How To Be Alive


I write every day now. It’s too much and I know that but I’m too directionless to write my novel, too empathetic to just keep one blog. I write everywhere; words on napkins in sharpie ink, on computer screens and cell phones, in notebooks and journals and on paper plates. I write and I feel alive and it’s more than I can handle sometimes. I feel it all,I realize. I feel too much.

It’s the euphoria of life, I realize, that has made me so vocal. This time last year, I lived in the suburban sprawl. I sat outside and smoked cigarettes and I was dust in the spotlight, just kind of floating. I thought I was in love then and I was positive that I could win. If I could prove myself, I just knew I could win because he loved me once and if he had before, he would again. But the story is sad and when I recant it in my mind, I wonder why I’m still trying. I am remarkable, I surmise. I am strong and I am brave and I have had my heart broken in irreparable ways. There are cracks in my veins and tourniquets ’round ventricles. Yet when I fall asleep at night, it’s the hope of a dream that I think about. I loved once and maybe I can again. But, of course, that was before. Before, however, I was ignorant. It is a horrible thing to love something that death can touch. I did once, many years ago, but the loss of a parent is so very different from losing the person you want to marry one day and in the months since I stopped planning out my suicide in intricate, ornate detail, I have learned more about life and human nature than I did in the 26 years that proceeded it.

The fact of the matter is that I cannot tell if I am calloused beyond the point of feeling anymore or if I’m admirably tough. I like to think I’m the latter, a pixie sized Amazon that understands because I do understand, I do. I know how terrible people can be and I know that the only person you can rely on is yourself because you are the only one who can help you. I do not say this to sound bitter. I’m not lonesome and I’m not sad. I still hope for the future, for love, for things to get better. And sometimes, they do. But sometimes, they only get worse. I don’t want to die. Not anymore. It’s the moments in between that matter. The moments when you’re drinking in a barn with your best friends. The moments when your skin is alive with the lustful anticipation of a new touch, a first kiss. It’s the moments that matter and sometimes, your day has no moments and you lay on your floor and you stare at your ceiling and you listen to the same sad song over and over and you cry and you can’t keep food down and oh god, you’re fucking up everything, Amber. You can’t not disappoint anyone and when you try to make it better, you just disappoint everyone.

It aches sometimes, how much I miss my old life. I miss my old friends that I loved so fiercely, the old friends that slowly, one by one, began to drop away after my dad died, once I stopped leaving the house, stopped smiling, stopped caring. I miss my family and there’s a vicious emptiness that fills me when I realize how alone I am. No mom to give me advice. No dad to tell me it’ll get better. No older siblings to share the burden I feel and no little sisters and brothers to put on a brave face for. But when I think about it all, I don’t get sad. I get determined – Determined to make things better. It makes me sick to realize how much I had that I took for granted – I had friends, I had a family. For a few brief, shining months, I had the dream family I’d always wanted. I had a nephew and a sister and a mom and a dad but it wasn’t mine to keep. I had a boy I loved who didn’t love me back, not for a moment, not until it was far too late. I miss that life. I miss that girl. But the truth is, I wasn’t happy. I longed every minute of every day for more – For more approval from my dad, to be included like a real daughter by my step-family, to be loved and to love and to live with more courage than I ever used to have. My life got terrible and then I learned how to be alive. I don’t have what I used to. I don’t have that former fella or that old best friend or a stitch of that family, no matter how hard I tried to hold on to it all.

But what I do have now is myself, completely self-actualized but still learning, still growing. For the first time, I know who I am. It doesn’t make life any less lonesome. But I get it now and part of getting it is admitting that for everything I understand, I understand nothing. I know nothing of the universe or of love or of the mind. I’m just a girl, a little war torn, with a chipped front tooth and skinned up knees and a heart that doesn’t work right.

But I am trying.


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