There’s something about Thanksgiving that gets the young folk thinking about love. Because as Columbus once told his lover, “shall I compare thee to a late fall genocide?” I was scrolling through Facebook the other day and I saw that love/lust/all shades of emotion in between were awkward.
I always knew I was awkward. For instance, when I see a girl I like, I’ll do this awkward thing where I think to myself, “she probably doesn’t want to be seen with you,” and go back to biting my nails. It’s nonsensical and yet the neurosis can’t be shaken. So it goes.
Crushes have this weird way of gluing together every single strange twitch and awkward gesticulation into patterns of behavior that resemble those kindergarten Valentine hearts with the lopsided lace and too much glue and at least two drops of snot.
We give ourselves to each other in this way, broken and messed up by our parents, hopeful and jaded, trying to sabotage our chances, because then if it works out it’s all the better and if it doesn’t then we aren’t too disappointed.
There’s a sadness in the way a generation with a high probability of broken homes looks at each other, like rubbernecking an accident between a fireworks truck and a gas tanker.
Beautiful, horrifying, transfixing—social interactions create anxiety and tension because though everyone uses the same words; assumptions, differences in culture, misunderstandings and fears color our interactions.
I think a lot of times the central fear for me, the bump in the road on the way to social Elysium, is that I am not being realistic, because why get invested in something that is doomed from the start?
Then I remember, I also can’t imagine a world without money, so what seems impossible to me is at least more likely than getting struck by lightning. I try to remember the exact age I stopped dreaming of the impossible. I wonder how many times I’ve let geography tell me no. How many dreams I’ve suffocated because they aren’t “realistic.”
However, realism is a literary genre. Maybe, the problem is that we’ve become so realistic that we don’t know how to imagine the impossible and totally possible things seem impossible because the world has grown smaller and scarier. Yet our interactions have grown more complex.
Whenever I see people who are in love, I want to ask, “What’s the secret?” Then I remember that economists have written papers about the subject and all disagree. There is something maddening about the fact that if I wanted to learn to cook meth tomorrow, I could watch a video on YouTube, but if I want to learn the secret to love there’s no video.
I know that sometimes despite my best efforts I am a hopeless romantic.
When I see the sweater table at work, I wish I had someone to buy sweaters for. It’s weird and capitalistic, but there’s something that feels like home.
I should expect this since I spent my childhood listening to soft rock hits like “Drops of Jupiter” and “Dreaming of You Tonight,” I can also just want to be alone or not have feelings for anyone. That may be confusing and contradictory, but so what?
We are allowed to be contradictory. We are allowed to have crushes that make us feel like the first gulp of coffee on a cold day.
I was watching Samsara and I realized it’s okay to be nervous in the face of a world that has church spires poking out of frozen lakes and places where the sun doesn’t set on the freezing cold and girls who live over a state away and listen to Fall Out Boy and make your heart skip a beat when they call you handsome. It’s okay to be awkward.
Everything was awkward and waiting to be imagined, then lived.