space.

So I have a difficult ultimatum to make.

I have the choice to let go of someone special to me and I have no idea how to do it.

Not necessarily, “let go.”

But I need to tell this person that I need space away from them to recover from everything they’ve put me through.

It’s not that I want to do this.

But I have to do this.

I love this person so much, you have no idea how much I love this person.

But all that they’re giving me isn’t enough for me.

It’s like I’m giving them 100% and they’re giving me half.

And it’s not fair to myself to belittle the pain I’m feeling for the sake of the other person.

It’s hurting me and I’m continuously getting hurt.

So I have to let them know and I need space away from that for a while.

But like I said earlier, I love this person so much.

So it’s going to be so hard, I haven’t told them I need space yet.

I”m sort of mentally preparing myself right now because the minute I say this, things change.

And I don’t want things to change because once things change I step out of my comfort zone.

But if I don’t step out of my comfort zone, I continuously suffer internally not letting the other person know.

And if I keep this inside, I’m only hurting myself more than I already am from this person.

So, yeah, I don’t know.

Has anyone else been through this? It would be great if you shared…

Also, sorry, I really like storytelling and specifics but I honestly don’t want to repeat the story again so I gave a vague version.

Also because the specifics aren’t really important I guess, it’s just the fact that I don’t feel happy with their friendship anymore and it’s internally messing with my heart, my mind, my anxiety, my well-being and it’s not healthy.

So I wanted to know if anyone had any input on this.

Thank you to anyone who read this.

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to: Lyra

When our friendship began, I was cautious. Because up to this point, many people have hurt me.

So I wasn’t about to be hurt again by another fake friend or someone who’s only my friend for a certain class period.

But then that fire drill happened and you included me. With all your friends.

And I realized… you were different.

You didn’t leave. I wasn’t a burden.

That was the day I realized I might actually have made a real friend.

The year passed by and we got to know each other more.

We found out we were exact carbon copies of each other and we flowed on the same wavelength.

We laughed at the same things, had the same humor, thought the same, felt the same, etc.
We became close.

Then we synced phone details day by day. You ended up literally everywhere on my phone… Snapchat, Twitter, messages, youtube, etc.

It was awkward at first but we fought through the barriers.

We became friends.

It was so beautiful, to be honest. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I was cautious to tell you who I liked but I wanted someone at school to know.

That day, the moment I told you, I knew I could trust you and there was no going back.

We made it through that year, our bond growing stronger.

More guy drama, more venting, more jokes, more playful hurt. Real, genuine friendship.

For the first time in a long time, I was happy.

Happy to not be scared anymore.

Happy to open up to someone new.

Happy to just be able to call you my friend.

Because you were there at every step of anything.

I don’t know why it was easy with you, it just was.

I don’t remember much of last summer.

But I know one of my highlights was that long ass phone call. I’m not gonna try to guess how long we talked, I forget.

But it was my longest phone call.

And then the new school year started.

Our senior year.

I still remember the moment I saw you after 3 months.

I don’t know how to describe it.

It was like revisiting the past by listening to an old song that you still love and isn’t overplayed. That jittery feeling in your heart comes as you remember all the words, that’s what it felt like.

I was mad at you though. Cause we never saw each other in the summer. But I wasn’t actually mad. I told you about it and made it into a joke later. My favorite part about our friendship is that I could make the hurt into jokes because no small dent could ruin this friendship.

Or, at least, that’s what I thought.

It’s funny, we still managed to see each other every day that year. Life liked us together I guess.

When I switched into bio it was like the puzzle finally fit cause I wasn’t meant to see you every other day.

But the first half of this year felt like my selfish repeat. I fell back into the feelings I thought I got rid of. That you heard me get rid of. But you were still with me every step of the way in that and our situations were the same. We were literally riding the same wave. Yeah, it was trippy but what isn’t nowadays?

The guitar concert was fun mainly because you were there. That was the day we actually went outside of school for the first time and hung out/ ate food. Being the way we are, I would’ve pointed it out to you. But for some reason, I didn’t. It seemed lame. It felt like if I said it I would ruin it.

Then you were with me through the heartbreak. We vented to each other on Christmas. With the usual 9 messages or so.

It was a good Christmas.

And when I thought about letting someone toxic go, I thought about all the people I did have and truly make me happy, and you were one of the first that came to my mind, no doubt.

Those few months were hard but you made them easy and happy.

But… he was still there because he had a small hold on you. You were still his friend. And it hurt. I tried to let it go. Sometimes it worked but then he would come around again and it was like a refresh. You could go back, but I couldn’t. But it was my heart, not yours.

I used to think if you are still friends with him, the person who broke your friend’s heart, it doesn’t take much to be your friend.

But that was fucked up. So I let that be.

We bonded over our hurricanes. One night we had our golden convos and I told you to stop overanalyzing.

Life sank in and college deadlines were approaching.

I don’t know what happened.

The gym thing definitely set it off. The day you left me alone in a gym for an hour and a half. Because you saw a cute guy with some of our other friends.

But I forgave that.

Then I sent you some songs to listen to.

And you said you would listen to them when you got home.

But days turned to weeks and nothing.

I forgave that too.

Then I was stressed about asking my dad to go away to college.

But I somehow built some kind of courage and told him.

And you know who the first person I told was?

You.

I called you up first, even though I felt distant that week, I still called you.

I was already on skype with one of our friends, but I still told you first. Impulse? I guess.

And you picked up. And you were happy for me. I tol you this was why I was distant and you said that you noticed. But the call didn’t last long because you were busy. You said you would call me back. But you didn’t.

And it’s like everything piled onto each other. All these reasons to be mad at you, even though I didn’t want to be, simmered in my mind.

It all started to hurt me.

You started to hurt me.

So the distance kept growing.

Then you stopped coming to class and only came in the last few minutes.

I was left alone. And I convinced myself you didn’t want to be near me.

My phone became your replacement for that time period.

But I didn’t want to feel this way towards you. But I just did. And I couldn’t stop it, nor could I talk to you about it. Because I didn’t want you to see me as a horrible person.

Weeks go by and I know you know I’m feeling a certain way. But you give me my space.

