In-betweeners: Silence

Note: This is a part of a small collection of short pieces written when I couldn’t decipher what emotion I was feeling. There I found the “in-between.” These pieces were written quickly when my brain needed an outlet and then lightly edited later.

It’s funny how even the loudest people can find themselves stuck in silence while their body is screaming.

When hands you don’t want are creeping at and under your waistline, when a face is inches away from yours, trying to transfer the poison from their lips to yours.

All the while, two sleeping beings are the thing keeping you from doing more than pushing until he walks away. A shocked silence that is dripping in confusion.

A silence that I’ve shamed myself for more than I would like.

I’ve wanted to break the silence, shatter it with even the dullest of knives, only slightly placing blame. I wanted to mutter something to the mutual friends that would probably easily sweep up the shards of the truth right under the rug.

But I swallowed the sharp edges. “I stopped him before it was really something,” I’ve convinced myself. “I was lucky.”

But it has rarely felt like four-leaf clovers and jackpots at the end of rainbows when the silence is sometimes still ringing in my ears, my brain still trying to urge my throat to emit some noise, any noise.

I know I am not alone in this silence, but that doesn’t really comfort me. It just proves that my peers and I aren’t the only ones that need to open our mouths. We shouldn’t feel the full burden of the silence, yet it weighs on us heavier than the hands and bodies that gave it to us.

No matter how we carry it, we must know that we are strong. Let that be the push to hopefully one day free us.

Although I thought that silence weakened me, I refuse to let it keep me quiet.

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In-betweeners: Sickly Sweet

Note: This is a part of a small collection of short pieces written when I couldn’t decipher what emotion I was feeling. There I found the “in-between.” These pieces were written in haste and then lightly edited later.

It’s funny how easily we push away the goodness that we truly deserve.

We taste the sweetness of genuine affection, appreciation and respect and grow to think that it’s only a treat.

A treat that we can’t have a lot or else it will make us sick.

But instead, your brain is already ill and develops a taste for something much worse for you in place of that “treat.” It’s an addiction to poison but you’ve tricked yourself into thinking it’s good for you.

You’re too numb to notice it’s not.

Free Write: Kombucha Tears

There is something so sickly sweet about the mixture of lust and earnest interest in someone.

Someone who might not feel the same.

It tickles your tongue like sugar

and stings the roof of your mouth with a vinegar finish.

You can’t tell if you like it

or

if it just hurts.

You want to hold onto every

last

drop

even when you are sipping air.

You want to believe it is all good, but the unrequited emotions bubble up.

More and more.

You seep out the edges, upset because this spill seemed preventable.

Drip

drip

dripping in disappointment.

You won’t entertain accidents, even though that’s what it actually is.

Instead, you let it keep trickling down your throat, trying not to choke.

 

Fly it high

I’ve cried more since the early morning hours of November 3, 2016 than in the collective years since that was my only form of communication.

That’s probably an exaggeration, but anyone who knows me knows my hyperbolic use of the phrase “I’m crying.” But, finally, it’s been used correctly whenever I have typed that since the Chicago Cubs won the World Series that early Thursday morning.

To many of my friends, especially those I met in college, they probably find it strange that I almost exclusively save tears for sporting events (well, and maybe a few to stupid boys who don’t deserve them and sleepless nights fretting over making a magazine). You are right; it is weird because they are literally super publicized games that can also be played by children (or by an infamous Backyard Baseball player named Pablo Sanchez).

 

This was more than a game, though. Not just in the sense that it was a championship because I’ve seen a couple of those brought home to Chicago (thanks Blackhawks). There were droughts that needed quenching on both sides, though the Cubs’ was the most notorious. There were loyal fanbases on both sides who knew what it was like to push through seasons upon seasons of sad scores.

Being a fan of the Chicago Cubs isn’t typically just a fair weather or bandwagon situation. It’s been instilled in you that you will toil season after season with not a lot to show for it, while your White Sox friends might laugh or heckle you on sports jersey day in elementary through high school. For me, it meant going to Mizzou and being surrounded by die-hard Cardinals fans who never let me forget just how many rings they had in comparison to our win not long after the turn of the 20th century. For me, it was memories of attending games with my dad, grandpa and brothers (me in my pink Cubs visor and pink-accented jersey) and eating frozen chocolate malts in the stands. For me, it was memories of watching the sunset over the ivy or getting nearly caught in tornadoes on our way out of storm-delayed games.

