I’m panicking and running up the stairs to get to the bathroom in a house that reveals itself as I move. Not soon enough- it’s happening on the carpet. I get into the shower and I understand more clearly that cubicles are named after their shape. Small, cramped, obscured by flimsy curtains front and back. All of a sudden, my dad flings open the curtain in front of me and I recoil, arms tucked, legs crossed. “What the hell are you doing?” I stammer. I don’t know what he’s saying to me but it’s not important. “What?” he seems unperturbed, if not a little confused and surprised by my reaction. It’s as if it were the most natural thing in the world to see me naked. “What the fuck!” I’m so angry and embarrassed. He finally turns and leaves the cube.
I’m welcomed back to a school atop of watering holes and grassy cliffs. A school where people are characters with extra big grins and extra loud voices. In the cafeteria, he stands there, acknowledging me silently but not approaching. Accurate depiction; a scene from Grease. This girl with extra wild hair takes me around, and as she asks me about him, I find myself pretending that his nickname is off-limits, that he’s someone I know of but do not know. Then, I come across a group of acrobats, who, as she tells me, are sponsored to perform dangerous tricks on the school grounds. They’re clownish, with their crimson lips and perilous zeal. They get on shoulders, fold their backs, sway and start over.
My counsellor wants me to submit the thank you card I wrote her to a few people so they can translate it into a number of different languages and repackage it. She reads it line by line and starts to sniffle at the good bits. I’m glowing. She dabs at her eyes and then uses Tippex to white-out the places where another word might fit better.
You make me want to kick and scream “I’m not like that!” But I’m sorry to admit that I am like that, when it comes to you. I’ll be anything you want me to be. Fickle. And I hate that I’ve taught you that I’m no fortress; I’m an open door. Welcome, fuck me (up) whenever! But how can this be when you haven’t made a home in me? Why is it that you’ve never had to ask nicely for anything- that I’m pulling you into me before the clamouring of a thousand reasons why I shouldn’t?
What’s worse than someone who doesn’t know that they’re the special occasion, you ask? Someone who abuses that privilege. Don’t make me angry with myself. Guard my pride as if it were your own.
This could’ve been a good thing, you know. If you cared for my best interests. Shouldn’t our wills be bent towards the person we love if he loves us more than himself? Where pride has no place? Where we’d do anything for them and melt into their embrace even in our anger? Our emotions serve a functional purpose. Women aren’t crazy. It’s not me, darling. It’s you.
May you find community wherever you go. A special circle of mutual affinity. Our rituals: bowing before we begin, slapping our gloves together in a congratulatory manner after each round. We thank our partners. Let’s make that a practice always. Thank you. Thank you.
I made a new friend at a Muay Thai class the other day. Her name is Ava. She’s got more stamina than me, more grit. I gave up after the thirtieth kick. Fifty just wasn’t going to happen. It’s been a while since exercise has made me want to vomit- it was a close call.
I love yoga and kickboxing because I’ve learned firsthand that with consistency, I get results. The more PROGRESS I see (I’m obsessed). No wonder people are addicted to the gym life; it’s so rewarding. Gradually, you realize you don’t need to take as many breaks between punches. You can do more than five pushups. Your back stretches further, your legs don’t strain. It’s easy, you’re a little bored, you burn for the next challenge. And your arms are more toned, your shoulders broader. You’ve shaped yourself physically- a tangible marker of progress. I’ve always loved that one can guess what sports people do from their physique. Broad shoulders, slim waist, muscular legs: swimmer. Well defined calves, skinny frame: tennis. Big and burly, bulbous arms and chest: rugby. You literally build and shape yourself from your commitment and training. It’s empowering.
I’m kind of deathly afraid of planning. There’s just so much to be done I don’t know where to start. I am not a goal setter. I am not a SMART targets kind of girl- I just hope everything will fall into place, getting through the worries of each day as they come, concerning myself with what people are relying on me to finish. Like, I have to complete this arrangement for my acapella group. I have to event-plan philanthropies because it’s part of my job description. I know that organization is a necessary skill- one that will help me flourish. You’ve got to cut up the onions before you fry them and order the spices before you throw them in the pan. It’s all about efficiency.
My counselor reassured me by saying that every single person learns to plan. We don’t pop out of the womb knowing how it’s done and how to do it well, which means that I’m not a lost cause. I’ve already had a mini revelation at my growing competence from planning and choosing a hiking trail for tomorrow. Along with our hike-friendly picnic goodies. It’s a small thing, but it’s something. I’m not depending on anyone to give me a breakdown of the itinerary or lead me to the correct bus stop. It’s nice to feel well-informed and proactive.
Goal setting helps us keep track of progress. I wholeheartedly believe that progress is a key ingredient for happiness- so why am I not doing the obvious thing? I stumbled across this motivational quote on Instagram: Only through organization can you find more freedom. Counterintuitive. Structure brings clarity and in that space you will discover freedom. Thanks Brendon Burchard! Speaking of, I used to keep care about the follower/following ratio but now it seems the most meaningless restriction. I’ll follow 10k accounts if I want to.
The thing is, it doesn’t matter what I mean to you at the end of the day. I’ll be the person who cares genuinely, even if I’m caring alone. I’d rather my gaze reflect something about the way I want to love than what I want from you. Here’s a sliver of old timey yearning for a time and place where you look at me like that too.
– – – – –
Lupe Fiasco’s lyrics struck a chord today:
Any love less than unconditional is so
Under-Christian, it’s unrepentant.
Lord, I cannot hide from You. Help me to discover how You surpass any sinful desire I might find appealing at the moment. Help me to see that they are lies that muddy my vision for true joy and satisfaction. Help me to train my heart to a new love, in the same way that I’ve recently discovered that avocados are actually really good on their own. Not with nachos and salsa, not in a whole wheat sandwich, not meagerly spooned over salad. Just straight up, scooped out of it’s gravely shell. And it’s good for me. See, ‘unhealthy’ chips are now too salty for my liking. The bulk of my diet consists of vegetables (cucumbers especially!!) and fruits, and it’s not even because I’m forcing myself to eat healthy. I now prefer vegetables to chocolate even, which used to be unthinkable. I can’t fake these newfound enjoyments and it’s amazing to think that they’re working in my favour. It’s like, finally, some of my desires are aligned with that which is good for me. I’m so used to the opposite- driving straight into disaster because I refuse to believe in the alternative. Too consumed by what is immediately satisfying. So help me be truthful in my enjoyment of You, so that I may see and believe that You are only good.
“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”.
– John Piper
‘I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.’
– Psalm 27:13