When I go back to read the things I wrote when I was in high school, I am absorbed. I actually was able to relate my life in a way that was meaningful and preserved my emotions in a digital time capsule. Being able to articulate and illustrate exactly how I feel made those feelings tangible because I can feel them again, oozing through the many holes of my female anatomy. Putting those words on a blank sheet of paper created this real essence out of nothingness, and the emotions course through my veins once again.
I seem to have lost my knowledge of that alchemy today though, and I set these goals for myself in an attempt to refresh my memory. Write every week, write every day, write when there’s nothing else to do. But everything I try to write is like a bad magician’s tricks, spilling his trick deck-on-a-string and pulling lint out of a hat instead of the usual rabbit. Just because I have a trick deck doesn’t mean I’ll become Houdini. Just because I’m writing for the sake of writing doesn’t mean everything I write will have something to say. The problem is that I don’t have anything to say. The reason I have such a hard time writing these days is because I can’t find anything to say. Because I don’t feel anything these days.
I’ve gotten to that age where I reflect on my high school days as “when I was young.” And when you’re young, you live. You don’t know what real problems lie ahead, that cable and internet will actually be a huge chunk of your monthly bills, that you have to worry about working out and eating healthily, that finding a job is scary because you’re essentially being asked to find an identity. At 22. That’s not even mid-twenties. Without these thoughts drudging through the muck that your brain has become thanks to the business degree, aptly named B.S, you pursued for the past four years, you can actually live and think about what color you want your new pajama pants to be and hang out with Caleb and them today and Lauren and them tomorrow.
Because I lived, I had things to write about, experiences to share, people to love, feelings to extrapolate, whereas now, I don’t feel like I’m living. The last time I did have something write about, I was in Korea, where I was living everyday as if there was no tomorrow, no end of the semester, no ride back home. After that I was stuck.
Kind of like the way we label the days in our life by grade when we were younger—“when I was in 4th grade,” “that happened in 6th grade,”—I used to bookmark periods of my life by who I liked at the time. That was when I liked Kevin. That was when I liked Tre. Now I just have my years thrown randomly into a manila file. I have 2011 with a sticky-note label “The Year I Studied Abroad” and then everything else.
It’s been three years since I last liked someone. And when I say “like” here, it’s as major as love to me because it’s one step away from love. If I like you, and then you like me, that’s when love can happen. To me, love is shared. The feeling engulfs me as much as it engulfs you because I can’t help it, but because you love me back, you don’t fight it and just let it take you in.
I’m upset at how society today has outworn the word “love” to an old toy that they don’t play with anymore because it’s become uncool. People just think it’s stupid these days to love someone anymore. Still, I want to like someone because then it brings me closer to loving someone, and I don’t know love. I read about love, I watch about love, but I’ve never experienced love.
I can write heart-wrenching novels about the three months, or however long it ever lasts, when I like someone. I can write one sentence about this whole past year: I existed.
That luck I believed in for odd-number years when I was younger, when I was living, I will believe in it again this year. Thirteen is only an unlucky number if you let it be.