a list of things that bothered me this weekend that does nothing but show how toxic I am to myself

This weekend, I am inexplicably frustrated with JKm.

I can see that’s unreasonable. I can see that it’s toxic.

Sitting in a Mexican restaurant waiting for his food because he was hungry, even though we were going out with my friends in an hour to eat, I being visibly exhausted, he scrolling through sports on his phone and not hearing my comments.

Coming out of the bathroom at the festival and he comes up to me and just asks for his ticket and one for his friend when I remind him that I only had his ticket.

His friends, with their inside jokes while MH sat in the car and read on her phone, utterly excluded from the conversation.

His ridiculous views on the controversial art placed on our school’s campus.

I’m tired, right in the heat of a debate that I truly care about, that affects me personally, that he just couldn’t stay awake for.

Are you crying? What are you crying about? he asks. Harlem, I say. I want him to ask. I want to tell him the story of why I’m crying, but there is no follow up. He turns over. He goes to sleep. I cry alone next to him.

Are you wearing the same shorts as yesterday? he asks, appalled. Am I too dirty? Am I not conforming to your standards enough?

Ignoring my signals that I don’t want sex, caressing my breasts and clit.

What would we do if I didn’t go to the event? As if he was choosing whether what I had planned was worthy of doing when there were better options around.

I might stay an extra night if I’m too tired to drive home, as if he was just letting me know so that my dorm could act as a motel for another night.

Not noticing that I was upset as we walked behind my friends in silence. Frustratingly oblivious, rambling on about some movie.

Why not just text it to yourself, he mutters. I almost miss it, but the tone stings me and instead of screenshotting the song I want to remember for later, I pick up my phone and text it to myself and keep my head down and keep quiet.

Emptiness when I hold his hand, when I kiss him, when we talk.

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a rambling post that I’ve been meaning to write and which should have been more well-formulated that goes very off topic from removal from life to the manipulation of one’s mental state

This is an article from the NY Times Modern Love column (which I read religiously, of course) that I resonated with. As a side note, I absolutely love the Modern Love column in that each and every article touches on complex themes that most people can resonate which.

The article touches on the author’s near death experience. Some relevant quotes:

But the truth is, I don’t feel lucky. Or even alive. I feel indifferent. All I can do is watch everyone around me experience what I should be feeling. No, it’s worse: I watch them and condemn them for the utter uselessness of their joy.

When it is time to go, we take the shuttle to the airport, where we stand amid bulging suitcases and overstuffed tourists. I wait for the familiar tingle of anticipation about returning home and the surge of anxiety upon boarding the airplane. But I feel neither.

For the first time in my life, I am not afraid to fly. In fact, I am not afraid of anything.

But the feeling is not one of liberation. I am still searching for something — even my old fear — to tether me to my previous life, but there is only this feeling of utter remove.

And suddenly, as our plane pushes skyward, its engines roaring, I am taken back to that moment when the universe tightened its grip, threatening to peel me from my family, my friends, my memories, a future I would never know.

For a second, I resisted. I asked: How can my loved ones and I exist apart? How can I be lost to the world? We spend our lives binding ourselves to one another, attaching ourselves to this life like mollusks clinging to the reef.

But as that plane dropped from the sky, I knew that the world would go on without me. My friends would grieve and move on. My loved ones would endure. All I had to do was accept this and let go.

SO I did. I looked down at the staggering carbon canyons, which were cut like ribbons across the landscape — beautiful and steep and no place for a soft landing — and I let go. But we didn’t crash.

And here I remain — among friends and loved ones, at the beginning of my marriage and all the fierce entanglements of life. Yet in letting go, it seems I created a break between my former and current selves that isn’t so easily bridged.

At home, I go to the grocery store, rub the dog’s belly, fold the laundry, return my mother’s calls — all the routines and rituals that are supposed to give life structure and meaning. But week after week I am still in that other place, a half step removed, wondering when and how I am ever going to come back from this.

A month after my return, the answer comes in the form of a phone call summoning me to the emergency room: my father has had a heart attack.

And it is not until I am beside him in the intensive care unit, gripping his hand as he battles his weakened heart for each breath, that I feel my own heart pounding again for the first time since that day. It’s all so familiar: the panic, the terror, the threat of imminent loss.

But this time I don’t let go. My father, laced with wires and unconscious, is pulling me back.

As I read through the piece, I moved from a vague annoyance that the author was complaining about almost crashing in a plane when she hadn’t actually crashed – I still do not find that part of the narrative compelling – to more and more involvement. She used a few key phrases that perked up my interest

“condemn them for the utter uselessness of their joy”

“I feel neither.”

“I am not afraid of anything.”

“utter remove”

“We spend our lives binding ourselves to one another”

“and I let go”

“routines and rituals that are supposed to give life structure and meaning”

“a half step removed”

I’m odd in that I am wholly indifferent to death. And though occasionally friends I tell this to jump to the conclusion that I am suicidal (I’m not), I know it’s not quite…normal? Positive? Seeing this author write about letting go and being ‘a half step removed’ shocked me in that I saw myself there. I am often a half step removed. But unlike the author, I have not had a near death experience. I haven’t even lived that long, or that much. So sometimes I wonder – what’s missing? What’s wrong with me?

