You could try to believe what you wanted, but it never worked. Your brain and your heart decide what you were going to believe and that was that.
i heard your voice over the waves of melodies i chose, knowing your ghost would float in, wrap itself around my heart like a tourniquet and wring me out. i curled into sheets that never knew your body, against walls that never echoed your whispers, and pulled at the splitting ends of my hair - the only things that held the memory of your touch.
if you are like me, you are confused. you feel crammed into life like a sardine, and somehow everybody seems to know the way they’re going but you, and even when you try to follow, even when you grasp the hems of everyone in front of you, even when you hold on for dear life, you end up half drowned, pulling yourself up on the shore only to follow a new crowd back into the water again. if you are like me, you’re sure there is a destination, but you can’t get there. it hovers like a mirage over all of the mess you’re digging through, and you think, if i could only stand on that ground, i would be better, wiser, happier. if you are like me, you feel guilty and weak for that - you don’t understand why you can’t be happy where you are. why you follow the rules, and follow the maps, and follow the other happy people but still feel so empty, trapped, lost and alone.
if you are like me, you think that everyone’s opinion of you matters - you think you have to be somebody to everybody, and you feel that everybody wants something different, and you feel that you don’t know how to be wanted and want yourself at the same time. you aren’t really sure what you want for yourself at all, but you feel like you have to pretend you are. you think you are old enough now that you should have some answers. you think you sound stupid and juvenile and useless when you admit what you don’t know, and you feel all those things even more when you pretend to know and it turns out you don’t have the faintest clue.
if you are like me, you don’t know what you’re talking about, so in this moment, right here, right now, you know exactly what i’m talking about.
if you are like me, i hope that whoever taught you that happiness is beyond you is far away from you now. i hope that the crowds will fan out around you, and give you a space among them to dance. i hope you forget there are such things as answers. i hope you realize that nobody can make you take the road if you want to cut through the grass.
i hope you love other people, but never live for them.
if you are like me, i hope you can let old hurts wash out to the tide you used to tread in, i hope you let go your fears of drowning and falling and hurting, i hope you swim and run and hold on to other people, but i hope you do it because it feels right, not because you feel like you have to get somewhere.
if you are like me, i hope you know it’s ok, and i hope nobody ever tells you anything else.
god they hurt me.
Tom Rachman, author of The Imperfectionists, during a conversation with Malcolm Gladwell of The New Yorker
Living is a horizontal fall.
some hearts wrinkle up,
fold into themselves as age
is soaked up through skin.