twenty twenty

i don’t think i’ve written on here since the start of the year – pre-pandemic times, i mean. the last time i was on this part of the internet i was starting an internship that i just finished. i was using a different computer, my house was still a show venue, my best friend was in italy – lots has changed and its unfortunate because as crazy and transformative and heartbreaking and unexpected as this year was, i’m not sure that i have too much to say about it. that’s never stopped me, though. here’s the year that was.

december

december came and went without me realizing. it’s as if after all that this year brought, i was ready for it to end so much that i didn’t see that it was. i worked a lot and i missed my family a lot. i cried about missing my family a lot. i cried a lot. whatever. i realized that this site needs to be redone if i’m to use it, i released music (?!) i unlocked two foot spins on skate, but by the time december came around, my longing for a life that was was already so strong, it didn’t seem like a new year would change anything. it probably won’t – not this one at least. but tomorrow is new year’s eve, and they say to never say never.

november

this was a weird one. i got a happy light for my seasonal affective disorder and was applying to 100 jobs a week (no exaggeration). the picture is from when a dream organization reached back out to me and i burst into tears in a verizon store. in november the election happened, i finished my favorite workout program i’ve ever done (roll on january 4th) and learned a couple of cool rollerskating tricks. i shot the duck! i reflected on just how uncomfortable life had been in november, and dealt with that by listening to a lot of lcd soundsystem. not that that’s new, or news.

october

this past october i carved my first pumpkin! i dressed up in a costume from spirit halloween (a store i walked out of because it was too scary for me to be in there) and i wrote a lot of music. i had a couple of meetings with dr. chayko – my second favorite professor to date – and i sat with the fact that i’m graduating in may. i mean, i’ll be here for my masters degree, but my undergraduate career ends in may. it’s bananas – parts of me feel like a different person than i was in 2017, whereas other parts feel like i mellowed out and got cool. cool girl. in october i thought i was cool. i still think i am.

september

what happened in september? it’s getting foggy as i look back, but i remember learning propositional logic in my semantics class and being totally floored by the fact that math-like things still exist in linguistics. pete, my professor (favorite to date), said “mathematical proofs” in one class and i almost threw up. i started my final year of college and i longed for my friends. i still do.

august

in august, derek and i went back to assateague state park in maryland and saw these horses. there were also giant horse flies and they were brutal. we danced on the beach and watched lightning and it was the perfect end to an imperfect summer. i met erin and we became fast friends. i’m not sure how much i’m romanticizing the past because i just wanted for it to be good. was it? i think so. i could be wrong, but i think so.

july

in july we went to ocean city and hung out with our friend jess a bunch. jess is the kind of person who makes me want to hug her tighter every time she smiles at me. she is warm and welcoming, and kind and soft and so full of love. she has the vibes, and the vibes are right. i love you so much, jess. you made july really special. i turned 22! i had a lovely little socially distanced picnic with people i love and everyone said nice things about me. there was a video of people saying nice things to me, including my mom, and it made my heart burst. 22 wasn’t half bad.

june

in june i drove on the parkway and didn’t freak out. i surprised derek with an ideal beach trip and everything was wonderful. we visited the friendliest little town in new hampshire and i got some surgical steel earrings that did not aggravate my expensive allergy to most jewelry. we ate dinner on a dinner train and i learned that i love me a good shiraz, i drove across state lines, we held a protest, and i didn’t get enough sleep.

may

in may we said goodbye to whatever our dream of the 2019/2020 school year was. everyone moved home, and i moved into my new place. emily and i dressed up and danced and set up my new room. it was lovely. new brusnwick was lonely once more, and i started to miss things and people dearly, and with a certain urgency that i hadn’t before. it was like it was the first time i realized that the dream was ending and i had no idea what to do with it but try my best to hang on to all the memories i had with everyone.

april

april saw me working out a lot, and feeling really strong for the first time in a while. i revisited a program i had quit in january and getting through it was huge in showing me that i’m capable. emily turned twenty-one, i started doing covers on instagram, covid was really real, and the rest is brain soup.

march

march was the start of shalom who skates! derek and i drove two and three hours, respectively, to get roller skates off of facebook marketplace. it was scary but we did it and we skated in this beautiful unpainted brand new parking lot. i also beat him at words with friends repeatedly. i saw emily after she returned from italy and we played music and had a blast, and derek and i visited assateague for the first time.