For most of us, it’s not just fandom. It’s heritage. It’s love. It’s family.

That’s what made me collapse sobbing on the floor of my apartment around 1 a.m. after having to leave the Chicago bar here in Atlanta because I was so nauseous with nerves that I literally puked outside of the door. That’s what made me text my grandfather “I haven’t stopped crying yet. GO CUBS” because I knew that this meant even more to him than to me. That’s what made me cry thinking about the people that didn’t make it to see this win, like my Papa Giggy and my Grandma Virg who loved the Cubbies because they were cute. That’s what made me tear up in a Starbucks watching the parade and rally livestream because I just wanted so badly to be surrounded by people who all were connected by this same type of love.

Being the true journonerd that I am, I had to live vicariously through the quality media that was being put out after this historic win. I also had to spam my FB feed with all of it whilst crying again. I miss my favorite city so much, even though it has been raw, broken and seemingly numb to the violence and hurt. But this win means that for once the city could just be full of joy. The city can just love its inhabitants purely.

But it wasn’t just the city that needed this win, the nation did. Sure, a baseball game can’t solve everything. It doesn’t have to, but it can let us find peace and happiness and avoid the politics that have been plaguing us for months upon months (P.S. Make sure you vote; it’s almost over, folks). And it’s OK to allow ourselves to be consumed by baseball emotion for a little while.

Although it’s been an emotional journey (I was sobbing again yesterday), it’s one I wouldn’t trade for the world. I would just trade where I was living right now to be amongst the Cubbie fray. Thank god I didn’t need to be somewhere specific to watch Anthony Rizzo sing and twerk on SNL, though. That just added to the buckets of tears with some laughing tears. Now if I could only I could trade places with Rizzo’s girlfriend…

On your marks…

It’s been nearly two months.

It’s been nearly two months since I walked across the stage to a chorus of cheering and vuvuzelas (courtesy of Naif Bartlett), giggled at Dean Kurpius and promptly returned to the mini Prosecco bottle under my chair that I smuggled into Hearnes between my boobs.

It’s been nearly two months of waking up in my pink and paisley patterned walls of my room in my family home, always slightly confused that my bed is the same from my East Campus apartment.

Trying to figure out what light I am supposed to bear.

Trying to figure out what light I am supposed to bear, tbh. I don’t know if I am part of “the wise.”

For someone who uses the phrase “I’m crying” as often as I do, it takes unexpected timing and random things to actually make me shed tears. I didn’t cry during or after either of my graduation ceremonies (my makeup looked to good to do that, honestly). I didn’t cry when hugging the best friends I made and the ladies that lived with me for the crazy school year (we had our apartment pet dildo sign a travel journal and danced to One Direction’s “Drag Me Down” instead). I even held it (mostly) together when I drove home alone in my stuffed car when sad or overly reminiscent songs popped up on my mix CDs.

A T-shirt made me cry.

An oversized, disgusting neon Mizzou Student Health T-shirt that I was pulling out for my pajamas my first night home made me sob. Classic.

Pretty accurate description of me before gathering my Tiger's Lair troops on game days.

Pretty accurate description of me before gathering my Tiger’s Lair troops on game days.

I thought I had been adequately preparing myself for the big rip of the Band-Aid. I had been slowly becoming more and more “irrelevant” in the Mizzou world. I finished out my last season in charge of the football spirit section, Tiger’s Lair, and picked my new successor. I had already split from live-in ResLife duties, said goodbye to my favorite rickety hall, Jones, and was finishing up my duties of giving tours through Defoe-Graham (partially in an ankle brace). I welcomed the new class of Summer Welcome Leaders and did my crying about missing those times last summer. Except for being honored as a member of the 2016 class of Mizzou ’39, I was successfully starting to fade into the black and gold background. I thought that made me ready.

Shoutout to the legacy of ladies that make up one of my favorite traditions.

Shoutout to the Dobbs area and the legacy of ladies that make up one of my favorite traditions.

But, in actuality, that was my least favorite question to answer. I could easily converse with people that asked “What are you doing after you graduate?” and tell them how I wasn’t exactly sure but applying to this and that and had confidence that I would figure it out. I would always fumble when asked “Are you ready to graduate?” Of course, I was ready to leave the stress and schedule of classes and extracurriculars. I’ve always been slightly apprehensive of approaching change, but this was one I knew was coming and was too busy to even fully worry about it. So, instead of letting myself even contemplate that question more, I just ripped the Band-Aid off by leaving behind a lifestyle I was comfortable with less than 12 hours after receiving my diploma cover.

