From the outside, I appear indecisive. Juggling complex emotions from one sleeve to the next. I live within the nuances of a typical rom-com, where I am the misguided protagonist seeking affection from the most unlikely of sources. But it's more complex that that--and I think we are our complexities; just as we are our scars and our journal entries, and our fondest memories.
I'm learning that the truth hurts but that honesty is the better policy. After being on both sides of complex stories, and a lifetime of trying to amplify my achievements--of trying to appear as wonderful as I felt I was suppose to be--I am deciding that I have to be enough (warts and all). So I will set the record straight and I will find a way to be myself and to nurture that person not the person she thinks you want her to be. I'm coming to terms with her and realizing that, until I love her, for her, no one else will.
But this is a complex notion that leaves little room for daddy issues and body dysmorphia or the tribulations of an INFJ. I am flipping my current idea of self-satisfaction on its head and letting myself be my moral compass and my judgement be enough. At least in theory (and may that be the first step).
In the bathroom of a bar in Brooklyn, I let ugly words reverberate inside me. Words that weren't so ugly after all. He said "Find someone better than me" and I heard "You are not good enough" until the sounds settled in the pit of my sober stomach and I realized he was doing me a kindness.
I am the girl who waited. I have always been glad to be someone else's cheerleader but rarely cheer for myself. Not until recently did I cook good meals just for me or plan my solitary adventures. I started believing I needed something else to fulfill me in undergrad, when my world was changing faster than I could compute and I didn't know how to breathe alone anymore. By the time college had ended, I saw through the shiny veneer of a companion and started to rip off the bandaid. That was a slow and painful process and now I know why smarter people yank it quickly. That adhesive is a bitch.
When you begin to heal, first your body stops the bleeding, then your immune system kicks in to fight infection; your body produces a thin layer of tissue for new skin to grow and, when it scars (as it always does), the scarred skin is more fragile and less flexible than the surrounding areas. We only see the finished product--but it's a lot more complex than that. Like people.
There is no time-limit on our healing.
And, when we rush it, the immune system kicks in, to fight through infections---to remind us that we have not yet healed. We are not cold just on the mend.
On my walk home from that Brooklyn bar, I realized I should thank you for deciding that you are bigger than me. For taking the power back and turning me away. I only wish you had done it sooner but I recognize that you, too, are healing from wounds more complex than your half-smile has ever let on.
15 Things that Gossip Girl Has Taught Me
So maybe I'm a little late to this party but, Kristen Bell's ominous voice has taught me that it's never too late to crash.
I've been in New York for five years: that's countless Saturday nights and Gilmore Girl marathons. And I've never experienced anything like the Van der Woodsen's--or even the Humphrey's, in my time here. That's part of what makes it so enviable: you recognize the cross-streets but not the cash-flow, the buildings but not the business.
And yet, the plight of Blair and Serena is the story of every girl. And the lessons learned from failed relationships, from old "frenemies," from blackmail, have the power to make a person grateful not to have enough money or clout to do real damage but, like any good hero's journey, perhaps the land of girls and gossip can serve as a call to action: we have the same opportunities to make a change. Even more because our indiscretions aren't posted on websites or printed in magazines.
So what's stopping up? And what can we learn from New York City's most fabulous elite?
1. The truth always comes out.
2. "Good" is a relative term.
3. Being a socialite is a full-time job.
4. Trust no one.
5. Things aren't always as they seem.
6. Family is the only constant.
7. People do not like to be pawns.
8. The more you spin a web the harder it is to avoid the spider.
9. Being honest with yourself is the first step.
10. It doesn't pay to sleep with your best friend's boyfriend.
11. It's important to recognize when the jig is up.
12. There's more than one way of being a man.
13. There's more than one way to be a family.
14. It's always better to be honest...even if it isn't as fun.
15. The third person in a threesome should always be a stranger.
Some of these are less applicable to me than others but they all seem wise--and somehow metaphorical. I'm seeking wisdom from the strangest of places and borrowing lessons from wherever they come; one day at a time.
For nearly ten months of the year, I am a high school teacher. I breathe in adolescent angst and release grades--in a timely manner. I rarely wear my floppy hats and, even more rare, I go out once in a blue moon. I've become comfortable in my hibernation. Like a groundhog; I come out to signify the end of the school year.
However, summer has taken on a life of its own. I've begun saying "yes" to the opportunities around me. Everyone is going over to the bar? Yes. Everyone is meeting early for dinner? Yes. Everyone is going dancing on a Tuesday? YES. Life has taken on a new philosophy: yes. Within moderation. But that's a horse of a different color.
On Sundays, I go to The Waystation: It's one of the things I've missed most about life over the past ten months. Late night 'Nerdeoke' with some of the most wonderful humans I've ever met. For whatever reason, the steampunk Doctor Who themed bar off Prospect Avenue is a place that welcomes your tired, your poor,
your nerdy--your restless, with open arms and a wild list of karaoke tracks. From there, the experience is up to you.
I am not a yes-man by default. "Yes" has its place. At work, I say yes more often than no, filling my plate with the work of an army because I like a job well done. This week, a man I admire told me that I am a "workaholic" but that workaholism isn't a love of labor--instead, it is recognition of the work we have to do and a desire to do it well (a labor of love). I feel indebted to this definition, to this understanding of me and my ethic. This same man reminds me that I am a romantic and that I do not belong in my generation.
So where do I belong?
The Summer of Yes has taught me that there is a vast discrepancy between what it means to be "open" and opening up. Each “yes" closed me up a little more. Made me feel more vulnerable and, in turn, more inclined to crawl back into myself. I am told that means I'm doing something right. Right and wrong flirt with one another, in a bar on the Lower East Side, and-truth is-they are one-in-the-same. The difference, maybe, is that Right feels a responsibility to save-face. To do more good for more people. Perhaps right is acting as a shell for societal norm. And Wrong is spinning on a bar stool. Wrong wears 'rebel' in the lining of his vest--Wrong thinks Right is wrong. Right thinks wrong is wrong.
Both are living in a binary. The Summer of Yes has taught me the value of "ish." Of everything in moder"ish"ion. But to be open-ish is to go through the motions while never letting go. Which turns out to be nothing at all like being open. To my detriment, I am annoyingly introspective. I l overthink, like this, all day. And maybe that’s the cause of my new-stutter. I am thinking my voice out of words.
I am trying to be open to happiness and opportunity, wherever it can be found, but I am finding that it isn’t enough to attempt open, when I am really just afraid (afraid of ending up with the wrong person, afraid of not being enough, afraid of falling apart again).
So when I say that I am open, or that this is The Summer of Yes maybe what I really mean is that I am a creature of habit—a “fake it ’til you make it—a hopeless romantic who is feeling more hopeless than romantic these days. If these are all the words I have left, I hope they’re good ones. But I’m open to suggestions.
This is Me:
My name's Melissa. I'm the girl with her hands in her journal.