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I thought what we had was so right/but I guess I was so wrong..

At one point, towards the end of my senior year of college (a few months back), I said something when I was drunk that actually made sense, and in a sad way:

"When I was young, I knew all of love and nothing of death. As I grow older, I realize that I know little of love, and death has become as familiar as family."

I wrote it down, in my personal (hand-written) journal, and had said it earlier that evening to my roommate, Kelsey. I suppose, I do know of love--but in terms of a romantic, passionate love--I know very little. I know of familial love, and platonic love. I know it well, and do cherish it. What is it that makes me so cynical? What makes me so mad, and so untrustworthy of men?

I could blame it on the unexplained breakups, the death of my first love, the cheating or the general attitude that my male friends take towards women and relationships. But blame won't get me anywhere but angry--and anger solves nothing. It just puts you in more of a funk. I've been in the funk for a while now, and haven't used my anger for anything good or progressive. I've yelled and cried and been drunk; screamed at the top of my lungs at G-d for an answer. There is no answer. There is no reason why a man cheated on me, or why Joseph died. Things just happened, regardless of who I pray to, or how hard I try to make things right.  This does not mean I lack faith, or believe it is a series of unfortunate and preventable events. Granted, there are days when I wake up and as I open my eyes, I pray that certain things did not happen as they did. But I'm in this life--and they did happen, regardless of prayer.

Am I angry? sure. Can I change it? For the most part, no.

I suppose I keep walking, right? There's nothing I can do to make things happen. What's going to happen, will happen. I place myself in situations where the things I want to happen may happen, or they may not. Sometimes I wonder if I should just "let the tide roll in on its own," as my mother once put it. I fell in love with a couple of men in Pittsburgh, I will be fully honest about that. Whether or not they love me back is questionable--no one came heroically chasing out to Philadelphia for me, nor did they make much effort to continue wooing me. A couple of them, to my surprise, replaced me. One of them still talks to me, and awaits my return to Pittsburgh. I wonder if he understands that when I say I miss him--it's a different kind of longing.

The feeling I get towards love right now is that of being caught in a tide, under the waves. You know--the part where you feel yourself spinning around, and you know damn well you're caught in the waves, but it's a matter of getting out of it. I'm just waiting for the moment I catch myself and can stand up and laugh. The moment when it's easy to breath and the sun shines again--the moment where it's clear and the saltwater isn't stinging my eyes.

I suppose I want that in a way for my whole life. I want to understand where I'm supposed to start off, to work and to live. I want it to start fitting together like a well done puzzle. I'm so tired of figuring it out on my own after the last couple of years. I'm so tired of fighting for everything--for putting a lot of effort in and getting very little out. The only times I've been really, really happy is when I'm with my friends, and when I'm traveling. And I would love to make a career of it--of journalism and travel--but as time goes but I'm told that I'm too young, too inexperienced to do this just yet. But wait a few years and do city tourism, then we'll see.

What pisses me off is,  I know what the Great Wall feels like after you climb it with a friend from college. I know how the stonework on it is not made for a nearly 6' Irish American with size 11 feet. I know that your muscles ache and quake after, and that Chinese tourists on holiday want to take pictures with you regardless of how gross or sweaty you are. But I also know that it's the most gratifying experience when you realize that, at a young age, you've done something most people will never do. I know that at the *moment* the view of the mountains hit you, regardless of the smog around them (we'll pretend its pretty mist), the day + of travel to fly from Pittsburgh to Chicago to Beijing is well worth it. I know the difference now between real Chinese cuisine and American-Chinese food. I know that if given the chance, a home cooked meal in the Hangzhou after a day of being in the tea fields learning about the value of a day's hard work is more gratifying than any A I've ever received on a grade report. I know what it's like to understand about 10 words in a language, and be *just* able to communicate through universal hand gestures and facial expressions. I know how to use a squatter toilet.I learned how to make a deal in a marketplace. I know that the new nightlife in Shanghai represents more than a generational shift, but an entire cultural shift. I know how strange it is to return to America, to return to having personal space.

