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.

 

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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…

Body Language

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Summer, and your body, are what you make them.

~Thoughts from a self-care bike ride~

This summer has been an exercise of body respect for me.

As I finished out a stressful, yet amazing, sophomore year at Mizzou that included lots of involvement and caring for others and not as much exercise as I would like, I looked wistfully at  pictures of high school me in x-small lacrosse uniforms. This will be the summer I get back to that, I thought.

I felt, as my lovely friend Alise puts it, ‘squishy.’ I wanted to be the elusive ‘skinny’ again.

Skinny.

It doesn’t really make sense. ‘Skin’ is something we all have. It’s something that people choose to show or not, decorate or pierce, but it isn’t an opposite fat in any biological or anatomical sense.

But, it embodied the opposite of the hateful feeling I felt when I became all too conscious of my thighs sticking together as I sat in a rickety Metra train car, when I swiftly walked through the city and the small squiggle of a stretch mark decorating them. It embodied a strange promise I once made to myself that I wouldn’t go over a size 2, or my distress when I went up a couple cup sizes signaling in my brain, You are getting fat.

It’s summer, which equals a great deal of skin freedom in the form of bathing suits, booty shorts and crop tops, all of which I love. But, I would pick up my little high-waisted shorts and a fashion police officer would whistle in my head holding up a stop sign, warning me of all of the thigh people could see if I put them on. Or, god forbid, I wear something that bared a not perfectly tanned and toned midriff.

I kept seeing images of girls I knew, and some I didn’t, looking like they were pulled from a perfect beach body ad. One former high school classmate posted a before/after tummy pic on Instagram to proclaim her success on ridding herself of the dreaded Freshman 15 and spewing words of encouragement hoping that people would see it and feel inspired to make a change they wanted to with their bodies.

People, people, people.

I like to please them plenty, but why did they keep getting pulled into the conversation about my body? As much as people try to define body perfection or goals, such as ridiculous vanity sizes a la J. Crew, my body is mine.

My body is mine. 

I exercise to feel strong, not because I want to impress someone with a toned torso and limbs. It’s me commandeering my own body, which is incredibly empowering when you think about it. Sure, my genetics have given me a little bit more thigh and booty than what society might try to deem as pretty, but they help me dance, which is probably my favorite thing to with my body.

And, I will continue to dance because my body is mine, and I plan to do something radical with it.

Love it.