I have never been the type to make waves.
I used to believe that the entire ocean traveled towards the sky in one giant wave. That, no matter where you were, you'd feel the same micro-pulsation. But, when you look out at the ocean, five-feet tall, the waves seem to take from parts of the water and give to others; rolling across the deep blue, on a race to some sandy finish-line. No two people will have the same wave experience. Like two sides of a long-lost friend. Older still, I know that all a wave brings to shore is energy. Not a single drop of water from foreign bodies. It's an optical illusion, like tomorrow.
I was swimming towards the frothiest parts of the water, catching my breath in heaping gulps that felt like promises too big to put down. When you're swimming towards the waves, you feel alive. The air above the water, healing. I've been chasing a good wave. The kind of wave that questions your existence; that pulls you from side to side; knocks the wind right out of you. If you stay under even a little longer, if there isn't time to breathe between the next wave; the kind of wave that might inhale you, for energy.
Off the beach, waves are often frowned upon. Perhaps for their energy. Bringing too much of themselves to the shorelines, people often run away. It's no wonder the wave takes every last drop of its water back. Even the things most necessary to survive are rarely appreciated.
So maybe I make more waves than I'd thought: just being a person seems to add a murmur to the universe. And maybe that is why some people grow silent, like the parts of the water that never seem to make any waves at all.
I think it's time to brush you off.
Dear Evan Hansen,
Today is going to be a great day and here's why...
Dear Old Navy,
You were a good idea.
You make morning kisses harder. But not impossible.
My favorite pose is the way you look at me when the camera's not snapping.
How strange the way you hold the years as if they were tangible. As if it were only objects.
You make such a cute comeback, in the summertime.
Dear Pretty Little Liars,
You ended as you began. I couldn't escape you but I'm glad you're over now.
The best days are had by accident, with you.
Dear Ice Cream,
I miss you as I desperately try to regain the figure I had seven months ago.
Dear Barista Who Knew My Order Without Me Having to Open My Mouth,
Thank you for seeing me.
You were a breath of love and a reminder of humanity. The place where the linear and curvilinear meet. Dayenu.
Dear Baby Goats,
I will love you forever. You have left arts and crafts paper, house lights, donuts, laughing tracks, and MLA citations where my heart once was.
Dear Blonde Streaks,
I could get used to you.
I'm not sure you ever come the way we want. But you start with goodbye.
You were dainty but delicious. You poked holes in my pockets but I'm happy to trade hard work for experiences these days.
Dear Mango Margarita,
I still think you're more exciting to say than dripping on my tongue. But you're frozen enough to make me pretend I'm five again.
The gray-haired woman next to me, who thought I was ballsy for using the men's room during intermission, said it best: So. Much. Heart.
A Masters Degree makes me no more equip to support my sadness.
Dear Spring Skirts,
You're good for twirling and weekend picnics.
Weekdays are brought to me by the letters Y-O-U.
Dear Cinnamon Tea,
Don't worry. As the days warm, I will still boil your water, wait impatiently for you to cool, and hide you away behind the laugh lines in my throat.
Dear Prom Date,
We're the greatest love story ever told.
Dear Renaissance Faire,
The stones said it best.
Dear Mini-Ice Cream Cones,
You're a tiny indiscretion. Everything tastes better in cones.
Dear Deb Talan,
I trust no one when I’m afraid, either. But we are Lucky Girls.
You're close. You mean the end of such much and the beginning of so much more.
Dear 6 Months,
You're not much in the scope of forever...but you've been everything since the first day the glass broke and the dreidel spun, and the bakery door swung open.
Dear Rainy Blooms,
Proof that things are still lovely, even when they're a little damp. The flowers (still) grow.
I wake up around seven times a night. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I can't say I remember a time I slept peacefully for the quantities of time suggested by the National Sleep Foundation or my father. It's part of my sleep pattern, by now. Never quite a REM because there's always something I remember--a hook out of slumber. A reason to wake.