I start getting more feelings I can’t describe. Hurt? Jealousy? Pettiness?

I don’t care for the guys that hit on you. I start getting jealous when I see you with other friends. I take you being distracted and losing attention as a flaw.

Which is something I never used to do before but started doing.

A few weeks later and prom is coming up and we talk a bit outside about it.

We weren’t able to take pictures at homecoming because we didn’t think about it when we saw each other, but I told you we have to take pictures at prom to make up for it.

So prom day approaches.

And I see you for less than a minute. You say hi, hug me, then leave. And I don’t see you for the rest of that.

I saw ou at after prom and you scold me for not seeing you when you saw me.

And then more stuff just piles on and on to the hurt. And I tell no one about it.

I should’ve been able to tell you about it… but I was scared.

I know you love me and care about me, but your actions told my anxiety another story. 

Then our last day of high school comes and you ask me, “Are we cool?” And I never thought to answer honestly. I just say, “Yeah why?”

And up until that point, it didn’t seem like you noticed how I was feeling. But you did. Then we took pictures. I had to call and text you to ask cause I didn’t want this to be a repeat of homecoming AND prom.

But something was still missing.

So that night, I finally rant to one of my close friends about this feeling and she helped me through it.

A few days pass and you tell me you need to tell me stuff.

Graduation day comes and I’m wearing a red graduation robe but you’re wearing white so you’re on the other side of the sweat-filled, claustrophobic, not really, gym.

I still managed to see you in a face full of people though.

After coming out of the stadium place, after we graduated, I saw you.

And it’s like an instinct too over me. Because, next thing I knew, I was yelling your name, running to you, and hugging you.

And we took a picture.

And for a moment it felt like we were gonna be okay.

You asked me to send you the pictures that we took so you can post them as a part 3 to your graduation series on Instagram.

I sent them… and waited. But you never did post them.

But it’s just social media, right?

We were supposed to do this job opportunity together.

But you never got back to me.

A couple days later, you tell me that you still need to catch me up on your life.

Because as time passed, I realized I didn’t know what was going on in your life and vice versa.

Because it felt like you were living your life without me in it. And you were happy. And I didn’t want to mess with that.

Then I went through one of the most heartbreaking days of my life, my grandma passed away.

I told you about it out of the blue and you asked me if I needed to talk.

I told you I was fine.

A couple weeks later, you tell me you still need to catch me up on your life. It’s been a month since you first said that.

You needed to tell me everything in detail but you gave me a quick summary over text.

And one of the things that happened was that you told me you had your first kiss. And I didn’t know about it until you told me at that moment which was about a month later from when it happened.

And that hurt.

Then you said you had to call me for details… I want to ask you why we can’t hang out. But I never do.

A week later, you ask me how I’m doing. And then you finally ask me the monumental question:

“Are we good?”

I don’t think I can perfectly describe how conflicting my whole being became at that moment. It would be so easy to tell you, of course, we’re good. But it would feel so damn good to get this feeling off my chest, whatever it was.

I spent the whole night thinking about it and the following morning.

Then I started typing a message in my notes and I would decide, in the end, if I would send it to you or not.

I typed all of the above in that message. I wrote out my whatever this hurt feeling is. I told you I wanted you to be happy.

I decided that I would send it. And I did.

You read it immediately as I sent it.

And you sent me a bunch of paragraphed messages back.

In summary, you told me you understood how I was feeling, you’re sorry, and you want me to come to you if I ever feel that way again.

You told me you noticed at the jump, that I was feeling distant, but you didn’t want to bother me and you thought I would come to you when I was ready.

I told you I thought because you didn’t talk to me about it, you didn’t notice.

Each of our perspectives on it basically clashed with each other and we realized that we should’ve just talked an communicated with each other.

And for the first time, in a long time, I felt like a weight was completely off my shoulders.

And it felt like everything was going to go back to normal.

Then after apologizing for a few days to each other, you told me for the third or fourth time, you needed to catch me up on your life.

And this time, I actually wanted to hear what was happening without feeling weird.

But I was still cautious.

You started sending me messages on Instagram again.

It still felt uneasy to me.

Then weeks past and you still haven’t got back to me.

On the first day of this month, you get back to me and say it’s been a while. I tell you I’m ready to hear it all. But I’m not.

I’m not ready to talk on the phone with you.

Because for the first time, I get anxiety talking to you on the phone.

But I think, it’s gonna pass.

I miss your call. So I call you back and the tone of your voice… I knew that tone too well.

You were gonna say you were busy. I took less than 20 minutes to call you back. But you were busy.

You were talking to someone else on the phone and you said you would call me back in 30 minutes.

There’s a part of me that’s sceptic about that. But we had that whole conversation and I thought you would change.

But nothing changed.

You told me who you were on the phone with and you got carried away and I told you I was going to bed (it was midnight) and it was okay. Another day, right?

So a weekend goes by and you tell me you were busy.

You call me on a Monday. And it feels like it did before.

Because you really have been living your own life. Things happened to you I didn’t know about. People came in your life didn’t even know about. Friends you grew close to this year knew more about your life than I did. And that hurt because you used to tell me the moment of.

But half of that is m fault because I was too in my head.

I end the call because I have to go to my aunt’s house. But I tell you I’m gonna call you back.

And I do.

And you’re on your way to the library to meet up with one of our friends. To talk about one of our other friends liking you.

Which is what you had to talk to me about. So you kept me on the phone so we all could listen and talk about it.

But why did I have to be on the phone? I wasn’t doing anything that day. You knew that. But I don’t know…

I listen to the story quietly then listen as you ask questions to the other friend who knew more about the story.

Then you mentioned his name.

No, not the name of our friend who likes you.

You mentioned his name. Phoenix’s name. And you knew how I felt about that, I told you how it made me feel. You apologized for being his friend that day I told you what was wrong but will anything change?

Then his name was mentioned again and again and again and again.

Then there were moments I felt excluded from the conversation itself. It already felt distant enough being on the phone.

Then you and our friend mentioned all these hangouts I didn’t even know you guys went on.

That was the moment it all sunk in.

