A trail of her

I miss Nicole.

I’ve been listening to the Spotify playlist we made together and sobbing over the old Brand New songs that remind me of

Justin and Bridget and hiking at night, high in the woods beside campus, searching for the monster hill we’d have to climb with our arms clinging one another to keep from falling of the face of the

side of Melanie’s drunk face next to mine, our clothes stripped on the floor next to the bed, next to the first girl I ever slept beside where I thought; “maybe I wish we were more than best friends,” maybe

I wish I didn’t love the color sea-green so much, so my lungs wouldn’t catch when I thought of Haley’s hand in mine on warm, midnights in high school, escaping our parents houses to draw our names in spray paint under park bridges, to watch each other undress only to trace her jawline

but leave no trace, no trace that I slept in your bed and for the rest of my life searched for your same blueish gray corduroy skinny jeans and Mary Jane’s from Urban Outfitters so I could be you in every step I took, be you or be the girl you told me to be when you tilted my chin to the clouds and, “keep your chin up, love,” and loved me without making it about labels

though I almost wish you would’ve, demanded I face that crater of fear I felt the day we were separated, when the bolt was nailed on my basement door and the only way I could escape was to sit on the roof with my somehow straight best friend and talk about boys

pretend to talk about boys or really talk about them and think of you and which love you were with now; the tall, skinny boy in the band that you dated for a year…I heard about the day you lost it to him, and the day you cut your hair and tattooed your knees and finally moved out of your mother’s house and stopped partying with the boys in the band and came out.

And I came out, too. And you told me if those feelings of emptiness ever came back, to come find you and you’d be with me then because somehow you’ve always been there in those moments when the thing that defines me is the thing I can’t talk about so I feel lost until I hear your voice and feel your fingertips tilt my chin up,

trace the line of my jaw

and whisper, love.

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November 24, 2017

I had a lot of crazy dreams last night (rich food always throws it off). One of those dreams I was walking across a long, windy, skyscraper-like bridge behind a long line of women. We were all wearing the same uniform and my general feeling was unease and worry with what would happen to us when we reached the other end. Very suddenly, the woman in front of me turned around and held onto my shoulders and I felt a wave of love and belonging and strength. Her face morphed into my own face, like a mirror (my dreams always morph), and she/I said to my point-of-view, “You are ready to have sex again.” The words were so shocking to me they actually woke me up completely. LOL.

I think I’ve been kind of waiting for a sign or a feeling from inside that I was ready to go back to sex from this year long break. That dream felt so real and so much like permission, like my heart telling my mind, “I trust you again.”

The dream was serious, but with it waking me up so suddenly, I was laughing at the weirdness of it. Honestly though, sex is both meaningful and irrelevant all at once. Like, I don’t care how many people I sleep with, or which gender I’m sleeping with. I don’t care if my sex preferences are kinky or how my body looks when I’m performing them. I don’t think sex with one person, your partner, or multiple, non-monogamous partners should mean anything strange. Sex can be so physical and so pleasurable without reading too much into what it says about you or what it means that you sleep with so many people, or sleep with a same-sex partner, or sleep with a different person each night, etc.

And then there’s that point where sex loses it’s meaning completely. I hit that point slowly, dully. Sex became less pleasurable. I began to use it to fill a void so I slept with dozens of people, multiples per week. I stopped being adventurous in bed, so much more insecure. I began to only sleep with men because the sex was faster and there was no cuddling afterwards. My final sexual partner was a fwb, who I’d invite over late at night by leaving my front door unlocked and falling asleep naked. He would come in, we’d have sex with me mostly motionless or feigning to be too tired to move, then he’d get dressed and leave. To no ones surprise, he eventually stopped texting back. The last time he came over was on December 9, 2016.

On December 8, 2016, I was unofficially diagnosed with Bipolar 1 with anxious tendencies by a local counselor. And on December 12, 2016, I was officially diagnosed with Bipolar 2 and Panic Disorder by my first psychiatrist.

I’ve mentioned it before, but this year has been a whirlwind and a much needed break from where I was on December 9, 2016. I haven’t figured everything out, but I’m much healthier and have much better coping mechanisms in place than I did then. Having Nicole has been enjoyable, but I don’t think having a monogamous partner means I’m anymore healed than I would feel now if I was still casually dating. Still, it feels good to walk back to sex (semi nervous and still a little insecure) healthy and proud of myself. I am excited to get back to that point where again where sex is a fun activity, not a product of my mania or depression.