melanie kristy · story

My Eighteen Year Old Self Is Disappointed In Me

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I’m not really a planner so I suppose it’s difficult for me to say that I at eighteen and nineteen years old I envisioned a particular future for myself. I wanted things, sure. But more than actions or achievements I envisioned feelings. I wanted to feel a certain way, however it might come about. I wanted the magic that is life and love to seep out of all of my actions. I knew I wanted to write novels. I knew I wanted to help people. I couldn’t tell you how. I wanted to be stable financially and eat good food. Even now it seems like I can’t see a clear path. But back then I had so much hope for myself. I really truly believed in myself and my future and everyone around me.

I was that girl with the song lyrics scrawled on her arm who carried around a notebook and constantly scribbled stories in the pages. I was that girl who made friends easier with people in other states and dreamed of one day venturing out. I was that girl who found comfort in one particular band and the culture that came with being a fan. I was that girl who easier reached out on social media websites (you know, like Livejournal and Myspace) and felt like she was part of something. I was the girl who identified with songs more than anything and with fiction second and had thoughts and characters swarming around her mind all the time. I made my own t-shirts and bought clothes because they spoke out about who I was as a person or what I liked or who I wanted to be.

Somewhere while going through my twenties I started working because I felt like I had to (okay, obviously we all have to) and resided in being unhappy wherever I turned. I spent money because I could, because it was there and because I was mostly too depressed to hold on to it. I ate food that made me feel sick. I only attracted men who were emotionally unavailable or unstable or wanting something unnamed and open. I wore clothes because they fit and they looked okay and there wasn’t much else of an option. 

Then one day I woke up. Waking up is not one of those things that always helps. I know this because for me, even though I was awake and looking at my life with a different perspective I still felt depressed and hopeless and sad about where I was. The thing about crawling out of complacency is that happens to you. You also can have a tendency to fall back asleep. You can tell yourself to forget  what you want because this is the “real world” and you need to “grow up” and “be responsible” and this is how it all happens.

Well yeah, you do need to grow up and be responsible. But growing up doesn’t equate to giving up, it doesn’t mean you have to forget your dreams and it doesn’t mean you need to become what society thing you need to become. It doesn’t mean you have to have a full time job with all of the benefits, you don’t need to be looking for your future husband or thinking about your nonexistent children’s names. It can mean those things, sure. It doesn’t mean you need to have a 401k and buy a house and have a car payment, either. Not unless that’s what you want for yourself. I guess that’s the point. Growing up means you can pick and chose what you want for yourself and how you get there. Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do, sure. That doesn’t mean you always have to do everything you don’t want to do.

One thought that really shakes me is when I think that my 18 year old self would be disappointed in who I am today.

I would like to be able to look into the future and be proud of myself and know I’ve done something awesome or worthy or exactly what I want. And I know that 18 year old me doesn’t see that in me. She’s excited about a few things I have done, experiences I’ve made possible for myself. She’s also disappointed that I stopped making novel writing a priority (I mean, I often to forget to list myself as a writer, even when I’m just talking to myself). Eighteen year old me wants me to find ways to incorporate myself into my style, she wants me to finish the damn novel I’ve been “working on” for four years. She wants me to take advantage of the things around me, use the tools I’ve found/ learned/ bought// acquired. She wants me to keep believing, to keep dancing and to find the actual way to health. She wants me to build my community of friends, attract men who are good for me and to never stop using glitter nail polish (as much as it’s a pain to take off). She wants me to actually listen to music more often, spend more time dreaming and do more.

Is your younger self proud of who you are today?

Love,

Melanie

melanie kristy · story

Two Weeks into eHarmony

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(credit)

I used OkCupid as a dating site for years, but last fall I deleted my account. I stayed away from online dating since then until about two weeks ago when I decided to try something new. I decided on trying eHarmony because it was a paid site which tends to weed out the people who are only looking to get laid. I also chose it because it was something different and also because a friend recommended it. Match.com is too much like OkCupid and it doesn’t even have a lot of the same features. I also found that a lot of people on Match are also on OkCupid. So I was open to trying something new.

The way eHarmony works is that you have to have a paid membership to see other peoples’ pictures. You also have to have a paid membership to do certain kinds of communication. I signed up, browsed for a few days before paying for a three month membership. Note to self: remember to figure out how to turn off auto-subscription BEFORE you are charged again.