It all got to me and I cried. While I was on the phone. But not so that you guys could hear.

So I told my other friend I needed to talk to her, and she found a way to get me out of the phone call so I could vent to her about everything.

Then I went camping and escaped from everything for a while.

And the day after I came back, you texted me.

You caught me up on something but you also told me you’re leaving for college on Saturday.

You ask me how I am and I tell you about camp and you start asking me all these questions like, “How long were you there?” “How was it?” “I’m glad you had fun.”

And even though the past 2 months, you’ve never asked me to hang out, I thought you would make plans with me before you left.

But you didn’t.

I saw on your social media that you talked about being booked with hangouts.

And if I wasn’t burned before, that definitely did it for me.

So…

you’re leaving for college tomorrow.

But it’s like,

you’re already gone.

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friend rant: half-hearted.

Yes, this rant was triggered by a magazine.

So there’s this magazine we get and it’s a part of our church. It’s basically a religious magazine with stories about different churches in our area and different religious schools and what’s going on in them.

So one of my… I don’t really know how to refer to her anymore. Uhm, in middle school, I went to a private, religious school and we had our own friend group. It was the four of us, Luna, our other friend, Draco, and this friend… the one I’m going to talk about. I don’t really know if I should give her a pseudonym or not… It feels weird to give her one… But yeah it was the four of us through anything. In eighth grade, we realized how much we meant to each other because the next year we would be separated and in the big, bad, scary world of high school.

It was like I had three sisters.

Of course, our friend group went through stupid fights but we still managed to stick together.

When we did go to separate high schools, Luna and I going to the same one, Draco going to another public school, and this friend going to a boarding school in another state, we still managed to hang out here and there. We saw each other maybe once a year.

Then this friend said she was going to move the summer after sophomore year. She said that it wasn’t really a big deal because she barely saw us anyway due to the fact that she went to boarding school. But seeing that text of hers saying she was moving still hurt.

And it didn’t help that at the time, I was mad at her.

Because during this time, she was too busy to reply to any of my messages.

I understand that she’s a state away and her school has sucky wifi… but it still hurt.

It always hurts.

I used to talk to her about guys, go on rants about life, ask her how life was, shared songs with her, etc. There used to be a time where it would be weird if I didn’t talk to her for weeks… Now?

Then we all met up twice in the summer (summer after sophomore year) before she moved away. We started talking more that next school year, junior year. I told her about the new guy I liked, Phoenix and actually, she was one of the first people I told when I started getting feelings for him. I would always go to her about guy stuff. And I always loved her support because she was always there to listen, whether it was a boy rant or a song of mine.

She always told me how she could see me recording an album or a music video and I always loved her for it. She was my best friend since middle school and this was why.

But then… she got busy again.

And I again got mad at her.

But then, after a few months, she group-texted the three of us saying she was visiting in the summer (summer after junior year) and that we all should meet up.

I got petty for a second. I didn’t want to reply to the group text since I was mad at her. I was still going to hang out with all of them, I just didn’t respond to the messages. Then she, individually, texted me asking me if I was going… and she replied to the messages I sent her 3 months prior. I got petty and mad at her for that. But I didn’t want that anger to overtake me when I saw her… I mean I didn’t see her or Draco in a year. My pettiness could take a seat.

She was only staying for a week and we only got to hang out for one day then she had to go back home… which wasn’t in the same state, I had to remind myself. After the hangout, we texted each other a little bit. Then we stopped again. Then I showed her a song and we started a little conversation. Then she got busy again.

It was the same cycle.

But we had each other’s Instagram and that was our only constant with each other. I would like her pictures, she would like mine. And that was our friendship. She didn’t respond to my texts but she liked my pictures.

Ahh… this digital age of technology. Makes us teenagers antsy and petty.

And that’s how it’s been up until now, we don’t talk that much. I don’t even know how she’s doing and vice versa. It’s funny, I used to tell her all about my life and I just don’t anymore. It just happened. I know how it happened but sometimes it’s like bam, the miscommunication just happened out of nowhere. We both just went on with our lives, I guess.

So, let’s go back to the magazine. This friend’s boarding school is always featured in the magazine. Even though the boarding school is in another state, it’s a part of this magazine because it’s a part of the same religious and church system. I always thought one day there would be a picture of her but there never was. So I stopped looking.

Then, one day my mom comes into my room and is like, “Look who I found! Look who’s here!” And in that magazine, on the page my mom folded to show me, was her. My friend. The same one I haven’t talked to since July. As soon as I saw her face, it felt foreign. I didn’t really smile. It felt fake to smile knowing how our friendship stands. I just stared at it and my mom left the magazine with me to let me read the article.

So, apparently, she got her own page in the magazine and wrote a column. I took a picture and sent it to Luna and Draco. But I didn’t read it before sending it.

She wrote about friendship and how she found it at her boarding school. I didn’t think much of it because I found some really good friends in high school too… but then she said something specific that really hurt:

“If you had asked me what friendship was, I am quite sure I would have replied half-heartedly, because, before attending (her boarding school), I only knew half-hearted friendship.”

Half-hearted friendship.

Luna replied back saying, “WHAT OUR FRIENDSHIP WAS HALF HEARTED?” And Draco didn’t reply but I’m going to ask her about it when I see her next week.

It hurt.

Damn, it hurt so much.

Because when I was going into my holes, back before I knew that I had anxiety, that whole friendship, the 4 of us, that was one of the things that made me feel loved. Made me feel okay. When I felt alone in high school, I still had them and that made it all better.

But she says the friendship was just half-hearted.

Maybe she didn’t think I would see it. I mean why would she? I didn’t even know I would see it. But I did… and she still wrote it.

Whether the 3 of us would see it or not doesn’t really matter.

If she said it, she said it.

I’m not mad at her. I don’t really get mad at her anymore. It just is what it is.

No, friendships don’t last forever. But this was one of those I thought that would. She was there in some of my highs and lows. She understood when no one else did.

And we barely know each other now.

And the knife is pretty twisted into the heart.

She used to be one of my best friends… now, I don’t know.

Before reading that article I was thinking about our friendship and I didn’t know.

