leaving is not enough; you must
stay gone. train your heart
like a dog. change the locks
even on the house he’s never
visited. you lucky, lucky girl.
you have an apartment
just your size. a bathtub
full of tea. a heart the size
of Arizona, but not nearly
so arid. don’t wish away
your cracked past, your
crooked toes, your problems
are papier mache puppets
you made or bought because the vendor
at the market was so compelling you just
had to have them. you had to have him.
and you did. and now you pull down
the bridge between your houses,
you make him call before
he visits, you take a lover
for granted, you take
a lover who looks at you
like maybe you are magic. make
the first bottle you consume
in this place a relic. place it
on whatever altar you fashion
with a knife and five cranberries.
don’t lose too much weight.
stupid girls are always trying
to disappear as revenge. and you
are not stupid. you loved a man
with more hands than a parade
of beggars, and here you stand. heart
like a four-poster bed. heart like a canvas.
heart leaking something so strong
they can smell it in the street.

re: best friends and exes, how to fall in love, and something personal

What would you do if one of your best friends dated your ex?

I…uh…Wish them well and then stay the hell away from all drama in the relationship? I can’t say that this has ever happened to me…I haven’t had many serious boyfriends…like at all… so my experience in this subject is limited.

But every relationship—no matter how inconsequential—I aim to leave in good graces. The people you open your heart up to are the ones who, arguably, have the most influence on your life at a given time, and losing contact with them can sometimes feel like losing a part of yourself. Reasonably, an ex would be someone who you were attracted to for his or her best qualities, so why would you NOT want your best friend to experience the love of someone you clearly care for?

Of course, the relationship could’ve been abusive, or you have outstanding feelings for your ex, or any other number of circumstances could come out of a situation like this. But if your best friend and ex are two people who are compatible, who clearly care for each other, and you care for them as well…then I think that it’s best to put selfish jealousy or thoughts of the past aside and give them your support in their relationship. 


How do you make someone fall in love with you?

 You can read as many self-help books as you want and watch as many rom-com’s as you can fit in the quickly approaching Winter Break, but they won’t teach you how to make someone fall in love with you.

 You could try manipulation: withholding sex is a big one, or pulling a “John Tucker Must Die” or “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”. You can change your hair, your clothes, your laugh and your smile to match the preferences of your intended romance. You can be the girl (or guy) who’s always there: a shoulder to cry on, a meal already prepared, a ride home for the holidays…none of it will work. Definitively, at least.

 Nobody wants a love story like that, anyway. And what are you doing, trying to make someone love you? We all know that will end badly anyway. We’re young, and in college, and love is hard. It’s euphoric mixed with crushing lows, unless I’ve been doing it wrong this whole time, and takes an emotional toll far worse than any wine-and-rejection-induced hangover ever could.

 Slow down. Appreciate the time you get with someone and let it go wherever it does. Give yourself the love story you deserve.


When do you graduate?

 NEXT YEAR. Someone slow it all down, please.


You said that this blog was started after a bad break-up. Did you ever get over it? Does your ex read this blog?

 A little background info: when WeStayAwake started, it went by a completely different name. I had just started college, was adjusting to a new lifestyle and people and being away from old friends and family, and compounding all of that was my long-distance relationship with my high school boyfriend. We were together for nearly a year and a half before I broke it off. He was my first love, and my best friend for years before we dated. If you go back through my posts to the very beginning, you’ll most likely see the progression of my emotions as my heart was breaking, and then rebuilding. 

 But maintaining such a strong relationship with someone living two and a half hours away proved to be too difficult—I was falling apart from the added stress and anxiety and decided that moving on would be best for us both.

 It took a while, but I was able to move on. We still talk (although not regularly), and I want all the best for him. He doesn’t (to my knowledge) read this blog, although if he does…Happy Birthday, again. I hope it was great, Zach.


How have you changed since high school?

