To the Future,

Please don’t disappoint me.

In many ways, my life has been more than adequate. Good school. Great family. Let’s just say… I am the epitome of female white privilege. Am I thankful for that? Sure I am. Not as thankful as I would be if I knew what it was like to live without it, though.

The problem is… I’m bored. I’m living with the knowledge that there’s so much more where that came from. It’s not that I don’t appreciate my existence. It’s that I feel unsatisfied.

I wrote this in my journal tonight:

“I feel connected to something I’ve never actually looked upon. So you search for it. You spend your whole life searching. Perhaps that’s what they call purpose. Or perhaps it’s what we call death.”

And by “death,” I mean this “search” is kind of ironic, isn’t it? We waste our whole life searching for an answer only to finally get it upon death. Maybe there’s an answer in NOT searching—and just living. Life is meant to be lived, right? Do we concern ourselves with questions about our existence? Or do we save that for later, after we’ve taken our last breath? Or maybe even right before?

I want my future to be happy. Satisfactory. I want to experience love. Passion. Adventure. Most importantly, I don’t want to have any regrets. I want to endure pain and grief and grow stronger with each tear that falls down my face—like a rebirth. As it’s said in Romans 6:4:

“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

Strictly speaking, I’m not really a Christian, but you don’t have to subscribe to an entire movement in order to recognize and appreciate the potential for truth—in order to humble yourself to the universal code behind understanding the relationship between the soul and the human body.

I’m getting carried away. Always at risk for losing my audience. Going off the deep end.

Ah, I got it. Okay, Future; here’s what I want you to do. Listen closely. I want you to surprise me.

Sincerely,

Stephanie

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To the Present Moment in Paradise,

Where to start? I realize coming back from vacation is always really difficult for me—as is going away for vacation, but this feels different. I didn’t really know what to expect walking into the grand lobby of your domain, greeted by smartly dressed men with glasses of bubbly champagne.

It was hot… that was my first impression. And the pool looked so inviting, as did the guacamole. Guacamole always comes first.

I’m not sure I really let myself sink into your ethereal reality until that second night. We were buzzed from the watered down cocktails, making conversations with strangers who would soon become friends—friends we knew we’d never seen again after only a few days. I guess it made me appreciate our time together.

Captivated by fire and dancing and a dizzy, clouded judgment, I went to bed looking forward to the possibilities of tomorrow. You didn’t disappoint.

Shots were passed around, in a pool full of people who’d forgotten where they’d come from. Wild arms and legs. Wide grins. Loud laughter, and the sun so sweet on my tender skin. No inhibitions. I think you knew exactly what I needed, and you gave it to me. On one condition—that I’d suffer from empty hands upon returning home.

My hips came loose Sunday night, encouraged by your spirit. I fell in love with the effect you had over me—so in tandem with my rhythm. I tucked myself inside you, relishing life the way it’s meant to be relished. I threw my head back and then forward, diving off the beach and into the moon’s reflection, washing myself clean of the past. Together, we floated on top of the current. Was it the water or my eager passion warming the spaces between us?

I remember stepping outside of you that night, dictating my memory, commanding it to piece every detail together perfectly so that, if I ever wanted to, I could go back. I would frame it, like a puzzle. I would hang it on my wall. I would close my eyes, take another dive, and overwhelm my senses.

Most mistake sensuality with what we see in movies. A man. A woman. Two women. Two men. Tangled together, spied upon by the most skilled voyeurs of our generation—everyone. No, sensuality lives within the connection between the heart, the soul, and the celestial. It is only because of this connection that we have the facilities to sensualize ourselves and each other. We do not create it; we exploit it. You are the only avenue by which we might discover it. No mortal body could match the weight of your dependable influence.

Thank you for granting me entrance. Until we meet again.

Sincerely,

Stephanie

P.S. This is not a metaphor, but a very literal ode to the present moment. No living, breathing person should take credit. You know who you are. 🙂

P.S.S. Okay, you can take a little credit.

 

 

Dear the people who’ve passed in and out of my life,

I’d be lying if I said I knew that, one day, we’d grow apart. I didn’t know, but really, I never thought about it. I think I’m more aware of your existence now than I was when you were in my life. The empty space you’ve left behind doesn’t like to be ignored.

There are times I allow myself to think back on our moments together, while simultaneously reflecting on what could have been. I have mixed emotions, but the greatest is disappointment. I have to wonder if how quickly people have come in and out of my life is normal. Is it me? Is my personality incompatible with the majority of people?

At this point in my life, I have a few good friends–each of which I’ve known no more than a few years. I guess, growing up, I never realized maintaining lifelong friendships would be so hard. Except “hard” isn’t the right word. I didn’t lose any friends because I didn’t work hard enough. I lost friends thanks to time and distance. It just makes you wonder how important you actually are to people. It makes you wonder if friendship is more of a pipedream than the movies make it out to be. It also makes you wonder if it’s not a pipedream at all, but instead, maybe something’s wrong with YOU.

I don’t want to sound like I’m whining. I realize the path I’m taking with this topic is somewhat depressing… I suppose I’m not objectively observing. I can’t muse about lost friendships without eliciting an element of disheartening nostalgia.

In the end, I just miss you, and I blame myself. Whether or not that’s normal, I don’t want to anymore.

Sincerely,

Stephanie

“More Than”

Ice cream left in the fridge

too long burns

Coffee chills

Blood turns brown

Oil cakes

Out of clean spoons

The puddle of water on the floor

evaporates

Like the tears on my lashes

in the corner of my eyes

Listen to the silence

Refrain and entertain

the game they stain with more than’s

From a distance

 

Dear Stephanie,

Not everyone is going to like you. You will lose people. They will leave you. You will consider yourself expendable…contrary to the truth which is that you are a very small piece of a much grander puzzle. Without your contribution, the bigger picture is not complete. You won’t find much comfort in that, I know. Your insecurities have no mercy, and the world does not cater to them.

