Late PM/Early AM Rough Drafts: Don’t Read The Comments

The other week, I got the new Blogilates fitness planner in the mail. It’s bomb, y’all. It has built in to-do lists, which is perf because I was wondering how many sticky notes I’d have to go through this year to keep my mind as organized as a piece of paper. Today’s to-do included:

(1) Get nails done with mommy, (2) Shop for clothes, (3) Indonesian, (4) Poem, (5) Blog Post, (6) Check e-mail, (7) Read The Alchemist, (8) Walk

As of an hour ago, I had completed all of the tasks except for the writing of things and my Indonesian lesson. But alas, now it’s just the Indonesian lesson! S/o to the world that makes me angry, but makes me write because that’s how I process and calm down.

So, here is the hashed out result of that. It’s nothing I would send to a publication, but I think we always ought to be in love with our words and how they come from us  anyway.

inspired by: excitedly seeing how 88rising posted Justin Chon’s trailer for Gook and being amped for that artist solidarity. Watching said trailer again and then looking at the comments. Y’all. Don’t look at the comments.

much love! Until next time, bruv.

image

 

A Post All About Me: New Bukowskis and Cities Not Named Cleveland

Yes, hello. Halo! Nama saya Paige! 

This is a post all about me. But wait-say you- aren’t all your posts about yourself?

Why yes. Basically, they are.

This isn’t even really about me… it’s more about my feelings.

Regarding my new Charles Bukowski: Jenny Zhang. And the Kathryn Bigelow film Detroit and how I for the first time became one of those people who is like “oh, I don’t mind that a white filmmaker made this film about a distinctly black American event” and who decided not to really say that in any large capacity because I believe those who do take offense on behalf of the marginalized usually err on the side of right. And I’ll get around to reading articles that argue that point later, but not right now!

So, my two things of this week both have something in common in how they affected my life: I’m not sure exactly what I think but I know there’s something special and that I like it. I think that mainly applies to Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang, but it goes a little bit for Detroit too, but much less.

So Detroit first!

I don’t think (oh wait, the world is yellow tinted right now and it is gorgeous, ugh nature and the beauty that Beaumont can have when I bother to look at it) kkay anyway, back to the scheduled post

I don’t think that I knew Detroit was about police brutality. I just felt it was important to see it anyway, so I asked my mother if she wanted to and we did.

The movie theater in town has new seats that successfully block the view of the rows below you, which means if there are no people next to you, you are bright little screen of a cell phone free! But I had people next to me. Who chose the moment the film actually started to pull out their cell phones. But no, baby. Paige doesn’t play with the cell phones. Everrr. So, I politely leaned over and asked the not on her cell phone party to ask the two on their cell phone women to put away their mobile devices. They did. Not for the whole thing of course, but their loss. If you wanna fight over a cell phone though, we can fight. Because you ARE RUINING MY MOVIE. Not really. But I’m easily distracted and you’re distracting me and I paid for it and so did you and omg watch it because they worked really hard on it and this is cinema gosh dang it.

Anyhoo.

So, we were snuggled between them and a very animated black man who chose to laugh at the ridiculousness of the white people in the film and at the situations occurring. Which was somewhat enjoyable, but as a person who is always asking my mother to not ask me questions during the film, I was also wondering if black people knew how to watch a movie without talking during it.

The answer is yes, they do.

Anyway.

Movie opens. Action is on. I was with the above-mentioned article writers because I was at first thinking “ooh. this movie is making us look really bad. oh, this is a little uncomfortable.” But then it becomes obviously clear who is in the wrong: the police. yay. of course. However, unlike the theatrical poster which proclaims: “based on the true story of one of the most terrifying secrets in American history.”

bah-ha. To who? The specific occurrence might be little known, but the “terrifying secret” of police brutality is not secret to black Americans nor has it ever been. So, let’s just assume the movie poster wasn’t directed at us. There were white Americans in the audience which I was happy to see.

We’re used to police brutality. The only gasp I heard during the film was from the nice not on her cell phone black lady next to me. None of the brutality got me to cry or shocked me. I’ve already been through my jaded America has lied to me and hates me and all of its minorities phase. There was a point in the movie where my mother tried to speak to me and I said, “nononono tell me when it’s over” because despite missy whipping out that cell phone again, I was engrossed in this movie and not trying to miss a second. I did actually have to hold in tears by the end of the movie. It didn’t work. They spilled. Those kind of tears that rack your shoulders back and forth, except there’s no exercise going on. At least not one that energizes you directly afterward when you think about all the work you put in.

