To the concept of friendship,

I thought I would have more to say on this topic given what went down this weekend. But now I’m just sitting here, staring at my computer, dumbfounded by the fact that I really do have nothing to say. Ironically, I think that speaks to what I’d say if I did have something to say.

Let’s try this…

I once thought a friend was forever. And by “once,” I mean last week. Then two of my—who I would have called—close friends visited New York (the city in which I live) and didn’t tell me. I found out the way most people find out anything these days—on social media. Huh, alright then. I’ll spare you the details of my insecurities, but I spent the next day or so brooding over the possibility that maybe I just wasn’t all that likeable, an idea I’d never been comfortable with.

Here’s the thing… Ever since I moved to NYC, I’ve lost touch with a lot of friends. Not all of my friends, but a lot of them. ‘Course, it’s a two-way street. It’s not like I’m ghosting their texts. They just aren’t sending any. And to be honest, that’s fine with me. Having to keep up a virtual relationship stresses me out. Besides, I’m usually under this assumption that regardless of how often we keep in contact over the phone, our friendship will pick up right where it left off when we’re reunited. Apparently, not everyone vibes with that.

So I grabbed coffee with one of these friends on Sunday before she headed back home. I insisted. How could she be in New York and I not see her? To me, that’s absurd, but I digress. Before we parted, I asked her if I had done anything to upset her, that could perhaps explain why she hadn’t reached out to make plans. She shook her head, shrugged. That would have to suffice as my answer. Ok, so I hadn’t done anything wrong, and yet…

I’m not writing this to vent. I’m writing this because this shit happens all the time. To everyone. People suck. Friends suck. I suck. But, listen, and I know this sounds crazy, but we get to choose the people we want in our lives. We get to choose in what relationships we invest our energy. So my friends ditched me, and not just forgot-to-ask-me-if-I-wanted-anything-from-Starbucks-ditched me. No, these two friends sent a message, and given that, I can now do one of two things: 1) Do whatever it takes to win back their favor despite there being allegedly no reason for their shiftiness or 2) think Huh, alright then and take my energy elsewhere. Think about it – that’s two less people I have to feel guilty about not keeping in touch with. It’s great. Not to mention, I win back more energy to spread around the friends who put energy into me. Why waste another second trying to mend something that doesn’t want to be mended? Why not instead pour myself into relationships that fill me up? Relationships that can withstand time and distance? Those are the friends I want in my life. And I have friends like that. Every single one of them deserves my time and my energy. You all know who you are. ❤ So yeah, what went down—or didn’t—this weekend, it sucks. And sure, it had me real low all day on Sunday. But look what came out of it. Insight. Appreciation. And a mantra that really, really suits me. Huh, alright then. My mom agrees.

Sincerely,

Stephanie

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Dear Whoever Wants to Listen,

I’ve been living in New York City for three months. I can’t believe it either. Three months in the Big Apple has seemed like a long time. I’ve had my ups. I’ve had my downs, but regardless of this prolonged and sometimes nauseating rollercoaster ride, I know I’ll look back on my residency in NYC and be glad I did it. Is it lonely? Sometimes. Is it scary? Not really. Is it exciting? Definitely. I’ve learned a lot, not just about myself, but about people. We humans? We’re WEIRD. But I love that. The other day, I saw a guy about my age walking a pig. Now that I think about it, I’ve seen a whole manner of strange pets being walked. On my way to work, I passed a woman holding a leash, the end of which was wrapped tightly around the shell of a turtle. A turtle. Already, after three months, I’ve become accustomed to these kinds of oddities. People wearing the entire rainbow of colors and more. Old men shouting obscenities on the subway because that’s just what you do. I’ve been graced with songs by would-be artists and singers on my way home from work. They’re always gone just as fast as they came. I’ve been late getting to the office in the morning because a woman, after boarding the train, promptly began to undress herself, right there in front of all those people too proud to admit that this was going to be the best part of their day. The train stood still until the authorities arrived to remove her. She’d had enough “removing” for one day, don’t you think?

What else? I’ve learned how to make pourover coffee. That’s exciting! I’m drinking a cup now in fact, brewed from the last bit of Stumptown beans we had left in the cupboard. Never fear; I bought more this afternoon. I’ve participated in my first Ramadan… That’s right, I’ve come to know the beauty of fasting. And it wasn’t without difficulty. Strangely enough, it was easier in the beginning. As the month wore on, however, I grew increasingly frustrated at not having the freedom to grab a bagel from the shop just downstairs whenever I wanted—at having to watch my coworkers down cold brews in the morning as I looked on envious.

Side note: Everybody stop using plastic straws. They’re bad for the environment. Paper straws are the new thing. Get on that train. 

Anyway, Eid (the end of Ramadan) is Friday and I’m feeling a mix of both disappointment and relief. The first because it has made a ritual out of dinners at home (iftar), sitting down at 8:00pm to eat the well-deserved food and gulp down as much water and coffee as you can knowing tomorrow is another day of fasting. And the second because…well, food is food. I feel I say that, though, with much more ceremony than I might have been able to before. Food isn’t just food. It’s a gift. Sustenance. An avenue by which we connect with our neighbors. An opportunity, and most importantly, a privilege. I don’t know hunger like some people do, but this should have given me a taste nonetheless (ironic pun recognized but unintended). It’s a great exercise, too, in checking your ego—forcing it to submit to a will reminiscent of that which is beyond our own paltry existence, and not it’s own. Not to mention, I learned a lot about food in the process—where it comes from, what makes it halal, how it affects my body, etc. Milk for instance, you gotta be careful with that. Meat? Just…know where you’re getting it from. Fruit, I buy mostly organic. I guess the same goes for vegetables. Is it more expensive? Yes, but that’s an expense I’m willing to make. Do I still eat out too much? Most definitely.

What else? I paid for a gym membership. Have I been? Nope. But you better believe I’m staying on top of those membership fees just in case I have it in me one day. To be fair, I haven’t been eating. Can you expect me to work out after a whole day of no food? Some people can do it. Me? Nah.

Anyway, long story short… I’m still alive, taking my life day by day, and at night, tucking my baby blanket close to my heart and pretending I’m a kid again and my mom is in the next room. I can’t imagine that ever going away. Just today I texted my mom that I missed home. And she said: “Home misses you too, sweet Steph. But Home is also in awe of your independence!” And then added: “Natural progression – barf”

And to that I say, Natural progression, shmatural shrogression. 

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 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