As a child, I'd listen to music to fall asleep. Eventually, the familiar hum of chords I knew and words I'd grown to expect would create a safe-nest. A lullaby for the listless. Each time I would wake, a chorus would swell and I would slowly find my way back to slumber. Sometimes I would pick up a book and read until my lids, purple and heavy, would shut. I survived the dark, the monsters, the day before. But some nights I did not sleep.
I used to sleep with my arms and legs in straight-jacket mode: so tightly encased in my blanket that nothing could ever get in. Not nightmares, not bad thoughts, not bad people. It wasn't always an effective way to keep out the boogey-man. Neither was the dreamcatcher that jumbled my thoughts like Charlotte's Web into nothing so "radiant" or "wonderful."
Now, I'm much more the Netflix & Chill variety. A plot that floats like a dream in the back of my overly-addled mind. Voices that murmur like old friends.
I read an article in The New York Times a few months ago that reviewed papers published in a science journal about the power of sleep. This article, in particular, wrote that people sleep to forget.
But I dream to remember.
Bukowski said, "Too often, the only escape is sleep." That may be true. But I have always been happier in the here-and-now. As a child, my mother, when faced with any big decision would say "Let me sleep on it." And, by morning, like clockwork, she would have an answer to all of life's biggest questions. I have her enthusiasm, her smile, her thighs, but I never seemed to get the sleep gene and, while we are both afraid of so many things, I wonder why I'm so afraid to close my eyes.
And to make decisions.
I wonder if, subconsciously, I'm letting my night terrors affect my day-person. I know it works in reverse: I would wake up, unable to keep my lungs or heart from sinking, when my day-heart was breaking. Or are they one in the same? Is that why I'm so afraid of them?
April's love letters being so tremendously delayed speaks volumes. Still far from the showers and the flowers, I am a mass of extremes---sorry/grateful, regretful/happy, (more on this soon). As I type belated love notes, a Ring-Pop on my ring-finger, I am reminded to think whimsy. Of all the reasons-I-have-to-be-happy-in-spite-of. Of all the happy-is-what-happy-does. Of all the hyphenated happiness.
Dear Spring Break,
A breath of fresh air and extra doses of laughter. I had forgotten what it felt like when the weight was off my shoulders.
You were a doozy: after days of making videos, I don't think I've ever laughed so frustratedly or grimaced so joyously.
You were a good idea.
I was overzealous and bought the whole thing. Thank you for not laughing at me as I spent all day asking you to cook faster. Thank you for letting me keep my Passover-Points.
Dear Park Slope,
You're a whole other world. Thank you for pie and adventures.
You remind me of all the reasons I want to be a dreamer, even when times are hard.
I don't really like adulting with you. But I can. And that's pretty cool.
I am the luckiest. You remind me how to smile, when the world feels too heavy.
Dear New York,
I love comfy pants and giant sweaters with you.
(you're the) One.
Dear Poem in Your Pocket Day,
"I said to the sun/tell me about the Big Bang./ The sun said "it hurts to become."/I carry that hurt on the tip of my tongue."
Dear Chocolate Lab,
Will you be my puppy?
Dear Lit Mag,
I'm proud of you.
I was an open palm; a heartbeat; pride personified. The bigger your twirls, your smiles, your voices--you are why I do this. You are all it's for.
You will be in this bun until you grow. I don't hate you...I just need to get past this length, so we can be happy again.
Dear Cooking Shows,
You inspire me to buy fancy cooking gear and aspire to beating cute children with my culinary skills.
I forget how delicious you are, until you hug my thighs. Can't wait to taste you back in Texas.
Dear April Showers,
You're early. Like Orpheus--and I, Eurydice, have desperately been seeking warmth.
Too many days and you have accomplished nothing. Mostly happy to report this, seeing as you have nothing redeemable to accomplish.
So much pride. You are a world I am happy to live in.
Dear Reading Apps,
You brought me considerable joy. For a moment, all of life's problems felt so easy a caveman could do it. Wish your monotonous voice was a little more literate.
Dear Chocolate Cupcake,
I'm obsessed with your itty-bitty torsos and toothless grandpa smiles. Your tiny hands and saucer eyes. I hope the air is breathable and the people are kinder when you are old enough to walk on your own two feet.