There are so many different answers to this question so I’m going to leave it at this: I feel very little connection between the person I was in high school and the person I am now. It’s almost as if the Erin that walked the halls of Zeeland East for four years has ceased to exist, and a new Erin has taken her place. The core principles still stand—I’m opinionated, outspoken, empathetic when I want to be and the most uncoordinated girl you’re ever likely to meet.

But the rest? Gone.

What are your after college plans?

Grad school, I guess. I decided against law school at the beginning of this semester and I’ve been asking myself the same question ever since. You know Rachel Maddow? Erin Burnett? Christiane Amanpour, Arwa Damon? I wanna do what they do. 

Those plans are pretty lofty, so we’ll see how far I get. You gotta have a dream, right?

If you have questions, send them to www.westayawake.com/ask. 


To my readers, 

The things I write aren’t necessarily about my real life. Sometimes, I’ll wake up from a dream, or feel inspired by a song, or a book, or a friend. And I’ll write from that perspective. So if you’re sitting on the other end of your computer and thinking, “Who the hell is she in love with?” then you’re getting it all wrong. 


close reading

I am not a quote to memorize and repeat in metered rhyme to backseat viewers whom are only half-paying attention to your unsettled performance. I am an entire book full of climaxes and drops and lulls—long, boring lulls— in action, not a collection of sentences that are high-intensity passion and diction. I am my own protagonist AND antagonist, hero and villain. I am yet-unnumbered pages, bound and threaded together in thick, heavy leather and filled with tragedy, joy, hope, and love. The minute I noticed your pen, red and bleeding into my pages, annotating the parts that you find most fascinating, I began to re-write our plot-line.

You won’t take my best parts and wrap them in your anthology of broken hearts. 

re: heartache

What do you do when the person you love no longer loves you?

You move on. That’s all you can do. 

sweater weather

to a best friend on her 21st birthday

Supposed to be writing a term paper but whatever this is more important right now. And since I haven’t updated in like…three weeks (?), I figured I could waste another few minutes and write something about a special girl in my life. 

Dear Rachel, 

You’ve pretty much always been too cool for me but you ignore that and hang out with me anyway. Remember when I showed up on my first day in Zeeland wearing matching purple tie-dye jumpsuits with my sister? (Chels- you will never let me live this one down. And I love you for that.) I’m still pretty confused as to how anyone would ever be my friend after that but a few weeks later, there I was, sleeping on the floor in your living room with 12 other girls after your mom taught us all how to sew. We were girl scouts together. That’s an unbreakable bond. 

A few years later, we faced middle school. And god. Are there years more awkward than grades 6-8? Probably not. That year, I was the nerd with bendy glasses (uncoordinated since birth), I had to wear an ankle brace 24/7, and my bright pink “PREP” t-shirt was my favorite possession. AND STILL. You, of blindingly-white teeth (shout-out to Dr. Rebhan, DDS) and athletic prowess and the voice of an angel, were still my friend. Me. WHY. 

Enter high school. By ninth grade, we were best friends. We had down a routine: lunches together in the cafeteria, movie nights with other girlfriends, Thursday night youth group, Friday night football games. Your sixteenth birthday was just about the coolest thing in the world and even though things got pretty weird, it was a night none of us will ever forget. Wink. And lord knows how many times I’ve raided your closet. 

We’re kinda old now. We have real responsibilities beyond making it to NHS meetings in time to get the good donuts. You’re two and half hours away, and despite the fact that we talk only once a month, I still have so much love for you. 

You are a beautiful, strong, incredibly talented woman. You bring me, and others, so much joy just from simply being there. It makes me so happy to visit you, and see all the wonderful people you have surrounded yourself with these past three years. They are such an affirmation of your goodness and the happiness you bring to others. And I am so proud of the woman you’re becoming, and the woman you are today. 

You turn 21 in less than three hours now. I can barely believe that the Rach I’ve known since fourth grade will be freaking LEGAL. I am SO excited to celebrate with you. 

Happy birthday, Rach. I love you. 


