It is November 6th, 2018 and I am sitting in a bookstore contemplating blocking someone on my phone for the 4th time in the past week. Just temporarily. There is an amount of care and kindness that seems to feel indecent. Something is off. I feel suspicious about the whole thing so I continuously block this person to ensure I do not receive or send texts for at least 24 hours. It is not that I am into playing games with other people- it is that I must play games with myself so I do not indulge in feelings of love. Maybe it’s not even romantic love but I do it anyways- I do this with friends too. I keep this my secret so as not to concern people that I am suffering some sort of mental anguish. I keep it a secret so the act itself cannot be misinterpreted as anything other than a means to control myself.
March 1st, 2017, I move away to a far south corner of Brooklyn where I live in a studio alone. I tell people it is a roommate issue or a need to have space to do my grad school work. Both things are, in ways, truths, but the ultimate truth is that I am a monster. I wake up with acne and facial hair bulging out of my face. Dead skin sticks to my sheets and chip crumbs cover my pajamas no matter how many times I wash it all. I purchase too many different products to fix these things and finally find them incurable so I escape to solitude. This way, no one can watch me put on my make up or trim my bangs or judge how many times I listen and cry to Fiona apple. I dance around my studio with oils in my hair and globby masks on my skin. I purchase acrylic paints and move my furniture around to make room for my failed creations. I collect books that collect dust. I save every note anyone has ever given me and find homes for them in empty spaces across my walls and fridge. I eat expensive cheeses that fall onto piles of my hair on the floor. I change my tampons in the kitchen and keep two plungers next to the toilet. I tell people I live alone to live my dreams but in reality, I live alone to hide my fears.
It is June 2015 and I live with two handsome strange kind boys. We have formed a codependency where I get mad at them for leaving our kitchen counters sticky sweet and even more furious when they forget to tell me where they are at night. I wake up Saturday mornings sporting striped pajamas and unruly hair. While one goes to the gym, the other takes a walk with me to fort greene park. On the way, we stop at a west African restaurant where we admire the sun beams through jars of beer. I am thinking about dying but instead I tell him I hate his flip flops and we laugh. Back at our home, I listen to him play guitar as I lay on the shag rug, Sweaty and sad, but loved- I am thinking about the future.
April 2014, I go to his friend’s Easter gathering somewhere in north jersey. There is meat being cooked on sticks and girls wearing pastel. It is a largely white gathering and I fucking hate my hair. Too preoccupied by how terrible my hair is, I fail to notice my sips of wine turning into large gulps. Before heading back onto NJ transit, I change into a pair of pants as it was too cold and inappropriate for me to be wearing such a short dress to an Easter function. As I go to sit next to him and his friends, an old man beckons me towards him. I am having trouble hearing him so I lean down. He turns me around and sticks his hands down my pants claiming to help tuck my shirt in but grabs my ass instead while everyone watches. No one says a thing.
Despite getting fired and working several part time jobs I feel a positive upward motion in life. I take a bus to Massachusetts with him in early December 2016. We both decide to dress business button up so when we both bleed, cry, and discuss shit and abject, the audience won’t know what’s real.
October 2017, I cry in the 8th floor bathroom of 721 Broadway. I realize cannot directly quote Derrida, Foucault, Agamben, or even Marx. I keep thinking I am the only one who has spun into a vortex of confusion. I am the only one hearing these people speak in tongues and twists that I can’t seem to decipher. I think about leaving but go to work instead and then, they text me to affirm “this is all bull shit”
Late July 2012 I am sitting at Charley’s drinking a pear flavored drink. I tell them how I lost my virginity and even laugh while doing so. They stare at me stunned. We collectively realize what had happened and what was once a pain of the past becomes present. I run to the docks to tell them what I just realized. One of them had just dipped themselves into the river after a couple of beers. They are warm and young and we are broken.
July 9th, 2015 around 2am we are in a cab back home holding hands. I sat between them and tears gush out of my eyes. My skin is tan and I am fit from pouring my free time into yoga classes and not eating. It is my 24th birthday so I dawn myself in an overpriced vintage dress and red lipstick. We squeeze into the back seat of the yellow cab from Williamsburg back to our home and we say we are on the brink of good and good is approaching. We can see the good; the good is coming soon. It will be good and we will remember this bad but it will be good… soon.
September 2014 before class begins I take a bite into a plum. As the teacher walks in I tell you I am having a slight allergic reaction but I should feel fine. Class begins and within minutes my throat and lips have swollen making my breathing and speaking difficult. The teacher runs to grab me some medicine and I am unable to take the train home alone afterwards without risking falling asleep and missing my stop. You take the train with me and let me sleep on your shoulder- waking me up to let me know I am almost home.
I begin my 2017 by deleting over 50 people’s contact information from my phone. I give myself agency of who stays in my life and begin to pick and choose the characters who get to live in my story. I declare that no longer will the leaving of people be a choice made by others.
End of June 2018, a few days after I get surgery on my uterus, I meet you in your Bushwick practice space. We write songs and decide during those two hours, we have enough to make an album. We pinky promise to record demos and spend the rest of the night at a bar making friends with a stranger who knows his birth chart by heart.
Late July 2015 I am concussed and throwing up at the Rockaways. I call you for help but you do not answer your phone. Neither do your friends. In fact, none of you have acknowledged me in months. I think about dying again. After leaving the hospital, I am taken back home by friends who promise to not leave me but also promised to continue laughing about the accident.
On our bus back from Massachusetts December 2016, we sleep on each other’s shoulders. The bus stops in Hartford and I watch you smoke a cigarette and make friends with a stranger.
It is November 7th, 2018 and I am sitting amongst piles of laundry. I am parsing through my closets deciding what to discard and what to keep. I feel in control and chaotic- playing god by deciding what objects I will allow to adorn my body and my space for a little more time and the ones that will find its way to other worlds. I feel a rush of accomplishment but then a cathartic pain. Perhaps because I know that in the end, I wish I could keep it all.