Tell me more about "tomorrow."
Dear Graduation Application,
You're real. I'm almost master of something.
When it rains, it pours. Good is subjective. Happy is a choice.
Dear Joshua Radin,
You sing pretty lullabys.
I am learning that I cannot make you happy.
Dear Spring Break,
Dear Last Night,
Some day, all of the thoughts that keep you up at night, all of the words that make you cry, all of the reasons you don't want to get out of bed...they won't be what you remember.
Dear Future Me,
Be kinder to you. Learn to let things go.
When I don't consider how the globe is warming, or what future of melting ice caps looks like, I am so thankful for the sweater weather. I could use one more really pretty snow, if it isn't too much to ask...but I shouldn't be so greedy.
Dear off-white chunky knit (with the stain on the arm),
I am warmed by your history. I feel lucky to swim in you.
You've reflected some pretty excellent images and you make me look cool. You're not so bad yourself.
You make the Hallmark side of cards jealous. Let's walk 'til our shoes turn brown.
Dear West Coast,
You look so very welcoming.
Dear Driving Lessons,
Parallel parking is a b----. But I don't mind learning how to get places faster.
Dear Rainbow Bagels,
I will not consume you for fear of rainbow insides but you're magical and more exciting than the bagels I usually order.
Dear Late Night Writing Sessions,
Thank you for the belly laughs, productivity, and the warmth in my belly.
You're the best thing about our president. And Kate McKinnon, you are better at being everyone than everyone.
Dear This is Us,
Dear Mid-Winter Break,
I took a breath.
January has always seemed particularly grey. But this time, in spite of the looming presidency, the bitter cold, the fire alarm that keeps going off-- I keep finding the sunshine.
You were a good idea.
Dear Sushi Guy,
I like your hat (but you look better in it than I do).
You're wonderfully magic from the window but even more fun in Prospect Park with cider and your very own unicorn.
Dear Tiny Children,
When you play "Come Together" and the bass is bigger than your body, I think I know what I want to be when I grow up!
Dear Barack Obama,
Thank you for your service--for your kindness, for your honesty, for your heart. I will miss you indefinitely.
You locked yourself. How could you? I thought we knew each other better than that.
Dear Baby Goats,
I am grateful for you.
Dear Words With Friends,
Gimme that triple word score!
Dear Lunar New Year,
My mama's a rooster. It's gonna be a good year (can't wait to celebrate you)!
Dear Banana Bread,
You are delicious and I am too gluttonous for you.
Dear Moving Parts,
Please keep going.
Stop. Collaborate and listen.
Please come faster.
Proud to be your Lava Girl.
December has been a relatively tumultuous month. I have never before missed work or been so sick I needed to. I have never spent back-to-back nights in adjacent ER beds or had the distinct knowlegde of IV needles to be able to discuss in great detail my favorite ways to be administered IV fluids. I have never had to bail on a workshop for a show about Christmas or put myself first in any tremendous way. And now I have a collection of out-patient bracelets to rival Carrie Bradshaw's designer duds. But I'm finding more and more to love about the little month that keeps trying to beat me up.
Dear NYU Langone Cobble Hill,
Thanks for laughing at my jokes. For bringing me Ricardo, who double dressing-gowned me for privacy, and for doing minimal damage to the veins in my left arm.
Dear Baby Goats,
You threw me a birthday surprise! Just as this whole sickness was rearing up, you made me feel like I mattered in such a tremendous way. I will never forget and never throw away my giant poster.
Dear Charlotte's Web,
You brought tears to my eyes and a pre-show that was so fun to put together. Thanks for the popped-balloons and the polaroids, and the pie.
Where you at!?
I see you (especially the giant kind and the kind The Boy eats for you).
You are very tough to keep down. Why not work on that?
Why can't you be pretty when I'm sick, like other girls?
I could get used to you.
Dear Fuzzy Santa Socks,
Thanks for getting me through the worst nights. Time to get you into the laundry now.
Dear Tab Open on my Computer for Mulled Wine,
There will come a time when I can just make large quantities of you and tell myself that nothing is more important than staying warm.
