Memorization is for basic b*tches

The first thing I could remember memorizing was my multiplication tables in the third grade. I spent three full evenings trying to cement those numbers in their neat little columns into my brain. I recited them like a mantra, for that was what brought me nirvana at the time — pleasing my teacher, Ms. Betty.

Since then, life has been a blurred montage of things to memorize: best friends’ phone numbers so I could call them right after school, addresses, birthdays, street directions, credit card numbers, my passport number when I am lucky enough to travel … all of these a random jumble of letters and numbers. We leave a trail of them as we shuffle through life, walking through doors that only these alpha-numeric keys can open. I look at my trail behind me and I see evidence of someone who has lost several credit cards, moved many times, owned a couple different cars, has had a few boyfriends whose birthdays she has cared enough for to remember. It’s a seemingly ordinary life, if you were to look at my record.

Just remember, it’s the stuff you don’t memorize that make your life incredible, precious, and uniquely yours. It’s the stuff you wrote down, like journal entries you’ll forget and look at twenty years later and chuckle at how much of a hot mess you were. It’s the stuff you felt with your own skin, like the very first time your newborn wrapped her whole hand around your finger. It’s the stuff you utter out of your own mouth, gone into the air and never to be said exactly the same by anyone else on Earth ever again.

Memorize the rudimentaries, but leave enough of your mind uncluttered to experience life at its most complex and messy and beautiful.

Daily Post prompt: Memorize


Embracing loneliness (a.k.a. ‘self-love’)

I have not been single since I was 17. I am now 25. I acquired my first love—or at least at the time, what I horribly thought was “love”—eight years ago. Since then, I have not stopped. I have not stopped loving or being loved.

The longest I have ever been single is one month. Sadly enough, it may not even count, because in that one month, girl. did. not. get. any. rest. I was blowing off a cloud in one breath and fanning a flame in another.

Oh, but it’s the best preoccupation, isn’t it? This fall into the pit of love, then the inevitable conflict that occurs when two human beings try mushing their lives together. And finally, if it all works out, that satisfying-fall-into-bed-together-at-the-end-of-a-long-day-and-just-talk kind of love. It’s all engrossing stuff.

* * *

I’ve grown up. And I’m still growing up.

Sometimes, I choose not to humor the Blaming Beast, what I call the hateful, martyred creature living in my gut that tells me my feelings of inadequacy are my partner’s fault. Sometimes, I choose not to humor it.

But in other moments I’m not so proud of, it just feels so good to fall into another pit — Insecurity. I fall into it, make myself comfortable, throw pillows and whatnot, and tell myself insipid, self-hating little nothings — that I’m not sexy enough, thrilling enough, ambitious enough. That I’m just some silly little girl who’s not ready to play the Game of Adulthood.

* * *

I have not been single in almost a decade because I am afraid of loneliness. Wow — what an unoriginal predicament. And yet, here I am, my lot thrown in with other loneliness-phobic people who have become almost serial in their romantic activities.

I have not stopped loving or being loved because I cannot love myself.

It’s a weird, cold realization. I have never been enamored with myself. Dear reader, do you know what the definition of “enamor” is?

Enamor (v.):

be filled with a feeling of love for; have a liking or admiration for.

Have I ever been filled with a feeling of love for myself? No, not really. I mean, some good days, I’ll look at my ass and think, daaaaaamn. But obviously, that’s not the same. That’s just vanity.

When I am alone, I feel this itch to rotate around someone else — I am the moon, enamored with the sun; the only revolution I start is around another person, forever reflecting the brighter light of others.

When does love for myself start? What process do I have to sign up for, what paperwork do I have to fill out, to be able to see myself and think, you are truly enough? Because I don’t feel that, and I yearn for it. For once in my life, when I am alone, I want to love it. For once, I want to be the sun.

Daily Post prompt: Enamored

Have you ever, with a stranger?

* * *

Have you ever fallen in love with a stranger just because?
Caught their eyes, smiled a bit, was intrigued, was surprised?
Have you ever caught the eyes of a stranger just because?
Well, I have — they were yours. And I was mesmerized.

Have you ever talked of life with a stranger just because?
Reminisced, wept out loud, voices cracking in the dark?
Have you ever reminisced with a stranger just because?
Well, I have, with you, my dear, and on me it left a mark.

Have you ever felt the soul of a stranger just because?
Held their pain in your hand, in your head, in your heart?
Have you ever held the pain of a stranger just because?
Well, I have, it was yours — and I simply fell apart.

* * *

Daily Post prompt: Rhyme

FOMO: The digital version

There are just some days when synchronizing with the world feels too damn tiring.

* * *

I went camping for the first time in my life just a few days ago. I slept outside, surrounded by the buzz of insects and the hard ground beneath me. That part of camping will take some getting used to. But one of my favorite parts about camping was being out of reach of any cell phone towers. Those tall, ominous beacons couldn’t find me. And therefore, no one could find me. No one who cared enough to message me. Yesss, I sighed with relief as my phone finally comatosed into silence a few hours into the trip.

The mental vacation lasted about 4 days.

Driving back from the trip, my phone returned to civilization — and the madness started. My phone took a life of its own as the landscape around me got busier. It started buzzing and ding-ing as messages and event notifications came pouring in, reminding me of the “life” I had been missing out on while I was “gone”. I felt the anxiety I had been delaying for days, full of dread at the level of decay my relationships must have suffered at my non-presence, feeling this enigmatic inadequacy wash over me all of a sudden.

I felt like a dam had broken, no longer shielding me from the inevitable deluge.

* * *

Every time I go offline, I feel refuge from the flood of notifications, messages, and daily mental comparisons I make of my life to others’ seemingly more copacetic ones.

In our modern world, we are inundated with opportunities to “synchronize”:

  • Read the same headlines as everybody else
  • Find common ground with complete strangers in a heated forum discussion
  • Admire the same glittering social media accounts that someone else does, recommended to you by some algorithm
  • Take pictures of the same waterfall as someone else — that waterfall now has no soul
  • Share your location and find yet other people who have been to the same place

This causes me to backtrack mentally sometimes: are human beings meant to be this social? Are we really meant to be trapped in these webs of interaction, lured in by FOMO — the fear of missing out? These attempts to connect with the world at large — are they as tangible as the wiry feeling of moss on a tree branch, or the scatter of moonlight on the forest floor? Are they as genuine as a close friend that tells me what’s real in his everyday world?

I say this, tired, and yet, here I am, throwing my thoughts at other people like e-confetti.

* * *

The world is run by hash tags and other identifiers that are meant to unite the world and bring some pattern to this otherwise meaningless chaos. I get it; it’s our way of feeling less alone, less isolated in this digital biome. But sometimes, it’s too much. The overstimulation, the almost competitive drive to be “caught up” — caught up with what, I really don’t know some days.

Sharks — they gotta keep swimming or they’ll just sink to the bottom and die. It just seems, in the world we live in today, that you will do just the same, if you don’t keep swimming in this sea of information overflow. Would I really miss out on life if I ignore my phone? Or would I actually experience it the way it’s meant to be? We can choose to be “offline” for any given number of time, but, outside of completely adopting a hermit lifestyle, it never really ends.

When can we just rest? When can we ever rest?

Daily Post prompt: Synchronize