The Conflicting Needs

He needs me to help with designing a holiday campaign for charity. She needs me to write up a review of her new bag. He needs me to answer his text so he knows if he has a date to his holiday party. She needs me to call her back so I can listen to how she let another one go and provide advice on how to find a better one next time. He needs me to decide where I am spending the holidays so he can book his own flight. She needs me to have soup with her across from my fireplace after an endless day of meetings so we can work out what we have been fighting over. He needs me to lie and say I like him. She needs me to forgive her and be the friend that I used to be.

But I need you. I need long talks at midnight about everything that has been craving to escape my soul. I need a place where I can take my makeup off, and expose my vulnerability. I need you to be my port in the storm of everyone else, that houses the lighthouse that guides me home.

<3 M.

The Difference Between Knowledge and Wisdom

I know this isn’t what you want for me. I know that when you sat down and wrote a list of everything that would make my life beautiful, these things were not scribbled in your illegible handwriting. I know you wish that I spoke differently, or agreed with you more frequently on your vanilla views of the world. I know you wish that I would just sit down, shut up and cross my legs like I was raised to do. I know that I am much more awkward than you like and never quite make sense to you. I know that I have made mistakes that have left black scars on your own heart. I know that you would never admit that. I know I have a few too many tattoos and real-life scars for your own liking. I know that you wake each morning hoping that I am taking your advice just a little more seriously today.

I know when you read this your face will turn a little red and you will phone me and immediately demand to know why I am being so vulnerable and sharing so much of myself again.

I know, but I also know myself even better than you know me. I know what brings my soul alive after working all day. I know what makes me giggle just a little more than anything else, and how giggling has the same value as water in the quest to keep me alive. I know what it feels like to have someone read something that is literally the depths of who I am vomited out on to a page, and tell me how they just never thought anyone else could feel the same way. I know what it feels like to be completely in sync with who I am, what I want and my purpose here and that I will never, ever give that up to fit into a box you wrote me into.

I need you to know that even if I am not everything you want me to be, I still love you (every part of you,) and I’ve got this, I promise.

<3 M.

The Unwrapped

It was July 4th. I made you drive up to that beach town my parents used to take me to when I was little when I still loved getting those candy lipsticks at the little tents in the park. I was wearing real lipstick this time. You hated me for making you drive two hours up the coast to no man’s land, probably still do.

The fireworks were gorgeous, the first time you ever saw them over the water. I got lost in the way the warmth of your breath raised the hairs on my neck as we looked on to our second 4th of July together, entirely forgetting that you had to work the next day, we still had a two-hour drive back, and we still had not eaten dinner.

Pizza hut was the only thing open. I hated pizza, still do. We ended up eating an entire large pizza in your car in the parking lot of a Wings beach store. I said since it was already the middle of the night anyways we should go into the famous original Ron Jon’s.

We spent eternity, drunk from sleeplessness, roaming the wooden floors that had witnessed everything from when my parents took me there in my stroller, to my first week of college in South Florida, to now, with you.

We wanted that night to last forever. Even then I had a sense that our time was ending soon, and I wanted to breathe in every moment we had left and let it soak into me. I wanted to remember how much I loved you, even after. Even when I was angry and hated you.

I bought us matching wooden surfboard keychains, like the one I had on my very first keychain when I was sixteen, and you bought us matching surfer mugs.

I found that mug today. I was running late, between meetings, trying to eat a cup of Culver’s chili while searching for an old list of hashtags I hung in my office in NYC. I opened a desk drawer where I had stuffed all of my things from my office in the city and was completely caught off-guard by a perfectly wrapped silhoutte of a surfer mug. I did not need to unwrap it to know the keychain was tucked neatly inside. I quickly closed the drawer, decided the list of hashtags could wait and grabbed my things for my next meeting.

I never opened it; I never used it, and now I can’t. How could I possibly have a mug here, in this new city, this new home, this new place, that has anything to do with you? I never unwrapped something so important, so lovely, so meant to bring only love. It never even knew one day beyond the day it was bought.

And there are so many parts of you that I never unwrapped and so many parts of me that you never unwrapped. Parts of ourselves that could have provided so much love and grace if we had taken the time to unwrap them, but will remain in a desk drawer, probably soon to be a trashcan, where they will never know what it feels like to be unwrapped.

<3 M.

The Movies We Live In

I had just moved into that small studio right on the beach. You know, the bright one with the white walls and wall that was totally just a giant picture window looking out on paradise. You came over after a fight we had over some ridiculously stupid thing. We forgave each other and you held me close.

I don’t know what tipped me off >> it was the way you held me just a little tighter as if you knew I was going to bail once I found out, or if it was the high pitched tone of your voice, or the way your hands shook just a little more than they usually did.

I asked, and you said you didn’t. You were offended I would even ask something so insane. I believed you. I spent so many moments destroying myself by not trusting someone, so no more.

Then, just as the lightning began to cast a golden glow on my stark, white walls that had yet to be decorated, you said something that made me realize you had just lied to me the first time. I called you out, my hands beginning to shake as I faced the opposite direction from you, hoping I was wrong. You admitted you did it, after all.

I felt physically sick. I ran to the bathroom first, then grabbed my flip flops and walked as quickly as I could down to the beach in the pitch dark night. I stumbled, my bare toes hitting sharp rocks hidden in the sand. Another bolt of lightning lit the path just enough for me to find the weathered bench we would always sit on that was just beyond the sand grapes. Nothing was between the ocean, the storm and me.

I stared out at the emptiness, wishing it could somehow suck me into its void. The worst part of the storm hung directly over the white caps it was birthing, taunting me with its freedom.

