Friday, 21 August 2015

The Old Me



Sometimes, I can't remember who I used to be.

My memory became my manipulator as soon as everything fell apart, and I started all over again. I tried to remember the things I used to do and say and love. My memory started to tell me that it was all so easy back then. In truth, it probably wasn't.

I've found my way to old friends again, and we talk about who we used to be. I remember that we were sloppy and impulsive. We've all changed so much, but I can't help feel the pressure pump it's way through my bloodstream. It's a hot sting, and it comes back to me every time I see someone achieving things that I can't. I see these old benchmarks for adulthood, and I see you collecting trophies and memories. It strikes me that I don't have any of these things, not yet and maybe not ever. I don't have my name on a book, or on savings accounts or mortgages. I don't have a ring on my finger, and I don't have an overwhelming desire to produce a miniature version of myself.

I wonder if it's because I've changed who I am. I wonder if it's because I'm softer than before. Mostly, I wonder if I should be proud of the person I've become.

This version of me feels things, and I have to feel things because I want to write them. I want to understand people and strangers and myself. The only way to understand them is by feeling everything and questioning the hows and the whys. These days, I stare out of a dirty window at the opposite side of the street, at red brick and ivy. I watch people walk their dogs and talk on phones, and I ask questions about the world that I watch. The old me only cared for my life, and my world. Finding answers is a quiet endeavor for a spectator.

Sure, I was interested in the bigger picture. I loved the massacre of election season and studying words and media. I loved and hated the world, and I hand selected the things I cared about.

I try to recall the details of my other self. I was always sure of myself, never down on myself, and I was savage with purpose. The old me was ferocious and selfish. I'm still one of those things.

Back then I lived on clouds, until they vanished beneath me.

I played house up there, until the walls decayed.

Solid ground hurt, and it bruised in purple places.

The drop was dirty and sharp.

Honestly, I'm sure I was a piece of work and the word "difficult" was almost a compliment. I loved my life, the people who danced through it, and I loved what I wanted to become. I'm almost positive that I was nauseating at times, and arrogant at others. The old me feared the ones in my life as much as I loved them, and although I never told them this I'm almost sure they knew it all along.

The versions of me wear scuffed boots from gravel and rough town pavements, they hide behind obnoxious lipsticks and knots of bronzed honey hair. We look the same, but we are in crisis.

Lately, I've found myself stuck on repeat.  I've lamented the same defeatist words over and over, and they haunt me like lullabies. I concede, "My life was easier when I wasn't such a nice person." I suppose I expected karma to serve me well for my new found character development and humility.

Here is what I know: It doesn't matter who we were before, or how incredibly humbled we are now. The world was not made for you.
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I wasn't particularly happy with who I was back then, despite evidence to the contrary. You shouldn't be surprised that I stand by every word, and every little thing I did to myself. You shouldn't be surprised that sorry is a word held hostage, and that regret is a concept that I don't understand. The old me did things for the high, and for the story. My morals were locked in grey areas, and I knew too much about sin and secrets in skin.

The old me knew how to drink and throw up before the hangover, but the new me doesn't care too much about the taste of my old medicine. People remember that I was harsh, funny and impulsive. They know all too well that sometimes I was not a great person. Most of the time, I didn't want to be. I liked crossed wires and erasing lines, and I liked the spectacle. I probably judged you, and I probably still do (but this time it's because of your eyebrows. Sorry.) I put this down to evolution, and not the tangled misery of maturity.

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I will admit that I'm still as high maintenance as I ever was, and unapologetic about it, thank you very much. I have always been very loud about the things in life that displease me, and I still complain bitterly. I still hold an unwavering belief that I deserve the best of things, and this is the one thing that keeps me from losing myself entirely.

Back then, my ego towered over my insecurities like skyscrapers above small bodies. I was brutal, strong with the weight of metal and confidence. Since leaving my old arena of academia, my ego limped into a cage of my own construction. My priorities shifted and I changed course, while my confidence licked it's wounds. I realise now that I'm softer than I used to be, and I'm blurrier around the edges.

I wouldn't mention my loves and not loves in a place like this, and I would be happy as I pretended you were a dream, wistful and easily forgotten. Your name would be muffled and my voice would be dismissive. The old me would want you and forget you at once. The old me would scorn you, and maybe she would shame you. But not in a place like this.

Now I talk about you, and write about you, and I do it over and over again.
I create enchantments and detachments.
These monologues of mine might feel like a twist in the gut for both of us.

The old me would roll her eyes at my whining, because she always had something better to complain about. I conclude that she might be proud that I'm still fighting for myself and that she would be relieved that I'm looking for answers, and burning distractions. She needed truth like oxygen.