03/23/18, 3:43am

this is how I knew, definitively, how little I deserve him, and how lucky I am, and how ridiculously large my capacity to hurt him is:

here’s what I said:

I feel like you don’t actually love me but that you believe that you do, and I don’t know how to tell you that.

and then I continued, and as I continued, I watched, and I talked, and I saw: his eyes, reddening, improbably, impossibly: his lips turning down not in a frown but in open-mouthed grief, a shudder in his being and a crumble and I stopped talking and went to stop this thing, this thing that was happening, this thing that I had singlehandedly caused. — I can’t believe I made you feel like I don’t love you because I love you and I know it’s love because it’s there are the time and it’s so big and I can’t believe I don’t know how to show it and and and —

how selfish I had been, telling him this as if I was the only one who would hurt. it’s easy to forget that there are good people. in revolving my sorrow around his object, I forget that he’s there. I held his face in my hands.

we were quiet.

I believe you, I said.

because I cried?, he said.

no, I said.

yes, I thought. this bothered me up until right now, but really: yes; yes, because I need to see this; that he cares this much.

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03/19/18

how did I go from:
flinching at his touch to:
enveloping him
because I finally made tears fall. I can see now
it is possible to comfort someone who has hurt
you and feel numb. to bring the hammer
down and instantly shush the wreckage back
into a whole; I have never seen him
as this: open mouth, desperate
eyes to the sky through monochrome
night — I take it back, I take it back —
you rock, squeeze, rock, breathe

squeeze your eyes, bury your face
into the tremble until it is absorbed
back into you and it is
better, it is
the same

this being: this ball of serotonin, the swaying
laugh: you’ll be ok. the next morning had
good lighting. it was sunny.
crying is manipulative, I say.
you nod.

03/08/18, 11:33pm: note from about a week ago

EDIT: After noticing that reading my journals seriously affects my state of mind, for the purposes of future me’s mental health, it’s necessary to preclude this with a note: this is NOT healthy. This is NOT ok. Furthermore, this poem is wallowing in self-pity, self-hatred, and is furthermore self-absorbed, and is perhaps even more damaging because it’s self-aware of itself: self-critical does not mean valid. Acknowledging and teasing out flaws and unhealthy thoughts just to let them sit there is not justification. Read this as a snapshot of a state of mind, not one to ever let yourself empathize  with again, or maybe: read this as a warning flag, if you ever empathize with it. Remember: empathy. Have empathy.

sorry not sorry, but really actually I’m so sorry.
I’m sorry that I turn every conversation into systemic discourse.
I’m sorry that I can’t see a movie without talking
about the depiction of poc and whatever else
shit that poops the party when
your white friends try to connect with me
by bringing up the tale of genji after I say the word
“china”.

I don’t have the guts
to let a silence hang.

often I forget who I am
often forgetting is utterly impossible

you are everything I
couldn’t be 5 years ago and somehow
I like you
lots
I love you
definitely
I might loathe
loave — shh, that’s an inside joke —

oh wait
how public is this supposed to be?
who do I write for anyway?

these are the questions I don’t want the answer to:
this is the place I choose to publish because I know you won’t ever read it.
this is where I go to hide from you
because after trying to pull you in I’m realizing that some places,
as I’ve always known, are inaccessible
I didn’t know they could be inaccessible to you
I’m glad I have something that is inaccessible to you
— shh, that’s the disgusting part of me —
— oops, did I just write that? —

but this place is on sale, discounted; that’s
the difference; my places
are always at a markdown; don’t tell me
otherwise, I won’t believe it. safe spaces are for
people who need to retreat, because
you never need to retreat —
— oh god, see what I do to you? what I make you? —

here’s what I can’t stand: that I have the ability to project infinite
privilege onto another human being. who cares
if I’m right some of the time?
who cares if I’m backed systemically,
theoretically, epistemologically, who
cares if I can rehearse the critique
and anti-critiques of in
-ter
-sect
-ion
-a
-li
-ty
until I’m blue, yellow, black, red, white,
white, white, Oops
I gave it away didn’t you know that you fell in love
with me only because I’ve spent my entire life trying to fade to white,
Oops
does that conflict with my daily ramblings, Oh Shit
this is something I never ever want
to think about: one-way internalized racism
can generate two-way love
that’s shockingly, beautifully, terrifyingly
real, well let’s be honest here 
deep down I hope it comes out to white
I still hope I come out to white
of course I think about this every day
the only thing I ever wanted was to write
my experience as beauty and not pity

