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All the words I wish I could have told you

I got rid of my last photo of you, and I immediately regretted it. I realized that I will never be able to use the photos I took, documenting our love, as a bookmark.

I regretted that on any suspecting afternoon, with the sun gleaming just right twenty years from now, one of those photos will never fall out of an old book in front of my children and they won’t ask about the boy in the picture with curly hair and reddened cheeks.

I regretted it because you are – you were – my first love. And a person only gets one of those in a lifetime.

When I finally left I reacted curt toward you, almost passive or indifferent, because I didn’t want you to know that this was killing me too. Because I wanted to be strong – because the alternative was weak. Because we met un-intentionally and you immediately became forever etched into my soul.

I regretted it because we were damned from the start – because I found happiness in you before I found happiness in myself.

But, the reality is that I didn’t even know that I was looking for someone like you to save me from my misdirection. In fact, all I knew was that I liked the feeling in my stomach when your bright smile landed in my direction. I liked the comfort I felt in your eyes, I liked being desired. And, I liked how the beginning of our love story sprouted as if it were straight out of a Nora Ephron film.

The thing about those movies, however, is that they always ended just before the story actually began and reality set in.

For whatever reason, I thought myself righteous enough to pop our bubble. To be the one who decides that there is something better, grander, more extraordinary beyond the story of us.

So, I let it go. I convinced myself that I needed to get away so that I could start feeling again.

But seared inside my mind, hidden behind my self-proclaimed and glaring passions for the best love story known to man – and my belief that you couldn’t possibly give it to me – are the photos of you that I took in sepia. My hand on your chest. The back of your head against a sunset. Our hands holding one another. A kiss stolen in a gas station parking lot. Your eyes meeting mine with affection from the driver’s seat when we stopped at a red light and I told you to smile.

I regret that I didn’t give us the chance to seize just one more moment together. I regret that I didn’t give us a chance.

I know that you broke my heart in little ways for a long time, but I broke your heart in a big way all at once. One does not cancel out the other.

I loved you unconditionally. You knew it, too, but you lost me. I waited until I had enough and I left.

I realized that it is better to be single and search for myself, then to settle for something I feel insecure in.

Don’t get me wrong though. Our ending wasn’t nearly as tumultuous as I am making it out to be, nor as I would have liked it to be. One second we were, the next we were not. And that was it. We just ended. There was no thunder, no lightening. Nothing.

Even now as I am sorting through what exactly happened, I still can’t help but think that if you loved me the way you said you did you would have treated me the way you said you would.

I wouldn’t have had to beg.

Even when we did eventually try to talk about us, instead of ignoring the elephant in the room with banter or seduction, I’d be speechless. I didn’t know where to start.

But, please don’t mistake my silence for indifference. I do still love you. I always will, except it’s not the same. We spent so much time together and I know that I am saying so little right now to make up for it. I know that this is unbearable, but I promise you that every word I wish to utter to you is in my mind. I just can’t bring myself to speak when you look at me like that. When you draw yourself closer, it is a bribe which I can’t commit to. So please take a step back, I’m so tired of this. I am drained. If I stayed, I would spend a lifetime choking on words I wouldn’t ever dare to say.

I invested in you and I lost myself. I became dependent. And to be honest, this was the last thing I wanted. I spent close to a year relying on someone I didn’t want to rely on – nor could I. I knew it was the end long before you did, and I held on anyways, just in case, because I have a drastic fear of letting go and moving on.

But how can I reconcile breaking your heart and leaving everything we had together in just a few short minutes. You say that I took you by surprise, that you didn’t see it coming – but I don’t know how. I gave you all of the signs. You saw my silent tears. I always knew I wanted more. I was destined for something different. I felt it, deep in my bones, I just never faced it until I was forced to. I was able to ignore my confusion because we laughed with one another. We couldn’t take our hands off one another. We ran home in the pouring rain together, stopping only to kiss.

We experienced the best of one another for a short period of time, and I know that our relationship lasted as long as it was meant to. We loved each other until we couldn’t. We chewed us up and spit us out. We got everything we needed to get out of one another. We fell in and out of love from worlds apart. But I still feel terrible. And I feel like I should be feeling more even though I have been overcome with intense conflicting feelings every day since we said goodbye. Every day for close to a year.

I guess I just want you to know that I didn’t make this decision in haste. I needed to get away in order to understand more of myself.

I regret not thanking you enough for watching me blossom and believing in me so that I could believe in myself. I should have told you just how much you helped me realize the endless bounds of myself, for better or for worse.

I should have thanked you for letting me go, even though it hurt like hell.

I regret doing this to you because you waited for me. Because I gave you dozens of silent chances in my head. Because you would take me back in a second and I am here telling you that I am confused. That I need more time. That is – time to think. Time to learn and explore and dream. But all you hear is that I need to do all of these things away from you, that I need time alone. That I would rather work on building my sense of self alone than by your side.

But I deserve someone who makes me feel alive. Someone who is generous and who makes my heart jump when I tell people that they are mine. And you deserve someone who doesn’t give you an expiration date.