Nope. I sat there crying because of the character of Cleveland (Algee Smith). Sweet lord.

My mom tried to ask my what my favorite part was. “I don’t think that’s a movie that you have a favorite part to.” Which character did you relate to the most? “I wouldn’t say I related to any of them.”

Reflecting, that’s not true. I think I knew it wasn’t true then. I cried for Cleveland because of his own pain and because I saw myself reflected in him.

Man, Cleveland hurt. This is why I’m not writing about Detroit overall. I’m not writing about whether or not this was Kathryn Bigelow’s story to tell. Nah. I’m here to write about Cleveland.

I’m here to write about how we got to see Cleveland before, during, and after his traumatic experience with state sanctioned violence. We got to witness Cleveland’s sense of security be shaken up as truths were exposed to him, as he watched people leave without helping only to help him afterwards. We got to see how his worldview changed, and it hurt to see that change. We got to see ourselves in him and think about when our own perceptions of the world changed and how hard it was to get used to that and all of the mistrusts that we too had to experience.

It would not have been enough to only see Cleveland during. It would not have been enough to see him during and after. The before was so needed. That was Cleveland as carefree. That was Cleveland just wanting to sing. That was Cleveland being happy just to make music and perform and even sing to an empty audience because that was life. It was him not caring if the people who consumed his music were majorly white; it didn’t matter if they liked his products but not him or his people (think Do the Right Thing vibes and the answer of the Italian-American son).

It was being able to contrast care-free Cleveland with Cleveland who had to ask those deeper questions and who was traumatized from being in the same room as white people and police officers. Contrasting the initial Cleveland with a man whose mistrust arising from the way the world had treated him made him stand at the sides of a venue that he had wanted to be center stage on.

I don’t remember which part I started crying on. I think it was when he was on the sidelines. Even after the movie ended and it was just the credits, I just kept thinking about him and the change, and my tears were unstoppable. I didn’t even want to do anything after. I just wanted to go home. I wasn’t hungry; I wasn’t thirsty.

Eventually, I calmed down and life went back to normal. The rest of the day was actually fantastic. I was much happier than I had been just hours before. But those are the films I really appreciate. The films that leave me so broken-hearted that I’m disturbed. Yes. Give them to me. But also give me something fun so I can bring myself back to life.

Now on the Sour Heart. I was a little distracted while reading the novel, so I definitely want to re-read it. My favorite stories were the ones with Christina/Crispina. I just really liked it. I like the voice that Jenny Zhang has, and it’s because of Sour Heart that I chose to look up other things she has written, and I really appreciate how many of her things have dealt with racism. I even shared one on my Facebook because I feel like people should know who she is. When I re-read it, I’ll probably go more in depth about what stands out to me, but right now: it’s just its existence and how I’m happy I picked it up. For a lot of my favorite things/people in life, it’s sometimes not the things that they do/accomplish but its person that I believe them to be. The personality that I think they have. For example, off of Jenny’s website, I found this photo-series: http://www.rookiemag.com/2014/07/vilnius-travel-diary/ and that really made me connect with her. It made me want to go adventure, and I just appreciated how raw her descriptions were, especially the first photo. She was in Lithuania, but I’m trying to go to Indonesia by May of next year, hence the Indonesian that opened this post. I know more words! looooook: apa kabar kamu? bagaimana kabarmu? ibu dan bapak. selamat tinggal. selamat malam. salamat siang. selamat pagi. itu adalah saudara perempuan saya Lina. siapa nama kamu? apakah kamu juga saudara laki-laki <- I think I messed this one up. I need to go over my flash cards again haha. S/o to Mango Languages. Thou art bae. OH I REMEMBER NOW, I think it is: apakah kamu juga seorang saudara laki-laki. It might not be haha.

Anyhoo. I looked at her photo series, then I read her poems, and her essays. I saved them to my computer. I’m just happy to have found a new world to enter into. It’s so fun. This is how she is my current Charles Bukowski. When I first found Bukowski, I hella read this man’s poems. Who’s your favorite poet? Oh, Bukowski. He’s even still quoted in my Pinterest bio and until recently, my Twitter bio. So, that’s what I’m doing with her. Reading her older things and enjoying the ride and picking favorites. And I’ll return to them fondly in the future as I return to Bukowski fondly now. And discover new things even then.

And I hope most days that “it feels like I woke up happy”. ❤ (<- Jenny Zhang)

Toodaloooo. Until next time. Which is hopefully sometime soon.

