What Matters: The long ride after the longest ride.

This is a new segment of my blog. It’s called What Matters.

Millennials are supposedly the loneliest generation. We have the luxury of connecting with each other in more ways than what has been possible in the past. With the emerging of the internet and social media, we can connect with humans across the world from us, instantaneously. So, why are we so lonely?

We live in a society where no one talks about their real life. Maybe it’s from the stigma and shame of vulnerability. We think no one wants to know how we are really feeling, so we respond with “I’m good, how are you?” 

We choose to show how we want to be seen by posting our active moments, our adventurous selves, and our beautiful faces on social media. We cover our blemishes, our scars, with filters. Even those not participating in the social media world put filters on themselves and what they share with others. Nobody gets that close to anyone. What we give are the good looking framed pieces of our lives. 

So, this segment is meant to shed light on the real moments of life. On the moments that we don’t talk about, the moments that we don’t think anybody cares about. Really, the moments that we are scared to share. Because life is not all good. We forget that we all lose our cool sometimes. This is not meant to be a pity party, or me venting, but to show pivotal moments in my life that are real, are ugly, and even embarrassing. Because I am not just the filtered cropped pictures on my socials, and neither are you. If we share ourselves with each other more, really become transparent with one another, we may realize that we are more relatable with each other than we thought. From there, maybe we can beat the loneliness that consumes our generation.

Every moment in our life matters. Our feelings matter. The small things matter.

So, I want to share my moments. Because they mean something to me. I might leave out the backstory. I might leave it vague. But, I aim to share some small parts of my story, my life, that would normally get shoved under the rug and never spoken about. 

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THE LONG RIDE AFTER THE LONGEST RIDE

Sitting there, after ripping my own heart out just hours ago, I hold a carnation given to me by a stranger. I feel every bump of the shuttle ride. I shift around my backpack on my lap and stare at a spot on the floor.  I feel eyes on me by the people sitting across from me. I know they can tell I’ve been crying. I let it stain my face. I don’t care. I sit there with a broken heart and a shattered frame of mind, flower in hand. When I get home I put the flower in a glass of water. The next morning it starts to show signs of wilting. The next day even more so. I let it sit on my kitchen table until it bends low below the rim of the glass, dead in a puddle of water.

I like your bowtie

Bullshit is the little bow that holds the present together. When you untie it, the present is exposed, and the once pretty bow is now an unraveled ribbon pathetically falling to the ground.

What is now, what we find comfort in living amongst is held together by a whole lot of pretty bows which are easily able to be torn apart and undone. We let bullshit hold our lives together. It makes us look pretty, put together, intentional, and meaningful. We hide behind the bows because we think it’s what people want to see. We think people want us to always be put together. We want to feel put together. It’s part of our hierarchy of needs. It’s funny that self-esteem lies just under self-actualization. It’s so close to the top, yet can be so astronomically far away from the truth. We start to believe the excuses we make are valid. We begin to think that our caked on face is prettier than our naked one. It isn’t until we reach the tippy top of Maslows pyrimid that we can see things as they really are. We can see the creases from the liquids and powders we cover ourselves with. We can see the chunks of mascara clotting our eyelashes together. We can see our dark roots growing in under our bleached hair. The view from the top shows a unique truth that pierces through us in the most painful yet beautiful way.

You’ll know when you reach it because it’s so damn hard. It’s like blowing out your birthday candles, only they were trick candles, walking away and then finding out that they relit and burnt your house down. Truth hurts like a burn, and they say burn victims endure the most pain imaginable. So if you’re having trouble reaching your self-actualization, remember that that’s part of the shitstorm. We have to ache, we have to become fed up, transparent, naked, true, and vulnerable.

We want to avoid answering the seemingly easy questions because “what do you want,” “how are you,” “what are you doing,” are actually the hardest and most complicated questions to answer. We follow the guidelines of a made up rule book that keeps getting passed around by other self-conscious, yellow-bellied, amicable conformers. We just can’t help it—doing what we really want, saying what we really mean, just isn’t polite.

Stepping back from the glass sliding door I’ve had my face pressed against for so long that my nose still has a resemblance of a snout, I can finally see the real view of my backyard. I can see those pretty little bows holding myself together.  The imprint of my face glares off the glass just so that the sunlight shines right onto yours too. I see those bows, and boy, they are pretty.

 

the car wash you walk through

It’s what you get after you go through something that impacts you in such a way that it moves you, changes you, or inspires you. It’s like a patina that glazes over you as if you walked through a mechanical car wash. A film covers your body showing everyone what you’ve been through. Evidence of an experience. You can try to rid of it like so many of us hide what we truly are, but instead it now is your coat, your sheen armor that rather than protecting you, illuminates your vulnerabilities.

The patina itself is love. Or hate. Or sacredness. Or bravery. It’s something you now wear, painfully visible.

It happens when you let something consume you. The ear to ear smile from feeling loved, the pained face of heartache you can’t help but wear, the flinch that crawls up your body when you’re conditioned to expect the worse, or the broad shoulders you carry to prove to yourself you’re strong.

We all want an armor that will protect us. What we don’t realize is that what makes us strong is not what we wear to keep things at bay, but what we see as our truths. If we realize what they are, what we are, our vulnerabilities will make us stronger.

If your weakness is love, then you are prepared for a life of heartache, so you love harder. If you feel hatred, it means you have felt pain, which means you have cared deeply for something and that you can feel that way again. If you are scared, then you know your monster and can stare at it until it doesn’t scare you anymore. If you are brave, then you know what you stand for and have the strength to stand up for it despite any odds.

You are who you are. You have to embrace what you are, what you were, so you can become who you want to be.

The monster in front of you

Its face is warped, decomposing away. Pieces of its flesh are gone, and bone peeks through like deep puddles on asphalt. Its eyes are like black marbles, large and round with the reflection from the light in front of it shooting out like beams. Reptile like, its skin tears as it stretches its mouth open, screaming at you. Its inaudible scream fills your ears with a numb nothing. Its foul hot breath reaches you as a chill, like a gentle hum running down your body making the hairs down your spine stand up. You straighten yourself, clenching your jaw hard. Your head fills with the piercing pain of holding back tears. You let it scream at you, stare into your eyes with its own empty sodden expression.

And then you scream back. You can’t hear it, but your throat itches and rips as you tear all the breath out of your lungs. Screaming at each other, your screams combine to make a harmony, a harmony that gives you a kind of peace.