The magazine was like the final burn of a cut.

This is just how life is.

Some things don’t last forever.

And that’s okay.

Because sometimes, the best things come back to us.

And if they don’t,

it’s not what was best for our lives.

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you are enough. and you don’t need a signifcant other to prove that.

As a quiet, observant teenager I notice a lot of things.

I see stories, I see people, I see things no one else sees.

But there’s one specific thing I’ve seen that really bothers the hell out of me.

And that specific thing, I’ve seen in the actions of my own generation, in kids of my own age… in me.

Teenagers have built a toxic mentality when it comes to having or falling for a significant other. 

I’ve seen it in television, in my friends, and as I said before, in me.

You see, when I was falling for Phoenix I did things I’m not proud of: I put him in the forefront of my mind. 

The only texts I cared about was his.

The only smile I cared to see was his.

The only person I wanted to hug was him.

There was even a time when I used to pick my friend up after her first period last year and half of the reason why I wanted to was because he was in her class (half, I still wanted to see my friend… but that doesn’t justify my mentality).

But it’s not only me who does this.

In the past week only, I’ve seen my friends do it too.

My best friend, Luna, has liked her crush for 3 years. She’s a very closed off person and is very unemotional. So it’s hard to talk to her about things or have her talk about her feelings.

I don’t like her crush. He’s not good for her. And her mentality is truly toxic. She’s the type of person that, if she were to fall in love, she would love the guy 100%. And she would love him and not love herself, the only way she could love herself was if he loved her for herself… if that makes sense. And it pisses me off because she deserves so much more than a guy. But a guy and loving a guy is the only thing on her mind.

The only thing on our, teenagers, minds.

So I showed her something that hurt and she was unemotional about it. I asked her why she doesn’t care and she told me she’s pretty much unemotional about things… unless it involves her family or him. Him. Basically, she said she doesn’t care about anything unless it involves this guy. That made me mad.

Not only at her, but for her. Because her mentality is so focused on a guy that she doesn’t even realize the toxicity of it.

But I can’t be mad at her because I used to be her.

I mean Phoenix wasn’t the only thing that made me emotional over the past year, but whether I talked to him or not it determined my mood for the day sometimes.

And I couldn’t control it.

And another example, one of the many things Luna cares about it how fast her crush replies to her text. This week, he took 4 days to reply to a text of hers. That was pretty much one of the only things on her mind.

When she told me that (through text), I didn’t reply to her text.

Because of a text? Really? It’s only been 4 days. As long as you know he’s going to reply it’s all good. At least be thankful you know he’s going to reply.

She, again, pissed me off.

Why? Because she puts all of her efforts into pleasing this guy? Yes. But also I can see pieces of the girl I used to be in her. The pieces of a girl who was falling headfirst before thinking about herself; pieces of a girl before heartbreak, pieces of a girl who put a guy at the forefront of everything in her life.

And it scares me. Because I honestly can’t do anything for her. She knows what happened with Phoenix: all the heartbreak, overthinking, and tears. I even told her before that I don’t want her to feel the way I felt over Phoenix. But it won’t change her mentality. Because this guy is “all she has.” There’s no one falling for her. So she falls for the only person she can fall for in her life.

And I haven’t only seen this in Luna, but my other friends.

This week at lunch, one of my friends said that she wants a boyfriend. Because she wants someone to hold her, give her cute hugs and all that. Make her happy. My other friend, Hydra, agreed with her.

Why?

I don’t understand it. I mean, I do, I’ve lived through it. But why are we like this?

When my friend said she wanted hugs and happiness I thought, “Don’t we,  your friends, give that to you? Isn’t that enough?”

Isn’t it enough? Isn’t the love of friends and the love of yourself enough?

Why isn’t it enough? Why doesn’t it feel like it’s enough?

Why is it that as teenagers we always chase after someone? I know for a fact one of the reasons I wanted Phoenix so much was because I just wanted cute hugs and hand-holding. But can’t my friends give that to me?

Actually… my friends do give that to me. But the difference is, when they hug me I ACTUALLY feel safe and loved, something Phoenix has never made me feel. Because, as much as I can force myself to believe something that’s not true… at the end of the day, I can’t force him to care about me as much as I care about him.

And I’m learning to accept that.

I know. Most of my friends would yell at me for not trying harder with him because maybe if I tried a little harder he would be my boyfriend. I’m in a place with him that my friends would love to be in.

A crush who actually knows your name, your personality, and knows you for who you are.

But I don’t want more… anymore.

I don’t want to force something that isn’t there.

I’m not in a place where a boyfriend would be a good choice.

I’ve never been in a relationship. Personally, it scares me. And I don’t think jumping into one is the best choice. Especially if I am “right there.”

I want to love myself before being given the opportunity to love someone else. Because maybe if I told Phoenix sooner, we would be in a relationship and I would’ve eventually fallen in love with him. But it wouldn’t have been right, to him or me.

Because there are times when I still can’t look in a mirror and moments where I find it hard to love myself.

And that’s the problem.

Society has toxified our minds.

Making us think that the only way we can love ourselves and feel “complete” is if we had someone else, a significant other, to do it for us.

But how do you expect to love someone if you can’t even love yourself?

And what would you do with yourself if that person suddenly didn’t love you anymore? Would you suddenly not love yourself anymore? Because you weren’t enough?

What is it with us and thinking we aren’t enough?

We. Are. So. Enough. It’s. Actually. Inexplainable. How. Enough. We. Are.

Yes, having a significant other to hold and be happy with would be nice… but it shouldn’t be because we feel empty inside.

It should be because we feel whole and okay that we want to share that wholeness with someone else.

It shouldn’t be because we need to be saved.

Because that person’s purpose isn’t gonna be to save you. Only you can save yourself.

Our friends, family, ourselves… that’s enough.

Just because the person you really want to talk to isn’t talking to you doesn’t mean you should treat the actual people who love you like crap.

There are some incredible people that are here for you.

Don’t take them for granted just because that one boy or girl doesn’t like you.

We have our whole lives to live and to fall in love.

Do you really wanna think back and only remember the days that went by hoping some irrelevant crush texted you or not?