Paige P.

 

 

Losing My Religion/Confusions of a Catholic

Doesn’t seem like that right now, but it’ll all work out somehow.” – Marylou Villegas 

In K-12 Catholic school, we were taught to believe that the best faith was childlike; it operated without question. One truth, one truth. Questions hinted at a doubt, and doubt was dangerous. Inquisitive minds were minds trying to disprove a person of what they believed in, and that was not welcome. Regardless of that, religion had a glow of beauty around it. 

People who were very religious seemed to emanate a certain light. They were calm, happy, and others were drawn to them. They appeared to move easily and confidently through their days. When I was a freshmen in college, I credited my amazing year to the wonderful people I had met and the seniors of campus ministry. I attributed some of the qualities I admired about them to the religion that they practiced. I planned to be them in three years time. The campus ministry senior who would show the freshmen the ropes to all things LMU.

Even in high school, I looked up to my peers and how they exhibited their faith. At times, I wonder about them now. Would I still see the light that I once did or would there be something else in its place? My religion’s got me confused, and I don’t have the interest I once did in being a part of it. 

Firstly, I still believe in a Divine something or other/God. The reason I believe in something having created the Earth is because of the duality present in its nature. It is both complex and simple. There’s no random order to what occurs. The functions of the universe and its inhabitants work so effortlessly. The variety of people and ecosystems present is a work of art. It is awe-inspiring to think about how well-oiled everything is. So, for me, a God, a Divine something, some gods, some goddesses are there somewhere.

Secondly, I prefer Catholicism to overall Christianity, and there are reasons why. I’ve never loved Christianity as I have Catholicism. Same faith, different denomination, but the differences in proposed worldview are stark. Yet, even then, I wasn’t always happy to be Catholic. I loved my school, but Church was a chore. If I had a sleepover the night before, the congregation could definitely catch me sleeping upright in a pew with my best friends. The calm demeanor of the Catholic Church was no match for all of the festivities of the previous night.  Good thing it was only an hour. I began to like Church through high school retreats and when I started going alone and could really concentrate. The music pointed to a Divine being and the second reading was always my favorite.

Yet, the Catholicism of K-12 is not the one that kept me there. My first year of college, a professor of mine named Dr. Susan Abraham, and the Jesuits provided me with the Catholicism that I love.

Dr. Abraham taught me that US Catholicism is really similar to Protestant religions, and it is. Its emphasis is on sin and being saved. She presented us with a different version. Roman Catholicism holds that Jesus has already died on a cross. He’s got us. We’re already saved by virtue of his death and cannot be saved again. That’s redundant. Because he’s already gotten our back, everything in the world has been imbued with that love. Aka a term called sacramentality. Owing from that is a term called materiality. Since everything is imbued with God/Jesus, then everything is special and following a Protestant ethic of eschewing worldly pleasures isn’t needed. Which, ya know, maybe Catholics took and ran with because our Churches are elaborately decorated, which I absolutely love.

What makes my heart soar about Catholicism is: the hymns, the saints and what they represent, the rituals and sacraments (high religion, where ya attt), the stained glass, and the artworks.

About the artwork/images if you will: No, I don’t like the Eurocentric depictions. Religion has been used by white societies to claim their perceived rightful dominance in God’s eyes, and I worry about what damage that has caused on the psyche of the Western and non-Western worlds and the way that we interact with each other- who is subjugated and exalted and who is not. Yet, the strength that is present when communities reclaim portraiture of Jesus and re-image themselves is lovely. Yes, Asian, Afro Latinx, and Black Jesus. Do yaaa thing. My favorite is the Byzantine Christ however, as it’s theologically sound in a Catholic realm. Beyond the Eurocentric depictions, I worry about the reference to God as a male and how my first mental image of an aura that is supposed to beyond the world was of a Santa-esque white man in the sky, flowing beard included. It leads me to wonder what that image has done to how people perceive women or those of non-white descent. I’ve come to prefer the term Divine, even though “God” is engrained in my thought process. That’s one of my issues that draws me away from the religion I have loved and still love in some capacity: the anthropomorphization of God and envisioning of him as a man. This leads me to the main reason why it’s losing my love. 

I’ve begun to question what it took away from the world and the methods by which it did that. In March, I took a trip to Managua, Nicaragua with some other students, and we got a chance to stop by the national museum. While we were there, our tour guide showed us around. In one room, she took a minute to mention how the Spaniards/Europeans came and tried to “civilize” the native Nicaraguans by giving/forcing upon them the Christian religion as if they did not have their own. There’s also a book called “When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away” by Ramón A. Gutiérriez which I have not read yet but the idea seems similar from the title. What did the world lose by Christianizing the people of it? And why is Christianity so concerned with what other people are doing? It’s undeniable that much blood was shed and many rapes occurred in this pursuit of a wider cross. I wonder why it’s so excusable.

