband or just a close friend? What are they laughing about? Were they planning on coming here, or did they sense the welcoming air of Starbucks and impulsively decide to procrastinate the rest of their plans?

And the most important question of all: Are they asking these same questions about me? This couple, the girl, the man, each has their own story to tell. I’m curious how they perceive the bundled up girl at the square table near the door that keeps stealing glances at them.

I think it’s important that we all take time to just sit back and observe. Think. Imagine. Question. We can so easily get wrapped up in our own bubbles of life, yet there are billions of people out there who are worth some speculation.

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I am unhappy.

I’ve given it so many other facades: stressed, tired, lonely, pms-ing, etc. but the truth of the matter is that I’m sad. Perhaps each of these characteristics have meandered their way into my sadness, but it’s sadness all the same. 

I need to work on myself. I need to stop being jealous of those around me, and celebrate unselfishly in their happiness. I need to accept my body for what it is and accept that I will never be skinny regardless of how healthy I eat/ how often I exercise. I must purge my spirit of the past and learn to let go. 

I think I should focus on myself equally as much as I do on others instead of concerning myself solely with the needs of everyone around me. Once I am happy, I can work to radiate happiness into the lives of others.

 

Words

Has it ever just hit you how incredible words are? As a people, we have developed different groupings of characters which we choose to string together to express the inner workings of our mind.

Wow.

I was working on a journal entry today for a class and just could not put my finger on the word I was trying to think of. I searched the thesauruses and came up dry. The lack of finding the “perfect” word left me feeling tense and confused beyond belief. 

A grouping of characters. That’s it. That’s all that stands between frustration or satisfaction, perceived intelligence or stupidity. It’s what allows us to express our love for others, but with the same pens we can decree war and devastate a country. We can bless someone with compliments of beauty and grace or we can tear down a person’s confidence and leave them empty.

These little characters, only 26 in the English language, dictate our lives. 

And I think that’s pretty neat. 

Control

As the reigning dominant species in this world (lol), we’re lucky enough to be able to control a lot of what happens in our lives.

We control where we live. We control who our friends are. We control what we believe in. We control which parts of this earth we treasure, and which we destroy.

Hell, we’ve even taken to adopting animals so we can control them.

One of the few things we can’t control, however, are our emotions.

In my own life, there are a lot of feelings I wish I could control. For example, I wish I didn’t fall in love with a man who lives in another country. I wish I didn’t feel hurt so easily over mundane things. I wish I wouldn’t cry every time someone of authority talks to me, even if they’re only expressing a compliment.

So often, I just wish I had the ability to dull my emotions. Other times, I wish I could make myself feel more. 

It’s like, I’ve come to terms with the things I can’t control: time, other people, etc. However, I just wish I could be in control of every aspect of my own body and personality.

Midnight thoughts

Have you ever had those nights where you just lie awake in bed, and every possible thought meanders its way into your mind?

Yeah. It’s one of those nights.

And tonight, my thoughts aren’t hopeful. I’m realizing that I’m not good at ANYTHING I’ve invested my time into.

I’m scared by the future, unsettled by the past, and overwhelmed by my present.

Idols

So today I had a very profound realization: we’re all human.

Yes, this is something we all learn by kindergarten, but today I realized it in a deeper sense.

I was thinking about idols, and how when we’re younger we all have at least one. The person we look up to, who we go to for just about everything, and who we know could never ever possibly be wrong.

For me, that person was my Dad. Now don’t get me wrong, my Dad is still a pretty intelligent guy and all, but I realized today that he doesn’t have all the answers.

And it was both the scariest and most inspirational thing I’ve ever thought.

Here’s the breakdown:
It was scary because for the first time in my 19 years, I realized that my Dad isn’t perfect and doesn’t have all the answers. No one does. We just like to pretend to we do to make the mysteries of life seem less big and scary. 
It was inspirational because today, I realized that one day, I will be someone’s idol. 

A long ways from now I will have a son or daughter and they will think I am the most brilliant person in the world. Of course I won’t be- I’ll just be a woman with a college degree and some life experience. But to him/ her, the limits of my knowledge will be unfathomable.

If you ask me, that’s pretty cool. 

Wanderlust.

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Wanderlust is defined as “a strong desire for or impulse to travel and explore the world.” Boy, do I have wanderlust (catch wanderlust? experience wanderlust?)

Ever since I was little, I loved exploring other cultures. When the girls in my predominately white, italian, New Jersey town all bought the Samantha American Girl Doll, I had my sights set on Josephina, a girl growing up in her Mexican pueblo.

