Let’s play pretend.

What if there was a way that you could live inside the bubbles of your happiest memories. Or go inside of your own mind to replay these moments just as they were like in Locke and Key? Would you do it? Or would you continue into the unknown and occasionally pop back into these little snippets of your life and or change them like in About Time? As Billie Eilish said, “I ruined so many things that could have been amazing because I was sad.” As I’ve gotten older and experienced more of life I can see and feel when I start to do this to myself and it’s extremely difficult to pull myself out of it.

There were so many moments in my life that I can relive in my mind where I know I was really truly happy, and there are also moments that I can look back on and see where I was pulling away or self sabotaging because all I could think about was how it was all going to end soon. I wanted to relive some of them with you and maybe it will help with the ache I’m starting to feel as another era is ending.

To live in the moment is to be present and really enjoy everything that is happening. I think I want to, but also I don’t think that I honestly deserve to be happy and so the cycle continues…

The first memory that comes to mind is being at the county fair. I snuck out with my then boyfriend. I told my parents a Student Council rep had to be there and so they let me go. We took a photo in front of the ferris wheel and I felt extremely content in that moment.

Another: He asked me to go to a church event and then a movie following. He picked me up from my house (a novelty since I lived in the middle of no where) he came to the front door and rang the doorbell. He introduced himself to my parents. He opened my car door and insisted on paying for everything while we were out. He brought me home at the exact time my dad prescribed and he walked me to the front door and made sure I got in alright. It was the first time I’d ever been treated like that. It was uncomfortable, but exciting.

Fast forward: my ex-husband, then boyfriend, surprised me with a book and some chocolates after a fight we had. I came home late from school/work upset and annoyed. He had everything set up in the kitchen and gave me a back rub after we had dinner. I came to find that everything he did was motivated towards gaslighting me so that I wouldn’t leave him, but on that particular night I pretended that he really loved me and cared.

Sitting on the doc, waiting for the ferry to take us back from Mackinac Island. I spent an amazing weekend with some amazing people (some who aren’t in my life anymore). I take a video spanning the group and trying to capture how happy I was in that moment.

I’m in a hotel room. Groggy with a Krystal corndog in one hand and a slider in the other. I look over and my best friend is face first in the pillow. Thinking back on the previous night I smile and force myself up. Nasty Nash round two.

It’s so close. I’m studying for gunnery test two. No sleep. I’m on a plane. Soon I’ll be on the beach with my best friend, drinks in hand. It’s all worth it.

He’s coming over. Seattle boy. We matched on Bumble a few days ago and agreed to meet after his sky diving trip. It’s almost 2200. He knocks on the door. I kept my makeup on for this. We talk until 0400. He leaves to shower after agreeing to get lunch later that day at Steak and Shake. We’re both from the midwest. It feels too good to be true. It’s almost 0430 when he texts me, “can I come back?” He wants to stay the night? I start to ask him, “are you sure?” when he sends, “too late I’m already walking back.”

The next day we go to lunch, he tells me about his life, he’s in the process of divorce. He has a daughter. He really likes me and spending time with me. It’s only been 24 hours. Is this love at first sight or something?

Later in the week: Seattle picks me up and we drive to Mt. Scott to watch the sunset. He had asked earlier in the week if I’d ever gone at sunset. We go for pizza. He opens the car door for me. We watch the sunset and talk. It feels surreal. We listen to music and drive around for a bit before going back. I feel safe. I don’t want the night to end.

We’re at the top of the Reunion Tower. I collect key chains. I grab a small one. He rushes to the counter as I’m about to pay. I say, “you don’t have to.” He says, “I want to.” That night I tell him that I’m falling in love with him, tears streaming down my face. He says things are complicated, but that he wants to see where we can go. It never went anywhere.

Fast forward: I’m standing at the base of Neuschwanstein Castle. It’s snowing. I’m about to go inside. I feel like I’m on top of the world. Broken heart who?

I’m in Octagon. I’m drunk and jumping in time to the music. I can feel him behind me and his hands wrap around my waist. In my ear, “wanna get out of here?” I smile as he leads me out.

It’s almost Christmas. I can finally go outside. We meet some friends and I’m introduced to him. He’s tall, handsome, funny. I flirt with him all night and offer to take him home, he has duty the next day. I drop him off and we make plans to meet on his day off. I smile all the way home.

We’re shopping for NYE outfits in Myeongdong. I try on a green number. It fits perfectly, but I feel uncomfortable. I walk out and ask baby brother what he thinks. He gushes and tells the guy to stop looking at his phone. He looks up eyes wide, “That one.”

The Garden of Morning Calm. It’s the last outing we have. But it’s perfect. I feel content and I’m not thinking about how the days are dwindling.

My sister is FINALLY in Korea. I force her out a few times with me before she has to leave. She wants me to meet someone. We get to the bar and my eyes catch someone else. “Who’s that!?” I ask her. She tells me that she thinks he’s married, but right now we only have eyes for each other. Later that night he puts his hand on my leg. I look at him and bum a cigarette. I go home with Gloria and text him later on.

It’s 4th of July weekend. I’m stressed and annoyed. I know I shouldn’t be, but I am. I’m tan and warm. It’s the perfect day. He asks why I’m sulking and I lie and say I’m not. He smacks my ass, “I’m here with you aren’t I?” “Yes” I say. He kisses me and I feel better.

It’s my birthday. We’re in Seoul. We’ve been drinking all day and it’s almost 0400. In the tub Deep Sleep bath bomb from Lush. We fall asleep for a bit. I wake us up and force us to bed. C’mere you. I smile and fall asleep.

It’s fading now. I can feel the sadness creeping a little more as the days wind down. The happy times seem less and less. I’ve tried to live in the moment and not think so hard. Not let the darkness in. But I have to face the reality. I have to let it go. I have to move on and prepare myself for what’s coming. Is that what my life is always going to be? A handful of fleeting happy moments that are always drowned out by the not so great times? I hope not.

I’ll always aspire to be the best version of myself I can be. I’m also a human being who feels things. Maybe more so than others. Empathy is a blessing and a curse. Feeling like a burden or project to others an even heavier thing. Maybe one day there will be a happy balance of chemicals. Until then. We do this thing called life and hope for the best. Thanks for being with me on this journey. Xoxo.

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