slight·ly

Journal

Now that I’m about a month into living in San Francisco, I’ve begun to realize the things I’ve been doing that aren’t sustainable. My job, for instance. Waking up at 4am every other day and on the weekends, it’s not working. I’m exhausted, sick, and never have time to study.

My education, I’m realizing, is my ticket out of having to live like this. Granted I don’t accumulate student debt, I will be able to do so much more with my life. Sacrificing my education over a minimum wage, high stress job isn’t worth it in the end.

I’ve also noticed some fundamental differences between Travis and I – they aren’t necessarily bad, but these differences are posing questions for myself. Of course, all these questions are hypothetical and I can’t actually answer any of them..

He was raised in a community where houses average 1.5 million dollars in cost, where they might not seem incredibly ‘nice’, but their location makes them desirable. He goes to a private school that costs more than what I make in a year for tuition. We come from very different social classes- I’ve always have to work for what I wanted. Always had to sweat and grind for the things that I needed. My life isn’t cushiony or soft, it’s not positive unless I put the effort in for it to be. And he’s got an espresso machine in his kitchen. His own room, with a sofa and TV in it.

Yesterday I got to talking about some issues I have with my mom, and he mentioned knowing it was selfish, but said he got overwhelmed when I talked to him about my issues. He was doing homework and helping some friends out, but I’m wondering if he doesn’t have the emotional maturity for the kind of relationship I’d like.

Of course, he is a young guy, so maybe he’ll mature into that kid of person.. but I can’t expect that. If this is who he is, can I make it work? Is it a relationship that is right for me to cultivate? He’s very loving, and remembers just about everything I say. But he’s also a little bit power hungry.

But he gives me emotional satisfaction when we’re together. He’s easy going for the most part. But something feels off sometimes. The sex isn’t mind blowing, but it’s decent. Best sex I’ve had in awhile. He’s not afraid of taking things slowly every once in awhile.. but still something seems off, I can’t get away from it.

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eu·pho·ri·a

Journal

Travis – he’s a normal guy. Listens to mildly angsty music, doesn’t seem too troubled, he’s got friends and a social life. However, unlike other normal guys I’ve talked to, he seems to have another dimension to himself. Ya know, a personality.

He’s kind of insecure, but it’s not distracting and it doesn’t seem self-destructive. He’s observant. He remembers things. He is self aware. He’s mildly afraid of intimacy, but I think he wants it.

Me? Perhaps there was some projection there. I like him, but I’m pushing him away. I don’t know what to do with intimacy – it terrifies me. I’ve learned that it’s not the other person, it really is me. It always has been. I’m the one who pushes people away and won’t let anyone in.

I want to learn how to let him in. I want to let him connect with me and put my facade away for a moment. This girl I’ve created on the outside, she isn’t friendly. I want to show him I can be friendly, supportive, interested in more than physical pleasures, but I’m so used to playing hard to get and using mildly degrading actions to seem disinterested.

It’s just a habit now. A habit I want to break- if I don’t push him away first. But I can already feel a dissonance – that there is a disconnect I created. It wasn’t there at first. It started when I became insecure about whether or not he was seeing other people. I told him I wasn’t, and he smiled but didn’t say it back. It’s an irrational fear because I have spent eight of nine days with him. But he talks about girls he saw in the past, almost like he’s trying to prove something to me.

It just makes me less likely to trust him. It makes me insecure. Jealous. I know he sees it, he always asks if he said something wrong. I don’t want things to be like that. I don’t want him to feel like he has to monitor his words, I wish I didn’t get jealous and could just trust him.

The first time we hung out everything was so effortless. The wind on our faces and the waves crashing into the rocks, and we just talked. And the time after that when we took a walk on the beach at night- effortless. Honestly it feels like that still, until I feel insecure about something. I need to wave that insecurity away because it’s not productive. It hasn’t helped anything. If I want this thing between Travis and I to work, I have to learn to overcome my own insecurity.

I think we make each other happy.

har·mo·ni·ous

Journal

I write about the cavernous pain I feel inside as if it is the only truth the world holds- but I realized there is a lighter truth that is equally as true.

They exist in the world, contradicting and yet somehow both right in their own way.

Pain exists, the truth of ugly and paralyzing agony. But so does happiness. Happiness exists too. It comes in the form of lighthearted laughter and falling in love- happiness comes in the form of sunshine and chocolate and family, and it is just as true as the pain.

