“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

 

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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

 

 

Dear America,

All I have are words, but they can be powerful when used purposefully.

America, we will get through this.

As humans, we are not without flaws, but some of us have been gifted with the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. I know in my heart that Goodness will eventually prevail. I, and so many other Americans, have finally and reluctantly come face to face with the insidious epidemic in society—close-minded bigotry. I wouldn’t even call it “hate.” These people you call hateful don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t realize that they are part of the greater issue—the systemic issue. They don’t realize that what they believe encourages evil. How can we blame them?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m angry. I WANT to blame them.

But, as I sit at my work desk, listening to the piano music of Helen Jane Long, I can’t help but feel some amount of hope for a country as broken as ours this morning.

If Hillary had won the Presidency, I would have never understood just how much work needs to be done here. I would have never resolved to take a more self-accountable role moving forward. I would have never looked ahead and considered how I, alone, could make a difference. Now, I know I can and SHOULD. I HAVE to. If I want to see change, I have to BE that change. I have to MAKE that change. It’s simple.

I walk away from this election enlightened. Disappointed, yes. But, as they say, life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.

As of now, I’m setting a real fire under my butt. I’m not going to hide behind the digital walls of social media as I attempt to make a change. I’m going to step across the threshold, sacrifice my vulnerability, and add my voice to the crowds of people demanding equality, change, love, happiness, freedom, and comradery.

After all, we’re stronger together.

Sincerely,

Stephanie

Dear the local Chipotle,

I’m going to try to temper my temper here, when I ask: Where the EFF is your drive-thru?

Listen, I only have so much time for lunch before I have to go back to work… I only have so much energy to even attempt to get out of my car once I get into it.

I work eight hours a day, most of which are spent sitting—and I’m keeping it that way. Where do you get off that you want to pit my hunger against 1) my determination and 2) perhaps more importantly, my sloth? Sloth as in the deadly sin, not this.

Yes, my hunger won out yesterday when I parked my car—reluctantly—outside your four walls (your drive-thru-less four walls) and dragged myself inside. It was cold, and people were, like, looking at me as I made my way to the line, where I was forced to stand. Ugh, standing… one of the most overrated pastimes.

Fortunately, the line was short, but that’s your only saving grace. As for redeeming qualities, supply and demand are miles apart on that y-axis.

One would think having a drive-thru would be fiscally lucrative… I can tell you I would visit WAY more often than I already do if I didn’t have to get out of my car or talk to people for my side of guac and chips. In fact, I think my visit yesterday was after a few month’s hiatus—a hiatus that would not have existed had you thought ahead. This is on you, Chipotle.

Look, you don’t even need a drive-thru. It’s easy—set up a service on your app where I can order from my car and you bring me my food. Think of the tips! Yeah, it’s like curbside service. All the cool restaurants are doing it. Outback. Ruby Tuesday’s. Sonic. My mom.

Alright, if you want to brainstorm some of my ideas, leave a comment below and I’d be happy to oblige, especially where guac and chips are involved. That’s really all I need in payment. I’m flexible.

Sincerely,

Stephanie

Dear the Guy I Can’t Seem To Get Out Of My Head,

I’d really like to be able to forget about you. And ya know, I have come a long way. I don’t think about you as much… but there are times, like now, where my mind wanders to you, to the texts we shared, and the hopes I had of seeing you.

You kind of treated me like shit, ya know. Your behavior resembled that of a complete douche bag, and yet, you aren’t a complete douche bag, so I’m having trouble reconciling the emotions in my head. But when I talk about you to my friends, they’re quick to convince me that you are, in fact, a complete douche bag. I only wish it helped me get over you faster. But for some reason, it’s not.

It doesn’t feel good.

Why the hell can’t I get over you?

I have some theories, one of them being this: Since you live in another state, all I had were your texts and phone calls. While you said some amazing things, I didn’t have the “video” to match the audio, so I used my imagination to fill in the gaps. I pictured us going on dates at the beach, talking in coffee shops, and making out under the covers—and it was PERFECT. You were charming. Your smile beckoned me closer. Your hands were soft. But see, none of that was reality. They were unfounded, scenes made up in my head, of what I considered “perfect.” But had they ever happened? No, and yet, I held them close to my heart, possessively, as if they were a memory, and I still do. I fell in love with you, but only the version of you that I had in my head. Sure, we became close over the phone, but the only foundation we had was an unstable one.

Anyway, I tried to create a healthier foundation for us, but as I’ve said before, you were resistant. Ugh, you had every excuse under the sun, but enough about that…

The truth is… I still haven’t gotten over you, and a part of me hopes I’m not in this boat alone. I hope you still think about me every night before you go to sleep. I hope you think of kissing me and talking about the world with me. I hope you still count the ways in which we seemed compatible. I hope you remember what it felt like to tell me that you loved me… Cause THAT happened…

It’s funny, because as much as I love my mind’s fictional representation of you, a part of me wonders if I’d feel the same way about the “real” you. I used to hope so, but since things have fallen apart, I’m trying to convince myself that the two versions wouldn’t match. Outside of finding you attractive, funny, smart, and family-oriented, I can’t prove that you’re caring, or affectionate, or brave, or gentle, or any of the qualities I once linked with you.

Maybe, in person, you’re really boring, and mean, and uncultured, and impatient. Let’s go with that, because it will make it easier for me to move on.

Oh, and you should know, I have a second date this week! I had written out something really snarky to close this letter, but decided against it. I just really hope this guy puts in the time and effort to sweep me off my feet, because I think I deserve it at this point.

Sincerely,

Stephanie

P.S.

Thanks for the birthday text.