The blind in the middle window of my bedroom is broken. I should get it fixed, but I enjoy Mother Nature as an alarm clock.
You cannot hit snooze on the sun. I’ve tried. Mother Naure is relentless.
I am relentless.
The sun woke me that morning, the same way it always does. I looked to my left to him peacefully asleep. Morning babe, I whispered. He grunted, avoiding the inevitable wake up call that is Beth in the early AM. I love you! I said a little louder while touching his back. I was still getting used to having a “boyfriend,” as that word seemed to be an antiquated piece of vocabulary in my life for so long.
Love you too, babe. A kiss on the forehead.
My phone lied underneath my pillow.
Slide right. Click. Tap. Tap. Slide. Tap.
Eyes wide. Body tense. Numb fingers.
Words. Words filled my screen. Messages. Screenshots. Words. I like words, but not these words. Not these words. Anything but these words.
My body jerked from bed. I grabbed my shirt that lied on the floor beside me as he woke from my sudden movement. My naked body beside him no longer felt natural and comfortable. The nakedness felt dirty and wrong. I read the words over again. Out loud this time. Words that made my heart drop and stomach twist.
Can’t wait to see you baby.
Words filled with love and affection. Words that were spoken to me many times. Yet, this time, these words had someone else on the receiving end. It wasn’t me.
I love you.
In that moment, I did not enjoy the sun. I did not enjoy words. I wanted darkness and a blank screen. I wanted to go back to minutes before this moment. Minutes before the sun.
Hours. Minutes. Seconds.
I tried to find words. I like words. But I could not voice the words I wanted to say. I waited for him to speak.
Life has prepared me for breakups. I’ve dealt with them, I write about them. I can make sense of them. Breakup words are not always easy to curate, but I know they’re there. I can see them in reach, even if it takes me a while to pick them up and piece it all together. I eventually learn to embrace the words. I then teach myself to like these words. These words are me. They make me, me.
I love you babe. You’re everything to me.
Life did not prepare me for this. The words “breaking up” doesn’t seem to fit in the narration of “cheating.” I cannot pinpoint the word that belongs with cheating, because I ask myself, Can you break up with something that was never actually there?
Does “love” and “cheat” belong in the same sentence? I don’t know.
I don’t know what words go with “cheating.” I like words, but I cannot find any words that fit with this particular one.
This confuses me. I am intelligent. Where are these words?
You’re the only one I want to be with for the rest of my life.
Words. I searched for the rights ones to say. The right ones to write. I failed.
For the past couple of weeks, I have experienced every emotion under the sun. Anger. Sadness. Confusion. Relief. Happiness. They’ve come in waves. Violent waves. A viscous cycle I’ve attempted to bury multiple times, but I fail. I’ve expressed these emotions in various forms – angry text messages, flirtatious Bumble messages, tear-soaked journal entries, and long conversations with friends. I have been searching for answers I know I will not find, flooding my days with words I don’t particularly like. Negative words which then equates to negative energy.
It’s me and you against the world. Forever.
Words dictate the world. They dictate outcomes and control emotions. You wake up with a choices. Choices and words. You can wake up to the sun and tell it to go fuck itself or you can choose to give it a brief head nod and begrudgingly say sup dude?
I have been telling the sun to go fuck itself as of late. I’ve gone to bed upset, waking up with puffy eyes and an lingering black cloud over my head. Tirelessly searching for the right words to rationalize my current situation.
I’ve been filling my days with words, lots of ’em. But all of the wrong ones.
I like words. I love them. If I could marry someone(thing), it would be a beautifully curated sentence out of Charlotte Brontë or Oscar Wilde novel.
Words are me.
A couple of nights ago I dreamt that I worked for the Washington Post as a full-time lifestyle/culture writer. My day was literally jam-packed with words. Good words (not, “FUCK THIS GUY” kind of words). In this dream, my apartment had been robbed, someone stole my plants (!!!!!!) and my TV, but I literally didn’t care because I got to go write all day. Life was gucci because my life was both mentally and financially dictated by my own damn thoughts. Imagine that?
Was my dream some sort of an epiphany? No, I don’t think so. I don’t believe you can magically wake up and just be OK. I believe that life is a process. A hard, annoying AF process that takes constant time and care to maintain. But, like I said, it’s a process.
I woke up with the sun unaware of my dream was reality. I checked on my plants (phew! y’all are safe!) and had a couple of hours to spare before I started my work day. I opened my laptop and wrote. It was a bunch of random shit, but I wrote. I crafted sentences and compacted my jumbled thoughts into the notepad on my MacBook. I got tired of writing so I read. The Year of Yes, by Shonda Rhimes, to be specific. I filled my morning with words.
Did I mention that I like words?
I chose words that empowered me. Chose words that I understood. Words that I could control, words that I could understand. Words that I could string together on my own.
Words that weren’t dictated by somebody else’s actions, somebody else’s inability to make me feel worthy. If they could choose words to destroy, why couldn’t I choose words to empower?
Do you see what I’m saying or am I just using the word “words” too much?
Whether you wake up next to the sun, moon, a faithful dog, or a cheating boyfriend, you choose the story you are going to live that very day. So cliche, Beth. You mentally write out sentences, choosing who and what will take up your headspace. These are choices. A word is a choice. Written, spoken, or read. You curate the word and sentences. You write the story.
You can choose words that will destroy or you can choose words to motivate. To progress. To make a difference.
I know these things. These facts are so wired into my brain that I often ask myself why it doesn’t come second nature to just simply live by them.
Life is a process.
Call your mom, tell her you love her. Pick up a book, educate yourself. Download Bumble, overuse Aziz Ansari pick up lines. Open a journal, write down random shit. Write a story, make it your own.
Use words. Your words.
I’ve been spending so much of my time attempting to piece together the spontaneous combustion that my love life has become. I chalked him up as wasted time and space, calling him every single name I could think of usually starting and ending the sentence with an f bomb.
Wasted time and space who wasting all of my mental bandwidth. I had no room for new words, new conversations, new ideas. I had no room for my own words.
Life is a process.
Opening my laptop and crafting a 200 world blurb was step one. Reading a heart-happy book was step two. Exchanging silly GIFs with cute Bumble guy was step three. Throughout the day, these “steps” became easier. I forced myself to fill my day with my own words.
Curating content, answering emails, researching current news and viral Tweets about puppies.
No silence. Just words. My words.
And now, at 12:14am, I am ending my day with words. These words. Words that may not lead to answers I searched for, but words that are my own. I use these experiences and pair it with words to tell a story, something that I’m quite good at. I draw inspiration from situations I can’t always understand. Inspiration is my fire. It’s the flame the ignites my fingers and connects my brain to the blinking cursor in front of me.
I tell a story. I tell my truth. I choose words that are mine.