The Unbearable Weight of What If

There are some things still tangled in the boughs of your belly. Memories. Mistakes. Mayhem. Men. You’ve been carrying them around with you not realizing that these are not just things, but instead they are bricks. Weighing you down. Collapsing your core. Holding you back from the freedom to fly.

You will not know it. You will not know that every time your mind flickers to that memory or dances with the devil, your center of gravity sinks. You will not know it because it is so easy, or so it seems, to walk lightly even as your insides are cloaked in the weight of what if.

What if? You hardly ever say it aloud, and yet the idea still sprints through your mind, a stampede of fantasies you can’t quite seem to surrender. What if you reached out again? What if it never happened? What if you didn’t say that? What if you destroyed the memories of what was and penned a new story on a crisp set of blank pages?

And, perhaps most poisonous of all, what if he still thinks about you too?

This last one is the brick that weighs one ton, a theory you have dressed your heart in for months on end. It is the reason why you have grown cold and left your soul in limbo. It is the boulder pulling you down the most.

What if?

You will not know the toxin of what if until reality replaces reverie, and you aren’t left to wonder anymore. You will not know just how much what if was weighing you down until you let out a loud cry on a Sunday evening, your skin and hair still drenched from the shower, a hot pink towel wrapped halfway around your body. In that moment, there will not be anymore what ifs. There will only be you, your boundless curiosity, and the photo of him with his arms draped around another woman.

This is not what if. This is what is.

This moment will become your redemption song, a severe but necessary jolt to bring you back to what’s true. What’s real. What is yours and yours alone. This is your baptism by fire. Your blend of blind rage and breakthrough. This is the flash that will finally give you the freedom to fly once more.

You deserve a life that does not hinge on hypotheticals or doors only left halfway ajar. You cannot breathe off of sheer possibilities; you require much more air than that. You are the sum of stars and moons and entire galaxies; can’t you see how much love you have to give? You cannot fit gallons of your heart into a test tube of a man. They will spill over, only for him to tell you that you are the one who made this mess. You are not a woman who has to settle for fractions of affection; the totality of someone’s love is your birthright. Know that. Honor that. Cherish that. Preserve that. Do not spend another moment of this life overloaded by the weight of what if.

Xoxo,
Tyece

I Still Think Of You.

It was around this time last year, just as summer began to sunset, that you and I started to make waves. First they were tiny, soon they were tidal, and now I don’t know if there will ever be another August when I don’t think about you.

It’s not lost on me that the level to which you still puncture my thoughts is completely incongruent with the amount of time we spent together. But, that is how the human heart works. It clings to the memories of the last connection that made her feel like she was on fire, even months after the embers have stopped burning. So, I decided long ago to forgive my heart for how she beats. She is her own creature. Her own temple. Her own jungle. I can only watch lovingly as she pumps bright red blood.

I still think of you when I notice the bold print of a man’s socks and remember how you always wore your loafers without them, even in the dead of winter. I think of you anytime I’m at Marvin, the first stop on our six-hour U street date. I think of you when I see orange. Or when I hear “We lit.” Or when someone recommends a restaurant in Old Town.

I still think of you sometimes first thing in the morning. Before I know what day it is. Before I munch on breakfast. Before I scroll social media. Before my feet hit the floor. These are the broad and big picture musings where I wonder how you’re doing or where you’ve been living or if you’re happy with the way things have been.

I still think of you when I hear PnB Rock’s Selfish or Third Eye Blind’s Never Let You Go.

I still think of you when I arrive at the notes section of my phone to jot down a grocery list or capture a blog post idea. I think of the way that notes section was once a treasure trove of messages we sent to each other after we hung out. Every single time. I think of you when I glance at the bookshelf in my living room and my eyes catch the spine of the book you created, a collection of all the notes we ever shared. Dispatches from one heart to another.

I still think of you when I slip on my favorite black dress and remember the last time we saw each other, just as spring gave way to summer. I think of the subtext, sultriness and sadness you tasted on my skin that night. Each of those pieces fused until the sun came up and everything lost its color again.

I still think of you in moments such as these when I summon the audacity to tell the Internet my half-baked love stories and uncover my emotional wounds. I think of the bevy of strangers who will read this. I think of their eyes scanning this story and their minds drawing conclusions. I think of the way an essay like this can feel like a shout in the void or a shot in the dark or the shrill of a woman who is lost at sea.

