I Had a Terrible Summer

Tuesday, August 20, 2019 / 10:57 PM

I'm always hesitant to write so candidly for fear of coming off as a brat. I've been cautioned my whole life about showing my cards too early, too much. (But the nice thing about a blog, I guess, is that it's OK to be a little selfish. After all, my name is in the domain.)

The night I wrote the final draft of what would become this essay, I found myself reading and crying over Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too once again. It's a book I knew would produce that reaction: the first time I read it was on the anniversary of my aunt's death – one of the events that led me back to California in the first place, and one I don't think my family will ever overcome. I sat on the couch in my one-bedroom apartment in downtown LA, alone and crying uncontrollably. I couldn't explain why, but it made me feel so hopeful at a moment when I didn't want to feel hopeful.

I read it again after I lost one of my closest friends last year and cried again because it made me feel less alone.

And I cried reading it again on the night of June 23 before staying up until 2AM, pouring my heart out in a Google Doc. I don't know why I cried this time. I think I was just so tired.

Change is rough. I expected this year would be full of changes, and I already knew I was ill-equipped to handle a lot of it. The adrenaline rush of leaving a toxic environment behind isn't necessarily enough to carry a person through an entire season. I told everyone I was fine – happy, even – without confronting the truth: I was not OK.

The entire summer feels like a haze. As I've come out of it, I've begun to check myself in every interaction, every moment. It's helped me understand the highs and the lows of my own emotions, and to understand when to go out and when to stay in. I've learned when to speak and who to speak to, when to write and when to stop. I have erased myself from narratives, where necessary.

I am learning to be OK.

As autumn approaches, I'm feeling stronger than I did even just two weeks ago. I can see my steps a little better, and I can see the faces more clearly of the people around me. I'm still not 100% there yet, but it's a start.

To those who reached out to me and didn't give up when I broke, thank you. I am grateful for another day and another chance to try again.

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