I always knew happiness was real, but to hold it to the same standard as pain was a new thought. What if they were equals? Happiness as powerful as pain?

Since moving, I’ve been forced to evaluate who I am and the values I put out into the world everyday. Meeting new people who exhibit their own values and showing the world how they exist.

I’ve met happy people, bitter people, generous people, anxious people, and I’m learning what kind of person I am. Learning what kind of person I am not, the kind of person I do not want to be.

I met this guy, he brings out my better parts and I still feel like my rebellious self. I don’t feel like I have to hide any aspects of who I am. It makes communicating so easy, spending time together effortless. We spent so much time together this last week and I haven’t gotten tired of him. I don’t know that I could.

Last night when we were studying together, I finished my homework before him. So I did what I naturally just do and I started tidying his room; made his bed, picked up the miscellaneous bags he had on the floor, the papers that had gathered under the coffee table, and afterward he looked me in my eyes and asked if I was ready to define things.

Of course I don’t know him entirely, it has only been a week. But today I looked at this guy at my university who looks kinda like Travis and it reminded me of him, and the words that went through my head were “that looks like my boyfriend”-

But last night I told him I wasn’t sure yet, because we hadn’t known each other that long.

I’m very cautious now. I’m not trusting. I don’t want to get hurt and this.. this could end up hurting me. This happiness has the ability to turn into unimaginable pain, and for as resilient as I am, I am also very fragile.

dis·en·chant·ed

Journal

The city makes my life solitary. I may wake up in an apartment with five other people, but my busy schedule never lets me stay here long. I go to a university with hundreds of thousands of people, and yet I don’t know a single person by name. I go to work, and I stumble. Words come out of my mouth too soft or too abrasively, my hands seem to glitch as I do normal tasks. I don’t have time to socialize when I am struggling to remember to brew coffee.

Outside of the apartment, work, and school, I knew one person. I use the word “know” very loosely here because we had never met in person before. Two years ago we started talking online, and he ghosted me. For an entire year, that is. Out of the blue one day, he texts me and says he was intimidated by me. That was his excuse. We didn’t talk much after that, but when I moved to San Francisco he and I matched on Tinder. So I figured why the fuck not reach out. We met, got dinner, and went back to his place to watch tv.

The conversation was dull, except when we really got to talking at dinner. I felt a connection- perhaps a false one. He was a little obsessed with his Juul, and that seemed childish. He didn’t touch me at all before we got to the bedroom. If he weren’t incredibly intelligent, I would have written him off a lot sooner. Something about a guy who can really think turns me on. However, he doesn’t have a lot of emotional intelligence.

I am not going to analyze the who, what, when, where, or why of this. I don’t have the time or energy to waste on someone who has treated me poorly. I did that for Leo, and I regret it. I have higher standards for people than I did three years ago, but I am still human and I still get hurt.

Jacob hasn’t spoken to me since we had sex over a week ago. Again, I don’t want to analyze that- it makes me feel used.

I don’t love him or anything, I didn’t even feel comfortable enough to fall asleep in his arms. I was insecure and intimidated during dinner. But I so desperately want to be held by someone. I wanted it to just finally click- I wanted him to be the soulmate I didn’t anticipate finding this early on.

At work, sometimes I hear faint ghosts of sounds I once heard at Galaxy. Leo’s silly “hello” that he would say as he walked around corners, a popper beeping, the sound of people sweeping, breaking cardboard boxes down in the hall.

Every time the thought of Leo pops in my head, I have to set it aside. I cannot think about it now. The pain I feel is a new one.

I want to move on, but there is this feeling inside me that there is no moving on from Leo- simply packing away those feelings and seeing other people until one of them makes me feel the way he did. Moving on generally entails the desire to, and I don’t think I could ever want to not love him.

I should have just listened to myself when I moved. No relationships, no sex, nothing. It makes life complicated and unnecessarily stressful. Before I would pursue someone new, the same thing always popped into my head, why not? I always viewed the potential pain as a price I was willing to pay for a chance at finding that thing everyone is always searching for. I don’t have any more of myself to give, I don’t have the energy to let myself get hurt. Yet I did just that, I let myself reach out to the guy who I knew had ghosted me before. I let myself sleep with him even after I knew that he was emotionally immature and had never worked a minimum wage job before. He has no real life experience, even if he is twenty and has a legitimate career.

He can never speak to me again, it will only affect my philosophy of the world. I don’t even care to have answers anymore. The world is constantly hurting and disappointing me.

com·pe·tence

Journal

It’s been eleven days since I’ve seen a familiar face-

My voice shakes when I talk now. My arms hesitate when grabbing something. Unsure of every action I take.