1/29/17, 11:07am, messages from him on mute

You remember, and maybe this is the beginning of the problem:

You’d made plans that night. He’d bailed, for a reason. You’d semi-bailed, for a less good reason. You’d tried to meet up with each other, and finally you definitively bailed so that he would not have to leave his friends. Something external changes, you change your mind. You ask to come over. He tells you he is going to sleep. He tells you he is tired. He apologizes. It’s quite fine. You bid him goodnight, see you tomorrow.

Later, much later, you walk back to your room, run into his best friend, who mentions that he — your he — had left to meet up with a friend. That they are all going back to hang out with him. You are confused. You bid him goodnight. You walk and think, process: he lied to you. He gave details, false details, in order to spend time with someone other than you, in order to avoid you.

It is the details that cut you most. Such a simulacra of the real: an earnest him going to sleep, early. You would never have known, never would have had any inkling to suspect, were it not for sheer chance. It’s not that he lied; it’s that you couldn’t tell.

You confront him; he apologizes, admits, discusses. You accept. You accepted. But here you are in the now: months later, you are scrolling back to relive, remember, reprocess. That was how trust crumbles. This is how fissures form.

where have I been?

You’ve been extremely good, a little lonely, content with your friends, feeling alienated from close friends, feeling alienated from fading friends, feeling like a second-class friend, suddenly ready to cut people out, exceedingly comfortable with the people you love, willing to reach out to people you’ve looked over, unsure if this was out of desperation, motivated to reach out to people you’re intimidated by, confident in your independence, confident in your ability to walk into parties alone, confident in your ability to carry conversations and connect with people unlike you, neurotically depressed when friends prioritize others over you, endlessly needy about attention and shows of care, peaceful about activities alone.

Fast bikes to the beach in Tevas and sexless t-shirts, strolls by shirtless, tanned college students playing volleyball, and upturned sprawls on Mickey Mouse towels with Infinite Jest: unpretentious because no one cares. Chilly breeze but warm sun. Beach flies on a singular spot on the ankle; perhaps you wiped away a drop of honey there.

Leaving SS’s house with MB and N; she tells you she’s read Infinite Jest. Not unrelated, you begin to notice how self-aware, snarky, smart, self-satirizing she is. Also not unrelated, you hate that you’ve become this uncontrollably pretentious. Regardless, you want to be friends. Later, she tells you there is not enough room for you to come on the trip they are planning. The moment passes, tense, and goes.

You meet up with your group for the first time in a year. You notice, in passing conversation, that they have a group chat without you. The moment passes, sad, but only for you; its traces linger.

Long silences in a car driving to a gratifying nowhere; shotgun. Bad music and bad harmonizing; glazed eyes out to East. Bursts of laughter and camaraderie, internal smiles. You don’t need many friends. You have this one, and you know that it’s the ones like these that eclipse any quantity.

Trudging alone along a ridge, taking occasional photos of the ant-like figure that pops over peaks up ahead. Silence, silence, silence somehow more vast than the view. Ever-changing rocks: pink, brown, and that far-off blue.

The aurora of the sunset, minus the sun. Red-cheeked smiles and disheveled, damp cotton. A pebble tinkles down the ledge behind. Later, you trudge down with shitty headlamps, cold and sore. You forget to look up. You are happy.

Idiotic and yet delightful stories, even if all they do is provide and foothold for visual memories: shapes, imagined shapes: patterns and stories and people and imagined meaning: you decide: the stars must be seen everywhere.