february

february saw my last blog post, and many italian ceilings thank you emily. we threw our last show at our house without knowing it would be our last show, and it was awesome. it was a blast of a leap day and i think about it all the time. the morning of that show, derek and i went on a hike and i remember texting a band, “sorry for the late response i’ve been in the forest”. i went on an impromptu trip to the city on with bri and met her friend kylie, and we drank and danced. february was impeccable.

january

and so we find ourselves in january, full of hope and excitement and laughing at nothing in the bathroom of my friend’s house. january was the start of the spring semester and the best show line up i’d ever had the joy of being involved in, it was going to freakin portland with the love of my life, it was starting the internship that taught me so much, and getting scammed by a bowling alley.

i don’t know what the new year will look like. i wish for you all health and an unbelievable love from those around you. i wish for courage to face what is coming and grace to look back on what was.

happy new year, my friends. choose love.

xo
shalom

but did you die?

(short answer: no. i didn’t.)

hello my friends hello! it’s been a bit of a long time but i’ve gone back to my scheduled programming of losing my mind a little bit. it’s a bit better than the depersonalization-derealization disaster of fall 2019, but now i’m struggling to get out of bed again. eh. anyway, here’s what you missed on glee:

  • derek (the boy) and i celebrated a year together in portland, oregon, and it was lovely. we saw a lot and walk-hiked a lot and ate a lot.
  • i started an internship that makes me feel like an adult. i work hard, and a lot, and i am proud of myself. it’s rad. here’s me on my first full day:
  • i hade the best new year’s eve i’ve ever had. i danced and i laughed and i drank my wine. i felt so at ease with the passage of time. for the first time in my life, i wasn’t worried about the day being over and a new one starting. i was surrounded by friends and deep loves of mine, and i drank it in. i’m pretty sure i was really good at pong that night, but who knows.
  • emily (the other half of my brain) moved to italy for four months! she’s studying abroad and is living a dream. i have never been happier that a single person is in florence.
  • i almost gave up on writing because i felt so out of practice. i wanted to tell stories and i wanted to inspire change and i wanted so much but i am… lazy? depressed? a bad writer? all of the above? who knows, this was likely taken during a breakdown about the loss of the one skill that i ever felt good enough at:
  • i have fallen into a deep depression after the most consistent good mental health year of my life. i’ve been crying a lot, and struggling to eat, and staying in my house because i don’t want people to see me crumbling. derek’s been a godsend, and shit has been hard (the band i played in broke up – or something, i’m not really sure why – and i miss the structure and consistency of bonding over vulnerability and music) but anyway here’s a picture of me in a good mood even though the cupcake store was closed:

the point is, a lot has happened but i didn’t die. i’ve been thinking about what i told my 18 year old self years ago: the future is bulletproof, even if you are the gun. even if your your finger is on the trigger. even if you want it to end. the future can hold you. it can bring you lessons. it can bring you joy. the future is bulletproof, and there is so much for me there.

there is more for you, too.

love and light,
shalom xo

immortalizing love

in the moment that i realize i love him, i am sitting up on my bed and he is diagonally across from me. i tell him, “i really like you”, and he says “i think you’re looking for a stronger word”. it’s the first time he’s right. he’s right nearly every time after. and when he’s wrong, he’s the first to say it. he’s the first to say that i’m right when i am. how lovely it is to be reminded.

on the day before his birthday, we are cruising down the highway in his minivan, and ribs by lorde is playing. he smiles at me, and i tell him to keep his eyes on the road. his smile widens and so does mine. in this moment i become aware of the fact that i want to love him forever. i decide when the lyric “it’s not enough to feel the lack” plays, and for the first time i am thoroughly sure of what i want to do with my life.

when he goes hiking a couple states away i convince myself that he will be eaten by bears. he makes it back like he said he would, and we celebrate two months of bliss wrapped in each other, arms a poem repeating a refrain that says “together is better if it is with you”. the words etch themselves into the deepest parts of me. it is always better with him.

after a rough patch, we are seated at a restaurant. he reaches his hand across the table, and i am scared to offer my own. i do it anyway. he always pushes me to be brave. on the way back home, his hand rests on the back of my neck. i feel like i’m floating. when we kiss later, i feel like i’m floating. i float on the feeling and land in the present: what a lovely time to be in when one is in love.