In sixth grade, when we were instructed to choose a famous historical man or woman to write a “book” (ok, it was 10 pages but still) about, I chose Sojourner Truth, an African American crazy feminist who flashed her boobs once during a speech. Atta girl.

Such has my life continued until now, where I am a sophomore at a New York State school, surrounded by the greatest diversity I’ve ever experienced (although according to my friends who comprise this “diversity,” New Paltz is pretty white. Oops.)

So, as you could gather, I’m pretty interested in different cultures and places. The issue, however, is that I’ve yet to experience the world.

I yearn to face culture-shock. I want to be so taken aback by surprise and wonder that I can break down my dormant ethnocentrism.

I want to feel the beauty of rituals, both old and new. I want to surpass the level of tourist and fully immerse myself in the people and places around me.

This world is so big, yet so accessible. I want to reach every continent, every country. I want to see what the world has to offer me, and give a piece of myself back in return.

Wanderlust. I need to explore.

Hands

Strong, muscular hands, calloused by the boyish undertakings of sports and guitar playing. Hands with long fingers, capable of anything. They are so skilled yet so dangerous.

My mom dropped me off, and, as soon as she exited, those hands were upon me, drawing me in. Soon, we are kissing, and soon those hands are leading me into the bedroom. His fingers are long and perpetually reaching, reaching for more. His hands give way to arms that are both skinny and muscular—a solid indication of the rest of his physique.

In retrospect, I think I mistook his abundance of confidence as the complement to my lack of the same quality. Within weeks of talking to him, I was hooked, and he had me wrapped around his long bony finger. And, he knew it. I had known that day that his hands would be upon me. We were 16 and had to plan these things out, after all.

I didn’t know how I should be feeling. I didn’t know why within seconds his hands were upon my breasts, and why he so angrily reacted when I asked him to slow down. I didn’t know if this was normal pace, I didn’t know what I was doing when he intertwined his fingers around mine and pushed them down to his pants. I didn’t know why he became so upset when I hesitated. And then, in shocking clarity, his hands were caressing my head with astonishing force behind the touch. A motive. A goal. He begins to push my head down toward his crotch, expecting me to comply. I yearn for my mind to go absent, but I can still fully comprehend what is happening. I ball my own hands into fists and, compelled by this subconscious act of strength, writhe my way out of his grasp. He is angry, he is yelling.

To this day, the first thing I notice whenever I see him is the placement of his hands. They are still strong. His fingers are still long and perhaps even more skilled, as I’ve understood from the idle handshakes we offer each other as our sole form of interaction.

 

Today I got rid of the dress.

I didn’t burn it. I didn’t rip it to shreds. I didn’t spit on it.

I simply tossed it aside with all the other withering pieces of fabric I decided to part with today.

Just as you tossed me aside time and time again.

With the disposal of this dress, I am cleansing myself from the unwavering control over me you’ve spoiled yourself with these past three years.

Three years. Three years of my life devoted to a boy who couldn’t spare me three minutes of his time.

When I throw out this dress, I am also throwing away your handprint that has stayed like a ghost on my shoulder all this time. I am throwing away all the faulty “I love you”s and broken claims of devotion.

I am throwing away that horrible time that was supposed to be the best day of my life. The day you instructed me to wear the dress so that you could take it off of me. The day, representative of so many others when I so easily let you control me because I thought you had a right to. I thought that’s what love meant.

I am throwing away the night we shared 3 years later. Once again you had requested that I wear the dress. But this time I didn’t give you the satisfaction.

And once more, you tossed me aside.

I am throwing away the dress that has been stationed in my closet for all these years. A dress that once represented beauty and hope, but later carried so many treacherous memories I couldn’t part with until now.

I am parting with the constant buzz of your voice in my head, just as my dress has remained a constant option in my closet.

I am parting with the bad dreams and the panic attacks.

I am parting with you.

So goodbye to the dress, goodbye to your disgusting rule over me, and goodbye to a closed chapter of my life.

Some Nights

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Some nights

It hurts that you’re not here.

So much, so that I invent delusions of your presence

To ease my aching heart.

And I feel the warm imprint of your skin

All fathomed by my wandering mind

And I hear the sweet drawl of your voice

Whispering into my ear, tickling my senses

And for a blissful moment-

Time pauses. The rest of the world takes in a harmonious breath

So that I may believe that you are here

With me.

But then the moment fades

The world exhales and I am left to catch myself

With only the sheets to caress my body

And you are not here.

And you were never here.

Some nights it hurts

Every night it hurts…

– s.f.b