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nothing was the same.

i have a lot of thoughts about a lot of things. situations i’ve been in, people i’ve known, the mountains of feelings i’ve left unsaid… there is so much i want to say, apologize for or justify and not apologize for. i want to publicly talk about things i’ve been harboring so i can cut the anchor on my writer’s block and finally be free. 

i’m not going to, though. at least, not now. not for a while. not when i still wake up some mornings and wonder will my entire day be ruined if i accidentally dwell on an old conversation or past relationship. it can still be too much sometimes. 

but. i did find this. 

arden cho, known for playing kira on teen wolf, posted this on her blog the other day and she says so much of how i feel. about myself and about people who are or have been in my life. so for now, i’ll leave it at that.

p.s. i now know every word to pretty much every song on drake’s nothing was the same album 👌🏽

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the rules.

  • your flaws are yours. they’re weeds and perennials, prized vegetables and pollinated fruits. the neighbors can gawk but it’s your garden, your yard. yank your exes out by their roots. fertilize friends and forgive yourself when some don’t survive the winter. cross pollination happens and well-meaning can still kill a crop. tend it how you please.
  • take a road trip. alone. put your music on shuffle and sing along with the windows rolled down. travel the rural route – you know you know i-95 better than your family history. remember you need time. your me-time. to spend or waste to your heart’s content. so book the hotel room and dance out of your journey’d jeans.
  • let your phone die. some experiences are better lived fully.
  • get the tattoo. go by yourself and get to know the artist holding the gun. be moral support (or devil’s advocate) for a friend. pay for someone else’s ink at least once. yes, you will get older and lose the elasticity afforded by youth. you will gain weight and you will lose it, but have this moment. and some moments get colored over by new ones, but have it still.
  • see the girl who used to be on the disney channel in concert. drive across state lines if you must. the venue will be sticky-hot and the girl whose purse is in your back will complain about literally everything, but you’ll look at every femme with nothing but love and be fine with your spot on the side of the stage because you’re thrilled to be in the same room.

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    bad advice.

    drink the rest of what’s left of the bottle of sangria.

    sure, pour a glass of that pineapple wine, too. no, not a tv show/movie pour. they only do that so they can stave off their protagonist’s burgeoning alcoholism that’ll come into play at the eleventh hour. pour a hearty glass. a glass that won’t have you pouring a second. 

    cry. 

    it’s easier when you’re drunk. you think you can hold it off like when you’re sober, but you can’t. one lyric in that one kehlani song will have you sobbing into your pink carpet and five minutes later you’ll get over it. not the thing that had you crying in the first place. but the crying. it will come and go as easy as breathing. or maybe hiccups. 

    text them. 

    forget that they haven’t responded to your last message. tell them whatever you’ve left unsaid. whatever has been weighing you down. maybe they won’t answer you for an hour or more. maybe they won’t ever answer you. but say it anyway.

    paper street

    that thing you wish you could say goodbye to

    forgive the sentence ending preposition, but it’s time i ‘fess up.

    i wanted to do this series differently. have articles of varying points of view lined up. share and promote the voices of women i love and care about. crack open the door to vulnerability and show you are not the only person in that dark room. however…

    in the span of about six, seven months, my life fell apart. all because of a dream. it’s not so much as i gave up on my dream, but rather it gave up on me…? however you dice it, a piece of my heart broke and i’m having the damndest time mending it.

    i grew up in san antonio, texas. as a military brat, i tend toward the idea of having no home. of being a vagabond. but for my formative years, i spent a great deal of critical periods of development in texas. ages 4-11, if you must. my childhood has its share of traumas. many things i, to this very day, do not remember and my mom is never in a rush to trigger a resurgence. here and there i hear tale of this taking place or that being done, but my baby mind either did away with them or has them locked away in a very faraway corner. those “troubles” were a person, not a place.

    still, the deepest part of me longs for san antonio. it has every single day since we moved in 2002. so, my new year’s resolution for 2k16 was preparation. do everything i needed to do in order to make my way there. i’d gotten through the harsh years of middle school, high school, and the somehow harsher years of college. i’d formulated a career path that just needed a little bit of experience to forge. i’d recognized and realized my life would stall and stop if i stayed in my small town in south carolina any longer than absolutely necessary. i’m very much a believer in timing and do the best with what you have where you are while you’re there, but it was time to put it into gear.

