How you get the girl.

Stand there like a ghost, shaking from the rain.
She’ll open up the door and say, “are you insane?”
Say it’s been a long six months, and you were too afraid to tell her what you want.
And that’s how it works; it’s how you get the girl.

Remind her how it used to be – with pictures in frames, of kisses on cheeks.
Tell her how you must’ve lost your mind when you left her all alone and never told her why.

And then you say, “I want you for worse or for better. I would wait forever and ever. Broke your heart, I’ll put it back together. I would wait for ever and ever.”
And that’s how it works. That’s how you get the girl.

No.
This is not how you get the girl.

I recently purchased the Taylor Swift album, 1989, because I love to hate myself, and after first hearing the track that was responsible for said purchase (see also: Blank Space), a song titled “How You Get the Girl” started playing.

Now, I’m a pretty outspoken hater on Taylor Swift, so take everything I say with a grain of salt (while also remembering that I buy her music, so what am I even talking about). There’s genuinely no reason for the “hate” beyond the fact that I like making fun of her lyrics (and also changing them into something gym, food, or squirrel related). In the end, however, I’m pretty sure she is laughing maniacally while bathing in iTunes royalties, so good on her.

The song is catchy, as Taylor Swift music tends to be, and I’ll give her that. But the more I consciously listened to the lyrics, the more confused I became about her message. Was she being serious? – or perhaps this was some sort of self-aware commentary on her terrible choices in men? A public service announcement on the benefits of a proper rain jacket?

While it’s pretty well known that most of her music has a clear connection to her own personal experiences with love, I genuinely couldn’t tell if she was advising men to behave the way she described in the song, or if she was essentially posting a public call-to-action to a lost love that she wanted back – both of which are rather terrible choices based on what she says in the lyrics.

Let me assure you, youth of America who is obviously reading this… if an ex-boyfriend (or an ex-girlfriend) shows up on your doorstep after an unexplained six months off the grid – if he would rather vanish for six months than confide something in you – unless he is John Cusack (ask your parents) with a boom box over his head, was deworming orphans in Somalia, or is a CIA operative, slap the shit out of him politely close the door in his face, make some tea, and kindly move on with your life. He is not your person.

That is just not how you get the girl, Taylor. And if you require a man break your heart so that he can demonstrate his ability to put it back together, it truly provides a lot of insight into the rest of the tracks on every album you’ve released in the history of time.

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In Taylor’s defense, every relationship fails except the one that doesn’t – so I am not faulting her for writing about such experiences. It can be therapeutic and empowering to sing about such things, I’d imagine. I wouldn’t know, since my shower cries every time I sing near it.

I think the problem I have is that this song just further explains a lot about the standards we have set, or rather fallen to, regarding love. I was once dating (or married to, whatever) a guy whom I soon-after felt was not the right person for me (that’s a whole separate conversation about setting my own standards and making poor choices). I found myself incredibly withdrawn from everything, truly not recognizing myself when I looked in the mirror. I was so, so unhappy.

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I remember sobbing one night as I confessed these feelings (and lack of feelings) to a girlfriend.
Her response, something I’ll never forget, was the following:

  1. Does he love you? (yes)
  2. Does he hit you? (no)

Then just be happy. Finding a good guy is hard enough.

Whoa. Whoa. If the standards that women have set for potential mates fall under the categories of proof of love and lack of bruising, I am just not even sure how anyone finds the inventory to select from. No wonder you get the girl by basically just showing up on her doorstep, faking a chill from the rain, and following a color-by-numbers apology.

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So I suppose I cannot blame Taylor Swift completely for her melodic instructional manual on romance. At some point, a large portion of the female species decided that it is not only acceptable for a guy to go AWOL for half a year, but if he shows up, points to a photo of you two kissing and says, “Sorry, baby. I love you and I’ll wait forever for you (except those past six months when I was banging hookers in Bali),” you’re supposed to go weak in the knees and actually take him back. And furthermore, if he doesn’t beat you too hard, he may actually be the one!

This makes my spirit animal so sad.

