During the Last Week

StocktonBack when I was younger and my mind was free and I appreciated the world for exactly what it was; flawed and beautiful, I used to get up every morning before school started, sit in the rocking chair at the front of my house, and watch the sunrise. It was the one time of the day where the world was calm and peaceful and I could remark upon it and say, “Wow. How amazing…” It’s the only time of day where everything seems perfectly alright.

Today, I woke up early to watch the sunrise. I couldn’t see it. Stockton is so full of useless buildings and the sky is inconveniently blocked by this school’s trees. I sat there anyway, on the grass, disappointed, but serene and thoughtful. I sat there and thought of time gone by, a far away yesterday, when I woke up those early mornings for school excited, happy, and eager to face the world. Now I’m sitting here on the couch in my dorm hall, after a long, depressing walk around campus where I listened to music and picked leaves from the trees, facing the world unhappily just as I have ever since.

My playlist is on repeat. The music is soft, sweet, and slow. Just as slow as my feelings are realized and just as slow as I wish time went by. On a good day full of hope and promise. Like the first day of freshman year. Where is the promise now? I’m not sure where my hope has gone…

In high school, my soccer coach used to rally us up in a group after practice every day and say, “See ladies? Here we are once again the first to come on to this field and the last to leave it. One day you’ll look back at these practices and realize that some of your best memories happened here. But, most of all, you’ll remember that: Look,” he’d point at the sky. “There goes another sunset.”

There goes another sunset.

He was wrong. I don’t look back and think of practice when I think of good times. I think of the friends I made in high school and the relationships that lasted beyond graduation and mostly I think of this past year and my time here. But he was also right. I do think of the sunsets and all the days I spent visibly happy, in spite of my buried feelings. And now?

Now it saddens me that I’m leaving here. That I’m leaving the friends that I found accidentally, the friends that love me, and that I love more than I thought possible for me to love. It makes me sad that I’m leaving the buildings that first welcomed me here and even the trees that continue to poison me! Because, honestly, I’ll miss it all. The classes, the class discussions, the class arguments…

And if by a strewn mess of unfortunate events I’m not able to be here much longer, then this is a love letter.

This is a love letter to you, my friends who force me to hang out with them, who go to long lengths to try and please me, who listen when I speak (mostly) however mumbled and jumbled my words are, and whom I would do anything for. And it’s a letter to the school I love, which structures I’ll miss passing every morning, which brick pathways lead me to contentment, and which foliage continues to make me cough and sneeze. It’s been a wonderful year that I’ll cherish forever.

Please know that your heart remains wherever you leave it and mine just happens to be with you.

Love,

Faithe Y.

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Strangely Different

StrangerLogo

I’m an outsider looking in, just like I’ve always been, and I’m not sure how to be different. I’m not even sure that I want to.

I’ve always had this fascination with strangers. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to share secrets with a stranger compared to someone you actually know? Is that only me? It mustn’t be. Sometimes people say I’m odd when I say that, but there are those few who understand. They understand the value of a moment. A single moment when all reservations are lost and you get to say exactly what you wanted to say without the fear of it resurfacing. A moment where a secret remains a secret even though it’s been said out loud. A moment that is strange within itself…

It is strange. Don’t you see? That there are so many fears and consequences that are associated with knowing a person and letting them into your life. Fears and consequences that are not relevant when speaking to a stranger.

It is odd to think of a friend as a threat to you. But how could they be any less? With every secret you share and every issue you let be known, you give a piece of yourself away. Those pieces are connected to your heart and the full extent of your being. How is that not threatening? How is that not scary? For someone to know you so well that you can no longer hold a poker face against them? For others to know things about you that you would never tell anyone else?

Think of all they can do with the you that they know! Think of all of the pain they can cause! The embarrassment… These people who hold ties to your life. These people who you care for. Who know the people that you know, but also the feelings that you have towards them…

But it’s different with a stranger.

With a stranger, you are who you say you are and can do what you say you can do. A stranger doesn’t know your limitations or whether or not you’re a compulsive liar. A stranger knows what you tell them and doesn’t look any further than that. For a single, strange, and miraculous moment you can be whomever you wish to be and nobody knows the difference. Whereas, with people you know you can no longer be who you want to be and instead will forever remain who you are.