You’re disappointed. I get that. You see yourself in others. You judge yourself based on their opinions of you. Don’t. Remember the puzzle. Remember that it’s okay to feel the way you do right now—that life is meaningless. There’s beauty in meaningless. There’s character in humility.

Try not to second-guess yourself. Life is not black and white. I realize how hard it is for you to function within grey areas. They tease out your insecurities and egg them on. They leave room for questions which you don’t have answers to, so you assume the worst. That’s what you do. Learn to reverse this. Learn to accept the unknown. Revel in it. Let it bring out the best in you—the part of you that craves mystery and adventure.

Someone very smart once told you that romantics are doomed to live a life of disappointment. I suppose that could be true. But life is what you make of it, right? Romanticize the FUCK out of it. Who cares? You have one life to live. This is it. Don’t waste it on fear. Take chances, and make mistakes. Experience your disappointments and then take the next day by both hands instead of one. Love yourself. Love others as much as you can, but don’t let it be your priority. For you, there is too much hurt there. Forgive yourself.

Savor each and every moment as you would a really great bottle of wine—not too fast, or you’ll end up passed out on a couch, sleeping right on through all the fun. And don’t leave that full bottle sitting there, because goddamnit, you paid good money for it.

You’re okay, Steph. Be patient.

Sincerely,

Stephanie

Dear La La Land,

I’m inspired.

Reality is highly subjective, you know, to the point that one must wonder whether or not reality really exists at all. Perhaps there’s simply an infinite number of realities, and all of them fit together to make one. actual. reality. An infinite number of perspectives. Like a thousand-seat theatre. Each seat a perspective. Row D, Seat 3… perspective. Row FF, Seat 17… perspective. The stage illuminates actual reality… moving about the stage. Exiting off stage right. Stage left. What happens behind the scenes doesn’t matter, because no one can see what happens behind the scenes.

It’s a nice metaphor and all, but who’s manning the spotlights?

I’m a romantic…clearly. I often write words, sentences, and the like only to erase it all in half the time it took me to create. Pretentious, I’ll sigh to myself.

I live behind a veil, most likely in part to the anti-depressant I take every morning. But La La Land is there… I can see it when the child who plays in my brain peeks over the white picket fence. Big eyes. Blue. Blinking. Long, long eyelashes. She longs to go there. Occasionally, she does, but only one toe at a time and never all the way for fear of floating off.

Perhaps. What a pretentious word. Curious.

I write to you, La La Land, on behalf of the child who plays in my brain. Treat her well when she finally finds it in her to let go. See to it that she never looks back.

Sincerely,

Stephanie

 

Dear My Future Husband,

Whoever you are, I love you already. I also hate you. I know there are going to be times where all I want to do is rip your face off and feed it to the cat. Of course, I won’t do that. Any cat we have is going to be a vegetarian. You know that.

You’re going to be my best friend. You’re going to be funny. You’re going to be kind. You’re going to be patient. You’re going to be open-minded and honest. You’re going to be family-oriented.

I know these things because I know myself. I know that I can’t fall in love with someone without these qualities. Deep down, past the thorns of my insidious insecurities, I know my worth. I know what I deserve. And, ultimately, I know what you deserve.

You deserve someone funny, and loving, and kind, and patient, and well-mannered, and fun-loving. Someone who loves to read and play videogames and watch movies and laugh and cry and go a little crazy times. Someone like me. Oh, and humble. Someone extremely humble.

Whether I’ve met you or not, I can’t wait to dedicate myself to you, to buy a home together and have children and grow old. I can’t wait to lay on the living room floor with you as our dozen cats dance across our stomachs and sit on our heads. I can’t wait to drink coffee with you in the morning and then have to remind you that I don’t drink coffee, honey, I drink tea. I can’t wait to tell you I’m pregnant with our first child – hopefully, at that point, we will have planned for it. Thought, whether it’s a complete surprise or not, I can’t wait.

I look forward to snuggling in bed before falling asleep. I look forward to the fights and the makeup sex. I look forward to telling you “I love you” every day before we head off to work. I look forward to coming home to the smell of dinner on the stove, because lord knows, I’m not cooking. Maybe a little. We’ll see. I look forward to bossing you around and you telling me when I’m being a brat, because let’s be honest, I can totally be a brat sometimes. Most of the time. Okay, a lot of the time.

A few things you need to know: I love to be petted, particularly on the head. If I’ve met you, you probably know this already. If not, you better get to know it…and FAST. Because, I can tell you, the minute we turn that movie on in our living room at night, my head is gonna be in your lap so fast you won’t even see it coming. Take that however you want. I also love my family, and it’s important to me that you love them just as much. My dad, he’s a funny guy, so even if you aren’t amused, laugh. My mom is a saint and she’ll hug the shit out of you, so return the favor, okay? Be attentive to them. That’s all I ask.

One last thing: I love making midnight ice cream runs, so it might help to have something on hand to keep you awake, whether it’s Adderall or a slap to the face. Because when I get the craving, there’s no stopping me, my darling.

Well, now that I’ve made myself out to be a real high-maintenance bitch, I’m going to close out my letter with a little sentimentality…

You aren’t perfect, and you know that. But I don’t want perfect. I want all the imperfections, because ultimately, they make you who you are—someone perfect for ME. Me? Shoot, I’m far from perfect, but I so look forward to having my imperfections loved by you.

Whether I’ve met you or not, I can’t wait to dedicate myself to you.

Love,

Stephanie