Although I would spend some days at home shaking and slightly holding my breath to try to stifle a panic attack or hopping on my bike to ride miles away from job applications, I don’t think I could’ve done it a different way. I’ve been trying to write this post for a couple weeks now, but there have been times where I couldn’t really grasp what all the different transitionary feelings meant. I wasn’t always sure what I was scared, excited, anxious or ready for. I just knew I felt different.

But, I’ve been lucky to have such a supportive family that let me come back home and gave me time to figure things out. I’ve been lucky to have friends who sent me job postings and wished me luck for interviews. I’ve been lucky to land a job only a couple months after graduating.

Looking at my little magazine children.

Looking lovingly at my little magazine children.

But, even when that landed in my lap I didn’t know exactly what to do with it. It’s a job, I should just want that, right? The people were cool and the company vibe seemed right, but it was different than what I thought people thought I should be doing and in a place I had only spent a maximum of a week in. Part of me didn’t think I deserved the offer and that I wouldn’t be good enough. It took two days of walking around Columbus, Ohio, and watching RuPaul’s Drag Race for me to really listen to my gut and accept the job.

Completing my education has taught me a lot more in the past couple months than probably my last month of college. Things don’t always have to be exactly what you imagined to be right. And I’ll always be kind of scared of change, but I know that in the end it will all work out. I didn’t work my butt off for four years to not feel like I deserve this. So, whether I am completely ready or not, I’m going to start this new race.

Womansplaining

The first week of 2016 has come to a close and I have come out of my temporary sickness and following laziness to crack more into my Passion Planner. For those of you that aren’t a part of the #PashFam and haven’t heard me singing its praises since August, the Passion Planner is the Holy Grail of all planners and is centered around goal setting and reflection. To start the planner you are instructed to create goal wish lists for different time periods and then use the most impactful goal from each of those areas to start mapping out your goals. Once of my goals I made (written humorously, meaning seriously) was for a #FuckboyFree2016.

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Make it trending, homies. None of us need that.

Pardon my language, but this word and behavior by humans has become all too common, especially in my 2015. When I was reflecting on 2015 to create some goals to better my life in 2016, I realized I spent a strange amount of 2015 dealing with, crying about and living in the limbo of interactions with f*ckboys. Such a weird realization for me, especially since I spent 2015 trying to grow in my education and advocacy for women’s issues, feelings and experiences. Yet, when it came to my own womanhood and relationships, I wasn’t being as mindful.

There was a moment during the dog days of summer and the scattered freshness of the new school year that I was stopped by words that rang too true to my female existence. Janine, a friend from junior high, posted a haunting poem as her Facebook status that goes as follows:

when your little girl
asks you if she’s pretty
your heart will drop like a wineglass
on the hardwood floor
part of you will want to say
of course you are, don’t ever question it
and the other part
the part that is clawing at
you
will want to grab her by her shoulders
look straight into the wells of
her eyes until they echo back to you
and say
you do not have to be if you don’t want to
it is not your job
both will feel right
one will feel better
she will only understand the first
when she wants to cut her hair off
or wear her brother’s clothes
you will feel the words in your
mouth like marbles
you do not have to be pretty if you don’t want to
it is not your job

-Caitlyn Siehl

As I felt the goosebumps crawl over my arms, I recognized my own internal battle with “pretty,” a battle known to many girls and woman. The in and out of each passing day included me putting on clothes and makeup for myself and my love of fashion, yet I would feel full and validated with compliments, likes and comments on my beauty. Sometimes social media comments on my appearance concretely makes me feel weird, such as @party_boy47’s infamous comment on my booty during the football season.

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I mean, I have come to know that I have what could be typified as a “good ass,” especially when I am out dancing. An ongoing joke I have with my friends is how I can’t go to the bar Roxy’s without some guy dancing on me and asking for my number. I always play it off with a smirk and a giggle, but question the part of me that feels the warmth of pride when it happens. I have never been one to consider myself sexy or hot, or really even pretty. I have been content with being the cute, funny one or stylish, usually based on my hair. With my girls I can join in the battlecry of our collective sexiness and hotness that empowers us, but it never really felt the same as the kind that guys drool over. When I am called out by males as hot, I usually scoff and run away before my ears and cheeks turn red because I turn into a 12-year-old.