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Something I suppose I haven’t considered is that what Taylor swift describes in her song may actually be what she’s into. Like, perhaps that really is how you get her – treat her like shit for awhile, then show up and point at old Facebook pictures of when you were happy together – if that’s what gets her off, at least she owns it. And let’s face it, without masses of men treating Taylor Swift like shit, she would probably get tired of singing solely about what age she is (and how sick her beats are) and quickly run out of material, thus silencing radio waves for an eternity. I can hear the cries of ice cream eating, slightly stable women around the world right now. Weirdly, their cries sound a lot like Taylor Swift songs, but I digress.

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Because most of the ways to “get” me involve food, here’s some un-foody ways that you get this girl.

  • Surprise her at the airport when she expects to take a cab.
  • Surprise her with anything – it’s really hard to surprise her.
  • Unexpected cupcakes (sorry, that one slipped through).
  • Tell her you’re thinking about her when you’re thinking about her.
  • Talk about the future – even if that’s just next month.
  • Presents are nice – time with you, however, is gold.
  • Plan things to do and do things that aren’t planned.
  • Try things she loves – food, places, movies – you don’t have to love them too, but trying to understand and experience what makes her happy brings you closer.
  • Discover new things together.
  • Share what you love so she can be a part of it too.
  • Argue when necessary Talk it through – work it out – don’t ignore it.
  • Hold her hand or waist in public – because public is annoying.
  • Kiss her in the elevator.
  • Let her wear your shirts when she sleeps.
  • Be a kid – but know when not to be.

I don’t really feel like writing an entire list. The thing about writing ways to get a girl (or to get me, at least)… is that it just feels very one-sided and demanding – as if these are the sole “honey-do’s” of a relationship and women need not bring any effort to the table themselves (but sandwiches would be acceptable).

And really, there isn’t a way to “get the girl” because girls are not boxes of Hot Pockets on aisle six. One guy could do everything on this list and be the love of my life and another could do them and be the most annoying human I’ve ever filed a restraining order against. It’s the whole Hot Guy or Stalker conundrum. It’s really sweet that you love the way I get ready for bed at night, until I realize you’re the mouth-breather outside who is looking through my window.

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Ultimately, Taylor’s song bothers me because I feel that 1) it suggests to men that part of the way to get the girl is to be an asshole (break her heart unexplainably so you can be there to “fix it”), 2) it suggests that women are supposed to actually look for such qualities in a man – and that we are so shallow that we’re expected to simply swoon over such actions, and 3) it suggests that because Taylor Swift has a microphone and lady parts, she has any kind of authority on this subject – when we all know the next song on that album is about how much her love life sucks anyway.

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Yesterday, in an effort to remedy this and calm my tits (and also because my friend was taking way too long to reply on FB chat), I have changed all the lyrics to things that I find more appealing.
And that’s how it works… That’s how I blow an entire hour of my Wednesday evening.

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Time Travel and Gingersnaps

I read a brief blog entry yesterday that asked what advice you would give to your five year-old self, had you the opportunity to have such a conversation.

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Having read only the title of the entry on my Facebook newsfeed, my brain immediately started navigating through my life experiences, filtering through the good, the bad, and the haircuts – taking note of the exciting and irrelevant, the unfortunate and the victorious. And while doing this, I suddenly developed an unexpected feeling – I started feeling protective. I soon realized that I had developed an almost motherly defensiveness for a five year-old human being that was no more… a desire to protect an innocent five year-old who was not only actually 27 years-old, but technically me.

While thinking about it, however, I realized part of the overall lightness of the original post was probably due to the fact that a 5 year-old is more of a big ball of “why” questions and Fun Dip than he or she is concerned about some of the things that I felt came to my mind during this exercise. Because of this, I decided to change it up just a bit as far as age goes and add five more years to my hypothetical self meet-and-greet.

I get it. If today-you advises your five, ten, or twenty year-old self based on the experiences you’ve had thus far, you may have had completely different experiences, thus, not becoming the awesome humanoid that you have become today. Butterfly effect, grandfather paradox, Ashton Kutcher, ahhh! Time travel theories and arguments aside, here are my things. Not everything is serious, but everything had an impact on my life in some way -whether it be positively or negatively, they shaped me. And while I have learned lessons from them, YES, some are based on regrets – because anyone who says they have no regrets has never purchased the Kelly Clarkson Christmas album – so without further disclaimer, if I had the opportunity to take a walk with ten year-old me, here is some of the advice I would give her:

1. Stop worrying. That thing you do, the one where you worry about everyone else’s feelings and put them ahead of yours, it’s what makes you a good person. But you have to do the same for yourself sometimes too, or you’ll eventually burn out. Don’t let the fear of hurting someone’s feelings be the sole reason you make decisions; consider your own well-being, and consider it equally.