I am scared that maybe I made a mistake, that maybe I am foolish, or maybe that this is all that my love amounts to. I am having trouble accepting the normalcy of the end of us. The lack of explosion.

I am scared that I will forget. I am scared that after a few months everything we had will feel just like a dream. A dream that is open-ended, a dream that will constantly be on repeat in our respective minds until the end of time. Fated to carry each other’s baggage.

I regret that I now have to give you to someone else. That someone else will nuzzle into your chest, and devour your smell. I regret that I gave it all up so easily and have only in hindsight realized the weight of my naivety. Or did I? Because I also remember being so incredibly devastated, and being met with oblivion, with dismissive niceties. I remember my anxieties being belittled or made to feel small. I remember that I didn’t have the means, or the patience, to heal you.

I remember crying on the dance floor a year ago. Turning around so that none of my friends would see. I was staring at your messages. They were curt, broken and hard to make sense of. I remember being confused, I remember when someone told me for the first time that I deserved a love that was better. A love that nurtured. A love I didn’t have to settle for. A love that swept me off my feet.

I regret that we were different together than we were around everyone else. That no one got a real glimpse of us, in love. I regret being so quiet. I regret that I couldn’t love you like you loved me. I regret that you couldn’t love me the way I needed you to. I regret that we’ve run out of things to say.

I regret that our relationship was already broken even when your fingers were strumming through my hair or when we sat across from each other on the floor in a fit of laughter.

I regret knowing it was the end before you did, and holding on anyways just in case. I regret not telling you just how nervous I was and just how serious I was when I said that I thought we lost our spark. Our magic.

I regret it all because I wish that I held on to those pictures for a little while longer. I wish I studied them. Even though I knew the ending wouldn’t change.

Neither of us can fully heal our heartbreak unless we are apart. We have to heal for ourselves, rather than for the possibility that one day down the line we will be together again.

Seeing you that day, when you came by to collect your things, actually helped me realize that I am better off without you. That I am happy now. Really happy. And I no longer doubt myself. I no longer rely on you for happiness. I no longer get angry or sad because you couldn’t make me happy.

In hindsight I had absolutely no idea who I was when I met you. I still really don’t. I’m not even sure that I knew what genuine happiness looked or felt like.

Maybe that’s what ruined us after all. My indifference. My sadness. All of which at the end of the day amounted to nothing.

Soon I will be able to think about you without ripping my heart out.

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Humor Life

It’s finally here: The perfect strategy for shutting down mansplaining

I’m tired of letting pretentious white dudes define what good art is. 

Men have this habit of mansplaining music, film, and literature to me. They think I’m “smart,” but somehow also assume that I’m not familiar with their canonical old white dudes. They dismiss my taste in things like romantic comedies as being less important. They’re shocked to hear that I like Terrence Malick films as much as I like “10 Things I Hate About You.” I’m tired of men viewing my tastes as less than intellectual just because I prefer art that deals with intimate personal experiences or love. 

Sure, I like French New Wave cinema just as much as your next liberal-arts educated white person. 

But you know what else is good? “Clueless.” “When Harry Met Sally.” “Gilmore Girls.” “Insecure.” Eileen Myles. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Jhumpa Lahiri. Kara Walker. Chris Kraus. 

And more.

[bctt tweet=”Art doesn’t have to be about tortured white men. ” username=”wearethetempest”]

Art doesn’t have to be about tortured white men in order to be beautiful or important. Films don’t have to be dramas. Novels don’t have to be 1500 pages long. In fact, they can have value and well-developed female characters at the same time! 

So I’ve developed a new strategy to deal with mansplainers.

 The next time some hipster dude tries to give me a monologue on how great some historical white dude is, I’m going to interrupt him with my own monologue on something I like. 

The next time a man scoffs when I talk about my enduring love for “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” I get to scoff when he talks about Franz Kafka. 

Some example conversations:

Dude: “WHAT? You haven’t seen ‘The Sopranos?’ It’s one of the greatest shows in television history.”

Me: “I’m sure it’s good, but I just don’t have time to start a new series when I’ve only watched all six seasons of ‘Gilmore Girls’ three times. I’m obsessed with the way Amy Sherman Palladino was influenced from the classic screwball comedies of the 1940’s. The scripts for every episode were like 150 pages long. Also, it is literally a tragedy that ‘Bunheads’ was canceled.” 

[bctt tweet=”You know what’s better than ‘The Sopranos?’ ‘Gilmore Girls!’ ” username=”wearethetempest”]

Dude: “Oh, you’re Jewish? I just always think of Woody Allen films. Manhattan is –”

Me: “I prefer Nora Ephron’s oeuvre. She was a genius. ‘You’ve Got Mail’ is one of the most underrated pieces of screenwriting from the twentieth century. Also, Woody Allen is a rapist.”

