saturday nights

I just took a shower so hot it scalded my skin, steam is still leaking out of the bathtub and curling at the edges of my mirror. I covered myself with shea butter, swallowed my handful of supplements and vitamins sitting next to my bed and curled up next to the computer screen: another Saturday night.

This isn’t all for lack of options. I could’ve road-tripped to East Lansing to see a friend, to Chicago to see another. I have a call scheduled with my other half in 22 minutes that I’ve been waiting for all week and I made a batch of to-die-for peanut butter cookies that has the whole house smelling like the inside of a JIF container.

more “saturday nights”

a new home

Welcome back to the new and improved WeStayAwake. It’s still undergoing some renovation: friends are working on a new logo and header, I’m playing with fonts and color schemes and an overall theme of the blog as I transition from college to a gap year to, eventually, law school. It’s going to be good. Stick with it a while longer while I get it there.

In the meantime, I intend to use this space more frequently. I told a friend (a new friend!) yesterday that revamping this blog meant that I would actually have to write more, and how scary that seemed to me after being away for so long. She was so encouraging, telling me that it’s an opportunity, and an exciting one at that.

Speaking of my new friend, this would all be impossible if not for the help of Sarah Fennel, author and baker-extraordinaire at Broma Bakery. She spent two and a half hours with me at Starbucks going over widgets and plugins while I fumbled around WordPress stupidly. She is a saint. She even welcomed me into her home (her beautiful home) and sent me off with a homemade caramel apple. Like, real caramel. Not the Werther’s stuff boiled down and slathered on,  like I would’ve done.

With the makeover, I’ve been working on a new vision for the site. One that includes more pictures, more content that isn’t just personal. I guess you could say that I’m transitioning from “personal blog” to “lifestyle blog,” but that sounds a tad bit pretentious for my liking and, really, I’m living with my parents and applying to schools, so I’m not sure if anyone would want to mimic this lifestyle anyway. But I have years worth of beauty tricks that I’ve amassed from blogs and magazines, new time for crafts and pinning and reading and the like, and my usual posts on life and love and school and work and whatever I want to rant on that day in the voice that some of you have been following for these past four years.

Come back soon, I promise it’s going to be good.

-Erin

 

PS: You can still follow me on tumblr! If you don’t have an account there but would still like to receive updates, the box on the right will give send you emails when I update.

homecoming

Last night, a friend of Sean’s asked me which memory from my four years at Michigan had been my favorite. A graduate of four months, I blanched. No answer came to mind as I fluttered, snapshot style, through memories amassed since 2010. “It’s so cliche,” I told him, “but I can’t give you just one.”

Ultimately, I settled for the memory of breaking into the Big House with my eleven roommates. We all had stayed awake until 2 am, texting each other encouragement so as to not lose our nerve. We left on foot, crossing the mile and a half walk to the stadium in various states of sobriety and dress (I had opted for an all-black ensemble with war paint spread across my cheeks). We climbed over turnstiles or squeezed between poles to gain entry and then sprinted for the field, trading hushed whispers and hugs on the 50-yard line of the largest stadium in America. We were invincible in that moment— a mix of days-later graduates and upcoming seniors, drunk on the feel of the field— our field— beneath our sneakers. more “homecoming”

what they won’t tell you

When I thought about post-graduation and what it would mean for my life, I always figured that I would be strung-out on deadlines and memos, filling every moment with job applications or client calls. I never knew it would be this lonely. 

Instead of filling every minute with work, I’ve hit a wall— halfway through my third month of being a part of the workforce— and I completely broke down tonight after spending far too long holding it all in. 

Before graduation, I lived in a house of 13 girls. I met with friends five nights out of every week and relished the rare weekend that I would allow myself to stay in after babysitting. I was constantly, deliciously surrounded by my peers. 

On a drive to Detroit for a settlement negotiation that I was sitting in on, my new boss and mentor chatted with another intern in the front seat about book she was reading about introverts. Called, “Quiet,” it explored the differences between extro-and-introverts, a difference I thought was simply determined as “not-shy versus shy.” She explained that the author believed it was more complex, in that the energy we gain from being alone or being around people was the far more important test when it came to which side of the fence you fell on. As she explained her need for quiet and serenity when working, including time away from her kids and husband in order to finish any big projects (once renting a hotel room in Detroit to achieve said atmosphere), I was in the backseat, realizing that I was an extrovert requiring constant presence of others to regain my energy. 

For the months prior to that conversation, I had been painfully aware that something was missing. I was unhappy and anxious, and floated through weeks in a constant state of agitation. My boyfriend would ask me if I was happy that day, and people I saw fleetingly on the street (as Ann Arbor is a small town) would ask me why I looked so sad. When Jane explained what it meant to be an extrovert, I glimpsed a bit of the truth of why I had been so unhappy. 

I was forced to face that same truth tonight, when I realized that I would have to be alone for another hour before going to my boyfriend’s apartment. Whatever the trigger (hairline though it may be), I was sent on a spiral that ended with me curled in a ball in my bed, crying into a pillow with my hand over my mouth. I felt so alone. So raw. My only contact that day were attorneys and interns and the other students in the yoga room for the one hour that I felt some sense of community. 

I realized that I’ve started to linger in grocery stores, just to feel like I can find some acknowledgment in a stranger’s smile when they squeeze past my unhurried shuffling to get to the salad bar. The days I don’t make it to the gym or to yoga are the worst, because I often don’t see anyone outside of work and my boyfriend, who, to his credit, does as much as any one man could for a girl that needs, apparently, a lot of attention. I keep netflix or my television on while I cook or clean so that I have some connection to sound and conversation. Without wifi and cable, I think I’d already be Wilson-drawing crazy. 