2. Your parents will love you no matter who you choose to live with.

3. You’re not fat. At all. Stop thinking you’re fat. Just stop.

4. The girls in school with the perfume and lip-gloss in the front pouch of their backpacks are not better than you. They’re also not lesser. Treat them the same way you’d treat any human being, but do not let them make your feel like you’re any less beautiful or important. This will be the beginning of you developing an irrational feeling that certain people are more deserving than you. Cut it off right here.

5. Don’t TP Tim Goodrich’s house.

6. Don’t settle. At some point you’ll start using the word “realistic” as a way to avoid saying that you’re just settling. Don’t and don’t.

7. No one knows what he or she is doing. It will seem like they do, but everyone’s just finding their way through the maze like you. Be confident in yourself and your abilities – fake it until you make it, but help others along the way, just as you sometimes wish someone would help you. Don’t give up on something because you think everyone is already ahead of you.

8. Smile at people in the hallway, and say hello back if you’re greeted. Chew with your mouth shut. Let people exit the elevator before you go in. Hold the door open for people; say, “Thank you,” when someone does the same for you. Don’t get so overwhelmed with introducing yourself to someone that you forget to hear the other person’s name. Be late sometimes. Make plans and reschedule if you have to. Experiment with clothes. Take a wrong turn. Laugh at something that sounds dirty. Unapologetically wear white after labor day. Hair is just hair, unless it’s a mullet. Follow your moral compass, not simply a rulebook.

9. Sex, fashion, yoga, networking events. If it feels weird… don’t.

10. Senior year of high school, a girl is going to pour a giant cup of pink lemonade over your head in the middle of the cafeteria. You’ll feel overwhelmed and flustered. Don’t. When she gets close and starts yelling at you, calmly take your open hand and bitch slap it across her stupid face – just once and as hard as you can. Your mom won’t be mad, and you’re going to get suspended regardless.

11. Go after what you want before it’s too late. And remember: it’s never too late, and what you want is allowed to change.

12. Take advantage of opportunities, not people.

13. At 2:59pm on the last day of fifth grade, a girl in class is going to tell a boy in your class that you have a crush on him – in front of everyone. He is going to say, “I don’t like girls,” and you will feel embarrassed and rejected. Don’t take it personally. He really doesn’t like girls. On a similar note, Lance Bass and Zachary Quinto turn out to be gay.

14. A smart ass is always more appealing than a dumb ass. Know your shit and then you can mouth off.

15. Be kind to yourself. Listen to your heart, your spirit, and your body. You have to live your entire life with you – Trust yourself; respect yourself.

I can’t help but wonder why I don’t still feel that way towards myself, that protective feeling, but I also can’t help but believe that it must be common for all of us to lose a little bit of that as we go along – to misplace or displace our value. And while writing some of these, it occurred to me that these are things that I may find myself saying again in 17 years – that I may still be hyper-critical of my appearance while looking back at photos and thinking I looked wonderful at 27, that I’ll still be worried about hurting others, and terrified of standing up for myself.

So I think the truth is that if I actually met my five or ten year-old self, I’d probably just hug her, tell her she’s brave and beautiful and wonderful. And maybe brush her damn hair.

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Re: On Judgment.

I stumbled upon this blog entry today – it’s a friend’s response, in a way, to an entry I had made awhile back regarding my decision to get a divorce – a choice that, because many felt it was abrupt and surprising, I wanted elaborate on and hopefully explain the feelings that ultimately led me there. Her post was really interesting for me to read because it managed to encapsulate my feelings at the time regarding some of the responses I got to my announcement; however, reading it three and a half months after the fact also did something else. It made me realize how little and how much has changed in my life since then.

When I originally posted Apalapucia, I received a mass amount of support through texts, Facebook messages, and even some (few) directly on the blog itself. I should say, however, that I did not originally post the entry to gain support or attention, but merely as a way to address a very obvious change in my life that I was going through.

