Tag Archives: happiness

The Saddest Reason To Buy Taylor Swift's RED

It was supposed to be for boot socks. Wool ones in fun, speckled colors. A two-pack of knee highs for eight dollars. But that isn’t what happened. That was never the plan. Not really.

On the way over, before I even so much as saw the red neon sign, Anna Nalick lied to me. She said I could just wait it out, this temporary storm, and wake up in a couple thousand days.

It was my own voice that cracked beneath that promise, my car idling at a red light. Anna was wrong. I knew that. I knew there was no hide-and-seek for 20somethings. There would be no hiding for the girl who doesn’t come home to someone else’s muddy boots.

How nice it would’ve been to turn the bronze key, unload my belongings, and catch the smell of something on the stove or a candle flickering on the countertop or the washing machine sloshing a load of whites.

True Confession: Some nights, I turn the dishwasher one and head back to the cold air. When I return, half an hour or forty-five minutes later, it is like my apartment has lived without me: moving and bustling emptily. This is, arguably, the most relieving and undermining feeling in the world.

So I chose HEATED DRY and found myself halfway to broken. There’s nothing you can do when you find cracks in your day that you cannot fill with someone else’s sorry days, someone else’s needs.

The boot socks didn’t have flecks. They were black and grey and white and I needed a little dab of color, even if no one else would ever see them. That’s how I ended up in ELECTRONICS.

And it’s the saddest reason, really, I’ve ever bought a CD: I needed to know that those of us on the cusp of 23 were broken not because we were weak, but because we gave slices of ourselves, limb by fragile limb, to the whipping wind and the turquoise sky and tornado warnings scrolling across the bottom of the TV screen. We gave ourselves to the kids who died too young and the ones who forgot how to love us.

I needed to know that not every story ends with Should’ve Know or Nice Try.

I needed to know that there was a spectrum of alternatives not printed on fortune cookie inserts or shaken to the surface of a Magic 8 Ball.

I needed to know that I wasn’t just a blue-eyed girl with frayed jeans and hopes that would always be too high.

I started thinking about the way we see ourselves and the way others perceive us. And I wondered if the cashier would look at me and see a broken girl with a broken budget and a conveyer belt full of all the words she wanted someone else to tell her. I wondered if my eyes were tired, if my feet were dragging across the tile floor, if I had stood long enough in front of that display and debated whether or not I needed a confidante who wouldn’t even bother to call me for coffee.

I decided that I did.

It’s the saddest decision, when you are alone and so desperately waiting for someone to listen, to get it, even if that someone has never so much as tried your name on her lips. Even if that someone has too many heartbreaks to worry about yours.

Target and Taylor have never let me down. But man, I wonder how I would’ve felt to say I didn’t need that, just could use some socks to keep my feet warm, just some socks please. Would it have felt better?

Pleas to Please: Weaving Words into Wishes

If there is one lesson I’m grateful I never learned, it’s that loving what someone else wants you to love won’t make your fall any more graceful.

In fact, I’m sure you’ll end up with not two scraped knees, but three or four.

Three or four broken hearts will try to teach to you turn to Pleas to Please the ones who wish you’d weave your words into what they want.

girls spinning around

via weheartit.com

They’ll take you and break you, scoop you up in fractured arms and spin you around on a wild rollercoaster ride and honey, you won’t be able to separate the weave of colors passing before your eyes.

It’ll look like magic, enveloping you from the very first moment you make someone smile and begin to lose a part of your own happiness like a drop of glitter from your sparkly sneakers on the crackled sidewalk steps leading to a house you never loved.

But trust me when I say it isn’t. Trust me when I say those pleas that you can do better, be better, love better next time won’t do you or them any good.

It’ll end the way it’s bound to: with you wishing and wishing to be better and them raising the bar each time before you’re able to climb high enough to tumble over it onto the other side.

That’s the side where all the glimmer and lights, the sparkly shoes and the bright watercolor images you saw while you were too busy letting someone else spin you around, will come tumbling backward farther and farther from the grasp of your tiny little hands.

It seems only natural to run, to jump as high as you can and hope you might land on that other side. Oh that grass, it looks pristinely green. Like someone took a watering can and set it on that grass for a whole month.

But once you’re there, you’ll see it’s fake.

You’ll remember the wishes and wants and walls you built for yourself and how different they are from the wishes and wants you were told you wanted to get where you are now. A place you don’t even recognize.

Maybe you’ll be on a cliff, which feels almighty and powerful at first, but then you’ll stand strong and fierce and want so badly to be in the valley, a nonconformist among followers, the only one not sipping the Koolaid.

I’m not saying everything you do has to be unique. What is unique anyway, but an oversaturated word in the English language that’s meant to encompass anything and everything so that the word itself is not unique? The word itself is nothing special.