I wonder what damage the construct of virginity has done to women’s personal fulfillment and the world as a whole. All of our liberations are tied up with each other. I wonder whose mental illnesses could have been alleviated if suffering wasn’t romanticized to the point that it is and if the higher powers that be were not a sole reliance. That’s appeared as one of the most dangerous things to me in recent years. I can’t speak of other religions because I know the one that I was born into the best, but the emphasis on acceptance and forgiveness and calm that Christianity has now turns me off. Good intentions, but as those tenets apply to this world, it seems to be used to justify people’s life situations and to expect immediate or eventual forgiveness from those whom someone has wronged. For example, the Dylann Roof massacre of the black churchgoers in Charleston, NC. On the news, literally the next day, news reporters were asking the family members if they would extend forgiveness to Roof for the killings. Like, is that a joke. The calmness that seems to arise from religion is something I really used to admire/aspire to/love. But now- I don’t know. It rings of too much silencing. But silencing of certain demographics only. Expectations for people to be sheep to be herded for one’s own purpose and benefit.

Personal worlds have been enriched by Catholicism/Christianity, but there has never been one singular truth to me. I believe that the Divine can have gods and goddesses and spirits working together, and that’s actually always been my thing. I haven’t always believed in Jesus as a half fully Divine person, and I don’t care that Jewish people don’t either. I believe each religion has found a slice of truth. I realize that humans have crafted our religions. We are the ones who have sat here and written down events, tales, stories. We’re the ones who have borrowed from other religions and changed names, places, and faces to suit our own context. We’re the ones who lose things in translation but also the ones who created the original words. So, I guess I’m a bad Christian but a stereotypical Catholic in that the Bible holds no supremacy for me. It’s meant to illuminate and communicate things that human beings have decided upon, but for me, it’s not literal nor historical. It’s Biblical truth; it is it’s own truth.

In addition to wondering what the world has lost at the expense of its gaining, another thing that distances me from loving my religion is how hateful Christians have seemed to me in recent years. Technically, in terms of the history of the world, the past few years and Westboro are not outliers. Christians decided indigenous people, black people, and Asian people were all some form of sub-human/savage and physically wreaked havoc upon them for that. This is a mini tangent, but that’s a reason I take issue with the designation of places as third world/less industrialized/developing. Why do we all need to work towards the same thing? And why is Christian nation extraordinaire The United States supposed to be the ideal for the rest of the world? We have set what we think is the standard, so we get to decide who plays catch up and by extension, who is uncivilized. By our own standards. But why is civilization as we define it so good and the rest of the world so bad? Alright, tangent over. But point somewhere in there is that its the same ideas as when Christianity was killing people, raping people, and forcing people to adapt their religion. Its just different now in the means and method. It appears more benevolent and goes on mission trips instead. It hangs out with children and photo ops it up but doesn’t speak to the adults. It stays in its village but looks upon the rest of the country warily. It gushes about thankfulness and worries about the hopefully life-long impact its making for the days that its there. I’ve wanted to continue to identify with Catholicism but eschew Christianity. I guess that says something about the things we consider dear to us. You want it to stand out and be special and better than its counterparts. But, really, it’s not.

I think many Christians are happy to consider themselves/their values under attack and rally with that, but I can’t.  Christians have now painted themselves as the ones either screaming in your face about how you’re going to hell or how they’ll pray for you under a mask of love but really, it’s just tolerance and that’s not love at all.

I think I sound angry, but really, I’m confused. Because I want to love my cradle religion, but it’s done so much harm, so am I condoning everything it has done and continues to do if I ignore that? These are things that have caused me to question my alliance with the Church. I recognize the benefits of having a church family and worshipping in a set location each week (if you’re not an Easter, Mother’s Day, Christmas only kind of Catholic), but where do you go when you start to wonder who that family has excluded in the past and might want to exclude in the future? Who that family only began to see as human once they made them a convert and not a “savage”?

Things like this always lead me to contemplate if ignorance is bliss. On one hand, yeah- because I might still be perfectly content to exist in my religion as is, and as it was, I was very happy with it. On another, no- because do I really love it if I’ve never questioned it? James Baldwin style.