I’ve started to sign up for projects that I know will require time and effort outside of work, to draw out after-work meetings and drinks because I know they will be followed with an empty house. I run the dishwasher too often, because it sounds like someone else is home. I leave lights on, play loud music, shop far too frequently for a paycheck of my size. I try to be outside, but wherever I’d go there is lonely too. 

I hate it. I hate the empty, the quiet. I hate how I need people, because I never thought that I would be so dependent on others for my own happiness. I hate sounding sad and pathetic, and I hate that I have let myself fall apart now, simply because I will have to wait for an hour to finally not be alone. 

This is the part that they won’t tell you about in after-school interviews and magazine articles. They warn you to wear a suit to the big-firm interviews, business casual for the others. They teach you about theorems and research design and supply and demand but they forgot to teach us about how to cope with this kind of change, the kind that makes you catch your breath on a sob when it’s 10pm and you’re aching for a friend.

I suppose it ends eventually. People come back or you move away and find new friends and a separate support system. 

I hope so. 

Let The Ship Sink

Let The Ship Sink

datebynumbers:

All I wanted to hear was a knock at the door and the silence was deafening. The empty inbox, the text that never came, the phone that didn’t ring, no footsteps outside my door, no likes, no comments, no shards of anything anywhere except the sound of being unwanted. The heartache felt like nausea…

a letter to myself upon nearing graduation (part 1)

Hey you,

This isn’t what you want your graduation speech to be or what you wish the many people squawking in your ear about your plans come fall would say instead or what your parents have been asking about that liberal arts degree they invested so much money in. This is what you say to yourself on the nights when it seems like everything is pressing back down on top of you, your mantra when surfing the career webpage and the only thing keeping you from biting straight through your lip when you get another rejection letter. It’s the only reason you wake up at 8 am every morning (okay, 8:30am) when you don’t have class until 1pm, because even though you’re a senior you still have homework. It’s why you only go to Rick’s twice a week (and Charley’s once, and maybe Skeeps, but really it’s all in moderation).

It’s time to be so goddamn proud of yourself. Look at you, graduating from a prestigious university recognized worldwide as producing some of the top graduates, the brightest students. You are that bright student. You are that top graduate. more “a letter to myself upon nearing graduation (part 1)”

How far have you walked?

One of my favorite lines from a poem by Warsan Shire is “how far have you walked for men who have never held your feet in their laps.”

I happened to catch this picture posted by a roommate on instagram today of our other housemates…That’s Allie, scrubbing Fina’s feet in the shower after a long day of dartying. It might seem silly and trivial, but the first thing I thought of when I saw this picture was that line. Because if you have friends like these, friends that will wash your feet— forget merely holding them in their laps— then who needs to worry about the boys you’ve been walking to for so long?

Wrote this a year ago. Applicable now, and I keep needing the same reminder. You can’t make another person want you back.

hiatus

I don’t know when, exactly, this became hard again. After a brief hiatus last year, it never really felt the same to come back to a blank document and write about how I felt (as if that’s something worth reading in the first place). It’s not lack of feeling that’s been keeping me away, nor is it a fear of the words that I would put to those feelings. At some point, I became more afraid of what people thought of me for what I wrote—my parents, my friends, even people I didn’t know—and that my voice would taint their perception of me, or get me into trouble that I didn’t need. I had (have) this reoccurring image of everyone whom has ever complimented me, or encouraged me to continue with this blog, turning around and laughing about it three seconds later. The bigger part of me is still struck silent by that image.

So why this—why now?

A series of events. First, a gnawing feeling that’s had me itching to write for far too long. Not essays, not shitty 4am poetry, not screenplays or tirades or petty thank-you’s. Just writing that brings me back to the creation of this blog, and the purpose it served me—ME. Not the rest of the world that might be looking in.

Second, a piece of conversation I overheard while checking in people at a downtown yoga studio.

“We’re all the same, underneath everything. The parts we don’t like about other people—those are the places where they’re just rubbing on old scars you’ve built up. They’re surfacing what’s been scabbed over, and we’re reacting to that pain.”

I took that home with me and mulled it over for the rest of the night. I reached around to the backs of my legs, my palms, my pointer fingers and felt the scars there as though they were hours-old scrapes. I am lucky, I am loved, but I still know pain. To think that my interactions with others are so affected—that my dislike, or my animosity toward another person is still affected by a scratch someone else left years ago—it’s empowering. I’m still struggling to fully realize this philosophy that she imparted upon me (yogi’s have some of the best wisdom), but I’ve no doubt that beneath it lies a great power in both diagnosing our weaknesses and chronicling the stories that we weave between each other.

Third.  A birthday gift from a friend—printed notebook paper covered with deep red hibiscus (unknowingly, she picked my favorite flower) and thick note cards embossed with a large “E”. She encouraged me to own up to my writing, to stop giving up on my words simply because I was a little afraid. She took my old wounds and split them open, then reminded me how I healed them all in the first place. (Thank you, Sam.)

And fourth. A coffee cup at 6am that caught the first bit of sunshine peeking through the dense morning fog. The words “What do you stay awake for?,”  and a reminder that this will always be here, waiting for me to come back.

So here I am. Judgment be dammed (we all know I’ll be anxious about this for the next five hours but I like the romanticism of how not giving a shit sounds). I can’t promise that I’ll stick around for good, or even for the next week. But I can promise myself to be open and honest, to let myself feel my scars and to remember why and how they healed. I can taste my passion for writing, for words—the importance of selection, rhythm, rise and fall. This is something I know, something familiar, comforting and nurturing. This is a part of me, and although that doesn’t make it any less easy, at least I know it’s worth it.