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anxiety doesn’t stop with family.

Another event I didn’t know of.

This past Saturday there was another planned family event that no one told me about. It was my uncle’s engagement party. But he’s not that old he’s only 28 or near that age.

When my dad told me about the party I kind of didn’t want to go. I love my family but I’m always the odd one out and I never feel like I fit in because all of my cousins are older and I never know what to say to them. Anxiety doesn’t stop with family…

Actually, this is the environment I got my “shy” label from. This side of the family always saw me as quiet. But I was only like 7 when they gave me a label, they never even gave me a chance. Now, that label is over my head whenever they see me.

This is one of the reasons I didn’t wanna go. They never give me a chance. And I’m always gonna be a shy, little girl in their eyes.

As I said before, I love my family, but this was one of the worst nights of my life. I had SO much anxiety. I felt so uncomfortable and out of place. I felt like a stranger in my own family.

An actual stranger. One of my aunts had a baby that I didn’t even know about. And the uncle who was getting engaged? He has a brother and his brother is already married and has a kid. I didn’t even know this.

I thought the idea that no one told me anything was me being a lil dramatic but no. No one really tells me anything.

My anxiety was so off the charts, I don’t know how I didn’t break in the middle of the party. The only thing I ever did was sit at a table and conversate with some aunts and uncles who sat at the table but not much.

Maybe you’re wondering how I could just sit at a table while I was in a room of my extended family. I don’t know either. My anxiety is just… I don’t know. I honestly don’t understand how people can socialize. I had no idea what to say to anyone, what was I gonna talk about with people? I don’t know how to go up to someone and start a conversation. What would I even say to my middle-aged cousins? I don’t see my extended family that much, only at holidays… so I’m not really close to anyone. I didn’t know what to say.

It even feels weird typing it because honestly… What the hell is wrong with me? How can I not socialize with my own family?

I don’t know. How many times am I going to say that?

I just felt so out of the equation.

The uncle who was getting engaged? He came up from behind me and instead of a “Hi” or greeting or whatever he said, “Hey, instead of no-cializing, can you do me a favor? Can you take a picture?”

It was horrible. I knew I didn’t belong there. Even though my blood technically belonged there (because blood relatives) my body and my being were not meant to be there.

I remember I saw one of my cousins and she said “Hi” but the way she said it… she didn’t even say my family pet name or any name at all. She just said hi like I was a customer who walked into a store. And this cousin has known me since the moment I was born.

I always thought when I grew up with these great, at the moment, people around me they would be there to comfort me, to teach me things, to be a phone call away. When I was young, they paid attention. They cared more. But now that I’m a teenager? They don’t really care at all.

Or maybe that’s not true.

I think there might be some repressed memories I’m choosing to forget.

Because there’s one memory I remember that broke my heart back then and breaks it now.

It was Christmas and I was like prepubescent young maybe 8 or 9. Everyone gathered to take pictures: the young people of the family cousins, young uncles and aunts. And you know everyone was gathered to take the picture and everyone was standing and posing and then one uncle is like “Wait you guys forgot about Sisy!” (my pet name, short for sister. My bro gave it to me) It was the worst feeling in the world. I was literally forgotten and I was sitting right there. And then I got in the picture but it was like a pity picture.

And you know? They did that same exact thing the other day.

All the female cousins were gathered to take a picture. At first, I didn’t realize they were taking a picture then an aunt tapped me on the shoulder and enthusiastically said: “Sisy, go get in the picture!” But this aunt was the only one who noticed, none of the people posing for the picture could’ve cared less. And my aunt (the same one who told me to get in the picture) I think she felt a little bad for me because no one asked me to get in. But like I said before, no one posing cared less. So my aunt had to make the excuse that “Oh you’re not the cousin, right?” (in a nice, sympathetic way, I love this aunt) Because technically my mom was the cousin (she wasn’t in the picture either).

They did it to me in the past, they did it now. 

As soon as we left, I got in the car and cried silent tears because this is my life. I didn’t fit in when I was a kid, I didn’t fit in now.

I don’t understand. Sometimes I don’t understand why I’m still here. How I’m still here. I can never picture myself not having anxiety, in general, but also with this family. How am I going to act when I get married or something? Will my husband’s family even like me? How can I even be okay with the term “extended family” when I’m as anxious as I am?

I know I’m reaching wayyy into the future. I’m only seventeen. But this is what I think about. I can’t see myself changing.

I can’t see things changing for me.

Do you ever wonder if your family really loves you or if it’s just forced? I know my mom, dad, and (let’s be honest, sometimes) my brother loves me. But what about those who don’t know anything about me and vice versa? The ones who have drifted apart with time and hardships?

Does their love come from the heart? Or does it come from the blood?

Do they even like seeing me?

What is wrong with me? Why doesn’t anxiety stop with family?

The only difference from the past and the present is the knowledge of my anxiety. When I used to feel uncomfortable like this, I never knew what it was. But the worst part is, my family doesn’t know what it is.

They think I’m just like this because I’m a teenager with angst and unsociable means. When literally the idea of social interaction makes me feel physically, emotionally, and mentally uncomfortable.

Trust me, knowing that I have anxiety has made my life make more sense. But it has not made anything easier.

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boy rant: i am not a convinience.

What can I say?

How do I say it?

Life happened.

The universe wants to kick me around.

The book doesn’t want this chapter to end.

I don’t know.

All I know is that seeing him after a month of not talking to him affected me.

And a lot has happened in 2 and a half weeks.

Do you want me to catch you up?

Ok hold on because this is a damn rollercoaster ride… but I assure you, it will be over soon.

Yes, this is about Phoenix. Honestly, what isn’t nowadays?

Let’s begin.

It’s the second day of school. I didn’t see him at all on the first day. Honestly? I felt sad about that because I wanted to see him. I wanted him to see me. There was even a part of me that wanted him in one of my classes… and guess what? That actually happened.

But sometimes the things you want aren’t actually what you need.