Meeting other Catholics, estranged or not, still strikes a certain familiarity in me. Seeing a gorgeous cathedral or elements of Catholicism in people’s homes makes me feel content. The worldview of Catholicism is one I love, but I guess I just have to decide what I want to do with how I feel.

There are religious people that I still admire. Fr. Greg Boyle tops my list, but my classmates are there too. I think it’s great when people love their faith. I was super happy for the Muslim students when their center opened this year on campus, and I get their newsletter and have been to some of their events with my friends. I still remember when Sacred Heart Chapel seemed to be the center of LMU to me, and I still think our music is unmatched in its quality. Liberation theology and other forms of theology still catch my attention and interest me so much. I’ve ran into the rabbi of campus a couple of times. I have a book of Buddhism that I got from the random mini lending libraries scattered around our palm trees. One of my homeboys is Hindu, and it’s cool to see him rep how his faith influences his world and to see how he laments other people appropriating it. I respect people who faith is very important to, like the ladies from the Dolores Mission community in Boyle Heights. Its world-orienting. I get that. I will worship with you if you ask me to because its important to you and your life. I’m down with it, as long as people don’t force it on other people.

The beginning quote is from an original song by a YouTube singer. Regardless of how I feel about organized religion, I still feel like the Divine imbues the world and voices like the one she has and the passion she has for what she’s singing about shows me that.

The Church isn’t a home for me anymore. That doesn’t even really upset me because it has let me see the beauty in people who are non-religious as well, without thinking that they should be. It’s opened me to new ways of life too and to further believing that there is not one truth, especially since we’re all just making up rules, concepts, and contexts as we go along. I’m not even working for campus ministry this final school year, but those seniors from my freshmen year are still people I wouldn’t mind emulating every now and then. 

I guess the saddest part about losing a home is trying to find what can take its place and deciding if you even want anything to.

Andrea Gibson Poetry

This was re-shared through Xicanisma on Facebook from Andrea Gibson’s page. I love it.

On my death bed
I might not give much thought
to my pronouns,
or who got them wrong.
Who I am might not mean much then,
in the moment right before
I am about to be Everything.
But for now, I am so human,
and so easily soothed
by the sound of somebody
calling me home with a name
I can find myself in. For now
that porch light is a universe
where nothing that is tender
doubts I exist.

 

The end is my favorite part because it’s as tender as the last line says. The sound of your own name said with love is so sweet.

La Migra

by José Antonio Rodriguez

 

The grownups sat on their long chair called couch

And talked of the weather, the dew of the blossoms’ morning,

And what might happen to us, the children.

Mom said don’t leave the house, not without

Papers. Do I dare speak of the papers hoarded

In corners? How many more poems can you write

About a face spackled with fear before

It holds you? The reader aiming, too.

Let us find a charcoaled corner, you and I,

Where we will lay these words. Leave children

To sleep in windowless rooms. The mother

biting a prayer. The country weaving a tomb.

When Someone Cheats On You

 

I was sitting at a Tri Delta event, messaging someone for information. When they responded with an absolute confirmation, I was rocked. I gasped out loud, which made the entire table look at me.

I guess they weren’t good at reading emotions because they thought I had received good news.

Far from it.

The guy I had spent the whole summer being friends with, the one who I thought there might be a chance of getting back together with, the one who I held up on a pedestal and praised for making me take a step back and re-evaluate my friendships- had cheated on me. Months ago.

When he broke up with me, he didn’t tell me that. He specifically told me, “I don’t like anyone else. I’m not dating anyone else.” At that time, that struck me as odd, because I hadn’t thought that at all. He told me he thought I was cheating on him.

So, here I am, feeling devastated about everything, as I think it’s all my fault. I think I was a terrible girlfriend, not to say I wasn’t. I blamed myself a lot for not making more time for this person. One of my friends from Underwings hated that when I told her after the break-up. She’s in a feminist oriented service org, and she was pissed that a man had a problem with me chasing my dreams. Which, I didn’t think was actually the problem.

I had an internship that I traveled to two days a week, which effectively took up both of those days.

I remember my friends praising how I balanced my relationship and my friends. I didn’t just say goodbye to them when I was in a relationship. And I thought I was balancing it well.

When we broke up though, I took the whole blame. I didn’t think I had done anything right. I thought I should have spoken to him more and spent more time with him, which was different from my initial attitude because I thought we were speaking enough.