Or is there even anything wrong with me? Is there anything wrong with not blindly participating ‘the routines and ritual that give life structure and meaning’? Recently I’ve accepted these rituals and carried them through, finding new ones to add. But it is a conscious choice to distract myself from the futility of it all (how pretentious can I get in two minutes help).

Talked with MH a few days ago about it. She stopped me in the middle while I was describing this – I’d been calling music a form of manipulation of one’s mental state, and she stopped me.

Manipulation? she asked. If you call these things manipulation, you’d have to call a lot of things manipulation.

And I realized – I do. I truly think everything is a form of manipulation. And it’s necessary. And so I manipulate myself to continue being productive and living and pooping and experiencing life

MS

On a oft-unmentioned note:

MS is becoming a stressful nonpart of my life.

When summer started, I was so sure that our friendship was solid. I was the last person he said goodbye to before he left; we hugged insanely tight and his dad went

Wow, I’ve never seen Max light up around someone like this

and we stayed strong through struggles like being pitted against each other for a job we thought we would do together and we were so solid.

And then summer began and I visited him and we hung out and made plans to do drugs and visit so often

And then summer wore on and he stopped responding to my messages and Snapchats so I started messaging him less and less and less

And then he very conspicuously forgot that we’d planned to hang out that involved my extensive planning

And then he kept not responding to my do-over plan suggestions

And then I started getting annoyed and passive aggressive

And that’s where we are.

Simple ways to be happy and sad

Had an objectively awesome day today, with plenty of introvert time with an interesting book that I’m proud to read, and plenty of stupid fun group time, and a satisfying heart to heart, and alone singing time with more reading.

And then I decided to look at Snapchat stories, and browse Facebook, and stalk friends and non-friends back home and suddenly three hours sucked by and my self-esteem fell through the crowds.

It’s so easy to just not check Facebook and instantly be happier with your life. It’s that easy. It’s so easy. I love alone time! I love solitude! And the only reason I’ve ever not enjoyed it was when I immersed myself in videos and pictures of what people were doing without me.

On Becoming Myself

This summer has been an enormous time of growth for me compared even to the academic year here, which was an enormous time of growth for me compared to my time at home. And I’ve been trying to put my finger on why.

I think a large part of it is isolation in interests. Such fragmented interests abound here that I truly can be my own, absorbing what interests me in my peers but also crafting my own person. And there is no overwhelming culture for me to be pressured to meld into, as I always have before.

And since I have no background here, I’ve been able to break out of the rut of being the butt of the joke in a social circle. I’m respected. Things that are odd that I endorse are not laughed at, but looked at as a possibility. I have influence, small as it may be, and that’s huge for me.

So yes to strange music (disconnect from a source for radio and popular music does wonder on my musical tastes). Yes to odd clothes (having a boyfriend who doesn’t care and people who don’t care are amazing for confidence in my appearance and affinity for counterculture garb). Yes to odd humor. Yes to widely ranging books.

People always talk about ‘finding themselves’, and I don’t think I ever even really understood what that meant. You don’t know who you are? Why not? I don’t think I was a complex enough person in high school, with no experiences until my belt, no worldview beyond my beach town suburbia. I’m beginning more and more to understand cliché sayings like ‘find yourself’. Finding yourself can be just realizing your quirky interests. Finding yourself can be understanding how you differ from others. Finding yourself can be thinking about what you want in life, in the broadest sense possible – which was revolutionary for me, mostly because I didn’t see many different ways to live other than college, career, settle down, and have kids, all very straight arrow and mindless.

Why I Am Still With JKm

  1. He is kind to me and to others.
  2. He is supportive of everything I do.
  3. He makes an effort to let me be my own person.
  4. He is his own person.
  5. He is musically talented, and I both enjoy his music and enjoy being associated with the talented musician on campus.
  6. He makes me laugh.
  7. He finds me funny.
  8. He makes me feel appreciated for my quirks.
  9. He is physically attractive.
  10. He finds me attractive.
  11. He finds me desirable.
  12. He is invested in me.
  13. I am invested in him.
  14. He is faithful and I feel secure.
  15. I love his family.
  16. He is caring, and an all-around great boyfriend.
  17. He could be an amazing husband, if not an amazing lifelong partner.
  18. He is reliable.
  19. He puts in effort into the relationship.
  20. His friends are hilarious.
  21. He is well-liked around the school.
  22. I am worried that I will be estranged from the music community at my school if we break up.
  23. I am scared that no one will ever love me as he does.
  24. Even if someone does, I don’t know that they are the type of person that I would want to love back.
  25. I don’t know if I want to reject the idea of settling down in an average lifestyle yet.
  26. I don’t know what I’m doing with my life and his life trajectory is already set and yet I hang on to the what if.
  27. He is not Asian and has shown zero signs of an Asian fetish / yellow fever.
  28. I like sex, and I like consistent sex whenever I want it.
  29. I like feeling sexually desirable, and I like that he works more than I do during sex (he is so damn easy to please).
  30. I like having a boyfriend, and the self-esteem boost that comes with it, not to mention the status boost and social security.
  31. I don’t want to hurt him.
  32. I know I would hurt him and I can’t bear that.
  33. I don’t want to hurt.
  34. I don’t know if I’m in a good enough place that I could withstand an upheaval like that.