sideways

Forward motion is a terrifying thing. My favorite position to be in, is horizontal, on my bed. That’s not a sex joke. The minute you go vertical, all bets are off. There’s this pressure to do something with your vertical-ness. I generally fall back into bed, arms and legs straight, face looking up at the ceiling, eyes wide open, mouth sighing, sighing, sighing. Then I get up. I move. Forward, out into the abyss that is often my apartment but also the world.

I don’t think we learn the right way. Sitting in chairs, hunched over our notebooks, furiously scrawling “God help me what the Hell is he talking about,” our brains are moving rapidly. Listening, comprehending, faking that little glow of an epiphany every once in a while, we sit while our minds wander. Think about what our bodies would look like if they followed the thought patterns of our brains. I think I would twirl, pivoting on my right foot, for about ten seconds. Then I’d stop and jump as high as I could in one place. Mid-jump I’d try to twirl then come crashing to the ground. People all around me would be leaping and crashing. Chairs would go flying, papers would float aimlessly among the arms and legs and our brains would wonder why we hadn’t been doing this all along.

Because it’s too fast. It’s too much. There’s a saying that says “Move forward.” No one asks us to move sideways. I guess at times we can “Look back and remember.” And then there’s “One foot forward, two steps back.” Some people are “Movin on up,” while others “Go forth and be.” Can we move down? “She’s six feet under.” I guess so.

We’re left with sideways. I think I’d like to move sideways. There’s the “side” aspect which screams “horizontally reading a book in your bed while falling asleep on the soft part of your arm.” And “ways.” Well ways looks like more directions than “forward.”

We sit in desks and we stand behind server stations and we run on treadmills because all of these things mean something else. My body looks forward, leans forward, reaches forever forward. But my brain moves all around. Sideways, I guess. While sitting in my desk I think about the book we’re discussing, the girl’s shitty doodles on the page next to me, the teacher’s ill-fitting shirt, the funny taste in my mouth. Behind the server station I think about the stickiness of the menus and how I’m not going to clean them, which tables need drink refills in five, four, three, where I’m going when I graduate and how I’m ever going to make enough money. On the treadmill I think a lot about rap music.

Forward motion means always being in a hurry. It means a poor translation of your brain’s desires. All those thoughts want to be channeled somewhere so you channel them into “shooting you an email!” “I’ll be here all day!” “I’ve got so many places I want to go tonight!” and you’re exclaiming a lot when your sentences could just end in this. And your thoughts could twirl around, jump, change direction and come crashing down.

I don’t know how to move sideways. If I did, would I still get my homework done? Would I still have time to take three shots, drink two beers, then dance in a dark room blasting iPod “rage” playlists? Would I live dangerously? Would I waste my youth? Would I maintain my figure? Moving forward guarantees one thing: for at least five minutes, you know where you’re going. What does it feel like to give those five minutes up?

Below: Henry wants to move up but can’t figure out how.

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anger/sadness

Last night I threw a temper tantrum, alone, in my bed. People (well I guess mainly “children”) throw temper tantrums for one reason only: to get attention. When you’re alone these prolonged and painful moments of tears and kicks and dry mouth aren’t so satisfying. No one’s there to tell you that it’s okay or perhaps, more fruitfully, to tell you that it’s not okay and the best way to start getting over it is to stop crying. What am I getting over? What was I even crying about? I’m not sure. I’m full of a lot of stuff and I don’t know where it’s from and I’m afraid to see where it’s going. 

I woke up this morning feeling hungover. One could blame the Irish car bomb, vodka pulls or jello shooter but I choose to blame the tears. I’m not sad that they happened, just that they can only happen every once in a while, alone, in my bed. If I cried instead of shouted I think I’d hurt fewer people. I think I’d feel heavier, with the weight of impending saltwater pressing against my eyes, nose and mouth. But isn’t it better to feel heavier with someone watching you? I guess I’m afraid that once I start crying I’ll never stop–and who’d want to stick around for that?

 

happiness and yoga, which are not the same thing but could be

It’s funny how happiness works. Not funny, really, but tragic. Two great things happened to me today: I found out that I’m going to London this summer (cheerio!) and I participated in a 90 minute session of body torture, also known as “bikram yoga.” The torture may not sound like it warrants a “great,” but just Google bikram and you’ll see all the health benefits I’m reaping. 

Relief washed over me when I read “accepted” at 5:38 this morning. It was quickly joined by fear. Will I be able to save enough money to do everything I want over there? Will I be able to be away from my beau for that long? Will I live to see tomorrow/when exactly does the world end this year? 

Yoga didn’t really help. While contorting my body into various animal forms (and intermittently collapsing in nausea and fatigue on my mat) I wondered when I’d be able to return to this glorious Hell hole. Can I afford buying a monthly yoga pass? What about yoga gear? How much does a mat cost? Cute little spandex shorts and colorful bikram tanks? How often do I need to come to actually get fit? 