“Whatever you have in your hand, whether it is a book of the heart of your lover— you have to understand what is there. You may not get it completely at first, but at least be aware of what you are holding.” 

-Professore Vincenzo Binetti, 11/12/2012 

in the name of procrastination.

Okay real quick just gotta say this because I have a 2,500-4,000 word lit review to write (about what? idk. shit.) and i have another ailment (I can sound smart, see?) so I have to beat the cold medicine’s haze before crazy sets in. 

I was watching a “Kay Jewelers” commercial tonight because a) it was Christmas-y and whenever I see something involving anything green, red or mistletoe, I go completely mute/frozen and stare open-mouthed at the cinnamon-scented, jingle bell-filled wonder that is everything yuletide AND b) because my alternative was writing this goddamn essay. 

So I’m watching this commercial and the guy is old and he gives his wife a necklace and she takes it and HER HANDS. HER HANDS, GUYS. They’re wrinkly and you can see her veins and it hits me— we’re getting older. Youth like this— skin that doesn’t sag or lose its glow, freckles instead of brown age spots, hair that resolutely grows despite all the shit I put it through— it’s all fleeting. I’m 20 years old and a Kay commercial has brought on a partial existential crisis but, whatever, I’m gonna feel it. 

We are young and even though I keep coughing like I’ve got emphysema, I’m still more alive than most so I’m gonna let myself get super psyched up to be me. 

Insert every generic thing about life being too short, be with people who make you happy, love is all we got platitudes here. 

And now excuse me while I pause life and write this paper and then sleep and then go to class then work then more paper and, guys, I promise, i’ll live for real eventually. I swear. 

How to Survive Flu Season

So I wrote everything below and then went back thinking I was going to do an introduction, and then realized that I AM sick with the flu and I’ve been sick three times in the past two months (cold, strep, flu) and now I’m thinking that none of you should actually take this advice because I’m clearly doing something wrong. BUT these are good rules to follow if you’re already sick and/or have a shit-to-none immune system like my own! 

Enjoy! Stay healthy! 

1) THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE IN THE BOOK: When your mom says to go get a flu shot, go get a flu shot. Otherwise you wind up sick and stuck in bed with the goddamn flu and you feel like poop and you can’t go have fun or even move because everything hurts too much. 

2) SVU marathons are like chicken soup for the sick soul. You can’t watch too much Benson and Stabler, EVER. Your dreams might be messed up for a while but, hey, the fevers would’ve done that anyway!

3) People don’t wanna cuddle with sicklings. Invest in a body pillow, like, two years ago. Cuddle the shit out of that thing. 

4) Pity tweet until people bring you soup and other sickling goodies (magazines, tea, etc.). Examples from my tweet deck currently include: 

     I feel like poop. Help.

     Aaaandd in bed until I can move again. 

Those are within 30 minutes of each other. Sending the next out in fifteen and still waiting for some unsuspecting sucker to bite. I love empathy!

5) Copious amounts of fluids are of the utmost importance. I’m talking tea with honey, gatorade, 7Up, and, most importantly, water water water. 

6) Feel the theraflu buzz. Love the theraflu buzz. 

7) Don’t be a dumbass during flu season. Take vitamins (D, B, echinacea, zinc, iron, calcium, all that shit that boosts your immune system), don’t share drinks, and keep the DFMOs to a minimum. Get a lot of rest, eat well, and exercise to keep your body strong and ready for the barrage of germs that attack it every time you walk into a lecture hall. Avoid touching elevator buttons, railings, and shaking hands with the man who coughed into his palm five minutes prior. You might have to play the part of a germaphobe, but at least you’ll be the only one not sniffling when you take your next exam. 

8) Heating pads and Advil make for great pain-reducers, but make friends with someone with strong hands for an even better way to fight through those sore neck and shoulders. Any takers? 

Okay I’m gonna sink into a NyQuil induced sleep/haze now. Night, tumblr.