He was in my precalculus class. This is second period. But it was the first period of the second day because our school alternates periods. When he walked in… it was like everything inside of me froze. I didn’t really realize what was happening until it was happening that yes… he was actually sitting there. And guess where he sat? Two head spaces in front of me. I didn’t want him to know I was there but then again I did. I don’t know… he turned around once to look at everyone and it’s weird because if he saw me he would’ve said something, the class was kinda small. I don’t really know what happened but I’m glad he didn’t say anything that day.

One of my friends was in that class but I didn’t sit next to her because the seat next to her was taken. But at the end of class, she saw me and we had a conversation which saved me from any confrontation from him. Thank goodness. But of course, my overthinking was all over the place because I would have a class with him for the rest of the semester.

Then the next time we had precalculus, I sat next to my friend. And another one of my friends was there and she was sitting in front. So it was nice to have the two of them there. He came in late and he hardly ever turned around. But apparently our school had a fire drill, but our classroom was in this portable away from the school because there are too many students in our school. We never heard the fire drill sound. The sound was supposed to come over the intercom that was connected to the portable but it never sounded. So our teacher had our own “class” fire drill. He called everyone’s names and when the teacher called my name… Phoenix turned around to look at me. But I just avoided his look and talked to my friend. But it didn’t last forever. In order to get out the portable, to walk to the field for the “fire drill” I had to walk past him because his seat was in the direction of the door. And I don’t know why, but he didn’t leave. All the people in his row left, but he just kept standing behind his desk. So it would’ve been very awkward to just pass by him. So when I walked to the door I turned and looked at him and he was smiling at me. I see that he was ready to say something to me, he would’ve probably said something about me not saying anything to him because it looked like he was ready to joke around with me. But I wasn’t having it. I just “smiled” back at him and left to the field. Then at the end of class, he said, “See you next class” with a smile. I don’t know why I was expecting him to say more or anything. Maybe we could walk back to school together? No.

I expected too much when I was head over heels for him, I expected too much now. 

But it pissed me off. We hadn’t talked for a month. A month. And he doesn’t know that anything is wrong? Did he even notice I’ve been gone and haven’t been talking to him? Did he even care? No. Because every day of that month I waited. I waited for some indication that he cared and there was none. None. Nothing. So what now? Is he just supposed to care now? Now that I’m in his class and we see each other? How can someone be so oblivious? But of course, I knew he wouldn’t think twice about my reactions: I never even said a word to him… I just smiled. He would just think I’m being “shy.”

The weekend goes by and our next class together is Tuesday. Unbeknownst to him but knownst (? Lol) to me. Because I got a schedule change.

Trust me, his presence was affecting me but I didn’t switch my schedule because of him… but it’s a damn good factor. I took a single period of AP Biology instead of a double period and it turned out to be a big NO. Single period AP Bio is mostly individual work. The teacher never even started class until 10 minutes in. You do most of the teaching to yourself. So I was like “Nope I’m out” because I always procrastinate. I literally studied the first chapter all in one night. So I had to go to my counselor to get a schedule change. The only available periods were 1 and 2, or 3 and 4. I already didn’t like my 1st period, chorus, because I have no friends and the friend I do have had sooo many friends. Plus I can’t even hear myself singing in chorus and I don’t think singing in a group is for me. I didn’t care about my 3rd period either way. But my 4th period… one of my real friends was in that class and I didn’t wanna lose her. So it was either losing her or losing him. I didn’t think twice about it. Okay, I did because of my overthinking… but it wasn’t a hard decision. Also, the friend in my 4th period… let’s call her Lyra, was also in that period 1 and 2 class. And my best friend told me that Phoenix was n her double AP Bio class for periods 3 and 4 so again it was between Lyra or Phoenix.

I ended up switching to 1 and 2 AP Bio meaning I wouldn’t see him anymore because the class period we had together was during 2nd period.

I questioned life at this point. Like really? What even was the point of that? Was he just in my class for it to be taken away? OR did that whole thing happen for me to want to see him and then WANT to have that opportunity be taken away? I don’t know. Either way, it was going to be my last class with him.

To be honest? I was prepared. I wanted to not see him anymore. Because I knew that I would be nice to him and forgive him along the way and I knew I wasn’t okay with that.

It was a Tuesday. He came in late again. Nothing really happened. But at the end of class, he again took a long time to pack up and leave and remember how the door was near him? Yeah. So I had to pass by him. I even parted my hair to the side to avoid his eye contact… lol I know, it was a dumb move. He said “Hi Rebecca” and this literally broke my heart. Not because of what you think. He smiled. The smile I fell for. And I smiled back. But that’s what broke me. My smile. My own smile broke me. Because I knew deep down it hurt to smile back at him. I knew it wasn’t a real smile. I could see he was going to say more but I had to leave. So I just turned, smiled, and left. It broke my heart, yes, but switching my schedule comforted me. Because all he was going to give me was a “hello.” And I needed more than a hello. The schedule change is what I needed.

But I guess he sensed something was wrong or something? Since I just smiled and left. Because later that night, he texted me.

I made a kik for one of my friends in order for her to talk to me. And I guess he still has my phone number even though I deleted his. Because kik can sync your contacts and the day I made one I see that someone added me. And I didn’t know how kik worked and I was curious who it was so I accepted the chat later realizing that it was him. But he didn’t talk to me the day I made it. So that Tuesday, I changed my profile picture and he sends me “You looking at the height requirement for the rollercoaster ride?” He always makes jokes about my height. I don’t want to sound egotistical or anything but I looked GOOD in this picture lol. I didn’t want to say anything to him but the sass in me wouldn’t let that go. So I said, talking about his profile picture, “You stuck in a maze trying to find good jokes?” Because the picture he had showed the back side of his body (that’s why I didn’t really recognize him when he added me) walking who knows where and it looked like a maze.

Afterwards, I decided my responses would be distant. I just couldn’t let him make fun of my height without coming for his life. Then he says a string of short jokes and I just say “Ok.” This is where things turn frustrating. He then asks me “Are you upset?” But he was only talking about the short jokes not like he cares about my real life. I tell him “Because of your short jokes? Lol no.” And he says “Good. You’ve grown!” And I tell him “Your jokes have to be good for them to hurt.”