many things happen – we go to a wedding, we turn twenty one with each other, we dance in the basement of my old apartment, we sing fleetwood mac in the car, we eat copius amounts of sushi, we play with his dog, we go to the fair, we road trip to pittsburgh – and his hair grows and grows. i love his hair.


booger,
i love you more than i can write, more than i can ever hope to help myself remember how much. i love you with everything in me, with all i am, in any way i can, in any way you need. thank you for showing me what it’s all supposed to be like. thank you for helping me heal. thank you for being yourself. i always think that i couldn’t be more in love with you until the next day rolls around and i am. every day i love you more. thank you for letting me, and for loving me back.

love and light,
shalom xo

i listen to a lot of lcd soundsystem.

a lot.

when i wake up on saturday morning, “pow pow” by lcd soundsystem is playing in my head on repeat. it powers me through the shower that i don’t want to take and the breakfast that i don’t want to eat. the library awaits, and i leave the house doing high kness to “drunk girls” blasting in my headphones. the wires of them always happen to get tangled in my keys, but the lyric “i believe in waking up together” always seems pretty clear.

in the library, “one touch” is never enough. “people who need people to the back of the bus” reminds me of how hard it is to be soft in a hard world, and how badly i need to finish my pragmatics paper. “people who need people are just people who need people.”

at 2pm i am a person who needs people. the london session of “pow pow” marches me to the courtyard where kierin is, and they shake my shoulders and get me back on track. “with you on the outside, and me on the inside, there’s advatages to both” repeats while i stand in a semi circle but somehow still feel excluded. there is talk of iced coffee. i am interested. “pow pow!” off we go.

at the student center i drink my coffee in five minutes. i tell myself, “this is happening”. i tell myself, “finish your paper”. i tell myself “i can change“. i wonder if this is what it’s like to have all the good parts of mania without the bad. i tell emily i’m listening to lcd soundsystem on one of the most stressful days of my academic career. she says, “are you trying to feel like you’re tripping?” the short answer is no. the long answer is always.

walking down the street to my recent ex of a workplace to get burgers, i hear “north american scum“. i hear sirens and “it’s the return of the police!” i hear “all i want are your bitter tears” from the loud car that zooms past. “from now on, i’m someone different”. it never lasts too long. it always returns to the mean. we wait in the store for our food, our friends, our lovers. i tell them, “take me home.”

when i close my eyes, i tell myself that “i can change”.

when i wake up on wednesday the next week, “fresh” by tired lion plays in my head. it takes until 10 am for it to be lcd soundsystem again.

dance yrself clean

it’s a good morning in the house and heart of shalom. i woke up and watched derry girls, and then looked at my naked body in the mirror that came with my room – it’s an upgrade from the duct taped one in my old room – and shook myself out. i shook my arms and shook my legs and i felt like my body was mine. i felt like i had ownership of the thing that i had such a tumultuous relationship with, and even more than ownership – i felt connected to it. i felt like it was mine.

dancing has always been freeing for me. i’ve never been very good at it, see my ballet endeavors from 2011-2016, but i’ve always wanted to do it. and do it more. and do it without caring what other people think.

today i danced to lcd soundsystem with my naked body jiggling all over the place, and it felt good. and i danced to dance yrself clean and i felt clean. and i put it on repeat in the shower and i danced. and i danced.

dance today.

love and light,
shalom xo

i said hey, what’s going on

it’s been a minute and then some.

briefly, i am the busiest i have ever been, i have started new medication recently and it is a bit of a shit show, i keep forgetting to eat, i am so very busy, i am very deeply in love still, school is about to start again, and i am very busy. did i mention that i’ve been busy?

everyone is busy! and it is ok. but what’s not okay is the lack of work i’ve been putting into myself and my craft on account of my being busy. not writing just isn’t acceptable for me. and it’s been Months. months.

i’m very busy but now i’m in a band. and i play bass and sing and we’re having our first show on sunday and i’m so nervouse! i’m very busy but now i run the basement shows that i used to go to with wide eyes. i run this shit! i’m very busy but the boy who shows me unconditional love every day keeps doing it. and my friends are still my friends. and my to do list is so long and my table wobbles because i’m hopeless at building things (even a five piece ikea desk), but i am alright.

i’m overwhelmed. but i think i’ll be alright.

