Monthly Archives: September 2016

I-70

I am not entirely sure how I got home last night, only that I thought about God the whole time.

Not the famous one, someone else.

I had eaten the highway in a blur, exits and mile markers collecting on my tongue. Bitter. The kind of taste that makes you swear off farmer’s market fruit for a while. Eyes wide, I cranked the AC as high as it would go, lips blanching as the blood retreated back to my heart. White fingers curled around the steering wheel, music pounding like a pulse – I’m alive I’m alive I’m alive I’m aliiiiiive – and I shifted in and out. I was in the car, then I was nowhere, another mouth in the void, open and yawning. Panicked.

It is dangerous to be this way. I know.

His given name was Quinn, but I found him deep in someone else’s emotional entanglement, and she called him God. He wasn’t particularly religious, so I can’t place the nickname’s origin. He took it in stride – after all, who among us has not craved some level of worship?

I thought of Quinn’s hat first and that brought me back. I always imagine it as a newsboys cap – olive-green or khaki, maybe, and frayed. Dark framed glasses sat underneath, never askew, above a smile that never graced his lips when I was around. I was four years younger, too eager to be a part of a joke that was never mine.

A burst of red light snapped me more fully into the car. Someone had slammed on the breaks, so I did too. Traffic is not a place to express one’s individuality.

God never struggled with that. He poured over his fish eye lenses, capturing people and moments with a deftness I could not hope to recreate. Quinn was so unique (but in the way that every handsome boy can be). I don’t know what he does now. He doesn’t even remember I existed, you know, I’m almost sure of it. It’s funny how we do that to people. We cannot possibly remember everyone we’ve met – not without enormous cost, and I have accepted this.

I don’t know why I fixated on Quinn. We spoke all of twenty words and most of those were me squealing his nickname as we passed in the halls.

Frigid fingers tugged a hood over my head, pulling my jacket closed as if to doubly hide in the darkness. I wished I wasn’t alone. That’s the worst part, to be honest, that touch-and-go loneliness. It sinks its nails into my skin and yanks downward. I am continuously left in ribbons. The silence stretches me out in the worst ways.

He took someone else to the prom. I don’t know if my friend had wanted to go with him, but I imagine she would’ve said yes if he asked. I didn’t call him God after that. I didn’t call him anything.

I can’t imagine that he even noticed.

 

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Rucksack Dreaming

I’ve had three brilliant post ideas for this week, but I can’t bring myself to write any of them.

I’d rather just sit here with you, a little too honest, a little too chatty, and rattle off some other words instead.

Every time I get in my car, I wonder how long it would take people to notice if I ran away – if I just didn’t go to work, didn’t come home, didn’t stop until I was hundreds of miles away. Does it count as running away if I’m an adult or is does it become an irresponsible, indefinite vacation?

The first time I tried to leave, I was three. That urge has stayed with me ever since. There have been precious few places in which I felt comfortable enough to stay – my best friend’s house in Minnesota, the crappy last-minute hotel room with my sister in New York City, nestled underneath a particular man’s white comforter in Fort Collins… Each of these places brought me an immense peace – though, perhaps, it was the company and the circumstance which truly drew me in. There I felt malleable, unstuck from the Krista I am back home, less burdened by the sadness and sickness constantly nipping at my heels. Instead I was a more pronounced version of myself – unencumbered, almost, like the layers of illness had been stripped from my skin. But I could never stay in any of these places, not for long, before I returned to the girl in the mirror back home.

I’m tired.

I wonder if someday there will be a place in which I’ll get to stay without any inclination to leave. Maybe this is what it feels like to have a Traveler’s Spirit, or maybe this is another subtle demand for better. I’m not sure.

And I don’t think it’s sad, you know? I’m often surprised by reader feedback in that way. This desire to be elsewhere feels more like a casual fact than an emotional one. It’s simply a statement, like “Krista has red hair, Krista hates beer, Krista is often longing to be elsewhere and she is unsure if she’ll find a place to be.”

Having one foot out the door doesn’t make me sad anymore.

It makes me a better dreamer. It yanks possibilities from the sky and lays them down at my toes. It requires me to demand better, to seek better, to be better. It allows me to understand the wonder that is finding someone who feels like home. It asks me to be grateful, to be worthy, to be kind. It urges me to open myself so that I may feel like home for other people.

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I hope I do.

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Some say fire, some say ice.

I do not know how to love any differently, but I almost wish I could.

First, light linguistics. Then, the way it all falls apart and comes together.

When my friends share their troubles, I am always the first person to offer my fists. “I’ll fight them,” I say, and most laugh but some pause. It doesn’t bother me – I don’t know if I’m joking either. I offer to fight at least three people a day. There’s a clear connection between love and violence, as if the damage I’m willing to dole out is somehow demonstrative of the depths to my love.

I’ve never understood that in myself. I try to wrap my brain around it, try to reframe it, but at the end of the day, I offer my fists as love more often than not.