And then all of a sudden he switches up the conversation? He then asks me “How’s school?” Where is he going with this? Since when does he care? He doesn’t. I just say stressful. He asks me what’s stressful about it and I just say “It’s school, everything’s stressful.” This is the day we had the same class together. Because neither of us responds in 10 minutes or less. I would, but he doesn’t deserve that. So our conversation spread out over a few days.

Honestly, I didn’t think he would notice I wasn’t in class because he doesn’t turn around. But he asked me, “Did you miss school or did you skip?” I tell him, “No I had a schedule change.”I think the teacher called out my name in class because my friend from the class told me that the teacher “missed me” and was like “Where’s Rebecca?” lol. Phoenix asks me “Was my presence that unwelcoming?” And I said “Yep, very”

The other day I saw him in the hallway and this was during the texting. I try to avoid him but this was after the late bell rang so the hallways weren’t crowded. He says hi and I just look at him and smile. It’s so awkward. Because here I am texting him but I’m not able to say anything to him in person. I don’t even like virtual him. But he won’t think twice about it because he loses focus.

I started to do that thing again. Back when I was used to him texting him daily and I would check my phone just to see if he texted me back yet. I DON’T EVEN WANT TO DO THAT. Because our conversation is literally nothing. But this time, whenever I turn on my phone to look at the time or anything my mind is always like, “Did he text back? Did he text back?” I just needed him to go away. But I know deep down, I didn’t want that.

Not having a class with him anymore was supposed to be the end. Why. Is. This. Damn. Chapter. Still. Going. On? 

I really hated giving him one-word replies. I thought that I would be able to handle it or control it but… nope. I lost my resolve. But that’s later in the story.

At this point, I don’t know if he still has a girlfriend. Or if he ever even got one in the summer. But it doesn’t matter if he does or doesn’t… he still broke my heart. The “girlfriend” was just the breaking point.

So our conversation on kik wasn’t anything. You know how I said I was starting to get used to him texting me back? Well the last thing I sent him was “Yep” and he hadn’t responded to it yet. Because believe it or not, he was replying faster than me. But a day passed and he still didn’t reply.

Then I see that he posted something on his snapchat story and he said, “Almost got pulled over today.” I really wanted to tell him “I told you so.” Because he drives without a permit sometimes and I told him not to. I didn’t really see responding to his story as a “bid deal.” But looking back, I shouldn’t have. But it hurt. It hurt again when he didn’t respond to my kik yet even though, what was he going to say to a simple yep?

I got caught in again.

I responded to his story saying, “Almost should be deleted.” Apparently, his story was apart of this game like “You shouldn’t have responded to my story now you’re in the game and you have to put one of these on your story…” It gave a list of options from 1 to 10. For example, 1 was “I got pulled over.” 2 was “I broke up with him/her.” Etc. I didn’t do it because it’s really dumb. I told him I like 6 (“I’m gonna fight him tomorrow”) and 8 (“I’m so done with him”). He says, “Did I ask you what your favorite number was or something?” That really pissed me off. Because really? I don’t care if you don’t wanna hear it, I’m gonna say what I want. So I say, “Do I care whether you asked or not? I’ll say what I want.”

We have like three conversations at once but they were short. I didn’t want to say too much. After a text back he says, “I’m in the middle of your two favorite numbers.” In between 6 and 8 is 7, right? We got our math straight, right? Lol. So I looked up and saw what 7 was and it said, “We’re finally dating.” Of course, I didn’t think anything of this but my heart did. But my heart knew deep down that he meant nothing out of that. He just said it to say it and that pissed me off knowing that he can just play with my feelings not even caring that it actually has an effect. To that, I say, “Your ego is too big. You would be dating yourself.” He said, “I am dating myself. I didn’t find anyone compatible.” That. Hurt. 

He didn’t find anyone compatible? What about for the past few months and what we had? I literally listened to him and was there for him when I let him rant for one hour about a fake friend. I opened up to him and he did the same and so many other things and he says he couldn’t find anyone compatible? But I put down the hurt in the moment.

I didn’t tell any of my friends about him texting me again because honestly? Our conversation wasn’t really anything. Only one of my friends knew. Then I told Lyra who’s also friends with him. The same day I told her, she put me on her snapchat story and she told me he responded to the story about me. The next day on a Tuesday, she showed me the conversation. He asked her, “You two have the same class together?” He didn’t know I had a class with her when I switched. They had a short conversation then she brought the conversation back to me for some reason. She asked, “You still talk to her (me)?” Even though she already knew the answer. He says “Talk like what exactly?” She was like “Talk like friends? Unless you mean something else. Is there something else?” She sent him like four questions/messages about it but he only responded to one of the messages.

Up until this point, I was so mad at him that literally anything involving him made me mad and reminded of how he treated me during the summer. How he didn’t give two shits about me. And never showed me that he cared that I was gone or even noticed.

But this momemt changes that all: He sends Lyra “Nah she got somebody.” Meaning he thought I had somebody. But I have nobody. That was funny to me because helloooo it’s me. But I. Don’t. Know. Why. This gave my heart hope. Maybe because he didn’t say “Nah I don’t see her in that way” but he didn’t say that he did either. He just thought I had someone.

But that day my heart was so hopeful and for a second I went back to Junior Rebecca finding hope in signs again. Does he like me? Lyra assured him that I had no one and he said, “Lmao what are you the love doctor or something?” And is it weird that after he got those messages from Lyra he responded to my messages that I thought he would leave on read?

My heart was all over the place and I don’t know why. All he talks about are short jokes. All the damn time. I don’t mind short jokes but for that to be all that’s left? Then he said “Your height hurts me.” I asked him why. He says, “Your words never match up to your height” because I’m sassy all the time I guess. So I say “Idk maybe if you stop coming for my height I would be nice to you.” He asks, “So if I’m nice you’ll be nice?” I say, “Idk. We’ll see.”

And then he reverted back to the good morning’s and the how’d you sleep? He sent this at 6 am so he just woke up or something. THIS is the “him” I fell for. The him I wanted back. The one I’ve been waiting for. But… it doesn’t seem real. I don’t know why. It is real, but it isn’t. I told one of my friends this, it’s like a daydream when you know everything’s not real but you don’t care either way. But really, what’s happening? The past is legit repeating itself. How can he just do that? Like nothing happened in the past month…? Well according to him nothing did happen.