So in two weeks I’ve had messages back from about five guys. Maybe six. We interacted a few times, or just once. You can choose questions to send to guys in what’s called “Guided Communication” and I like that a lot because I often don’t know how to send a first message. I tend to spend too much time thinking about it and it ends up feeling stressful. This is why I didn’t message that many guys on OkCupid.

So in two weeks I’ve sent at least seventy guys messages. Most were “matches” but there’s also a “What-if” feature where you can view random guys who don’t align with however you answered your questions. Not one guy has messaged me on his own accord.

It’s interesting because it’s not the experience my friend had. It’s also interesting because when I told another friend about this experience, he responded with something along the lines of “That’s completely opposite of OkCupid.” But really? It’s not. Not for me, anyway. I’m not quite sure what I’m doing wrong, but it’s rare to get an earnest message and even rarer for me to talk to someone enough that we end up meeting. More rare dating. And the rarest: a relationship. So in the five years I was on OkCupid (and actively seeking people) I met a handful or two of men. Two ended up in three month relationships.

And that’s it.

At this point I’m thinking well it has to be me.

I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing, or doing wrong or what. Every guy I have dated has seemed to think I was really awesome (and yet somehow couldn’t commit/ isn’t monogamous, etc).

So what now?

You tell me, people. Really. I’m not sure what else to do (I mean, aside from continuing on this path but it hasn’t been much help so far.)

Love,

Melanie

 

melanie kristy · story

Hello September

imageOh hello September. You kind of snuck up on me there. I was in the middle of forgetting to enjoy my summer, scrambling to finish All Of The Things before the new semester starts and then here you are. With a pumpkin spice latte and a warm smile. The first day of September was 88 degrees fahrenheit and I spent a lot of time in my air conditioned bedroom dreaming of turning leaves and reading homework.

 

I’m ready for you, though. I feel like things are changing. I’m taking weird risks, ready to fall backward in order to come alive. I’m ready for sweatshirts and walks along golden highlighted paths. Last September was something to remember. It’s dotted with memories of a person I’m not long acquainted with, and I don’t long for that nostalgia to hit. I want this this September to be different. This Autumn to be different. Because last Autumn was filled with someone who didn’t stay. It’s hard to be able to recognize dates in an entire season because of the time you first met someone in person, remembering the t-shirt he wore under his work shirt. Remembering that between working and meeting I had to stop at the library and conduct an interview for an assignment. Remembering all the way until it ended, the way fall ended. Harsh and surprising. Then all of a sudden it’s Christmas and everything has changed.

 

This fall is about me. It’s about risking what I have in order to get where I need to be. It’s about finding my true self. It’s about doing something I’ve been thinking about for a while. It’s about reading a WHOLE lot of middle grade books for an entire class. It’s about writing more and wasting less time. It’s about finding self love when times are busy and confusing. It’s amount roasting vegetables and visiting farmers markets and enjoying the moment.

 

I’m ready for you September.

 

Love,

Melanie

 

melanie kristy · story

That Time I Climbed A Mountain

The first from Mount Greylock
The view from Mount Greylock

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I hiked a mountain once.

 

It was this weekend eleven years ago that I started college. Part of orientation was to hike Mt. Greylock or do some community service. I was too naive to realize that this was College and really I didn’t have to do either. So in red high top Chuck Taylors and jeans I hiked up Mt. Greylock.

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(here are my Chuck Taylors while I was somewhere in Ohio).

 

I had danced at least three times a week for the past four years and I thought that meant I was somewhat in shape, but I wasn’t. In fact, I was miserable. The leaders on this trip continued to insist that we’d be so proud of ourselves when we got to the top. I was one of the last people to finish, never knowing how close I was. It was miserable the entire time. I got to the top and wasn’t proud. I didn’t think “I climbed this mountain, I can do anything!” like it was suggested. I was thinking that this was a terrible introduction to college.

 

And that was that.

 

Fast forward to almost thirty-year old me and I’m thinking more about movement and what it means to be strong and capable. I’m thinking more about nature and being in nature and the view from the top of a mountain. I’m wondering if somewhere there’s photographic evidence that I climbed a mountain once.

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(here’s photographic evidence of a 18-19 year old dorky me wearing the t-shirt I got for hiking up a mountain)

 

And now, almost-thirty year old me is thinking I want to hike more mountains. I want to do something I can be proud of myself for (though I know, I know, I am doing things I can be proud of. This is more concrete.) I could stand at the top of a mountain somewhere and look off into the horizon and take too many selfies and consider writing about my experience. And I will. In a lot of ways, this month for me is just the beginning.

 

Love,

Melanie