But I saw this guy, and I just thought that I had hurt him so much. And to hurt someone who I thought was so beautiful- well, that hurt me. I couldn’t believe I had caused him so much pain. I would literally fall asleep crying thinking about how badly I handled the relationship. After the break-up and during the summer. Because this beautiful human being who I had met, I had caused him to go through two break-ups within the span of a year, and I knew how much his original one with his earlier girlfriend had hurt him. And I did it again. Two failed relationships. I was so sorry.

But then- the beginning of this year, I found out he had lied to me. And it hurt so much. I never would have found out if my friend hadn’t tried to look out for me and tell me. Beyond just finding out, it hurts that so many people- friends and acquaintances- of mine and his knew and didn’t bother to tell me. It’s not even so much the silence. It’s the being able to smile at me, have a conversation with me, and be friendly with all of that knowledge. It makes me feel stupid. Embarrassed. Like I was in the dark, and like everything has been fake and false. I guess that’s how it is with secrets.

I’ll continue this as it keeps going. It was nice to write again though.

—– That beginning part was 8 months ago. It’s May so that makes it September when I wrote that.

Although I have not returned to that particular post, I have been dealing with the aftermath of what I described. I have wanted to get my feelings out. I’ve wanted to write poems and entries and a film and posts. And I’ve done some of that.

The feelings I described are accurate. There are so many more though as well.

There’s how it turned into a really traumatic experience. For example, after not seeing this person for months, I ran into him unexpectedly. Afterwards, I couldn’t even talk. It affected me for the whole day.

There were other days, in the fall semester, when the wound was bleeding fresh, when I would lay on my bed and just cry. Not knowing how my life ended up like this. Having it feel all so surreal. And yeah- this sounds dramatic af. I know. But I’ve been trying to think of a pain to compare this whole experience too, and I have nothing.

However, I could look back on that girl who went to SPS each week, and the girl who cried bewildered tears and physically did not feel as if she could remove herself from her bed, and I know I’m much better.

I know that last semester, this occurrence took up my entire mind space. I let friendships go for various reasons but also because I didn’t know what to talk about anymore. I could only think about what had happened. How I didn’t know. Obsess over how it happened. Craft a timeline in my head. December 15th. A birthday. Talk about a celebration.

I could only look at the people who I had cherished so much and wonder how much they knew. I could only slit my eyes in suspicion. Mistrust. Why didn’t you tell me? How could you, how could you, how could you. 

I thought about how I wanted to take him out for his birthday, and I didn’t because his roommate told me he was going home. Innocent enough. I wonder if he still has the Star Wars speakers that I got him.

But in light of new details, memories change. His roommate telling me that he’s going home morphs into something more sinister because of my lack of trust and my suspicions. did he know? did he help him plan it? did he encourage it? Or did my person lie to him about what he was planning to do?

And I have gone over what happened so so many times. Couch make-out session? Sleep over in the bed? Watching a show? Making the first move. Even though, even though – “it’s not like I went for it.” And why.

These are things that aren’t going to have answers. They exist of course. But I know that I don’t need to ask them.

There are other things that I should probably stop going over, but they pop up in my mind anyway. Wonderings about how that person I considered a friend could know that something had happened, could suspect that it was cheating because something happened, she’s gonna hate me and still manage to give me a lecture on how I needed to make more time for him. should have talked to him more upon breaking up. how she really made it seem like it was all my fault, and how I believed that. How I felt bad for spending time with one of my best friends because he told me he thought I was cheating on him with said person. How I was careful about inviting that friend to my sorority’s formal so that he would not be offended. how he responded weirdly to me telling him my twin was hella drunk at formal, and me wondering why. But that’s a tangent. Going back to the friend. I thought it was all my fault, with random spasms of knowing that it took two to talk to each other. What hurt about this one friend is how she did know or suspected it because he directly told her in vague language and with that knowledge, she managed to convince me that I should have stepped up, how I believed that. When I found out she knew as well, I was immediately in disbelief again. No way. Not you. Not another person. Did literally everyone know and just manage to think we were still friends by not telling me? I got over her involvement in this whole thing. Or maybe I really just suppressed it. Because as the semester went on, I came to resent her more and more. I still can’t understand, regardless of how we were all friends with each other, how she could know that he cheated on me but still act like there was something to save when he broke up with me and act like I was the one who needed to do the saving. What’s gone is gone.

I took her chastisement to heart. Over that summer, referring back to those paragraphs from eight months ago, I felt like I messed up a part of someone’s life. Two failed relationships, I thought. Hurting someone who seemed so beautiful to me, who taught me that you didn’t need to be religious to see the world with beauty. I had nights where I cried myself to sleep, thinking about all the harm I thought I caused and all of the things I did wrong and could have done right.

