i thought about the girl i was when i was 12. a writer, an artist, a romantic. still (already) fighting for justice, in vocabulary and “on the playground” (do middle schoolers even “play” on “playgrounds”?) and how both depressed and hopeful i imagine she was. well, depressed, i know she was. i don’t so much know about hopeful.
you know what everyone’s biggest mistake is? assuming other people are like them. we can only filter how we experience and process the world and other people through our own experiences and what we know and how we know we experience the world, and sometimes, if you’re not careful, that leads to a tunnel vision where you don’t realise that every single other person is living in their own world, with different rules and circumstances. but that’s what empathy is, right? an attempt to understand another human being and try to see how they might feel.
you never realise it until it’s too late, but it’s true what they say: cherish your youth, your childhood, while it lasts. i never thought i’d ever learn to miss the harrowed and hollow days of my time in university, but i do now, and even the times when my life was the worst, at least in the aftermath of a year of disaster and heartbreak, my first days and months, living alone in los angeles in fall…
but of course, this lesson, by nature, is always learned too late.
i could hear it. your despair. my despair. the despair of our collective childhoods, in the first song on that mix. dreams. dreams where we both die and nothing is left. dreams. i remember walking to the east river near the end of the night. i didn’t feel alive back then. now i’m too alive. you can say i’ve broken myself. or maybe just too callused. nobody was ever good enough. there was too much i… too much i. “dreamt of in my philosophy.” i wanted the perfect man. i wanted to be perfect. even when i’m the best version of myself, i’m still not perfect. or maybe i am. nobody’s perfect. isn’t that true?
in the story we tell, the girl born an ocean
the boy born of earth, or so he believes.
in the story we tell, the boy finds his wings
and the girl learns to float back down
to the ground.
in the story we tell, the girl always flying
the girl always
in the story we tell, one day the boy
discovers he can ride the air
in the story we tell
you are me
and i am