Rather than being happy, I’m concerned, dehydrated and no less scared than I ever am which is to say: terrified. But I have a story. And those yogis, looking at me like a mother may look at her untalented, but “sweet” child, said: “Keep coming, it gets better.” Maybe I’ll take a mat to London with me. Or maybe I’ll be more concerned with pub crawls. I think I’d be okay with either one.

going and then coming back (home)

Tomorrow I find out if I’m going to London for a month this summer. So does my sister. I assume that we bring the same “stuff” to the table–wit, charm, eloquence, potential for greatness, etc. The only thing that distinguishes one applicant from another (well besides GPAs but what English major isn’t averaging out at an A-/B+ ?) is a 300 word personal statement. I hope I stated something in those 300 words. But why do you want to go to London, Connelly? “Go,” I’ll say. I just want to go. I don’t think that translates to “leave,” but I’m not sure where and when “stay” fits into the equation. 

The bed in my apartment is my favorite place to rest. I’ve tried public library napping–which I would never rule out, but which certainly doesn’t claim the top spot. The futon in my apartment isn’t half bad. My boyfriend’s bed is just that–someone else’s bed. My sister’s bed is too small. My bed at home is “my bed” but I prefer “the bed in my apartment.” What do beds feel like in London? Will I deem one “mine”? Perhaps, the more places I go, the fewer places I’ll want to stay. 

Maybe home is a lot smaller than a house or even a room. 

Below, Homer on my bed at home. Who wouldn’t want to stay there?

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life lesson #20

I believe that life lessons should be numbered by your age. Please see title. If a lesson is less important than other lessons than perhaps it is less of a lesson and more of a mistake. Or a funny story. We can learn from both of these things, but do we really need to learn from all of them? I’m sure I have plenty of funny stories from age twenty. I only have several lessons. The really important ones, if they must be denoted, can be starred. Example: “Life lesson #20: make money before you ask for lots of it*****” or “Life lesson #20: if you’re going to be bitter about everyone else’s tropical spring break, at least be funny about it.” 

Since I’m in no mood to expand on the former, let’s talk about the latter. Thoughts that run through a bitter girl’s head when she sees everyone else having more fun than she’s having: I wish my parents would send me to Punta Cana! I wish I had a sweet internship that paid me enough so that I could send myself to Punta Cana! [where the Hell is Punta Cana] I actually want to go to Jamaica–why didn’t I get sent there with the hypothetical money made by myself or my parents?! Will my life ever be right after the traumatic experience of comparing my mobile uploads of cats with the mobile uploads of palm trees? When my boyfriend gets back from St. Martin will he dump me because I wasn’t living as fabulously as he was, but in Cabo? …what will people think when they see I’m not tan/what will I have to talk about for the next three weeks/will I die alone?

Etc. So here’s the lesson: ignorance is bliss. Everyone is, inevitably, having a great time in the sand, sun and surf (I could give a shit about people who went skiing). They’re also posting about it all over the internet. The funniest thing that happened to me today was that I got to witness one of my dogs growl and paw at my cat, who, with ears flattened against his head, mewed low in his throat then sprinted off. And then I get on Facebook and my glorious animal kingdom moment is shattered by my jealousy. Why didn’t I… go here, hang out with them, at least put some damn leis on my cats.

Life lesson #20 (un-starred): let it go, or at least make decent jokes while you’re still handling your youthful “but I wanna do what they’re doing!” lamentations. And if you’re like me, totally bask in past tropical glories and do some weird stuff with one of your favorite quotes: “God gave us memories so we might have roses in December.” “MacBook gave us iPhoto so we might have Barbados in March.” Who needs Girls Gone Wild when you’ve got Santa and lik-em-stiks? 

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there’s no such thing as “I love you, but”

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This summer one of my best friend’s had her heart broken by her boyfriend. Isn’t that the worst? When something’s so shitty and confusing that the only way it can be described is in the passive voice? Her boyfriend said he still loved her, but… some excuse. My sister, ever eloquent when making sweeping generalizations about how humans should live their lives, stated: “There’s not such thing as ‘I love you, but.'”

We all agreed. If you really love someone then there’s no need for a “but,” because love trumps all. “I love you,” means I don’t care that you’re making it hard, that I can ignore that you’re selfish, that we don’t need to plan a happy ending for everything to be okay right now.

Quotable quotes, though, are kind of like the last scenes in movies, when the camera pulls away and the screen fades to black. What happens after the punchline, the climax, the epilogue?

I’ve come to realize that there is such a thing as “I love you, but.” It exists in the deep of night when your dreams show you loving someone else. It exists in the middle of the day when what you want most in the world is to be alone. It exists, but that doesn’t mean it defines the “love” or even the “I” and “you.”

Would it be so difficult to try “I love you, and”?