And there’s a power in being able to choose who you are, you know? There’s a power in being who you want to be and escaping your life for a little while. For someone to believe in all those lies that you tell yourself in the morning. That you’re happy. That you’re pleasant. That you’re exactly where you want to be. That there’s nothing you would change. Because they don’t know you! They don’t know your fears! They don’t know your anxieties! How could they possibly tell that you’re unhappy when you smile as wide as you do? How could they possibly know that you hate conversations when you speak as eloquently as you’re doing right now?

They don’t know and the chances are that they’ll never know. That’s the beauty of a stranger.

But I know that people prefer the company of friends. I’ve seen it. I understand. People prefer the comforting feeling of being able to be who you are with no further expectations of how you should be. People like that the people they know hold lower standards for them because who they are is already what everyone else is used to. That’s reasonable I suppose. It’s nice and easy and pressure free, but it’s not something I prefer. Or maybe it’s just too common for me to accept that I want it?

Sometimes it’s very hard for me to discern the things I don’t want from those other things that I just won’t admit to wanting. It’s true I love the idea of strangers, but is it a momentary love? A love that comes and then passes just as easily as I do from the memory of a stranger?

Is that what keeps me on the outside? My unwillingness to admit how similar I am to other people? My love for the strange and unusual merely because it is strange and unusual? It’s an intriguing thought. It’s a thought I could spend much time contemplating, but for now I’d like to think that I like the idea of strangers because they see me as how I’d like to see myself. They see those initial parts of me that I find most important to convey while friends always seem to move past them, forming a complete picture of me that I have yet to form myself. And maybe I just don’t want them to be right, you know? Maybe I just don’t want their picture to be better than mine so I turn to people who have no picture at all.

Silly? I’m not sure. But definitely different. Or at least I hope…

Thought You’d Like to Know

To You,

I like it that you read these. It entertains me slightly. I like that you take the time out of your day to learn about me, to listen to me, even if I’m not directly talking to you or about you. It makes me happy or at least a version of happy.

Actually, I’m not entirely sure that you read these… Do you?

Maybe you just stare at them and wonder how I could possibly write so much about nothing at all. But still, I appreciate it. It’s a sentiment that I don’t really understand, filled with a type of feeling that I don’t really get either. I mean you don’t really know me all that well, right? I don’t know… Maybe you know me better than a lot of people… Or maybe you just want to and that’s why you read all my random blurbs.

I honestly don’t care why you read these. I just like it.

Is it ok to be so oddly happy about something so ridiculous? To be happy because you want to know me?

Did you know it makes me smile? Not the fake smile either. Not the kind I have plastered on my face all day to make people feel good about their lives or the kind you give to strangers, but the kind of smile that conveys real happiness. The kind of smile that you want to stop, but can’t help but give in to. And it’s not a common thing, I swear, but they’re the sort of things you remember. The sort of thing you appreciate.

So I guess I thought you’d like to know that. I’m not really sure of my feelings most of the time and this is no exception. I’m vaguely confused about my feelings right now. You see, I very rarely have them and very rarely pay attention to them when I do soooooo even thinking about thinking about them makes me uncomfortable. I’m sorry you picked someone so odd to find interesting, but I still like that you did.

And I thought you’d like to know.

– Faithe

No Conclusion to This One

I don’t properly understand the subject of death…

It confuses me.

I feel so little about it…

What’s there to be confused about? The concept is simple. You’re here, breathing, one moment and the next moment you’re gone and you can’t come back. People fear it because it’s so permanent. They hate it because it’s irreversible. And me? I feel nothing because I’m confused about the feeling.

You won’t be forever, is what everyone says. One day you’ll feel it, Faithe, and then you’ll understand and then you’ll hate it like everyone else. But will I? I feel as if I’d just rationalize it like I do with everything else. I’d rationalize the feeling, lessen it in my mind, and then again be confused by my physical discomfort.