    i wanted to be practical about it. i saved up money, investing in a FOF (fuck-off fund). i made plans. i would need a u-haul – or a trailer to hitch to my truck. my resume was in severe need of updating. i would have to prepare to tell loved ones, ones who would make it very hard to leave them. i worked on how to tell my bosses at both of my jobs at the time. i pro and con’d all the things, people i’d leave behind me. i set aside a week to make my first visit since 2005, simply to apply to jobs in person and look into apartments.

    i made lists. i would need a deposit for a place and three months’ worth rent in the off chance it took a while to get a job. i’d need gas for the moving trip there. i-95 south to i-20 w until i got to tx, and then all the way down to the alamo is an 18 hour drive, so save up gas money and room for a hotel. probably in (*shudders*) alabama. a young, black female traveling through the american south by herself? i even contemplated getting my concealed weapons permit for the just in case.

    it was happening. i was ready. i was fucking ecstatic.

    and then my car died.

    not oh, get a new fuel pump here or transmission there. i’m talking no amount of new parts could have me driving my ’98 gmc jimmy halfway across the country in one piece. i was suddenly out of a very crucial part of my plan, the plan.

    with the rapid demise of my truck came another chink in the armor. a new car, yes, but guess what cars cost? money. attempting to band-aid my baby had sucked dry my FOF and a new car meant monthly payments and insurance, the former i’d been without for years and the latter had been taken care of.

    whoosh. there went deposits and rental fees and gas money. but i was optimistic. okay, this pushes me from january to maybe july. no biggie. texas was now on the back burner but it was still cooking.

    since purchasing my new car, which i love, at the end of july, it’d been hard enough to pay my present bills let alone make a bank account draining, life changing decision. and for months, i tortured myself with stories of people who moved to los angeles or new york with 300 dollars in their pockets and, yeah, they struggled for a minute, but now they live comfortably in manhattan as they blog full-time from home and get mimosas with their besties every sunday. i made every concession i could think of and still i was stuck in neutral.

    (who are these magic women and why won’t they teach me their witchcraft?)

    while i experienced this decline in my resolve, many things were happening at once. my anxiety and depression had reached its peak. i’m talking ithreatenedtoquitmyjobduringapanicattack bad. the election i never, ever want to talk about again ever took its toll on me – as i’m sure it did on everyone. suddenly people whose opinions i held in the highest esteem were lumping my perspective in with literally anyone whose mindset did not match their own. i was getting to know a guy who i liked while i became distant from a friend (well, friends) i loved. admittedly, every year around july to september, i get busy and i get stressed but this was different. this was DEFCON 5.

    i fast went into self-care mode. i’m talking social media blackout, medications because it’d become very necessary, the whole nine yards. selah went into recluse mode to preserve herself and her connection to the outside world. i had to get it together and i hoped others would understand.

    it turns out age 26 is a liminal space. here i thought it was time for me to go, go, go, and yet i found myself standing stiller than i ever had before. i let my friends move on with their lives without me and was met with resentment. i dealt with a medical emergency that one can’t quite bounce back from like, say, tonsilitis. my future looks a lot different than i thought or hoped or even dreamed it would, and i’m having a hard time reconciling that with what i want. what i believe i deserved.

    right now, at this very moment, i know texas isn’t happening. not now, not in five years, and with the way the world is going, who knows who or where i’ll be in ten years. there is a misery in me that i’ve vowed to bring to term, but i don’t know if i’ll ever be over this. in tangled, one of the characters asserts “find a new dream”, but that is hard when a failed dream was your stepping stone to the rest of them.

    but – it’s not impossible. it’s a one day at a time kind of thing, and each day has reasons to get better, do better. so i’m starting with that.


    google defines “paper street” as a road that may appear on a map but doesn’t actually exist. i’ve always found a strange comfort in the phrase. who we are on paper doesn’t earnestly represent who we are in reality. yet, as writers, paper has been, is, and will always be our greatest medium. so came the thought –

    why not showcase the parts of me and the people i know that live beyond the page?