And when I found out that there was nothing to be done? Damn. I felt like I really wasted a whole summer. Crying. But also talking to him nearly every day.


Guess what?

On June 2nd, I don’t know what brought this on. But on June 2nd, I had the thought “wait, why am I still upset?” and just asking myself that question brought me clarity. If I get lost in the details, I’m sure that I can find myself agonizing over things again. But just having that question pop into my head has brought so much relief. I don’t need to be upset anymore. It really isn’t worth my time.

These past few days have been great. I’ve spent a lot of time with friends (Yi Ning, Darlin) and met random people when I ventured outside (John, Luke). It’s a nice reminder that there’s more to life that what I’ve spent the past few months preoccupied with.

I also got to be proud of myself. This has been a really long, really frustrating journey. It’s been full of blaming myself, trying to forgive people, deciding that forgiveness is not something they’ll get from me, distancing myself from people, and just being really shocked. Yeah, I guess shocked sums up everything.

But if I hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be enjoying these few weeks I have here in Los Angeles for the summer. I wouldn’t have gotten to realize what being present feel likes again.

I think being surrounded by my friends, loving my internship, and experiencing new things helped. It’s so easy to be distracted by the negatives, the losses. It’s hard to make decisions that’ll be good for you and that will let you grow. But my friends, yoo. I’m so glad I have them. Because yeah, I might sometimes make the mistake of thinking some people are my friends and then they turn out not to be. But when I get it right- when someone who I think is my friend is so so so my friend. Then man, is that the best thing ever.

The question of “why am I still upset” just so randomly popped into my head that I think God, or whoever, got tired of seeing me upset and was like ya know, she’s in a good place, I think she’ll get it this time. I do.

I’m also proud of myself. It didn’t take me a whole year to get over it. Just 10 months haha.

I also just saw this on Facebook:

“Sometimes you need to remind yourself that you were the one who carried you through the heartache. You are the one who sits with the cold body on the shower floor, and picks it up. You are the one who feeds it, who clothes it, who tucks it into bed, and you should be proud of that…”

I’m good right now. Sure, sometimes, during the semesters, I took Tiffany’s secret shower tips and skipped a day. I mostly ate out because I only bought groceries twice over the course of the whole school year. I came and went and hardly talked to my roommates, though they seemed to like me anyway. I managed to skip enough classes that I got dropped a full letter grade (tbh I still think this is mistake and that I only missed two but my teacher accidentally counted me absent 4 times but aye it’s alright, Life Goes On s/o Tupac). I stopped caring about a lot of things.

But yooo. I picked myself up (with the help of my friends but also with  my own help). Now, I buy groceries. Now, I cook for myself. I have a routine for my face everyday. I’m still lazy af with my hair, but baby steps, baby steps. I’m doing my best at my internship, and I’m actually interested in it. I get to places mostly on time. I’m able to hold conversations with people and remember what they say.

There were a lot of things I had to question about myself during the year.

Hair. Face. Body. Personality.

But now, I sing in the car. Very loudly to Whitney Houston tunes. While in traffic. While people can see me- which isn’t totally okay with me. It’s kind of enough to make me stop singing, but I’m telling myself to sing anyway.

I sit in parks by myself and meet cool people along the way. I look content enough that cashiers tell me, “you look happy.”

Last year, I had my hair straightened for Tri Delta formal. It was weird. Straight hair didn’t look like me anymore.

Today, I got it straightened. I wanted to see how long it was, and I also missed the ponytail that I wore for so many years. Whoa. It looked like me. Yet, I also missed my curls and the bun I had been wearing on my head all summer (though I don’t miss how matted it was oh geez). Both are me. Both are Paige. I love having something to flip off my shoulder, something to tie up and shake. And I also love fixing all of my curls to sit upright on my head or having an afro full of them. I like that it’s on my terms.

I like that I don’t feel like I need permission from anyone to be myself anymore, and I love that I have friends that encourage that (even when they sometimes enable it hahaha, much love).

Sure- If I bother to worry myself about trying to figure out all the details again, then I might get saddened once more. But these past few days of not caring about the details, about wondering why I did care so much, ahh they’ve been so good. So much more alive. So, forget the details. I’ve done enough wondering about each little thing I can wonder about. Time to get back to actuality. Time to see my smile look like my smile.

Last year, my grandma had to tell me to “be strong”.

Today, I called her and she told me, “you sound good.”