i think i’m gonna come back to writing. earnestly, like i need it, because i need it. i miss it. i also pay $18 a year for this silly little site, and i’d like to get my money’s worth out of it. here’s a look into thde last three weeks of my life:

and that’s that! for now! i want to write more i want to feel more i want to be more. i want more. is there more? is there enough ‘more’ to go around? i fucking hope so.

love and light,
shalom xo

shit is hard

i really meant to come back to writing, like, five months ago. and i didn’t because shit is hard — this shit is hard! i wanted to say so much but i couldn’t get the words to come out of my fingers in the way that i was happy to recognize as my own. idk. i’m here now and a lot of life has happened since february? january? either way, we’re here and i’d like to share, so.

mt. tammany

holy cow. so i climbed this mountain and cried twice while doing it. my boyfriend is super into hiking and camping and the outdoors, and i am more of a…how you say…stay where there’s air conditioning at all costs type of person. in general, derek takes me outside a lot more than i would ever take myself. he opens my eyes to all sorts of beautiful things and the joy he gets out of it is enough for me to do it anyway. but, back to the point – mt. tammany!

i have never gone hiking. prior to this escapade, the most green i’d ever seen was probably in a pantone color chart on tumblr in like 2013, or on a drive from maryland to pennsylvania where there were no people for miles.

when we were going up, i lamented every step. to be fair, i lamented almost every step on the way down. i was the worst. i complained about the sun, about bugs, about snakes – and all derek did was stand in awe of them. he sees the world through a lense that purely states the urgency of living. he looks at everything and thinks about how cool it is to just be there – he is present. i hope to be more present.

for weeks after the hike, i told people that it was the hardest thing i’d ever done. to be fair, i was so anxious that i thought i was going to die. i straight up made derek take my south african mother’s phone number in case anything happened. i was scared that every rock i put my foot on would slip, that the two snakes we saw would strangle me that night, that a swarm of gnats would fly into my throat – i was very stressed out. but i did it. shit was hard. but i did it.

it was beautiful, and i want to hike more. maybe next time in leggings instead of running shorts that are too small for me. maybe next time, after i’ve done a little more cardio. maybe next time, when there aren’t like a hundred people on the trail. but i always want to do it with derek. always with him.

love and light,
shalom xo

and we back

well, it’s been around three or so months since you’ve heard from me. i am alive. i am, in fact, well. i am now aware that my audience contains some people i would rather it didn’t, and i am writing anyway. i am writing anyway. hello, my friends!

i’m not sure what this post is – i don’t know if it’s a monthly me, or an update, or just words, or something to keep me busy because i’ve finished all my assigned tasks at work. you know, i’m probably gonna tag it as all of the above because who cares? who really cares? i care that i’m writing, and that’s that. onto the good stuff:

first, a message to everyone who’s given me shit for being open and honest. man, fuck you.

thank u, next! i am in love, again. this time with an aquarius that looks strikingly similar to hey arnold. i am in love with his left handed everything, the way he looks like a balloon made of heart emojis about to burst, the way he is excited by every aspect of being alive, and the way he loves. it’s nice to know that i am not somehow a disaster magnet. after the ex, the lies, the hurt, the ex’s ex, the new girl – i felt like i attracted everything i tried so hard not to. until i stopped trying, and an old friend asked me to dinner. i almost said no. say yes, my friends.

i am in school! still! despite almost dropping out last semester – that was a wild night of panic attacks and rain – i am still here, still double majoring in linguistics and communication, still kicking names and taking ass. it’s going alright. i’m currently in my most difficult linguistics class to date and i’m still sort of looking forward to it? i love words. i love language. i love/hate the brain scramble that comes from studying it.

i wrote this last semester and i love it. it makes me think when i reread it. you can read it too, now:


i like to be, and to go. sometimes, the going is the only good part – the end is simply that: an end.  sometimes the end is a big sigh that feels like it could have come earlier or later – nothing special about the moment in and of itself. but even if the end is somewhat disappointing, the journey always holds promise. sometimes, everything lies in the getting there. sometimes the cotton candy sky out of the window and the chips dropped on the floor of the back seat is enough for you to step back and say, yes – this life, this is mine. sometimes it’s a laugh you haven’t heard before or a tender touch you never expected that makes you open your eyes wide enough for the first time in years. sometimes it’s the people you meet on the way, and sometimes it’s the way the summer peels with your heart in late august.


