IT HURTS BECAUSE IT MATTERS

You said something yesterday that really bothered me, “This isn’t even real”. Of course it’s real. I mean at least as real as we are ourselves (which to be fair, is negotiable). But if I am real, and you are real, then it all is. I know it’s real because I have this cut/bruise type thing on my thigh and you kept squeezing there in just the right spot for it to hurt a little bit and it’s real because I’m sore from the way my legs were tangled around you for most of the morning and it’s real because I can still smell the cigarette you smoked sitting next to me and it’s real because you left your favorite sunglasses in the seat of the bus that I cried in earlier and it’s real because I still have the candy you and your mom gave me in my bag, and I’ll probably eat it later today, to be honest.

It feels like a break from reality I guess, because for 24 hours at a time things are almost too good to be true and all the other things stop mattering and I forget I have a phone full of contacts of other friends I could tell about everything and it seems like a little vacation or daydream or something and maybe that’s what you meant. But vacations and daydreams are as real as work weeks and Monday mornings and nightmares. If I can smile about days like yesterday, weeks after they pass, then isn’t that proof enough that they happened? If I can sit here and feel sick over you not wanting to talk to me anymore, then isn’t that proof that you exist and did want to talk to me at some point? Just because you aren’t the only person I have ever had feelings for in the world and just because we aren’t technically together doesn’t mean anything we feel towards each other is pretend. I think whatever we are doing is fun and strange but I know it’s also real (good things can be both).

Sometimes when I feel things that don’t have words for, or have so much to say but can’t formulate sentences that make sense, I try to see if other people have already come up with what I’m trying to say and sometimes they have. John Green (my favorite adult and one of my favorite writers and the dude who’s favorite band is the mountain goats, who you also really like) wrote something (a lot of things) that makes sense. So when you were telling me, and I was telling myself, to stop crying and feel better because none of this is even real, we were wrong. “When you try to minimize your own pain you’re doing yourself a disservice. Don’t do that. The truth is that it hurts because it’s real. It hurts because it mattered.”And maybe that’s why I love jumping into freezing cold oceans and the way vodka burns all the way down and when my coffee is too hot and burns my tongue and when the wind is so cold it stings and why I didn’t mind when you squeezed the bruised spot on my leg and it’s why I read books where reality is examined, rather than escaped, and I watch movies that aren’t necessarily funny. Maybe that’s why I want to keep talking to you and seeing you and being affected by you even though all of it made me cry on a bus and want to throw up this morning. That same author also wrote “that’s the thing about pain, it demands to be felt”, and I think that’s why unlike you, I can’t just pretend to ignore it. I appreciate all of those things because they make it all real and they make it all matter and yesterday was real and it mattered and you are real and you matter, and even though our day long dates aren’t going to save the world they still impact it in some way and impact me and its important that they happened (and hopefully continue to happen). They felt good and they hurt and they were/are not anything less than real.

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