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a love letter from quarantine

Does anyone else ever develop a crush on a stranger? You lock eyes with the person making your coffee and there is suddenly an unspoken exchange of feelings. Just a flicker, the mere possibility of chemistry. The exchange is over as quickly as it began and you feel as though you lost something you never had. Maybe I’ve just been romanticizing social interactions due to their chronic lack of frequency. For those of us who have been living in complete quarantine, even a small spark with another human can feel exhilarating. I had one of these interactions recently, at the local coffee shop I frequent. The barista recognized me and remembered my name after a sole interaction. Even with a mask on I could feel him smiling at me, and I caught him looking me over as I stood and waited for my cold brew. Is this chemistry? Attraction maybe? I have to wonder if it’s only exciting because I know it’s unrealistic. I will never have the courage to act on this attraction, and judging by his demeanor nor will the barista. Forever trapped in the world between possibilities and realities. It’s almost comforting to know that I will always be an attractive stranger in his eyes. He will never see me as vulnerable, or find out that I’m a notorious over-thinker. I have power over how he perceives me.

Well what if I wanted more? More than that one spark and more than that one moment. Is that even an option right now? How could I possibly get to know someone when I have to stay home all day? I go on a daily walk, sometimes walking 3 miles or more just so I can listen to music and try to feel something. There’s the grocery store, but I like to put my air-pods in and shut out the world in order to combat possible anxiety. So that leaves coffee shops, but I typically make a pour-over coffee in the morning in order to resist spending $5 every day. Aside from my bi-weekly coffee shop run. Then there’s dating apps like Tinder or Bumble, and I’ve heard good things about Hinge. What I don’t like about this option is that I have to put all my cards on the table too soon. Everyone knows these apps are meant for hooking up and the very occasional relationship. I prefer to get to know someone and feel out our chemistry before revealing my intentions. Isn’t that the point? Not knowing where you stand, developing a burning crush that consumes your body and mind from the minute you wake up to the minute you fall asleep. Finding out they feel the same way and finally being able to act on it. I don’t care if that’s an idealization of love or if I’m romanticizing things again. I suppose for now I will daydream of my slow-burn love story, my person. I hope they’re out there somewhere, daydreaming of me.

freshmen

He had this way about him. It may have been something in the intensity of his sapphire stare, or the way electricity ran throughout my body when he touched me. Or maybe it was just how I felt when he looked at me. That can’t be it though. I’m sure he makes everyone feel this way, subconsciously or with intent, this is something I could never quite figure out. I will probably never know. I was too afraid, or rather, confused at the time. We kind of fell into a friendship of sorts. An unlikely pair, or at least I thought so at the time. It was out of convenience I assume, we lived down the hall from one another. He was effortlessly cool and handsome. I was naively dorky and hadn’t stepped into my confidence quite yet. I didn’t realize that anyone saw me as anything other than the boring girl next door, literally. At first, I couldn’t stand him. He made my blood boil with his smugness and I began to read his confidence as arrogance. The loud girls captured his attention and I thought it was because they were his type, but looking back now maybe it was just because they were loud. He had this charm, this way of making you feel special and self-conscious all at once. It wasn’t until winter term that I realized we shared the same sense of humor, and suddenly everything was different. It was almost like we had formed a language that only we spoke, one where we could easily go back and forth until we were the only ones laughing. Soon enough we were sharing meals and bickering like siblings.

I had never had this with a boy, a friendship. I instinctively assumed he would never be attracted to me, he was simply out of reach. Besides, I convinced myself there was no way I could really want to be with someone who seemed so different than me. This was what I relayed to anyone who caught onto our chemistry and asked if I had feelings for him. In all honesty, I wasn’t sure how I felt. We had deep conversations, sometimes we bickered and sometimes he would linger when we locked eyes just long enough to make me nervous. He was beautiful. There is just no getting around that. I was barely 19, innocent and inexperienced. It was almost as if he could read my mind. He could tell when I was secretly judging someone in my head, or when I was uncomfortable in a social situation. See, that was our biggest difference, because he was never uncomfortable. Can two people who are so different coexist in a relationship, or even a friendship? And, does it matter?

Years later, and I’m just now processing these feelings. The line between a friendship and something more never to be determined due to a lack of communication. Or maybe, I made it all up in my head. We drifted apart in the usual way, slowly and easily. I dreamt about him last night, but it’s slipping away from me now, forever lost in the folds of my dreams. Maybe he’s out there wondering about me. Is this a sign? Am I idealizing someone again? Can two souls communicate through thoughts and unresolved feelings? I’ll let you know if I ever find out.

remember when…

That word, remember. Such a simple one, yet it holds so much power over us. It can take you back to a beautiful moment, or it can make you feel as low as you once did (and hoped never to again). That’s the power of the human brain. For me, memories are sacred. They have made me who I am, which is a sentimental, (arguably overly) nostalgic 22 year old. Why not romanticize our own lives? It is literally our life. We are the main character in our experience of this world. This perspective can be dangerous though. If we aren’t careful, we may begin to change our entire perception of past events, letting these feelings bleed into our present day consciousness. I’m guilty of this. I want everything to mean something. I assume we all do, whether we know it or not. Meaning is what we’re all searching for. A sign, a single moment where everything clicks. This is who I am. This is why things turned out this way. Everything did happen for a reason. In a way, everything does. If it means something to you, then it meant something.

Sometimes it is hard for me to reflect on things until they are over. It’s like I can detach from my own life until suddenly, things change and I sift through memories, events, interactions trying to understand why these things have changed. Maybe it’s the Aquarius in me, this ability to detach. Or maybe we all do it, consciously or subconsciously. For me it is often subconsciously. Days, weeks, months will go by and then one day I look around me and everything is so different than what feels familiar. This can also be dangerous. It makes me sad sometimes, or at least it did for what feels like a very long time. My world evolves with each passing season (whether I want it to or not), inevitably evolving, and it is my decision to evolve with it or to remain in some past life.

My new mantra recently has been: “what is meant to be, will be”. Another simple, yet tremendously powerful phrase. If it was meant for me, than I would have it. There is a reason why the thing I wanted so badly to work out, didn’t. I’m beginning to understand this. It takes away the blame, the guilt that so many of us anxious souls grapple with on a daily basis. It has helped to bring me back from a past-life, to the present moment. Incidentally, it has also sparked an evolution within me. I am evolving with the seasons, or at least I am beginning to welcome this concept.

So I leave you with this: romanticize your life. Believe everything is a sign. Savor your daily rituals (your morning coffee, watering your plants, journaling, a long walk, spending time with your favorite album, taking yourself out for a nice drive), because they are a part of you. My most recent sign has been the concept of a spiritual awakening. I have been hearing more and more about this. It began with finding a book at Barnes and Noble a couple weeks ago, a book on connecting to your higher self. The next week, I heard about it on a podcast. Then it popped up on my twitter feed. I could choose to see these seemingly random events as meaningless. Instead, I embraced this concept. I can leave behind my old path and begin on a new one. I have that choice, and it is extremely freeing. I’m evolving, and that is okay, necessary even. Try this. You will be surprised at the revelations that simply come to you in the process.