Right now at this exact moment, I am sitting on my bed with my white, pristine sheets crumpled up over my legs. My toes are poking out because if they were trapped under the weight of my comforter, then they would feel far too warm during this time of year. There is a heartbeat inside my skull because of a pounding headache from too much time spent under the sun. The cool stickiness of aloe covers my shoulders and chest, forcing me to resort to tucking my hair behind my pillow. Gentle tapping on my keyboard disturbs the quiet. A friend’s slow, steady breathing through the facetime call fills my ears with white noise.

This isn’t poetic.

I replay it over and over in my head. When he said hello to me the first time. He was just another guy. Until he wasn’t. He would pick me up in that car of his, and I would hold his hand until I couldn’t anymore. Little by little, I lost myself in him.

It was a year later when he looked at me with those sad eyes. I honestly had no idea that that day would be the first time I would cry because of a boy. Driving home that day was a nightmare. I just had to get away. I thought that if I could drive away from him, he wouldn’t see my tears. I thought that if I could drive away from him, I would get rid of the cold, empty feeling in my chest. When I looked into his sad eyes that day, I didn’t feel anything. Anything at all. And that scared me even more than being with him.

It never was poetic.

When I’m alone, tilting my head to listen to my little brother’s snoring in the next room, I feel at home. When I am breathing in the salt air and lifting my board over the crashing waves, I feel determined. When I watch my puppy flick up the sand with his paws and play in the water,  I feel like I care for him, even though he’s not so little anymore. When I spend my days by the window with my paint brushes or the latest novel, I feel self nurturing. I am independent. When I throw my phone to the bottom of my bag and dedicate the hour to healing my broken yoga practice, I am self serving. But in a good way. When the boy next door throws me a glance and reaches out to ask if my dog is friendly, I no longer feel the pinches of pain  in my chest remembering another boy who used to reach out to hold my hand.

Nothing is worth it if you aren’t yourself. Nothing is worth it if you can’t be happy.


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