I’m hungry all of the time. I am scared of the world around me. I am afraid of the future.

I have never been this way before.

At night when I need to cry, I can’t. I want everyone around me to like me, my roommate most importantly. I don’t want to annoy anyone.

Even when they eat my food and use my things, I keep quiet. I know they’re using me. I just want somewhere I belong.

Aside from the community garden below my building, I have no where that is my own. Temporarily the elevator is, until the doors slide open and another set of legs walk into my space. And then I must attach the face, and straighten the spine, and god forbid, smile.

I do not feel like smiling. I feel like locking myself in a room and eating. Eating. Eating. Eating. That uncontrollable urge to shove as much food into my face as I can until I choke, hoping I get fat, hoping I lose this feeling, hoping I feel full and content and happy.

But I won’t. I never do.

I’ll continue feeling out of place, a puzzle piece in the wrong box. 6/7 days of the week, I wish I were back making popcorn and doing what I knew. I was good. I was capable.

I am not capable here.

Instead, I pour coffee before it’s done brewing. I drop croissants. I can’t understand my French roommate. I can’t figure out where the hell my assignments are posted online. I don’t have enough money. I couldn’t fill FAFSA out properly. I can’t stay in contact with the people I love.

Everything is falling down around me, because of me.

Resilience

Journal

I need something more to show for my effort in life. I also need to be less passionate about the people I have feelings for. Right? That poses a moral dilemma for me, though. I should allow myself to wholly be myself. But I also like people, and I know I came off too strong with Leo and not strong enough with Tristan- because I was worried about seeming clingy. Now, Jacob has me all mixed up, I don’t know how to act around him- so I was awkward and mixed my words around like a fucking blender. I’m frustrated. This whole situation is frustrating. So he’s gone for a month- to Nevada and then somewhere else (I think Europe..?).

He intimidates me, only 20 and already has a legitimate career because he’s got this incredible brain. He didn’t even have to go to college or anything. That’s a quality I hold in high regard, it’s something that I respect. However, it also means he’s never had a minimum wage job and one can only have so much life expirience without that. That makes him less genuine to me. He’s got this socially awkward thing going on, but gets away with it because he’s attractive and has a sense of style.

Weird thing happened though, after sex he almost cried. He didn’t, but I could see it in his eyes. Maybe he was holding back a sneeze? And he kissed my forehead during sex– which I’m not used to having any sort of emotional connection or attachment and it caught me off guard. But he also hasn’t talked to me for two days straight and he’s supposedly back home packing to move to San Francisco, but I’m not sure I trust him. I don’t know that I believe he’ll see me once he comes back. Maybe I was too cold?? Too harsh? I know I can be. Maybe he just doesn’t like me.

Our interactions made me insecure- I didn’t feel like I was enough. And it didn’t help that I was rude to him. I use it as a defense mechanism when I feel threatened…

When we first started talking two years ago, I felt this same way and it trigger the biggest personality change in me. I grew a thicker skin and overall became resilient. But how am I supposed to know he won’t hurt me like that again and ghost me? I know he mentioned thinking I was less awkward and more attractive than him, but he did it once before.

I would be an idiot to think he wouldn’t.

I learned to put less value on guys perception of me. It would hurt to have him ignore me again. I need validation and hate to ask for it. I wish I was stronger.

de·feat·ed

Journal

I already feel like I have failed, and school hasn’t even started yet. I broke the handle of my first broom the first time I used it. I got lost walking to work. I got lost walking home. I have already started seeing a guy when I had told myself I wasn’t going to see anyone. I haven’t gotten my textbooks or visited my class locations yet, even though I said I was going to. I don’t have a printer to print out my syllabus, so I have to pay to have that done in the library. I forgot to buy the clicker for my anthropology class, and now I’ll be marked as absent on my first day. My first week at work has felt like a disaster, I’ve dropped so many pastries, I’ve messed up the coffee machine and the coffee grinder, I can never seem to remember things when I need to. I click all the wrong buttons on the till. I can’t even figure out how to interact with my roommates, I feel so awkward. I went on a date last night and I don’t know to gauge if it went well or not. It was uncomfortable, but we talked a lot, and I’m not sure if he likes me anymore after as awkward as I was.

