If the moon smiled, she would resemble you

“If the moon smiled, she would resemble you.
You leave the same impression
Of something beautiful, but annihilating.”
-Sylvia Plath

I have a confession to make. I miss you. I am regressing into someone I haven’t been for a long time because for the past few days I have been experiencing a sort of extended spell of nostalgia. I miss Life. I miss talking by the pool, pouring our wine-drenched hearts out, and shouting into the void that we want to Live with a capital L.

We wanted to take the city by storm, shower everyone with our poetry, color the sidewalks with our essays, paint our story on walls. It was going to be great. “But what story?” we asked. We hadn’t actually done anything yet. There we were, a couple of twenty-somethings with big ideas, bigger dreams, and the biggest appetite to explore. Just explore and drink everything in. We were the kind of people who translated everything into poetry. The fact that we could afford only cheap wine? There’s poetry in that. When we rode the bus for a block because we didn’t want to walk under the scorching heat? There’s poetry in that. When we concluded that a friend-breakup is much worse than a couple-breakup? There’s sad, sad poetry in that.

We loved the city, but sometimes the city didn’t love us back. We argued that no love is perfect, and that rejection isn’t always a rejection; sometime’s it’s a bargain. But we knew, at the back of our minds, that maybe there weren’t enough rain clouds for a rainfall, much less a storm.

Three years later and here I still am, the same wide-eyed, writer-wannabe who drafts essays in the cold, utilitarian office at seven in the morning. I tried to be a poet, but I think I am a better narrator. I am a more comfortable narrator, at least. I am not as riddled with angst as before, my essays not always punctuated by bouts of regret or anger. Perhaps that is better for me but worse for my writing. Perhaps not. But in any case, I drink less wine and gulp more beer. I am rediscovering the city and its people, the familiar back alleyways, and the renovated old buildings now housing new-age bars playing host to a fresh breed of dreamers. And you are somewhere. Exactly where I don’t know. But I know you’re there, hopefully with better luck than I do about getting our story told. And one day, even if we don’t see each other again, perhaps I’ll come across a wall with your name on it.

The Change

The older I get, the more I realize how changeable we all are. And how necessary for us to be so. Imagine never outgrowing the furry earrings you used to wear as a child or that astonishing phase when everyone thought wearing a necklace with a crocodile (or some other unknown reptile) tooth as a pendant was the peak of fashion brilliance. Imagine never having to move on from a bad hairstyle and sporting The Rachel long after the hype has ended. Imagine never having to buy a new pair of pants because mom jeans never went out of style. Imagine still liking the boy from high school who grew up to be the biggest tool you have ever seen.

Then there’s the let’s-start-a-band phase. The I-can-pull-off-wearing-a-fake-diamond-stud-earring phase for the guys. The I-look-good-in-goth phase. The it’s-fun-to-party-with-strangers phase. The not-studying-is-cool phase. The who-needs-a-haircut-I’ll-cut-my-own-bangs phase.

We look at the past as if it was lived by an entirely different person because, in many ways, it’s true. But now we cringe because we have moved on. We laugh at the version of ourselves five years ago because that person was stupid enough to think that she could pull off going to the office for a week with a massive hangover every day. We let out a wistful sigh when we think about the high school version of us looking forward to going to college and reinventing ourselves—just enough to be more interesting, not so much as to become a bottomless pit of bad decisions overnight.

See, we change decisions all the time. We reevaluate how we feel about things and people on a regular basis. From time to time, we question what we want to do with our lives and why we want to do it. We make mistakes, only we do not call them mistakes; we call them experiences. We try different things. We betray ourselves for the sake of the Future. Sometimes, we betray the Future for the sake of the Now. But that’s okay. It’s better to collect the I-shouldn’t-haves than pile up on the what-ifs. Because how else will we know who we truly are if we’ve never been anything else?

The older I get, the more I realize how changeable we are and how necessary it is sometimes to leave things and persons behind. Even if that person is ourself. Because there will always be new experiences to try and a new version of us that we need to meet and grow into. And my god is it absolutely worth it.