And I know what it feels like to sip a glass of REAL sangria on the Costa Blanca. I know the fruity blend, the flush of the cheeks and the sound of laughing friends. I have had discussions over homemade lentil soup with my host mother about the passing of her first love, her husband. I have had a 12 year old host sister teach me about American media from a foreign perspective without her knowing. I know what the Jonas Brothers sound like when translated into Spanish. I have had late nights out in the Barrio. I know what real tequila is supposed to taste like, and it's not like the motor oil we consume here in the States. I know that a lime and salt are unnecessary, but still pleasant. I know what it's like to go to an SSL (Spanish as a Second Language) class feeling like I knew the language and then getting my ass handed to me. I needed to get my ass handed to me. I know what it's like to be a member of a country where you know the language enough to function on your own, but not enough to avoid being laughed at or made fun of. I learned how to fully respect immigrants in my own country because of this. I know what paella is, what it tastes like and that I will never have it again unless I'm in Spain. Same goes for a Spanish tortilla. I know that Spanish cuisine, in general, is bad ass beyond belief. I know what taking the tram to Benidorm is, and why I call it "Benedon't." I know why some of my friends call it "Beni-do." The debate rages on. I know that most of the sidewalks in Alicante are like a marble slate, and slippery when dry. Deadly when wet, much like a woman. I fell one too many times in front of Spaniards who found it mildly hillarious and yet horrifying. I know what it's like to have a piropo cat call you, and that it's not meant to be offensive. I know what it's like to see REAL street art--the kind of graffiti that moves you, that's political and interesting. The kind of graffiti which marks what the youth of a country are thinking and what's making them tick on through the nights. I know what it's like to board a plane at the end of the program, with classmates in tow--and I know what it's like to give someone a hug knowing that you'll never see them again, regardless of how many times you promised that you'd have a reunion. We still haven't had that reunion.

I suppose what amazes me is, I've lived this really elaborate life, almost lie-like, for the last 4 or 5 years. I've wandered the globe and finished college. I've had lovers and boyfriends. I've done well. I've written for a news paper and interned at a metropolitian television news station. I've met local journalists that I looked up to in high school and realized that they were as human as I. I've seen an exboyfriend die, one move away and one get engaged directly after dating me. I've been rejected by schools and jobs. I've been celebrated by peers and co-workers. By employers, even.

Yet, it seems I can't get on track with my life. I live with my mom and dad this summer. I'm 22 and I feel like I hit pause on something that was in motion, going full speed and then some. Maybe something out there knew that I was getting too far ahead of myself and is trying to bring me back to 22. I guess I always thought that by 22, I'd have a job and be getting ready to get married. And at 22, after all was said and done, after going what is pleasantly described in Mel Brook's "Spaceballs" as "Ludicrous Speed" or "Plaid," I know very little about myself anymore. I know that I love travel. and music. and cooking. and writing. God, I love writing. I know what it's like to be kissed in the rain. And what it's like to be in love with someone. I know what it's like to stand at his bed side as a life support machine pushes his chest up and down with the rhythm of a begging prayer. I know what it is to feel his hand go cold and his soul to leave a room. I know what it's like to bake a cake with a college roommate at 2:30 in the morning because you have to write a thesis, but feel like doing something more worth your time. Confetti cake is almost always more worth your time. Your roommate is always more worth it, especially when it's Kelsey. I know what it's like to keep a journal among four people for longer than I can keep a journal to myself. I know what it's like to have three soul mates on a platonic level.

I guess what I'm getting at--in a roundabout sort of way--is that I'm sick of people judging me because I'm 22. Or because I *just* graduated. I'd like to respected for the things I've done, and get a chance to do the things I haven't. I want to get where I'm going because this whole sitting still and waiting thing really, really wears on me after a while. I also started this post about love. And what I'm saying is, I know what love is like. I know that when my parents take me back in after raising me without question, that's love. I know that when I call one of my friends at 1 in the morning piss drunk and they don't mind, that's love. I know that when I can return the favor, it's because I love these people. But going to bed alone every night gets old fast. Not being able to know someone on a truly intimate level bugs me. Seeing everyone around me in a relationship makes me jealous in a way I never wanted to be, or even expected to be.

I never understood the whole being "in-love" card. And maybe I'm focusing on that instead of the fact that the job market sucks and I might have to admit defeat and work as a secretary until I find that journalism job. Maybe I have to get a dog instead of a boyfriend, and a treadmill in place of sex. I have to burn energy somehow. I can't be mad at God forever, because sometimes, it's not God's fault. It's no one's fault. It's just a matter of how things play out. Sometimes the card's in my favor (see: Spain and China), and sometimes, I'm ship wrecked. Eventually, things will make sense, and new things won't make sense. It's cyclical, but this means that eventually, a man will come and not be a total schmuck. Eventually, a job will come that will change me and make me so much better than before. Eventually, the wave will crash and I will stand up quickly, perhaps wobbling, to face the sun and breathe.

Posted at Sunday, July 19, 2009 by [[that girl]]


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