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Or I just tweet about it because I am a disgusting millennial. And, of course, the replying tweets tried to call me out for “humble bragging,” because I must be sharing this for validation and virtual appreciation, right? But actually, I was more dumbfounded and taken aback. I mean, it’s flattering to be called hot and it makes me feel good, but there is only so much substance to comments like that. That giddy feeling eventually disappears into just questioning why someone felt the need to yell that at you.

This is where f*ckboys come in. Urban Dictionary has tons of definitions for this word that took 2015 by storm, but a common theme through definitions is that a f*ckboy is a human that plays the game the right way by schmoozing other humans so they will hook up with them. They know that saying those aforementioned words can help in their game. F*ckboys have mastered leading people on and ghosting (from absolutely everything) as much as they have mastered doing the shit they will complain to you about. They are charismatic, usually attractive and magnetic even when you don’t think you have any sort of metal to bring you close to them. F*ckboys have a plan, and they aren’t too worried about what could get in the way of that plan, such as your feelings.

My darling friend and roommate, Alison, texted me an article about the phenomena of the “softboy,” a sort of subculture of the f*ckboy. They softboy carries all the calling cards of the f*ckboy, except they are frustratingly more complicated and complex. He isn’t in it for just one night; he’s in for the long game. The game you won’t win. The softboy puts off all the right signs. He is usually seemingly inclusive, says shit about feelings that you relate to and can drop some knowledge on things you like. But, what gets you the most with softboys, especially when they fuck you over, is this:

He is emotionally intelligent but does nothing with this knowledge. He is artistic. He is aware. He is still a dick.

This was the type of weapon I had been up against. It may be the weapon you have faced as well. “No, no… but he is so smart. He’d never do something that dumb,” you’ll convince your friends before you’ve hit the ground from the dumb cloud that you have been floating on, just inches above reality. You, me, we all we knew better. But that’s how they get you.

But not anymore. My lovely lady friends and I have had our fair share of f*ckboys, softboys and all the in-betweens that aren’t just genuine humans. I will say that I use f*ckboy as a more gender neutral term because that sort of behavior is definitely not restrained to one gender, but in this case I did fall back on my power woms. We cried, bitched, wallowed and planned “Bad Blood”-girl gang revenges, but time’s up. It’s a new year and we can’t be wasting time hating on these f*ckboys, ourselves or each other. 2016 is leaving f*ckboys behind and letting #GirlLove take over. My awesome friend Crystal graduated in December and shared her love for all the ladies that helped her along the way by posting this video:

Sure, it’s basis is around girl-on-girl hate and ending bullying, but it reminded me of all the ladies that let me cry about stupid shit and the kind notes they left me to remind me of my worth, the worth that is more than my beauty to some guy. That is some good juju to spread and a good reminder to us all.

So, since it is in my planner, it is real. This year will be free of f*ckboys and the confusion they bring. Instead, it will be full of friendships and relationships with others and myself that make us all stronger. Because ain’t nobody got time for anything else.

P.S. I made a Spotify playlist of 16 songs to jumpstart #FuckboyFree2016. Some of the songs are perfect for getting your cry out. Some let you jam in your awesomeness. And some may be something you would like to tell those loser f*ckboys.

P.P.S. This SNL clip is probably my favorite of all time because it includes Drake and is just hilarious. Some people will get why I included this clip, but even if you don’t it will brighten any mood that f*ckboys tried to bring down.

Sad Fad (by Kyle Gunby)

I was going to write a blog post about how “Inside Out” made me cry because I felt like Joy and never understood sadness for the longest time, but then my very perceptive friend said it all for me (and better). Thanks Kyle.

kylegunbythinks

Today, at lunch, I heard a child crying. My first thought was, “I get you, tiny human thing.”

Typically, I don’t think much of infants. Subtract moisture and they’re plastic dolls. The only difference is one can be used as a blunt object to attack your little sister. And, no, I’m not going to make the joke that the other is a plastic doll. I feel similarly about dogs that fit in pockets.

That’s not a dog. That’s a hacky sack.

The young mammal it-creature was crying because its parents gave it an iPhone upon exiting the birth canal. After having its ass flogged, all it’s seen are headlines like this:

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As far as that child knows, everyone is dying. Apparently, Frank Gifford is the bomb at it.

But, in the midst of its weeping, I found that I respected the sentient larva. There it sat, in its own filth…

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