Because in reality what am I mourning? A change in my life? Isn’t that what it is? When someone leaves me and doesn’t come back… am I not just mourning the change? The difference between seeing someone, being able to see them whenever I like, and not? Or am I mourning the fact that’s it is difficult for me? Am I mourning because it hurts and it shouldn’t? Because compared to the significance of billions of people together a single person within this group is menial, insignificant, and silly, and yet somehow such an insignificant person was important to me. Am I weeping because some part of me realizes this? Am I sad because in comparison the feeling is really quite small? Or am I miserable because I forgot to say something? Did I have something to say that I now can’t? That will forever be in the back of my mind? Do I feel guilty because of it? Overcome with guilt and stuck in anguish because of it? Or am I merely afraid of it? Does it scare me, passing on? Am I afraid that my beliefs might fail me? That it’s only possibly true?

But the way I see it, you always have to be somewhere. If I’m not here and I’m not there, then I must be somewhere else. It’s a general rule of life. But is it the same as death? Is death really just life elsewhere?

I feel like that is the only question to really worry about when considering death. Whether all of your beliefs were lies to begin with, but seeing as the conclusion will find us inevitably, it all seems rather silly to me.

Because if I’m afraid of change in my life than how is it that I’ve been living? Everything around me has changed constantly since birth, so another change seems an odd thing to mourn. I can see that it’s a significant change though, but that’s really the only difference that I can fathom and doesn’t seem enough for me to cry about.

And if I’m sad because I feel as if no one else understands the significance of this person, well… that’s a bit ridiculous too. There are many things that I value much higher than other things, but when someone says that they value them less than I do it doesn’t cause me anywhere near this sort of discomfort. Why is this so different? Who cares if the deceased mattered to anyone else? They mattered to me so that’s that. But that doesn’t seem to be so. People need people to share in their sorrow… but why? Doesn’t that seem a bit selfish, but then I suppose you’d say people are allowed to be selfish occasionally. Well, I feel a bit too selfish to begin with so…

Then if it’s just because I had to say something and didn’t, I think that goes back to whether you truly believe what you believe. Personally, I imagine that once you die you go on to wherever you go and you become all knowledgeable simply because knowledge no longer matters. The world becomes a type of long television show told in 3rd person omniscient. Now you know everything about the characters and they have no idea that you’re screaming at their situation and telling them what to do. And because of this belief, this reasoning is odd to me as well. I don’t need to tell anyone anything really because once they die, they’ll already know.

“Faithe, you need to work on that,” my friend told me once. But is it really an issue? That I don’t understand the issue?

It’s true that a lack of understanding can cause distance because of a lack of empathy, but it also keeps out pain and I see nothing wrong with that. I don’t pretend that I don’t feel anything, that it wouldn’t hurt me just like anyone else, I’m merely saying that I don’t condone those feelings. I don’t allow them to matter because I can’t logically see why they should. I suppose this makes me an empty person, but it’s not that I don’t feel! I just can’t find the significance in emotion and when someone references toward an event that stirred such an abundance of it I can’t understand why it does.

The only instance that I find particularly devastating is when a child dies in an accident or because of a disease of some type. THAT I understand because they hardly had time to live… and your child is a part of you… There’s as deep connection in that, I think. THAT I can understand.

Or maybe if one of my really good friends died… or my little brothers or older sister…

That’s still kinda messed up though isn’t it? That I only care for the deaths of children and immediate family members? The only reason being that they’re young and haven’t lived fully? That seems wrong… But I can’t see the significance in mourning anything else… People are supposed to die, right? It’s inevitable? And old people die every day…

I almost feel like sadness is a type of peer pressure thing. They say to be sad so you’re sad so you can be accepted and then eventually you really become sad. Fake it until you make it I guess. I think I missed that induction…

Ugh… What a frustrating subject.

SIGH.

Sorry, guys.

There’s no conclusion to this one. :-/

A Dark Love

Don’t you know that you are mine?

Has God not told you yet?

He wrapped our souls in endless vines

So love, forgive and then forget

Let’s dance you say?