Dear Ice Skating,
You always make me feel like I'm a little more graceful and a little more in love.
The lady at Bryant Park said "YOLO" so I will be taking lots of you.
Dear Christmas Trees,
You're festive and I want you in my home.
You are the soundtrack for everything. Seeing you in person did so much inspiring and a whole lot of soul searching. Some days I think I know where I'm supposed to be. And, just like that, I want to pick up a guitar and sing something.
Dear Birthday Month,
Now that there are two to celebrate over two days, I feel like my prayers have been answered. You sure know how to do birthday crowns and candles.
“Who knows what women can be when they are finally free to become themselves? Who knows what women's intelligence will contribute when it can be nourished without denying love?”
This month's Supermoon left me crestfallen. If we are being honest, the floor of November is strewn with disappointment and protesters come close but nothing says broken like Mother Nature. A moon that isn't super, global warming, and rom-com rain following the election are undeniable signs that Mama N is not happy.
And how could she be? In dreams, the moon represents some hidden, mysterious aspect of yourself. It is often associated with the feminine mystique and intuition. America needs to be a Supermoon. And Mama N, ruler of the feminine mystique (next to Betty Friedan), knew that “The feminists had destroyed the old image of woman, but they could not erase the hostility, the prejudice, the discrimination that still remained.” This year, where a qualified, brilliant, well-spoken woman had the credibility and courage that should have guaranteed her success, the country that falsely raised me to believe in possibility voted an unqualified, unprepared man in her place. I guess the truth behind the 20% pay gap is not only that is is justifiable for women to earn less for working harder but also for women to forget one another--to not champion our own successes as a tribe.
To the 53% of women who voted for Trump: You must have been the same girls who sat together, in your Abercrombie and Fitch uniform pants, gossiping about how my hand-me-down-shorts were too baggy and how dumb I looked, always raising my hand in class. I did not let you get me down then and I refuse to do so now. Back then, you saw yourselves as something important because you were beautiful and your strawberries weren't soggy by lunchtime and your supplies were as name-brand as your underwear. When you decided this made me inferior to you, I thought it was something that would change with time. I did not realize that the way you made me feel in fifth grade could be the way I feel now, when your power made the difference between something good and something else.
I know this is not just my fight. In fact, I represent such a tiny blimp on the spectrum of sadness. But that doesn't make my sorrow less important. I choose to stand with the people who have to fight--with them. As a woman who gets sexually assaulted more on trains now than she did a month ago--who has African lineage, Israeli blood, and a human heart. I hope to never become complacent. To never accept this new normal. Someone will always be suffering, in this new world.
The first words of Donald Trump's victory address was "Thank you" and Hillary Clinton's speech was plagued by "Sorry." An apology to a nation that could not do right by her--by America--and she apologies. Now, Donald Trump also apologizes, in his speech: He begins his victory garble with "Sorry to keep you waiting, complicated business." He does not apologize for mocking people with special needs, for claiming ownership of the female body (in more ways than one), for threatening the lives of most of the American population. He uses an excuse I imagine we will spend the next four years expecting.
I know people like that; who mask their true intent in barely sensical phraseology; who employ the same four lines with such vigor, it makes you feel both special and scared. It's business-minded people in a position of power who have more at stake than a company. Business men who put themselves first, when there is an entire system built around them.
But Barack Obama, in 2008, began his victory speech with "Hello Chicago! If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things were possible..." He goes on to glorify the American Dream, to paint the new America as it could be. As it could have been. That is inspiration. That is what a winner looks like. That is the Supermoon.
Since the election, along with the shock and confusion, fear and embarrassment, pain and anger that I feel---I have begun to apologize even more for myself. For the way I come into a room, for my tone, for the way I assert myself into situations. For the way I am viewed and the way I want to be seen. It is fifth grade all over again. The school-yard bully is mocking the children with special needs, firing rounds of "You can't sit with us!" at the ones who look different, and sitting on a throne made from someone else's hard work. And where is the Supermoon?
Waiting for December.
This is Me:
My name's Melissa. I'm the girl with her hands in her journal.