I am.

** This is not meant to a calling out post. I don’t mention names of people involved. This is because words are my thing. Writing helps me think, and this is an experience I’ve thought about over and over again but had trouble writing about. There has been so much to say that I just let myself not say anything. I didn’t know what to say. I have entries in my personal journal that explore some of my feelings in more depth. I have other posts on this blog that touch upon what was in my mind.

Other Posts (after and before finding out- yo some of these I forgot about) – 

https://writeitproud.wordpress.com/2016/09/10/stop-romanticizing-the-past/ – September 2016

https://writeitproud.wordpress.com/2016/11/01/soccer-game/ – November 2016 

https://writeitproud.wordpress.com/2017/06/04/trust-after-sps/ – December 2016 

https://writeitproud.wordpress.com/2017/01/01/2016-when-it-becomes-hard-for-an-optimist-to-be-positive/ – January 2017 

https://writeitproud.wordpress.com/2017/02/28/on-instincts/ – February 2017

https://writeitproud.wordpress.com/2016/04/27/dealing-with-a-break-up-when-you-still-care/ – April 2016 (last year) 

It’d be really hard to say how I felt about all of this in this one post, so it’s kind of jumpy. It begins after I found out because I immediately turned to writing (September). I didn’t pick up this particular post again for the aforementioned reasons until May because I now had to time to write again, and I wanted to get this whole saga finished. I was planning to carry this out through the summer, taking my time to write out different instances that brought about different emotions. I figured I would publish it at the end of the summer because writing about all of it would probably help me finally close this chapter. However, closing it came about earlier than I thought, and I don’t feel the need to continue this anymore. Which is a great thing. So, for your clarity, this post moves in terms of SeptemberMay, and June. June 2nd was a glorious day. Thanks for reading. <3** 

 

Trust after SPS

December 8th, 2016 6:37 AM

“One must be fond of others and trust them if one is not to make a mess of life.” –  E.M. Forster

Trusting people immediately is something I used to pride myself on. I have never made anyone earn my trust, and usually, when people have broken it, I’ve let them have it back. This semester was a little different from how I normally approach trust, and I can’t fully explain how frustrated, depressed, and prone to lie down in my bed and sob it made me.

For the first time, I was someone jaded who questioned everyone around me and is still doing that. It’s annoying because I have never wanted to be that person, and I prefer to just trust and trust away.

But- this semester, I was floored. I found out multiple friends of my mine kept information about something someone who was really important to me did for months. Guess what it is if you want. In addition to that, friends of the person also knew. I was an acquaintance of these friends.

And it just hurts. To think everything is one way and to have it be entirely flipped. To remember gushing conversations but to now know behind those gushing conversations lurked deceptive information. Man, it just hurts.

To have to question close friends about their role just because I’m suspicious now.

To have to stare at people around me with connections to each of us and wonder who else knew or who else did what with who.

It breaks me down because I’m a trusting person who can’t do that right now.

Initially, I focused my anger and my hurt on the two people at the center of it all. And they still receive a lot of it, but it’s also shifted. Because while one of the people was someone I was planning to be in touch with years and years down these life roads, I can’t believe so many of my friends kept the information from me too.

And it’s a tug because there’s a pull between being forgiving and my lack of trust and interest in continuing a relationship where I was lied to in multiple ways.

It just hurts.

But the point of this is that: it takes up a lot of room in my mind. I haven’t fully dealt with all of the emotions because there’s so many facets and so many directions to take everything.

I started going to SPS on a day where I found myself sobbing and numb and unable to get up for class. I laid on my bed in disbelief that the life I was living was mine. Everything seemed one way, and it wasn’t. When I first went, I described that to my therapist- that everything seemed so surreal.

The other point of this:

If I haven’t seemed like me, I’m not to myself either. I don’t have the energy to always participate in events or conversation. Because if I’m participating in one conversation, there’s at least four more things I’m thinking about. Usually connected to the semi-described thing above. I don’t always have time to be a good film major and watch movies because what’s the point when I can’t even concentrate on them or take them in? What’s the point of going and trying to have fun when I won’t remember the jokes said or when so and so laughed at this point and how alive they looked? I don’t even have the mental strength to pass people walking and say hello to them with an actual smile.

Last point:

I’m getting there. I’ll be fine, and things always work out.

But be patient with me, and I’ll try and do the same.

And per SPS advice, I’ll try and sit with my emotions as they happen and fully deal with them, so I can maybe start being as present as I want/need to be.

Can’t wait. ❤