I forget to ask for names for drinks at work. I forget to ask if they have a reward card. I forget not to touch my hair and when to check the bathroom. I forget where the honey is kept and to mark drinks as iced instead of hot or if they want the drinks for here or to go. I can’t understand the foreign people who come in, and I don’t know the regular’s drinks. I feel like everyone expects me to fail, and so I am. I talk too much. I’m too anxious.

I need to go somewhere and just cry.

Need to do my laundry, but also want to wait because it costs so much. Everything costs so much. Food, transportation, being clean, homework that I have to print out. I can’t even afford my eating disorder, even though I would love more than anything to binge eat right now. Or to drink. Anything for even just a minimal release. I want to be comfortable, I want to succeed.

But I keep messing up.

o·ver·sight

Journal

This post is dedicated to the things I have learned living in San Francisco these last five days.

When using Uberpool Express, they drop you off a few blocks from where your destination is. At four in the morning, there are homeless people everywhere. They will approach you, they will talk to you, it’s best to minimally acknowledge them and mind your own business. Also, Uber drivers and anyone else sharing the ride do not want to make conversation, put in headphones and stare out the window. Know the streets, know which direction they run, if you are lost there and do not have a phone on you, you’re fucked. Even the streets near my apartments run in funny directions and change unexpectedly.

Human kindness is far from dead, however, there are times and places in modern society where we omit using it to preserve ourselves. For instance, my roommates are incredibly kind. Some people who extend themselves in the elevator of my building are genuinely nice. Even the homeless lady who chills outside the coffee shop I work at is kind. But there are a lot of people who are not, and that is why we wear defensive masks.

At work, it is important to not press the ‘tender’ button before finishing ringing a guest up. It means you can’t change the order and need a manager’s approval to do anything else. Avoid at all costs.

It is also important to know how to make coffee, seeing as we are a coffee shop. To make coffee, you have to

  1. take off metal lid
  2. dump old grounds out
  3. put in new paper filter
  4. pour in coffee grounds from drawer directly under the medium roast
  5. Pull oldest dated coffee grounds first, generally located in the front of the drawer.
  6. Move hot water wand over the grounds and press the ‘start’ button
  7. set alarm for 35m
  8. Place metal lid over grounds
  9. Make new batch after alarm has gone off

If someone orders a Cafe Au Lait, you have to prep the cup for the barista. If someone orders a black coffee with an added shot, you have to prep the cup for the barista. If someone orders any black coffee or tea, you grab it right away. Don’t use concentrated tea for plain teas – they are reserved for our fog drinks. When someone orders a pastry, grab it from the trays below the pastry case before grabbing from within the pastry case. Always ask for a name for the order. When doing condiment checks, make sure all kinds of milk are more than half full. Refill sugar with the bag under the condiments. When that runs out, there is a key to the right of the espresso machine that unlocks cabinets in the lobby that have more sugar.

Side note: If you start brewing a new roast of coffee in the machine, you have to rinse it out before making the new batch.

When filling the pastry case, handle the fresh pastries carefully because you don’t want to spoil any of them out.

Also, we don’t sell bagels.

When guests check in on their app, you have to press two separate buttons to complete the order so it will disappear.

Our bacon and cheddar on brioche smells heavenly when coming out of the oven.

The most important thing is to multitask, to be friendly, and to learn. People are going to be rude. You are going to be miserable. You don’t know how to do everything right now, you feel vulnerable. But it is okay, no one knows everything all at once.

When swiping the magnetic strip to get into the apartment complex, swipe in front, not underneath the strip. It reads it right away instead of taking forever. The lobby doesn’t have cell service, which means you can’t get an uber from the safety and comfort of the warm sofas.

Rides to work take about thirty minutes, twenty-five if the driver is a local and doesn’t care about traffic violations.

Living in the city costs a lot of money. Everything is constant. Draining.

Roommates are nice. Play cards, share joints, a bowl, watch the news, cry together over being scared.

I live in a world full of endless possibilities, as well as countless errors.

I keep making mistakes, yet there is always something that makes me stay.

Like the way that my roommate calls home as I go to bed, and she speaks French to her parents in an eloquent and speedy fashion- the way that only French can do.

It is beautiful.

And yet it is also true that when I walking in the early hours of the morning, there are countless people who try to intimidate me. So I carry a knife in my pocket, ready for the moment I will need to show I’m not afraid. Even though I am terrified of what could happen to me, that no one would really know where to find me. Hell, I didn’t even know where I was. The corner of Which Direction Am I Facing and Is That a Corpse or just Someone Sleeping on the Street.