Do I owe that to anyone? No. But it felt therapeutic and almost fair to, at a minimum, address something that everyone was curious and/or concerned about. It was a big deal – and I was tired of shutting everyone down and out.

Not every response I received was supportive – and that is fair. I don’t expect everyone to agree with my decision, but ultimately, it is my one life to live, and I have to live with myself during the whole thing… so I do feel that my opinion on the subject carries a bit more weight than anyone else’s. I apologize in advance if it offends someone that they can’t be the person to make all of my decisions for me, but I’ve spent too long playing that game.

What my friend is referencing in this (her original) post were the not-so-supportive and maybe also not-so-unsupportive comments – almost all of which have either been deleted or were never approved in the first place. I am referring to the ones where people created accounts under “alidskehsfal@gmail.com” and “YoureASelfishBitch@yahoo.com” (no seriously – though “WatchingFromAfar” probably wins in creeptastic) in order to comment about how I am “delusional” (a word used several times under various accounts, leading me to make the HUGE jump that it was the same person), selfish, stupid, and whatever else that I can’t even vaguely remember. I’m pretty certain I failed God, I need an intervention, and I threw away a beautiful, perfect thing so carelessly.

What most people didn’t see were the slue of comments that I never approved in the first place. This was weirdly a hard decision for me. I wanted to approve everything. I wanted to be fair to everyone’s voice. But ultimately, I had to deny some of the comments (not without looking up their IP address of course – assholes.).

It isn’t that I didn’t approve them because they contained anything I wanted to hide or that I only wanted people to perceive that I was only receiving positive feedback for my choice- I didn’t approve them because there was nothing constructive (or remotely eloquent) about them. Saying, “I disagree. You made a promise, and you broke it” is one person’s opinion of both marriage and MY marriage. It’s a valid opinion, and my posting a public entry about my divorce is a place where someone is allowed to state that opinion. However, saying, “You’re a stupid, delusional whore. I’m watching you and I’m going to make sure you pay for what you’ve done. You’re not brave. You’re a dumb bitch,” while DEFINITELY someone’s opinion, is not a comment on my original sentiment… it’s closer to a note I’d find in my mailbox made completely of magazine clippings.

My friend’s post brought me back to that week. The week I sat in a hollow apartment in Los Angeles alone. The place was filled with furniture – with books and photos and clothes and things, but it was empty. There were no experiences that warmed it; there was no love. It was cold and unfamiliar. It was never home. I reached out through the internet to all my friends and family miles away to finally express that I was coming back. I was finding my way home again. Not through a literal move back to Arizona, but rather, I had made a decision to put myself first before I lost her completely – and that decision had ripples. It would impact others. I felt my friends and family deserved something, even if it answered nothing. So I put myself out there – the amalgam of feelings that ran through my brain and wove themselves into some sort of rubber band ball – not all related, but contributing to a bigger whole.

I remember how my heart sunk the first time I read the awful things people began to say to me. I often try to let things roll off my shoulders – if vulnerability is a character, then I am Chandler Bing – but it was hard to not think to myself, “what if I am an awful person?”

If someone says something enough, you may actually start to believe them.

I say so much and so little has changed since her post because it has. Right now… I am just so, so happy. I woke up happy; I am confident I will go to sleep that way. If I told myself 6 months ago how happy I would be today – I genuinely, genuinely would not believe her. I wouldn’t even believe her if she said “eh, you’ll be pretty content.” I don’t mean that every moment is a song-and-dance number, but today, I just feel like a happy and whole human being.

I say so little has changed because assholes still exist. That hollow space in LA will always be a vacant hole in my memory of things that just weren’t, but wanted to be. So little has changed because regardless of that, I still completely believe in love, in marriage, in forever. So little has changed because despite the years I fell apart and lost myself – despite not recognizing the person in the mirror, I have somehow found myself back together and as if the time was never lost nor even occurred at all. Like coming out of hibernation.

My friend’s post was a simple, but wonderful rant. But it reminded me of so much – of that day, of those feelings, of those idiots, of my sanity and insanity, and finally, of the importance of surrounding yourself with like-minded loons who will support your madness through good times, bad times, and social media shit-storms.