But his tone is just different. He doesn’t sound like he used to when he said good morning. I asked him “Are you being fake?” and he said “No I wasn’t” But it just seems like it is. It’s like life is giving me the guy I want back but again he’s not.

One of my friends told me I can either do two things: Slowly stop talking to him gradually or tell him the truth. I can’t act like nothing’s happened and revert back to how things were last year. I don’t want the cycle to repeat itself because I KNOW he’s just going to do something that hurts me in the future. The future? Please, he’s hurting me now.

But I keep having this feeling where I can feel like the truth is gonna come out, sooner or later. I think I’m going to tell him the truth. Whether he cares or not. Because if I continue this conversation like nothing has happened I’m lying to myself telling her that I can handle it if we’re just friends. When I know that’s such a lie.

After our second hang out, I remember complaining to my friends about it telling them I’m so deep in the friendzone. Lyra was like, “Do you want to tell him?” But I know I didn’t want to tell him. Because I didn’t want to ruin such a good friendship and freak him out. But now? It’s like I already lost him. Freaking him out, I don’t even care if I do anymore. Because whoever that good friend was is gone.

Seeing him in person has definitely affected me. He’s still aesthetically pleasing to my eyes and whenever he smiles… it’s not the same feeling I used to drown in but it’s still something I get in my heart. But if I saw him for a long time, like when we were in the same class, all I could think towards him was “I hate you.” But if I see him in the hallway I would break. But I haven’t seen him at all in the past week so that’s good, right?

Him saying stuff like “I’m between your two favorite numbers” and “She got somebody” pulled me back in. That’s the kind of stuff that gave me hope in the impossible in the past and I can’t keep waiting around. I won’t. I’m not going to wait around hoping that one day he’s going to say he likes me. That’s not fair to myself.

I know if I let him in again (which I haven’t done yet) I’m gonna LET HIM IN and I can’t do that because he is 100% gonna hurt me.

I sort of made Lyra meddle into the whole situation. I thought her meddling would fix the problem and prove whether he likes me or not. But that isn’t fair to her to figure this bs out.

Even if she does meddle how do I know that, if he does like me, he only does because Lyra told him I have no one?

I don’t want him to like me because it’s convenient for him.

If he likes me he should tell me. Not say some stuff that sounds like he could possibly like me.

Lyra told me, “I think overall he’s just being playfully flirtatious. Which is what a lot of guys seem to do these days. And I don’t know why it took me so long to see it.” We both didn’t see it because we both thought he was being genuine. He just plays around flirtatiously with his friends. And that’s all that is to it.

I’m contemplating whether I should tell him the truth or not. And by this, I mean the whole truth. But being like he is, he opened my messages and left them on read and it’s been 24 hours. I don’t want to say he left me on read because sometimes I think he does that but he responds later. There’s a part of me that doesn’t want him to respond. Because once he does respond, things are going to change. Plus, if he doesn’t respond this just proves the person that he is. Always leaving me on read wondering what I did wrong like I even did something wrong. I didn’t. I never did. I was such a good friend to him. I tamped down my feelings because I cared about him. I cared about him. So much. I wished him happy birthday when he disregarded my messages. I let him go on and on about soccer and even said I would go to one of his games when I don’t even like sports. I would’ve done so much for him. I did do so much.

But he never did enough. And I deserve better.

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i miss him. sugar and salt.

I mean he’s still “here.”

I see him here and there. And I started talking to him again but not like I used to… I can’t talk to him like I used to because I know he only says lies.

So it would be a little weird to miss him if he’s “here” and he’s not like in some other country or leaving my messages on read in the summer (was that shade? Nope, it was the honest truth) right?

Wrong.

I miss him.

By this, I mean the him I fell for.

Not the him I know now.

Just a few months ago, he was different. It’s honestly like I’m talking to a different person… That’s what it feels like.

I know that there can be a lot of sides to a person, but him?

It was hard to know who I was talking to on a day. A jerk or the one I fell for.

Who’s the “him” I fell for?

The one who cared about my day and asked how I was doing. The one who would text me as soon as he woke up, I knew because the time stamp said 5am or 7am and would tell me “Good morning” or “Good afternoon.” The one who could tell something was wrong with me just because of a couple of words and actually cared enough to know what was wrong. It never felt forced.  The one who used to want to know about my secrets and my past. The one who wanted me to be happy and have a good day and if I didn’t, he would want to know what went wrong. The one who asked me about my anxiety and looked at me in a way nobody ever did.

The one that whenever something happened, he used to be one of the people or the only person I wanted to tell because I felt safe telling him and I knew he wouldn’t judge me.

Now all that’s left of him?

A jerk with a big ego always making jokes wanting to outmatch me.

He was always “outmatching” me before. I mean if he was sweet all the time? That would be too much sugar. The outmatching was balanced with the sweetness.

But over time, the sweetness went away and all that was left was salt. And if salt could be expired (in an alternate universe)… he would be like expired salt.

He doesn’t do any of the sweet stuff mentioned above anymore. All he does is “play games” coming for my shortness in jokes wanting me to come back at him with a joke. I don’t really mind this, but the fact that this is what’s left of us? It’s sad. It’s like his sweetness was a guest who didn’t want to stay for too long.

And when he does “care” it just seems so forced considering all the other crap he’s put my heart and me through. If you read the messages, it would be evident he doesn’t care or he doesn’t care like he used to.

i miss him.

i miss the him who did all the sweet things above.

i miss the one i fell for.

i wish to see him again someday.

but he might never show up again.

because he’s being taken over by another.

what changed? i don’t know.

why doesn’t he care anymore? i don’t know.

i don’t know what happened to him.

but can he tell that him that i miss him?

will that make him come back?

or is this who he really is?

who was “he” then?

did that “him” ever exist?

was he fake?

i don’t know.

all i know is that i miss him.

Whoever he was.

And as long as that him is gone,

I’m currently not falling for anyone.

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