Past midnight: all three of you are falling asleep on the carpeted floor to Black Mirror. None of you ask why the other two do not have plans for New Year’s Eve, are not partying with countless friends. It is still good. You may not have chose this, but it is good.

She is driving and you are shotgun and you are driving away from an incredible feat of modern parenting and laughing, laughing at an inside joke — when was the last time you had an inside joke? How do some create inside jokes with such ease? — it is something to latch onto, something that the trip has yielded. Your tongues sting with mango salsa and tostadas.

You toil over the dough, kneading and sweating, and timing, and pacing, and heating, and checking, and waiting, and it comes out: a miracle! a beauty! a child! and you feel it: the pleasure of doing something for you, for you.

Golden hour is thrown into relief against an already-yellowing series of perplexing metal poles. You meander there: you take a photo of you. He is smiling, really smiling, shockingly so: it is so difficult to get a capture of that smile. Later, you look at that photo over and over. You look at his open smile. You look at his crinkling eyes. It glows: gold.

You are muting his messages for the night. You do not want to see his apology for the thing he didn’t really do wrong. He cannot sleepover for this whatever reason, you know, but you also ask: why can’t you sleep over there? But you don’t actually ask. Instead, you act simply sad, but understanding, little vulnerable but in a loving way. But you are not actually vulnerable. To be fully vulnerable is to show the emotionally needy and the pathetic and the insecure, and you think maybe if you show that too much — as you worked up the courage to do last year — he might just begin to not stick around. Denial may just work yet.

You make a photo album of the trip and share it with his parents and him. On second thought, you share it with your mother. His parents respond immediately: lovely! beautiful!; your mother takes a bit. You are sad and happy that she takes a bit. You want her to have a full life, an overflowing life, with too many people to love. He does not look; does not like that you would know if he looks. You think about this: that he cares and does not want.

Tea and music in the backyard in the patch of sun just outside the shaded cover. Mellow, yellow.

A phenomenon: rain drops, at certain velocities and sizes, turn to fleeting, quivering bubbles on jacuzzi water. You think: there are few joys to eclipse dunking hair in hot water, head tipped back, face an island. You sit on the entrance steps, steaming. He kisses your feet: a prayer.

To be blatant: sex. Art, it is art, you are slow and you let out all the missing, all the thinking.

He wants Chick-a-fil-a and he knows you have moral issues with them and he spits you out, or so it feels, to the Panera. Is this ok? he asks. You are disheveled, angry, stressed, insecure. You find the heart and maturity to fill his tea and recup his tea bag. You eat your chili alone at the table nearest the window and want to punch him when he gets back and looks at you with apologetic and still impatient eyes. You don’t punch him. You hunch in and say: I’m don’t deal well with being rushed.

You cry your way through a movie that makes you remember that he will leave you, must leave you, or else you must drive him away eventually. You sit at the night spot with your friends. A vaguely recognizable girl comes to talk to your friend, does not acknowledge you, though you stare at her, willing her to turn, to nod at your presence, to validate your social capital. She does not. But at least you stared.

You go to a party of his friend’s girlfriend, alone. You are the first one there. Oh, you came! the hostess exclaims. You sit with his friend and his friend’s girlfriend, aware of the brimming awkwardness, refusing to acknowledge it. It’s surprisingly ok. You stay twice as long as you’d planned. People laugh at your jokes.

Maybe, she tells you, when you invite her to a thing, when you haven’t seen her it months. I’m telling everyone: maybe.

You pet this blind, deaf dog. It snores lightly. It bumps into a tree. Somehow, you and your friend feel these things together: love, care, the hilarity of it all, the tragicomedy of this trotting, courageous dog.

The waiter assumes you are not adventurous. Maybe you do not look adventurous. You do the jalapeño vinegar shot in one go to prove him wrong.

You message someone two things, both thoughtful, relevant, and requiring a response. You get nothing. You wonder: how many times are you supposed to try before taking a hint?

You jump: down the rabbit hole, excel sheets and wikipedia. It comes together. It’s coming together.