This is the first summer of my life as a college student. Today was the first day of true freedom, true choice, I’ve had in months. I’m twenty. I’m studying English Literature.
I woke up at seven in the morning and worked and thought and planned. I’m going to be learning boxing three days a week, for one hour and half for various reasons. I want to loose weight (I want to be beautiful because I’ve wanted to be beautiful since I was a little girl.) I need something to do, moreover, something to do constantly, systematic or I’ll go crazy/become a vegetable for the remainder of the summer. Because I need something to work around when I’m trying to write (I want to be a writer but haven’t managed to actually FINISH anything in five years and nothing PUBLISHABLE at all, in all my life.) I also recently met someone and somehow, in a typical display of self-deprecating energy, want to make myself worthy of him.
Because when I was picking up my pay from my boss’s house I had a sudden realization and that is… that I am tired of making my life around people who believe I am worthless, or flawed, maimed, broken. I fell in love more than a year ago with someone I believed beautiful and vulnerable and worth it. He wasn’t... well he wasn’t a lot of things he thought he was, that he told me he was. And a the same time, he was a lot more of the things he had half-jokingly warned me about (in the pained sort of warning that you make so that people will deny it and comfort you.) And today I am still finding out the minute, malicious ways in which he tried to hurt me... perhaps because I was the only thing nearby.
When I, breathless with child-like pride, entered the new life (oh beloved, awaited life!) that was college I thought that it was the beginning of everything good, everything that I’d been waiting for. Forever and ever and stretching towards the horizon I would dedicate myself to literature which is my one true lover. I would meet different people, people like me (this last is true for I have made (and kept) a score of wonderful friends who remind me daily that not every breath taken is a breath lost.) I would perhaps find that there are truly people who believe as much as my brain (but not my heart, never my soul) does that beauty is more than anything, a state of mind.
But I have an invariably cruel precision when finding the people who, in the end, believe I’m not good enough. He was old and broken and funny and charming and a writer-in-the-making and he confided in me so VERY much. And because I am foolish and because I don’t really think I deserve much I adored him. And he liked me, he REALLY did, but he could never (for he was a boy who wanted stilettos and miniskirts and the negative imprint of the bathing suit on a naked shoulder) like me ENOUGH.
And so when I was driving to my college, where I’ll be taking boxing and stepping through (hopefully) into the realms of beauty, I was seized by a fear and a hunger and a deep anguish of what lay before me and what I was doing to myself. Because I can’t stand to be unliked again, unwanted, unloved. Because if I have to go through that again I won’t survive and if I do, I’ll emerge scarred beyond recognition and unable forever and ever to want, for fear of never having what is desired. And because I’m tired of being the one who tries and I’m tired of being the one who seeks and I want to know what it means when people say that one does not look for love, one FINDS love. And it’s making me wonder, if he liked me enough, couldn’t he get my number or just my messenger address or anyway, anyway AT ALL so we could talk again. Should I do it myself? Should I always do it myself? And the greatest fear is that I’m imagining everything again and there’s nothing beyond carefully phrased friendship behind everything. Because I am so good when it comes to lying to myself.
The only result is that I am unhappy sometimes. Unhappy about myself and what I do and what I haven’t done and what I could do.
In the end, it’s all like that movie because there really IS so much beauty in this world and I love my life (mine with all the twists and secrets and dark gnawing places) so MUCH that I can’t ever imagine having any other. But all in all and despite the overwhelming material evidence to the contrary it has been a pretty shitty life all things consider. And I have a father who doesn’t care and a mother who cares in excess and too many things stuck at the base of my throat and when I told Monica that there were things eating me from the inside out I WAS being serious. I love the things I’m learning and had perhaps not written about them because love is its own explanation and beauty its own judge. But the truth is that, despite the fear and the impatience, I finally feel like I’m GOING somewhere.
And if today I visited Celeste and drove her around and if we went to Starbucks for a coffee (of all places!) and called Alan back to her place so we could watch (and not really, REALLY watch) Gypsy83 (of all movies!) it is because the transcendent qualities of friendship are often left unsung. Because perhaps all that friendship does is help you forget, forget for a time that pain and the dark exist in the world or that there is a world at all. Perhaps it is the very nature, then, of friendship to be anonymous. Because the great writers have a way of making me believe that we have all been to an end, parents and sons and daughters and sisters and lovers and brothers, but that friendship is to all this little more than a mean. So perhaps it is not to forget, but then I do not know what it is for or if it is for anything at all instead of friendship being as beauty is, incandescent and all-consuming. It must be and if it is then praised be the world...
I’m going to be okay I suppose, because in the year that it has taken me to come back and write it all down I think I might just have made some progress and I’m beginning to find out what it is to work and what it is to think of the future quite seriously and there’s so much more to me than a boy or a girl to love and yet somehow, sometimes it feels as if it is the only thing still tearing me apart.