     • paper street is a recurring series consisting of personal and guest posts meant to showcase the varying degrees of experiences we all share •

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    f•r•i•e•n•d•s

    god never gave me a sister. or, rather my mom’s unfortunate repetitive unions with my father (and the ephemeral presence of two step-fathers) never afforded me one. i used to be real surly about this obvious lacking. 

    i wanted bonding at midnight with cereal and home videos. someone who i wouldn’t have to explain why i’m this way or that, why i don’t want my father in my life, why i’m weird about affection – bursting with it but all dammed up. someone made to hold my secrets and me, hers. blood sisters without the bloodletting.

    perhaps it’s my oldest child syndrome. i’m the baby of me and my brother, but his autism had me taking the lead. being handed reins and never really getting a say in where or when i steered. i guess i wanted the real thing. a baby sister. if i must be the responsible sibling, have the childish bits of my childhood sliced away, i wanted all that meant. diapers and waking in the middle of the night with my mom for feedings. babysitting to show i was more than capable of being left alone at home like the other latch key-ers and her not coming back to MPs reprimanding her and not the vindictive albeit snoozing father in the other room. 

    i never got that. 

    i am, however, the oldest of most of my friends. the small, eclectic, slacker with more stories before she turned fifteen than most have their whole lives is technically the mama bear. designated driver and giver of sage advice. keeper of deepest secrets – probably because my memory is shit. supporter of all those bad choices because it’s your life but always the one to make sure you pace your drinks with water and don’t drink on an empty stomach. i drive the getaway car but won’t shift out of park if your seatbelt isn’t on. i beg you to dump his ass but i understand when you stay. 

    on the flip side, they get me to try new things like fly to see bands i’ve never heard of and paint while drunk despite the perfectionist i know i am. i get encouraged to problem solve in a time crunch and a room full of doll parts. hotel room walls hear confessions i can’t decide are sins or proverbs. i’m chastised for being safe but you got home alive and with all your fingers, didn’t you?

    and somehow i kind of got what i wanted. no judgment when i lived away from home and tried my damndest to flunk out of college. watching heathers at two in the morning and not having eyes rolled at me for having a wealth of trivia about the film in my arsenal. those who check on me when i’m quiet and don’t shush me when i’m loud. we may not talk for months or see each other for a year or so, but we’re making plans before the date is over.

    to boast a fifteen year friendship, be loved and supported even though i’m a horrible student to tutor math, and know exactly who to call to witness me eloping because her and her soon to be husband are exactly who i’d want to get ribs with afterward…it’s a special feeling i wouldn’t trade for anything. so thank you for making me laugh and basket carrying me to the guest room when i drank too much tequila, hugged the toilet like a pillow, and passed out in the half bath.


    and to every connection i’ve made with another female whether we share a love for tv show, art, or pettiness, i love you and thank you.

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    is this why so many pop singers write about december?

    the kind of day you’ll pretend didn’t happen because ‘how the hell do we act normal after the things we said?’

    the kind of week to trail a saturday when your throat opened up to warn that tequila is not your friend

    the kind of month to show you twenty-six isn’t as boring as you believed and your body can be more than your own – but not right now…

    the kind of year that can’t die fast enough

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    the first week.

    i’ve been home for four days. i’m sorry, i should mention i was in another state for a week. okay, one more thing, i met my twenty-sixth year while watching the first 48 on my aunt’s couch.

    to say it’s been a weird month is an understatement. it’s been a weird goddamn year and you couldn’t pay me to relive it if everything remained exactly the same. so i won’t rehash the good, the bad, or the dirty of being 25 in 2016. 

    not worth it. 

    let’s just agree there are things i don’t talk about. some things i never have, some i’ve never known or known how to. if my recent online presence is any indication, i don’t talk at all anymore. this previous election cycle had me realizing i don’t have to supply my voice to every fucking conversion because if i did, i’d never stop talking. 

    i’ve enjoyed not talking. 

    i like not being anxious and paranoid 25/8. i like knowing the elephant in the corner now is really a mouse in the big scheme of things. i like taking care of myself because i’ve always been the only one to do so. i like not engaging every single thing just because it’s there. 

    i can, but should i? do i even want to?

    that’s selfish. fact, not an opinion. i’ve taken an extended amount of time to myself. a mental health day has become a mental health trimester, which i intend to carry to term. if i don’t now i never will. and considering me and my family history, who knows how long that’d last me if i didn’t…

    it’s a hard pill to swallow, but i’m no good to anyone else if i’m not to me first. and i quite like me.