You fidget, squirm

Let’s dance in love instead!

We’ll dance the tango and the waltz!

Then we’ll go ahead

And leave this place

It’s time to go

Our carriage, there awaits

The stars above

Declare our love

And in them read our fates

Oh, ma chérie!

Don’t cry near me!

I’ll wipe your tears away!

I’ll pack my dagger

Close to my heart

And we’ll be on our way.

In the morning we’ll have left

But tonight to the garden square

Your father will have seen you gone

And in the dawn will meet us there.

He’ll find us on the bench at dawn

Wrapped in a crimson sheet

We’ll be tied in love at last

Our hearts playing the same beat

This dagger here will cross our hearts

And with it will bleed our love

A love that bleeds so well and true

That there will never be enough

Oh, my darling don’t you fear!

The man in black has said,

That in the morning he’ll be here

And then we will be wed!

His kingdom will suit you, dear

He promised me last June

All your beauty and your grace

Will be as ageless as the moon

Don’t weep, my love!

I promise you!

The man in black’s our friend!

He gave his word, his honest word!

He’ll be there until the end

And I’ll be here

Right by your side!

Have you ever heard me lie?

I assure you that my words are true.

I will never say good bye.

Leave out the adjectives, please…

I was just talking to my friend about boys; typical topic. She said that she used to be into a guy from her hometown, but now that she had returned and had seen him she wasn’t quite sure how she felt.

“It’s alright,” I said. “You can always find a dude around here.” I finished smugly.

“Eh…” she answered with a roll of her eyes, a hint of disgust present on her lips.

“Hey! What’s wrong with local boys? Humph… I’m slightly offended…”

“They’re just… Wait… I could say the same to you! You like a boy who lives in Denmark. So what do you find wrong with local boys. My hometown is IN the states. Although it might as well be Denmark…” She paused for a response, waiting with her head slightly tilted and curiosity hiding in the arch of her eyebrows. I looked. I thought. I hesitated. Eventually I spoke.

“But that… that’s different…” I wasn’t sure I wanted to explain.

“How is that?”

“It just is…” I stared at my feet. She isn’t the pushy type so she let it be.

But I knew exactly why it was different. Why couldn’t I bring myself to explain my preference for foreign boys? Why was it that I couldn’t simply say that it was what it was? A racial issue.

It seems that I have never known an American boy to think of me as anything different than “the black girl”. To everyone I’ve ever known it’s always been “Oh, it’s my only black friend” or “the black girl who lives across the hall”. With men it’s always worse. How often have I heard, “You know, Faithe, you’re really pretty for a black girl” or the infamous “Faithe, you know that if I were ever into black girls you’d be the one I’d want? Right? Seriously though…” Oh yes, I knew you were serious. That’s what makes it worse. Why is it that I can never be just a girl? Why can’t they ever leave out the adjectives? Why is it that my race matters at all? Besides that, I’m mixed… Why is it that people think it’s as simple as boxing me up into one category anyway?

Because of my standing in the world, however, I’ve gained enough experience to be able to categorize boys in my own way. In the dating world, boys seem to come to me in three categories; black, non-black, and foreign.

“Black boys” are most often the ones that approach me. They’re drawn to me by social standard; “black boys” date “black girls”. To them, I’m just their type. I’m a decent looking “black girl” and they’re black as well so, somehow, it must mean that we share some type of unspoken bond that gives them the upper hand on all other races. Ugh… No. That’s ridiculous. I’ve never appreciated that mindset. It just never feels genuine. There’s a very big difference between being seen as a “beautiful black girl” and being seen as a “beautiful girl” and, to me, it seems that with black boys I can never be seen as just a girl because of this weird bond thing they think I share, and that’s not a relationship I prefer. They never understand this. “You don’t like to date black boys? Well, that’s just weird. I don’t understand… aren’t you black?” Sigh… You’re right about one thing: You can’t possibly understand.

