I like divulging stories and experiences from my childhood so I think I’ll do that again.
5th grade was an interesting year for me. I spent the whole year knowing it was my final year in China, that I would soon be moving to the promised land that I had only know as Hollywood from movies and the few visits I had made to the southern coast of California. I fostered friendships I knew wouldn’t last, I got moved up to the highest reading group, and I ALMOST kissed a girl. All the subdued craziness afforded to an awkward twelve year old was incredibly liberating, however at the same time, it was shrouded in the despair of having to leave behind everything I knew.
Aside from all that depressing stuff, my fifth-grade year was the perfect culmination of all the time I had spent in China. My friends and I released more videos in a single year than we ever had before, under the name of our production company, “Yovodka United.” My homeroom class won the elementary school dodgeball tournament, even defeating the teachers somehow, making for one glorious pizza party. I finally read the final book of the TinTin series from the library, after waiting nearly two years for someone to return it, and I gave my final goodbyes to the friends, the school, the city, that had raised me and taught me so much, walking off stage, throwing glow sticks into the audience, after our heartfelt class song.
The Skype calls that seemed to go nowhere but made hours fly by in minutes. The new era of pop music, Maroon V, Imagine Dragons, Taylor Swift, The Script, and Gotye, creating a perfect soundtrack that could encapsulate my memories into a single playlist. The Minecraft LAN parties that involved poor WiFi, pizza bagels, and lots of griefing. I don’t know if I can ever recreate a year as packed with mixed emotions and shameless exuberance as my fifth-grade year, but I only hope I can one day look back on my high school experience, my senior year even, with the same kind of nostalgic pride.
Boundaries are a part of our healing process. Many of us grew up in homes where boundaries were non-existent. As children, our boundaries were crossed so often that we become adults without them. We were told how we felt, how to behave, and how to interact with others. This disconnected us from our intuitive responses of stating (and following through with) our own personal limits.
All healthy relationships require boundaries. There’s no shame in us not having boundaries in our relationships if we never had this behavior modeled for us. It’s something we have to learn. And practice. And slowly integrate into our lives.
Disclosure: when I first started setting boundaries it was terrifying. The reactions I got often sent me into fear along with many panic attacks. Being in toxic relationships in the past, confrontation with others was my number one fear. I would completely shut down with the thought of telling someone how I felt about the way they were treating me. It took me a while to realize I am not responsible for the emotional reactions of others. It took me a while to see how this benefited me and everyone I had relationships with.
Boundaries are kind. They provide clear limits of where we end and another begins. They allow other people to understand how to best engage with us. Setting and receiving boundaries can feel terrifying and guilt ridden, especially coming from codependent dynamics.
And for those with unresolved trauma, boundaries can feel like abandonment. They can trigger defense mechanisms within us. All we can do is objectively deliver them with grace. Then hold them regardless of reaction.
stuck uncomfortably askew into my otherwise sweetly lapsing childhood
the odd cold memory next to geraniums and my dads’ warm hands:
it hadn’t rained in weeks but it would tomorrow
tyler and his friends tore down the highway
the truck old
the boys young
and the night infinite
four teenagers careening through space
running out of time
(twinkling like stars, the holes in the bottom of his truck shone into the cab. Twinkling not like natural light, but like reflections from yellow road reflectors and moonshine)
then as Murphy knowingly frowned
the teenagers plunged abruptly into the darkness
two flew through the night and landed bloody on the highway
but he and his passenger tumbled endlessly into that indiscriminate abyss
and someone I hadn’t thought about in years came crashing back into my life
(and those stars that lined his bare calloused toes erupted into vivid supernovas)
tyler and I were friends when i was very young. he lived in Kauai and i would visit every so often. he was a terrible influence; he would steal stupid things, and i would watch. sometimes tyler took me fishing. he would torment the fishes by cutting off their fins and sending them back to the water to die bloody but breathing. and i would watch. he told me fish don’t feel pain, but i saw that he did. he grew up between houses, neither one was particularly welcoming. he grew up never believing he had a chance. one day he was watching his younger sister, and i remember sitting where the tide leaves sandy pools on the beach. she splashed and screamed while he delicately folded her clothes placing them carefully on a log. I watched him pull a shirt over her wet sandy head and I saw how precarious tyler’s life was. he couldn’t have been more than twelve.
it barely hurts to imagine him flying down the road drunkenly focused, it doesn’t pain me to imagine his dark brown eyes, and not even the dead teenagers trapped in a combusting coffin bring me to tears
If anyone asks me of favorite holiday of the year, I would reply “Christmas” without hesitation. There are several reasons why I like Christmas. First of all, I get to see my parents for solid amount of time. However, I just like the unique vibe of Christmas. I like the special smell of Christmas that triggers my nostalgia. Also Christmas carols that are played everywhere on the street. Good foods are always available during Christmas, and then you get to enjoy the new year celebration. My favorite part of the new year celebration is Fireworks for sure. It is mesmerizing to watch bursts of fireworks in the night sky, making me think about new year resolution that I will never do.
Sometimes I feel really young when I look at the experiences I have compared to the experiences I have not been through. I might seem like I am naive by saying this but I love where I am at with my relationships currently. This is an evaluation of all my current relationships as a seventeen-year-old:
When I am with you,
You take me out of my fixed headspace
That can sometimes be crippling
You talk with purpose, even if it is to yourself, it means something.
You make me feel like Stevie Wonder when he talks about the people he loves,
unconditionally and without limitations.
you give me relief and let me express myself without shame
which is something that i have lacked in my past relationships
i look at the little things like your laugh
and the way you smile at the things that make you happy,
i look at the things that make you mad or irritated
i look at the touch from your hands and your tenderness
it’s weird that i feel this way cause i have lost so much in the last couple of months. But, i can always control how i feel. that’s something that my mother taught me.
To conclude: You make me happy, in a giddy, platonic way.