Keep yourself special. Fight for what you want, what words and wishes you’ve got bottled up inside your head.

What pleas you dare to let escape your broken lips to please the one and only one who ever mattered.

I think you know who I’m talking about.

The Taylor Swift Generation

The story ended the way most do. A girl sitting on her best friend’s bed, tears streaming down her face. She couldn’t breathe, but she didn’t want to.

seven girls carrie underwood lyrics summer senior year

seven girls, seven different stories

That girl was me. Two years ago. Too shaken up to bother turning on the radio. Back then, I used to cry with music on. My roommate went home one weekend and my boyfriend had just left to go home and I just sat in the dorm with the music on so that no one on the hall could hear. Turned it up to drown out the noise and to remember when things were good.

Back then, I’d trudge up the same hill every Monday and Wednesday after Spanish class, the same chords playing through my earbuds. The soundtrack to my teenage romance.

Now, I start each morning the same. Like clockwork, I’m in the car by 9:05, turning on the stereo. Pressing CD 6, track 2.

I let the opening chords blast through the speakers as I peel out of my parking space. And I drive the 1.5 miles to campus.

I can’t help but wonder if, in 15 years, students will read about girls like me in their sociology textbooks.

“The Taylor Swift Generation,” experts will label us. “They had a song for every male-female interaction.”

Will our children laugh at us for developing an ice cream flavor for every kind of heartbreak? Or perhaps that’s next on Ben & Jerry’s To Do List.

We’re just the kids lined up when the truck comes down the street on a hot summer afternoon. Pouring over all the options as if they’ve changed since yesterday or the day before. We’re always searching for the winner. Push up pop? Nah. Chipwich? Maybe. Screwball? Yes, definitely.

At the bottom of the screwball, there’s the enticement of a gum ball. Instead, we’re left with a disintegrating jumble of sugar that doesn’t even taste good anymore.

Is that what happens with these songs? When we memorize the lyrics until they sit in our own hearts, taking up residence as if we wrote them ourselves, are we doing something wrong?

I don’t think so. The media bombards us with hundreds of worse role models, their stints in rehab documented daily on news websites. Their infidelity is broadcast on Entertainment Tonight.

And so we turn up the volume on her new album, praying that this girl who’s only three months older than us has the answers to life’s toughest questions.

That girl sitting on her best friend’s best, tears cascading down her face? She was holding onto those words. Retracing them to figure out where she went wrong and became unlovable. Because that’s what keeps her getting up in the morning.

And the sociologists cannot take that away from her. After all, she’s just a girl trying to find a place in this world.

When I was seven years old, I witnessed my first miracle.

letter 26 – the last person you made a pinky-promise to

To my boys,

When I was seven years old, I made a subconscious decision to believe in miracles.

I watched an infant grow into a kid who saw angels, a teenager who would rather tap dance across the kitchen than stand stoically in front of the fridge. I watched an infant grow into a toddler who struggled to express himself verbally, a preteen who could battle any college-aged guy in his ability to lick clean a plate of hot wings or baby back ribs. I watched an infant grow into a toddler whose strength was measured not in physical size but in character, a kid who thought smiling every second of every day was mandatory.

On any given day, there are a handful of people who always deserve a letter. You are most definitely in that handful.

I think I made a series of invisible pinky-promises to you. Promises I never acknowledged out loud, but knew existed nonetheless.

I promised to be a role model for you. The kind of surrogate older sister who you would love and respect and feel like you could come to for advice when you’re nineteen or twenty and get yourself into trouble at college.

I promised to look at you and see all the good in the world wrapped up in three little boys who each stole my heart successively. And I promised to make sure you always saw the world that way, that you always found that love in all the deep corners and brought it to the surface. That you expelled any doubt that there was an alternative to living each day with a smile plastered across your face.

I promised to appreciate the way you’re all different. To relish in the fact that you each bring something entirely new to the table and share those attributes with the world.

I promised to remind myself and you each and every day that your actions create a ripple. A ripple the size of the Pacific Ocean, bouncing off of everyone around you. Good or bad. It is impossible to step into a pond and the water not move around your submerged foot. But do you make an active decision in treading carefully so as not to crush a fish swimming beneath you? You do.

You have taught me that. In filling up the hearts and minds of those around you with so much love and energy, you have made a subconscious choice. You create counteractive ripples to cancel out the bad that filters into my world. You create ripples of love. And you cannot deny the light that shines within you.

When I was seven years old, I witnessed my first miracle. I witnessed the struggle of a premature child who served as a peace offering from God. And four months later, when the mother’s child lost her own mother, you were that miracle for her and for the rest of us.