“Non-black boys” hardly approach me. I find that there are three types of these as well. There is the type of non-black who wishes to make a statement about him not being racist, the type that just aren’t into “black girls”,  and the type that just don’t want to defy social standards. I’ve met them all. They all equally annoy me. But the last two types are the hardest to tell a part. In a lot of situations you can be as charming as you want and still lose the boy to a white girl of lesser standard. Sometimes there’s a vibe you get when you know a boy just doesn’t find you attractive and that’s alright, but the problem is when you know they do. Then you know that either they “just aren’t into black girls” and only think you’re good-looking for you’re race or they simply refuse to admit that they like you. How ridiculously heartbreaking is that? Knowing that you’re losing a boy merely to the race you’re associated with? Talk about a self-esteem crusher…

“Foreign boys” will always be my favorite type of boy. These boys are from either out of the country or simply don’t follow regular American boy standard. They look at you as just “beautiful”, no other descriptive words are needed. It’s the exact categorization of that Denmark boy.

Usually you can see it in their eyes, you know? You can see what they think of you. Whether they think they deserve you or whether they hold reservations about you can be seen in their eyes. It’s something about the way they speak as well. It’s always very apparent. When Denmark boy first talked to me I knew he was simply charmed by me. Just me. Me and my humor. Me and my charm. He didn’t want me to make a statement, nor did he think that I was his birth right. He just wanted me because I was a “beautiful girl”. No other adjectives. That’s all I’ve ever wanted. That’s why it’s different.

I just wish I could have explained it to my friend earlier…

A Little Pathetic

“Mona wanted to be someone’s best friend more than anything in the world. It was a little pathetic; but then sometimes it made Amy a lot happier than she wanted to admit.” – This Must Be the Place, Kate Racculia

I read those words over and over.

I was stuck in the library after a community service event my group held there and while I was waiting for the potential danger of being stuck, without a ride, in a public library, in Stockton (2nd most dangerous city in California, 10th in America) to fully sink in, I picked up a random book from the fiction section labeled “R” (I was looking for Rowling), sat down, and read. It was hard for me to get through the first page, not that it was badly written, a bit wordy for my taste, but the reviews were favorable so I suppose the writing was all right, still, I couldn’t seem to make it past those words. It was hard for me to focus on much else other than the reasoning behind my sudden intrigue.

So I broke it down:

“Mona wanted to be someone’s best friend more than anything in the world.” – I could relate to that. I too wanted that. Something about being needed by someone completely platonically is oddly appealing. There’s more to it though. It’s being trusted with another’s feelings and secrets. In lots of ways you’re a giant part of another’s life without being their whole life. You’re reliable and constant, but, most importantly, irreplaceable. Can’t anyone see the seductiveness of that? Of being irreplaceable?

“… It was a little pathetic;” – Well, I could see that too. It is a symptom of most things I do. And I can see how it could be viewed in that way. Wanting to be loved in that particular way so incredibly much that it visibly shows is a bit pathetic. I can imagine how Mona could have acted to be seen in that way; a bit overly excited when hanging out, possibly a little too eager to help Amy, and maybe too often ready to be entrusted with a secret. She was probably, all in all, a bit overbearing and she probably was aware of it, and yet, still unable to prevent it from seeming “pathetic”. I can understand that. It’s extremely hard to change someone’s opinion of you in the midst of a relationship. It’s much more difficult to suppress an action of love when you have so much to give out. But why suppress an act of love when you know it will make you happy? Why suppress it if you know it will make the other feel loved? Because it seems pathetic?

“…but then sometimes it made Amy a lot happier than she wanted to admit.” – Ah, so it ended on a good note. I really liked that. For some reason it made me feel indirectly appreciated and weirdly smug. Everyone loves to be loved, I do probably more than most, and I felt like the statement paid homage to that. It said to me, “Your love will always be appreciated” and that satisfied me. I think that is what most people wait for throughout their lives, for their love to be appreciated and acknowledged. And in the moment I felt smug because in my heart somewhere I knew that I was, although it may not always be in the way I desire. Just as Amy appreciated and loved Mona for loving her and making her feel wanted even if sometimes it was a bit of an overkill.

Because, you see…

when you add up all those small pathetic seeming happinesses, that’s a Whole Lotta Happy that others will never know.