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whiny baby

The other day, I reblogged a post written by a friend of mine about her decision to end her marriage. It spoke to me not only because it was tragic and honest, but also because it mirrored my experience to an almost freakish degree. She is someone who made a terrible, hard, gross, humiliating, and ultimately good decision for herself and for the person she loved, and who is currently working through the fallout. I wouldn’t say she’s a hero (only because I’m drawing parallels here and I wouldn’t say that about myself), but she is brave. I know from experience how much courage it takes to make such an enormous change, imploding life as you know it, driven only by the hope that life will be more fulfilling when the dust settles.

In an effort I assume was an attempt to help her friends understand, she shared her post…

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Because it feels so good when I stop.

It’s amazing what a fine line there is between the feeling of butterflies and nausea.

The way our bodies react to certain situations, what digs away beneath the surface, what elevates our spirits… the delicacy of emotions, strung together on the tiniest, most fragile string that we trust to get us to the next moment.

The mind is a wonderfully dangerous thing when left alone to wonder and wander. You can feel steady, secure in your choices, confident in your reality; in a moment’s notice, however, doubt can smother you. And fear can pull you under.

There’s a certain element of outlook that can negotiate the levels of terror that doubt can wage on your mind. You can choose your attitude. You can choose happiness.

But I think a small element of fear or worry – of anxiety – reminds us why we care about something at all.

Because it matters. Because it’s important.

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Conjugation

I have spent the last two days writing about how confused I was.

I wrote and read, and I reread and rewrote – trying to meticulously carve out something that authentically explicated the myriad of feelings I have been experiencing recently.
Something that expounded my thoughts and emotions, justified why I believe my current actions are okay, and conveyed my awareness of the implications of the most recent choices I have made and how they may affect others.

And today, I stopped.

Because none of it was true. I had reshaped my words and thoughts so much, so many times, that even I didn’t recognize what I was saying anymore. I had made something seemingly complicated and messy even more complicated by trying to justify and rationalize every thought and action so that others may understand and accept.

But then I realized something I already knew – that had been at the core all along – it isn’t complicated at all. It’s simple.

I discovered this today at the sole fault of my sister – who had no knowledge of her doing.

Chelsea: (11:38 AM)
I’m really struggling. From the outside it is just a simple girl code thing, but I think it’s impossible to make anyone fully understand how I feel.

Haley: (11:39 AM)
I know. I know you are torn. I know you love [him] and I know you love [her]. It is hard because you just got out of being in such a miserable place and you are finally really happy. But now [she] isn’t. It is really tough, but in the end, you might have to choose between them.

Chelsea: (11:45 AM)
Anyone who asks me to choose is going to lose me.

Chelsea: (11:46 AM)
Someone who actually loves me and can look at me, see how happy I am – how infinitely BETTER I am than I have been in years… and then makes me choose … That isn’t someone who is interested in me being a better person or being happy – it would mean that their happiness is fully dependent on my unhappiness. And that’s a big problem in itself.

And that was that.

It isn’t complicated at all. She spelled out my feelings in such a matter-of-fact way that it didn’t even immediately register. There was not big announcement or confession – it just was. Obvious. Known. It’s almost like when someone asks you if you want chicken or steak. You say you don’t care, and then when they choose for you, you immediately realize that you definitely cared.

I had this feeling someone was going to tell me that this was wrong. That I couldn’t in some way, shape, or form, proceed in the way I am. So I spent so long trying to explain why I can. And I finally realized that I don’t need to defend myself.

I am finally happy. Incredibly happy.
And I will not compromise it.

That doesn’t make me an emotional brick wall. It just means that I am going to stop torturing myself with justifying or rationalizing anything when I don’t need to. The people who deserve explanations will get them when they are ready. What they choose to do with the information is then entirely up to them.

I am just going to be.

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Set, Space, Clear. Expletive.

Two days ago, I had a bad day.

It was an emotionally charged, cry in the parking lot of Whole Foods, eat the biggest, chocolatiest brownie in the land (after attempting to be healthy), listen to Sara Barielles, no good very bad day.
The worst part? Nothing actually happened.

Blame hormones.. blame extremely early PMS… blame being a girl – blame the full moon for all I care. It didn’t matter.

I was fortunate, though, to have enough functioning mental capacity that I recognized it wasn’t right… That there was nothing truly at the root of this (though I was sure to exacerbate the tiniest of things to blame and panic over) – that there was nothing actually going on that was worth feeling this way… and while some of my legitimate (albeit stupid) insecurities did surface, I truly did recognize that it was irrational to feel so upset.