This city scares me. Full of strange people, angry people.

Today I learned that I can get to my destinations on the first try, which was a first for me. I’ve learned that for me to remain sane, I have to focus on the moment. Looking back tortures me. Tomorrow scares me. The moment I am living in is intoxicating and invigorating enough as it is.

I’m trying to not think about him because when I do it reminds me of the unbearable pain I feel from the distance. For the first time, I wish I didn’t feel this way about him. I wish it would just go away. I feel like a part of me has been forcibly removed.

So, for the sake of growing up and being mature, I’m going to ignore this in my daily life. I’ll wake up at four a.m. and wait for my Uber. I will walk on littered streets before the sun has risen, head held high, knife in hand, and I will ignore that ache I feel. And when I am walking home, and I see the daisies and they make smile, I will quickly stop when I remember I was smiling at the thought of you. The daisies remind me of you. And so does the morning mist that falls on my face. The lone street lamp at the corner. But the worst was the man with your face today because I couldn’t look away. It was intoxicating, frightening, I was looking at your ghost. Remembering you.

be·lov·ed

Journal

I fell in love with a boy in this small town. I didn’t believe in love at first sight before him- but I can still tell you the first time I looked in his eyes. It felt like some monumental moment had happened, something that would change the course of history.

Today I said goodbye to him, and it was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do.

I got to meet his dog and play on his piano and listen to him play. I got to look out on the hills and valleys with him and the wind tossed my hair. We ate ice cream and listened to our music. We hugged. We said goodbye.

I don’t know if he was sober enough to remember holding me while we watched Eighth Grade, but he held my hand the entire time. And kept his arm around my shoulder.

I remember showing up after his shift with his favorite coffee. Stargazing underneath the posters outside the theatre, by his bike. It was chilly. We went to the grocery store together. He blew vape into my face in the dark parking lot; I could spend every day with him and not get bored.

And the time I wrote him that letter I wasn’t sure I’d give him- I stuffed it behind the cover of “All The Light We Cannot See”, the book I was reading at the time. He pulled it from my hands and I took it as a sign from Fate herself, and told him to open the cover. The letter I had written him, his name on the outside and all, fell into his hands.

The time he came to my apartment and we nearly had sex, but he stopped it from happening. That was good, things would have been too complicated between us.

If all this means nothing, then I’ve been played.

It’s time to let go of the pipe dream that was Leonardo – accept that I will be living far from him. I love him. I might always love him.

But I have to grow now.

Leonardo

Journal

The things I feel around you, I can’t describe. I could have been stressing about the world ending, but suddenly when I’m with you none of that matters. The moment we are sharing is the only thing that exists and it is beyond beautiful. It is beauty. It is the embodiment of perfection.

I hope I always remember the way you smelled when my head was on your shoulder tonight. I hope I always remember how right it felt for you to be holding my hand. I hope I always remember melting into your shoulder as you run your fingers through my hair. Your laughter made me laugh. Your happiness is my happiness.

And yet the time we have left has already been bought and sold like an animal headed to the slaughter house. It’s death is eminent. The rendezvous we had today is only a taste of the happiness I could have felt everyday.

What is most torturous is knowing how unlikely it is that I will feel this way again with someone else. And you only desired it when you knew how the days were numbered and stacked against your favor.

It will be a loss for you, to not have a girl at work who is insane for you. Not the way that I was.

The way I feel for you doesn’t happen often. What most people call love, that’s just a cheap imitation of my feelings for you.

Every second I spend in this town without you, I remember the agony you placed on me by standing me up.

Which is proof enough that whatever you feel for me, however fond you feel toward me, it won’t ever compare to the reality of you in my mind.

After the movie was over and done with, and you were in the restroom, I heard people talking about how annoying “the guy laughing in the back” was – and all it did was make my heart glow because I knew that guy. I knew him, and I had been the one laughing with him. There was pride in it, and I smiled to myself as they walked by.

That annoying laugh, I got to hear for a year at work. I got to roll my eyes at it. I got to smile to myself when I heard it reverberate through the halls of Galaxy.

I got to roll my eyes at the voice singing and take let it take my breath away. Not because it was abnormally beautiful, but because I was absolutely head over heels with that guy. That loud, selfish, unobservant guy.

Our time is up, and the argument could be made that nothing ever became of us, but to me- this was the greatest love story of all time, with a heart wrenching and gut twisting ending.

Maybe I’ll write a book about you one day, Leo. You better be prepared.