Stories That Vibrate: Every Time I Want to Text You

Revisiting your old writing is less like looking in the rearview mirror and more like finding your way back home. Your first home. The place you grew up in. The space and land and grass and fences and hardwood floors that all remind you of a distinct era in time. You are not that writer anymore. Your sentences are cleaner; your voice hums with intention. You are not that woman anymore. Your life has more shape; your purpose now has testimonies behind it. You are not that human being anymore. You are a product of the way time heals old wounds and gives way to new evolution.

But, that is still your home.

Two years ago, I put this thing out into the Universe called a book. And at the time, it was my life’s work. Now, there are days when I’ll nonchalantly thumb through it and flinch at the blind audacity and ignorance of some of the things I put in ink. But, it’s still home. Those are still my stories. There are still traces of that woman I used to be hidden in my crevices. Hell, there are still parts of that woman taking up space at my core.

Stories That Vibrate is a limited edition series that revives five of my favorite essays from Twenties Unscripted: A Journey of Womanhood, Writing, and Relativity through audio. Over the next few weeks, I’ll share these on the blog. A huge thanks to my creative partner-in-crime Austin Weatherington (who produced the audio for last year’s Love Me Well project) for producing this series, and affirming this vision long before I even started recording.

It’s been a hell of a year, and I haven’t been able to visit this Internet home as much as I would like. But, I hope you’re still vibing with me and I hope you enjoy this first installment of Stories That Vibrate. Here’s “Every Time I Want to Text You.”

If you’d like to read the full essay, head over to purchase your copy of the book.


“What Matters Is If He Shows Up.”

shows upIt was the final resounding piece of advice I received on Friday night while my friends and I sipped four dollar margaritas. I told my friend I was going on a date the following day, so I was soliciting any and all advice from interested parties. I explained to my male friend that me and my potential suitor hadn’t texted much in the days leading up to the date and, to paraphrase his response, he said, “Texting doesn’t matter. What matters is if he calls and if he shows up.”

This is the part where I am supposed to tell you how my friend’s advice paid off. This is the part where I am supposed to rave and rant about my date. Naturally. Except, this is my blog, not a dating column, so every now and again, despite my blabber-mouth blog style, I reserve the right to keep a few things off the playing field. That reservation alone should tell you precisely how the date went.

Nonetheless, my friend’s sound advice is what I needed three years ago. It’s the advice that may have saved me from three years of misreading and over-reading texts. It’s the advice that may have redeemed me from embarrassment, wasted tears and self-induced humiliation. If I knew how to heed to it, it’s the advice that would have made me think twice before peddling down the dead end road toward few friends with even fewer benefits. “What matters is if he shows up.” 

It’s both alarming and revelatory to realize I’ve spent three years in a vortex of calculated casualness with guys. It is not quite as distressing when I consider how unpredictable and thorny the past two years have been. Nonetheless, ever since my last serious relationship ended, I’ve hopped onto a few different inner tubes in the bottomless ocean of non-relationships. I recently got tired of floating, doggy paddled out and sat on the shore to have some time to myself.

Last week, I devoted 582 words to “Texts From The Opposite Sex.” But, as I pondered my friend’s advice, I thought about how easy, almost perfunctory, it becomes to carry on entire pseudo-relationships thanks to texting. I thought about the guys whom I wrongfully assumed cared to a high degree solely based off non-stop texts. I thought about how simple it is for someone to text you that they miss you or they are thinking of you and how much harder it is to actually miss someone. To actually think of someone. To demonstrate not via text, but action, the mammoth amount that someone means to you. I thought about how much I felt, presumed and considered in the tiny moments while I waited for a new message to appear in my inbox. And, I thought about how fucking stupid all of it was, is and always will be.

To spend time with another person is to politely and happily shut off the world. It is a sacrifice of your time, your thoughts, your preparation for the next day. It means foregoing what it is on television and neglecting who is calling you. To spend uninterrupted time with another person is warm. It’s cozy. It’s comforting. It’s alluring. It’s beautiful in a way that these words on this blog will never be able to encapsulate.

What matters is if he shows up. What matters is if he shows up when you are broken in pieces or when you are at the height of your life. What matters are the moments together. You will remember the conversations, the coy glances, the way your arm feels when it brushes against his. You will remember the saccharine whispers in your left ear right before bed. Your flashbacks will be inevitably tied to the times when he showed up. To the times when you built memories together in the same space. Fuck the texts. What matters is if he shows up.



Texts From The Opposite Sex

A glimpse of the weekend in texts.
A glimpse of the weekend in texts.
The convoluted ties among me, text messages, and men date back to 2005 when I would text my high school boyfriend. This era was well before my parents saw the need to embed unlimited texting into our Sprint family plan, resulting in me racking up $0.10 charges every time my young adult fingers felt inclined to pounce on my hot pink Nokia and tell my then-boyfriend I loved him. Or I wanted him. Or my mom was getting on my nerves. Or any other inane bit that popped into my head. I discovered sexting before I even discovered sex. Go figure.
My college boyfriend was infamous for sending a stream of texts, at least 5-10 at a time, in a rapid fire succession. This method represented a fraction of how we “argued.” Luckily by that time, I had a Palm Centro complete with a full keyboard, but my thumbs still got pretty fucking tired.
Fast forward seven years after I first started texting boys and I’m still trying to decode the things men say or choose not to say via text message. I can’t tell if guys are easier or more difficult to read when you can actually, well, read them. My interpretation of texts from the opposite sex are usually based on a triad of context clues, the actual content in the message, and the person. Over the years, I’ve learned a few basics:
  1. “What are you doing?” after 12am was, is and always will be a booty call.texting 2
  2. Thou shalt not ask a man a serious question via text and follow it up with a random comment, joke, or anything else unrelated to the serious question. Allow the serious question to sit. Simmer. Fester. If you follow it up with something unrelated, he will only respond to the unrelated bit. You’ll be left scratching your head and cursing your ability to fill awkward pauses.
  3. Men like to test the waters, hence the texts after a long silent hiatus. If things didn’t end with you wanting to send him to the guillotine, reply. It may have taken a lot for him to send that. Or, he may have just done “eenie, meenie, miny, moe” and picked your name. Either way, don’t take yourself, him, or that text too seriously.
  4. Telling someone “go fuck yourself” is the same in text, in person, or via phone. It’s not nice.
  5. If you screw up your/you’re or they’re/their/there via text, you have magnified your greatest flaws and there is no chance we can be lovers.
The beauty of texting, of course, is the convenience. I can flirt with someone while I catch up on Scandal and eat my spaghetti; welcome to the 21st century. The disaster of texting, of course, is also the convenience. It becomes a lot easier to reach out after a lengthy hiatus and a lot harder to sever ties when necessary.
Ultimately, no form of communication will ever replace the fuzzy and unrehearsed electricity of being face-to-face with someone. Nothing can ever substitute the awkward pauses, the tripping over one another’s sentences, the pheromones. The hormones. The
icy hot volt through the middle of your body when someone you like stares at you for two extra seconds. Nothing will ever replicate the authenticity you get from someone’s tone, countenance, and gestures. Maybe the irony is that for a lot of us, we only ever reach those bonafide face-to-face interactions when we use texting as the conduit.