But that didn’t stop me from feeling that way in the least. Especially at a time in my life when I have been telling myself to trust my instincts. To stop second guessing what my gut was telling me. 

But instead, I did the smartest thing I could think of and removed myself from humans before I said something so undeniably crazy that I wouldn’t be able to mulligan it when I was sane again.

Though it took a bit of time, it did get better. So much better.

I went to sleep that night calm, and then I woke up yesterday calm – and I was thankful for all the things I could then see that seemed invisible or absent the day before.

So I decided to list the things I was thankful for in order as they occurred during the day, just as I mentally listed the things I “hated” the day prior while crying over chocolate and post-it notes.

So here are the things that made me irrationally happy yesterday:

Waking up warm and in the arms of someone who makes the world around me dissolve (even while a horrific sounding alarm is going off)

Orgasm factoids

Greek yogurt, granola, and mixed berries.

Wonderful things happening to wonderful friends.
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The boxes of chocolate that have the chocolates with just coconut in the middle. They are impossible to find, but if you find one… Pure.Bliss.

Google.

Feeling like I’m doing a good job at something.

Long lunches

Parking lot kisses

Getting “thinking about you” flowers
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Having a superior ask for my opinion

Planning future adventures
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Secret missions

A motion activated office light that alerts me when I have been way too still for way too long.

IT humans

Laughing out loud

One of the hardest working people with the one of the most positive attitudes.

The various ways in which humans interpret floral arrangements.

Afternoon hot chocolate

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Feeling valued

Having enough perspective (albeit delayed) to realize I am being an asshole.

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Airplay, bubble wrap, and hula-hoops

Dinner in sweats

New friends

A respectable shoulder-to-waist ratio

Falling asleep fast and hard and in the same way you woke up.

 
When I was 19, I got a giant, unfortunate, and regrettable tattoo around my hip that reads “To be blessed, you have to be cursed first,” a sort of nod to the whole, “the sweet is never as sweet without the sour” idea.

Two days ago, I had a bad day; but I don’t consider myself even remotely “cursed” – and despite what people would assume about fairly recent events in my life, I don’t consider my life sour either… but what I did forget is that the silver lining in those rough days… experiencing those stupid, crazy, irrational lows… can also bring about some wonderful, wonderful highs.

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Light as a Feather

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I have only been in Arizona for a week.

A week
.

I have been here for a week. My belongings still reside in boxes on a cold tile floor in the kitchen and living room of a three-bedroom house for one. Every morning, I dig through three suitcases and a closet looking for something remotely professional to wear, often failing, always rushed.

But I am happy. 

Because I have been here for a week.

I have been here for a week, and I have already smiled more than I have in a long, long while. I have laughed out loud until my stomach hurt – and then continued to laugh anyway.

I have congratulated myself on the small accomplishments, rather than looking only at how far I still need to go to measure up to anything remotely significant.

I have felt whole again.

I have felt like myself again.

The boxes and suitcases still remain full, not because I am have a resistance to staying; the boxes and suitcases remain full because I’m not going anywhere. I’m in no rush.

I can’t pause long enough to find a place for a mixer and some lamps – to sort through the various knickknacks that make a home homey and complete. Instead, my hours are packed with minutes that just can’t seem to expand enough to fit in all the happy.

And I used to find myself fighting to get sleep – spending countless hours tossing and turning, trying to calm myself enough to get through even just a few hours of unconscious existence – a blissful departure from a world of negativity, uncertainty, and doubt. A world of constant questioning.

Now I choose to sacrifice those hours to kissing in the rain; to hula hooping; to night swimming and philosophical conversations about the composition of an Oreo. 

… To the excitement of some uncertainty, rather than the fear of all of it.

And my hours aren’t just completely slammed with epic, splendiferous moments laced together like a macaroni necklace. Sometimes they’re quiet. Sometimes they’re slow.

But it’s the comfort I found in that silence that makes all the difference.

It’s singing in the car again, smiling at people in the morning, waking up so immensely better than just “okay.”

It’s trusting myself – my instincts – my faults – my abilities.

It’s forgiving myself for being human and moving forward. 

It’s coming home.

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