the journey is your hand out the window. it is the inside joke you missed and made up for yourself. it is the dream that you come to see you are living. it is the realization that you will survive. it is the surviving. the journey is surviving, and if you can cherish surviving, who needs an end?

i’m back. i love being back. happy february.

love and light,
shalom xo

die young

this is cross-posted from the other side of paradise, a blog i wrote for class this semester.

every night, you’re terrified of what you won’t become.

i am. i am terrified of the space that lies between could have and have done. i am terrified of the day turning into the night without having anything to show for it except a sunburn. i am terrified of the chance that i have of being here and being nothing. i am terrified of potential and how heavy it weighs, so i run. i become a professional athlete drinking in every experience like it’s about to be the last bit of water before i reach the finish line. i run from the fear of not enough, and sometimes, i run fast enough to forget why i’m running.

the goal isn’t so much to die, but rather to remove the issue of not being remembered by not being here at all. everyone wants to be something, make something, leave something – but if you die young, your obligations become zero and there’s no expectation for you to. death is an option – a seemingly beautifully freeing option – but is it the answer?

perhaps. but maybe it isn’t. maybe there is more to life than the imprint you leave. maybe there is beauty in the simplicity of being. maybe being here, and being you, is enough. maybe being you is enough.

so, do you wanna die young?

october ’18 | monthly me

i can’t believe it’s november. if you had to tell me that i’d experience half the things i have from january to now back at the start of 2018, i would probably have laughed with hope. i don’t regret anything that’s happened this year. not yet. october flew by and allowed me to solidify some awesome relationships that i’ll talk about later. again, it’s so strange to look back at last october and compare it to where i’m at now. this was october!

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emily and i

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gang’s all here

woah woah woah, lots of me in these pictures this month! this month was a relatively good month for body and self image. we went out to eat a few times and spent money supporting touring bands – we saw some good music. this month has been categorized explicity by emily and her roommates who i now have the privilege of calling my friends. i have spent many a night on their couch and cried in katie’s arms and talked politics with patrick and have been welcomed by chris, and it’s been the best thing i could ask for during this period. so, this is a post for the house. a love note, of sorts.

emily: you are my best friend. ever since you described me as your second brain, i’ve been describing you that way – i never know what i’m even thinking until i have you say it back to me. you are a light in a world full of things with the purpose to dim. you are fresh air on a stale wednesday night, you are fruit snacks when i have cotton mouth, you are the shiny penny on the sidewalk. i love you so much. thank you for october.

katie: i’ve never been able to almost adult with someone with the comfort that i do with you. thank you for conversations about cars and credit cards, and everything that comes with a katie breakfast. i love you tremendously, and your friendship means so much to me. thank you for brower brunch, for big hugs, for sweaters and jackets, for inside pockets, and for a real life expression of being true.

chris: christopher patrick, i do adore you. i do adore the way your mind works, head butting and all. i love the way you think, i love the way you flip an omelet, i love the way you clean the kitchen, i love the way you love isle of dogs. i am so grateful for your presence. i am grateful for your drunk yells and expressions of joy. i am grateful for your existence, and everything is better with you.

patrick: patrick, you know stuff. as someone who also knows stuff, i want to tell you that i appreciate you. i appreciate how you see people and you see through bullshit and how open your mind is. when i think of you, i think of fat sandwiches and all the conversations we’re yet to have. i think of all the love that everyone has for you. i think of all the things we’d endure for you. i think of all the ways we’d hold you up. we’ll hold you up. what a privilege to love you.

biz (bonus!): elizabiz, thank you for every slutty brownie (because i ate a bunch) and for every slutty everything else. i have been waiting for someone like you in my life for the longest time. i have been aching for a twin soul in the most crass of ways, and holy hell do you deliver. biz, you are so smart. so brilliant, and so deserving of good things. thank you for being around.

okay that’s that we are moving on to….

music!

tell me where you’re going, and is there room for me?

my character’s strong, but my head is loose

emily and i saw them live mid october, and i almost didn’t go because i got the tickets for someone else and i couldn’t go with them anymore. they were phenomenal. one hell of a show. emily, thank you for always pushing me to go.

my internal monologue this month was mostly about loving my friends, and the love notes for them here see to reflect that enough. yeah. that’s my internal monologue: “love your friends”.

love and light,
shalom xo