I heard your feet against the rough sand and prayed you would leave me alone. As you tried (and failed) to put your arm around me, I pulled my knees up to my chest like I would do when I was a little girl. I played ‘She Said’ by Jon Foreman on my iPhone and continued to stare right at the storm and ocean carrying on their own version of the night.

I hoped that if I stared at them hard enough they would let me come into their world. The least they could do was teach me how to experience the same vacuity so eloquently mastered, so I could no longer feel betrayal.

The way the music seemed to become a soundtrack, the way the lightning reflected a perfect version of itself on the ocean, the way the ocean reacted so violently, so angrily, so vividly to the storm that raged above it…it all created an atmosphere that made me feel like I was a mascara-stained actress in a scene of an indie film some people thought was great (some didn’t.)

That’s when I realized why people ‘watch’ movies, instead of ‘live in’ movies. I would never be able to rewind and go back to my favorite part of us. I also could not fast-forward past the healing, the struggle to understand, to a place where I was free of your ghost. Lastly, I could not step out of the movie theater and back into my life, leaving the characters to work through the fragments of their lives.

All I could do was stand up, and leave you alone on that bench, and know next time not to fall into someone’s fairytale, because I would have to live with the remnants of what was left behind and somehow survive.

<3 M.

The Perfect Equation

I don’t think it takes time. I don’t think it’s something you discover over the course of getting past all of the layers of a stranger.

I think you see someone walk into your space, your world, and you see a soul instead of the physical casing you usually see when strangers approach. You see hopes, fears, dreams. You see someone that you used to know, still do.

I don’t think it takes a lifetime to know because you’ve already known each other for so many other lifetimes.

I don’t think you have to employ fancy equations of guessing games X moments trying to figure each other out.  I think the universe already figured it out for you. For us.

<3 M

The Different Loves

Your eyes reflected a cocktail of innocence mixed with something you knew that I didn’t know. At first, I thought it was another way you had found to fight for control over me, but then I realized what secret you were keeping and it stopped my breath. 

I spent so much time wondering if you loved me, that I neglected to reflect and ask myself. On what was supposed to be a night of celebration, I felt helpless. I could not manufacture something I did not feel, and you knew. You had always known.

I wanted only happiness for you since the day we met, confusing it for wanting to give you all of me. As you continued to look at me with astute knowledge of something that I would never feel, I realized on my way to wanting only happiness for you, I was the one stealing it. I could not give you my heart, my soul.

Across from you at your dining room table, laid out with the spiced chicken and sweet potatoes you always loved to make, I learned the difference between loving someone as a friend and passionately loving someone that you want to spend the rest of your life with.

It took me a few more months to gain the courage to give up my love for you as a friend in order to return your happiness, and now you hate me for not giving you something that only God can give. 

<3 M

The Battle I Won

No one ever saw my scars; only you. I struggled so hard coping with the new, puffy marks on my back and down my abdomen. They represented pain. They represented never going back to who I was before the emergency surgeries.

You told me they were not even noticeable. You told me that I was still beautiful even with the cuts. Somehow your words felt powerless; unable to heal the pain of a vulnerable year.

I was afraid for him to see them.

But then he saw them, and in his eyes, I saw that it wasn’t about whether I was still beautiful with forever gashes across my body. It was about the life I had to live in order to wear those scars proudly.

That’s when I realized what we were always missing; I did not need someone to call me beautiful. I needed someone to see my battle scars and know the wars I fought to be alive with them that night.

I needed someone to see me, really see me, beneath my skin and temporary home, and recognize my soul.

The Gasp Of Survival

You told me to hold my breath, so I did. I held it, and I held it until the weight became so heavy I thought I would die. The world became grayer with every increased deprivation of air. My friends and family sounded like they were talking to me through some echo chamber, from somewhere far away. My career sometimes seemed to offer a source of air, but you would soon swoop in and remind me that I had to hold my breath again, just as I thought I might live. And I would hold it, and watch the world in slow motion around me, black spots sometimes blocking some of the scenes, like in the old pictures where the film is worn. But you told me to keep holding it, no matter how much the world caved in around me. No matter how much my family begged me just to take one small breath. I held on.

I held on because I loved you. I held my breath because I somehow thought that if I held enough of my breath, there would be enough extra for you to live. I wanted so badly to give you air, to help you rise above your self-imposed prison.

You told me to hold my breath, so I did. Then, one unassuming day, on a rainy night, in my car, parked in front of my mom’s house in the middle of nowhere, something you said caused my body to gasp for air. I let go, and the rain stopped. I was above the ocean, and no matter how you begged, or what you said, I kept breathing. I could not stop myself.

And now I am breathing, and far you are gone, drowning in your sea where you are comfortable living. I stopped holding my breath and suddenly have a future that I never thought I was going to have.

See, when you asked me to hold my breath, and knew I would out of love, you misjudged human survival mode and the grace of God. You forgot that who I was before you asked me to hold my breath for so many years, was always there, would always be there. And no matter how much she loved you, she was not going to die for you. Eventually, just went she thought she could not go on, she would gasp, breathe, and become alive once again.

-M.

The Someday

Someday, when you are walking the streets of Brooklyn, I hope that you hear a giggle from a girl on the street, and you turn and look and think of my unstoppable giggles as I held your arm and we walked down Bedford Ave.

Someday, when you are at a backyard barbeque, I hope you keep a random housewife company and are remembered of a young girl you kept company in college after your DJ set. I hope you remember how you did everything to get her information before her boyfriend came back, and succeeded.

Someday, when you are at Columbus Circle, I hope you end up waiting for a cab on the Northwest corner, and are reminded of waiting for a first date in that very same spot.

Someday, when something random reminds you of someone you spent one dear winter with, I hope you track that girl down and tell her. I hope your love for her is reignited, and that you tell her you have always loved her.

Someday, I hope you find me.