And then, once more, I think of you.

Xoxo,
Tyece

Rip Through Me

I’m on my way to drinks with a friend when I realize I’m passing the restaurant where you serve part-time. My eyes dart through the window of the barely lit dining room and a fraction of my beating heart hopes to see you. It is the fraction that misses your laugh and jokes and carefree way of gliding through the world. It is the fraction that wrote you letters and returned to the last thing I penned for you any time a pang of wistfulness pulled at my gut. It is the fraction flooded by nostalgia, the part of my heart that lives waist deep in the recollection of when things were good.

And, yet, when my eyes dart through that barely lit dining room, there is another fraction of my beating heart that hopes not to see you. It is the fraction that knows memories are fun house mirrors, distorting our versions of reality. It is the part of my heart that holds hands with my mind, the two both worn thin from the emotional gymnastics my early twenties put them through. It is the fraction flooded by practicality, the part of my heart that lives waist deep in the recollection of when things fell apart.

I did not see you that night.

But, still, my memories of you are land mines, recklessly dropped across streets of the District.

On the way back to my car after drinks, just as the last traces of flashbacks fell away from me, I passed that Cheesecake Factory. It was the one where we had dinner on my birthday. I idled there and let myself get lost on a dark Clarendon street. I listened to my steps slow down as my heart sped up, the highlight reel of that night suddenly far too fresh in my mind. The Grey Goose before dinner. The way we both looked dressed in all black. Your encouragement that I wear the heeled boots instead of the flat ones. Your hand casually tossed across mine in the back of an Uber. The driver who said you were a lucky guy. The way we made waves rise and crash when night melded with morning.

My memories used to be loaded guns, cocked unflinchingly at my peace of mind. My memories were once defunct compasses, always leading me back down dead ends by way of phone numbers I promised I’d never dial again. But, now my memories are not much more than memories, emotional currents that rip through me and eventually find rest.

That night, I gave those thoughts permission to rip through me. And, sure enough, they eventually found rest.

Xoxo,
Tyece

Your Heart Is No Longer My Home

your heart is no longer my home

I write sometimes because it’s the only way to return to you, a medium that lets me shout from the grave. Time marches on and medicates the desertion we feel when we’re suddenly miles away from a heart we used to call home. See, I used to call your heart home. I unpacked every single one of my boxes and let my emotions fill your blank walls. I affixed colorful paintings to your empty space. I knew it wasn’t really my residence to occupy. I knew there were entire rooms dedicated to her. But she was a room of beige and I was a wall of red. Most people can’t create comfortable spaces next to red walls. But, still, I let myself call your heart home.

I write because it closes the gap and furnishes the void. It makes all of the stories I’ve wanted to tell you and all of the things I’ve wanted to say vanish into thin air. I write because it makes it all OK. I write because it feels less dangerous than texting you, less perilous than calling you, less threatening than putting my hand back into your hand.

I write because it’s the only way to relive the memories of you, ones I’m reluctant to admit I have. Dark nights and dim lights and hushed tones. To the moon and back. Bad choices and good outcomes. Every bit of my surface area standing at attention.

I write because sometimes I’m a complex son of a bitch who shrugs my shoulders at the prospect of airing dirty laundry.

I write because it’s the only way to toy with the idea of you, this idea that you could be my shelter from the storm, my New York City cab on a rainy day. When I write I do not have to play it cool. I do not have to cock my head back and laugh at your jokes. I do not have to try. I write because it’s the only way to tell you that I have thought about you more times than the law or good lord should allow.

I write because it reminds me that the road to happily ever after winds, twists, turns, dips and detours. And when they ask me who I wrote this about, I will tell them that it was you, you and you too. I will tell them that for a woman who writes, every man leaves an impression. Every interaction lingers. Every sweet nothing echoes. And, when love has hoodwinked her enough times, she realizes there were a lot of ill-equipped hearts that she used to called home.

I write because it’s the only way to remember you, to ensure that I don’t lose sight of the bread crumb trail of mistakes all the way from your heart to a better place. I write because it brings me out of the dust and out of the abyss. I write because somehow it always brings me back to you. And when I return to you, I realize that is no longer my home.

Xoxo,
Tyece