Recently, life has forced my perception of love to the forefront. I have an urge to tidy my thoughts, tailor them to one of the following statements:
a) I love you so much I would burn this world to the ground for you.
b) I love you so much I would rebuild this entire world for you.

I can’t decide which is a healthier love to give or receive. I just can’t. Every time I lean into one, life pulls me toward the other. And maybe it doesn’t matter, maybe it’s just another jumble stuck in my head, but I can’t escape these thoughts. How do I want to love? How do I want someone to love me?

In quiet moments, I recognize that I don’t respond as well to love that threatens, that punishes, that growls from between clenched teeth. I can’t feel whole that way – and yet that’s the type of love that leaps from my stomach, all fists and knives and wide-eyed panic.

Some days I am soft – I am all slow touches, calming statements, validating conversations. But that course brings vulnerability, closely pursued by anxiety. True vulnerability feels akin to manipulation, as if the expression of my feelings could unfairly sway someone else. I fear the resulting resentment. And so I try to pack away the sweetness, the breadth, the depth of love. I pack it between clenched fists. I push it into combat boots and walk around town with a scowl when I’m alone.

This weekend marks the end of a beautiful journey in terms of love and I’m still afraid that I’ve ruined it somehow. I’m afraid that my emotions are too wild and heavy to hold and that, when I express them, I will drive away the very person I desperately want to keep close. I am petrified by the complexity of my heart, the way it starts and stops. It hurts, to feel everything so deep. It eats away at a person – even when it’s lovely, even when it’s beautiful. It hurts, but it matters and so I try not to wince.

It gnaws on my ribs, hungry, and I can’t beat it away. It echoes in my chest. I don’t know how to love any differently, I don’t know if it’s better to destroy the world for someone or to rebuild it for them, I don’t know, I don’t know. All I know is the dull ache beyond my lungs never stops, not fully, and I don’t know if it ever will.

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23

I don’t know if anyone else thinks I’m as interesting as I do and it shows in the way I tell stories, which is to say constantly and with very dramatic pauses.

That might be a character flaw, but no one in my life has complained about it thus far. I don’t imagine they’d start today – but that’s because today is my birthday. I am twenty-three years old and I find that completely fascinating. Every year, I reflect on what I’ve learned, how I’ve stumbled, where I need to go, and every year I am surprised that I have reached this age.

It’s hard to explain without getting into the nitty and the gritty, the blood and tears and endless dark nights that threatened to over-saturate my personhood, but I never imagined reaching 19 years old. I’ve been shocked at every birthday since.

But this is not a sad story. This is a happy story because it leads to you and I, existing in this digital space, sharing in a positive revelation – I am twenty-three years old today. I have made it around the sun again.

I am pervasive. I, too, am amazed.

So yes, I talk about myself. I write about myself. It is the surest path to understanding and loving myself – which, at present moment, I do, but in the way one might love a painting or museum exhibit. I will only get better in time. Until then, I’d like to share a bit of silliness with you.

If you don’t know me outside of my blog or we rarely speak in the three-dimensional world, you probably don’t understand how much of a loon I am. Yesterday I burnt up the highway in an epic car dance party…by myself…while dressed as a stereotypical secretary. I make faces at babies, even when adults are trying to hold conversations with me. I think it’s important to tell animals how handsome they are, especially when they’re old, and I expect everyone in the vicinity to compliment my cat whenever she’s near. I always believe libraries, pharmacies, and grocery stores are closed on Sundays even though THAT’S ABSURD. When I want to express my love for my friends via pictures and SnapChat, I will inevitably close my eyes – because that’s how cats say I love you. I treat people like children, {hopefully} not in a condescending fashion, but instead like a proud first grade teacher who just wants you to know how wonderful you are.

I am unabashedly proud of the person I’m becoming. I am happy with the love I am able to give and the quality of the people who surround me. I cannot believe that I am here, that I am open, that I am loud and silly and kind. The best compliment I have ever received came from my therapist in college. I had just finished cry/laughing about trauma, as I am wont to do, and my therapist handed me a tissue.

“Wow,” he said. I’m blanking on his name now, but my therapist was so compassionate. He looked like a sweet badger, the kind that children faun over, and I felt safe in his office.

“What?” I wiped the mascara from under my eyes, my fingers coated in its black residue.

“Your experiences could’ve made you hard, they could’ve made you mean, but you took everything in and decided to become soft instead.”

I sat in his overstuffed armchair for a while, mouth open, as I processed his words. Before that moment, I had not realized that I had made any decision at all.

Here’s to another year of softness, of separating the ideas of vulnerability and weakness, of telling stories even when my voice shakes. Here’s to another year of pervasiveness, to growing beyond my wildest dreams, to taking the world piece by piece. Here’s to the people who got me here, to those who did not give up even when I had, to those who challenge me, to those who hear my stories first.

And, of course, here’s to you. Thank you so much for listening.

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