[bctt tweet=”You’ve Got Mail is one of the most underrated pieces of screenwriting.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Dude: “Oh, you you studied creative writing? How interesting! You seem really smart. Have you read ‘Infinite Jest?’”

Me: “No, I haven’t read ‘Infinite Jest.’ But, don’t you think it’s weird that so many famous, canonical authors like David Foster Wallace have committed suicide, and yet we don’t define them by the way they died? Whenever anyone says the name Sylvia Plath, people automatically think ‘crazy’ and ‘stuck her head in an oven,’ but when we talk about Hemingway we think about his masculinity. Have you read ‘The Bell Jar?’”

[bctt tweet=”No, I haven’t read ‘Infinite Jest.’ Have you read ‘The Bell Jar?'” username=”wearethetempest”]

Dude: “I mean, it’s like that quote from ‘On The Road…’”

Me: “Get out of my house.”

Dude: “I’m not in your house.”

Me: “Go away though.”

If every single one of us starts interrupting pretentious white dudes with equally pretentious monologues about nineties teen movies, together we can stop mansplaining. I’m done pretending that my opinions on art and culture aren’t important just because they’re seen as traditionally “feminine.” 

I’m done acting like I give a fuck about your monologue about I just need to give Woody Allen another try. 

Join me, friends.

Humor Life

20 reasons why you definitely shouldn’t bother with “The Intern”

Nancy Meyers showed some questionable judgment in her film The Intern, which she both wrote and directed. It is a Nancy Meyers’ film, after all, so one shouldn’t expect much authenticity or originality. This is a woman who had Anne Hall cry over a man, and reduced Meryl Streep to a giggling teenager.

[bctt tweet=”Shouldn’t a female writer/director create more compelling female characters? ” username=”wearethetempest”]

Shouldn’t a female writer/director create more compelling female characters? If not, then who will?

1. Inept old people and technology

Hiring a senior intern is a noble idea, yet there are better examples of tech savvy senior citizens integrating with technology.

Hell, my 74-year-old mom cannot live without her two cell phones and iPad.

2. A woman needs a man to find her way

Jules gets organized and decisive once Ben comes into her life. Men would lose the shirts off their back, if it wasn’t for the women in their lives, but apparently Ben is some rare breed, who has magic abilities to make everything alright.

[bctt tweet=”Men would lose the shirts off their back, if it wasn’t for the women in their lives.” username=”wearethetempest”]

3. Young entrepreneur millionaire syndrome

A thirty-something with a startup and a stay-at-home husband can afford to live in a brownstone in NYC.


4. The quirky female manager

Jules’ startup office is so spacious that she uses a bike to get around.

5. A startup with too much office space

The office is so big that they waste an entire desk with junk, and no one in the company thinks of clearing the space until Ben arrives.

6. A clueless female business owner

Jules is so cluelessly disorganized, despite having an assistant and an intern. Yet, she somehow managed to start her own business and grow it into a desirable venture.

7. A heist to retrieve an e-mail. Really?

Billions of e-mails are sent everyday, and we have all sent the wrong message to the wrong person.

And that’s why there is a recall option.

8. Here comes a business wife with a cheating husband. Cliche, much?

The plot of the cheating husband because his entrepreneur wive is too focused on her business is derivative and predictable.

Is it too much to ask Nancy Meyers to produce an original thought?

9. Women judging other women

Playground moms giving shade to the working mom is so 2010. We are all leaning in now.

Those of us who do not work, respect the struggle of working mothers and wish them well, not roll our eyes at them.

10. The Devil Wears Prada casts a large shadow

You can’t shake the thought that Hathaway’s Andy from The Devil Wears Prada is now running her own fashion inspired startup, and you keep wondering what happened to Adrian Grenier.

11. Driving in NYC

An unorganized entrepreneur mother with a young child and a young business would waste time driving in NYC instead of taking the subway?

I guess the car came with the house.

12. I.I.I. “Irrational Interview Inquiries”

Apparently Jules keeps her startup growing by allowing novices to make hiring decisions – people who are so out of tune with reality that they’d ask the same questions they use with millennials when recruiting a retiree.

“Where do you see yourself in ten years?”

13. A startup that uses only Apple computers, one of the most expensive machines out there

14. Why waste such amazing talent as Anders Holm, Adam Devine, and Andrew Rannells with meh roles?

15. Sneaking in an erection joke, yet again. Is Nancy Meyers confusing herself with Seth Rogen?

16. Are there only white people in NYC?

Where are people of color ? Oh, they’re all working in the warehouse.

17. Bonding over pizza and beer. Oh, so cute.

18. The very busy business woman, who’s guilty about missing dinner with her daughter, will take time out of her schedule to teach her intern how to use Facebook

19. Crying at work

Sure, we have all done it, but not in the glassbox meeting room. We quietly muzzle our sobs while hiding in the bathroom stall.

20. Jules rediscovers her self esteem after a pep talk from Ben.

God forbid that a Hollywood heroine be an independent confident woman on her own, and shame on Anne Hathaway and Nancy Meyers for perpetuating such stereotypes.