We met lips first. The sweet, wet taste of his mouth and the feel of his hands gripping my back made up the majority of my memories about that first night. That, and the sound of my friend’s criticism swirling amongst the clanging of glasses; the jumble of meaningless words and curses which were pulsating through the air. But in that moment, it was just me and him.
His hair was soft; his eyes a dark chocolatey brown. His kiss was intoxicating, the perfect poison to end an already hazy night. I had seen him before—we had crossed paths in countless bar; exchanged smiles and those slow, sexy glances that you can feel all the way down into the pit of your stomach. My friend had pulled me away from him the first couple of times,
“Don’t do it,” she said as she yanked me out of his sight. “I’ve hooked up with all of his friends, I know what they’re like, they’re all the same.”
“It was fun,” that’s what I told her after that first night. But fuck, what was his name? “We were just kissing, so what?”
I didn’t see him again for weeks after that. I couldn’t remember giving him my number and although I had a slight memory of getting his, I couldn’t remember his name, what the hell was his name?
It’s funny how things spring up on you again, usually when you aren’t expecting them, when you aren’t waiting for them, or wanting them, they arise.
“It’s you,” He said, his face breaking into a huge, drunken smile. The corners of his eyes crinkling from pure, alcohol induced joy. I grabbed him, lips first, as was our style.
My friends were critical again. “You really need to stop kissing people in bars,” they said.
“It was the same guy as last time though!” I said indigently, let me live my life, I thought quietly.
This time I had a number though and even a name; a few text messages begging me to come back to the bar, to meet up with him, to let him come over. “You’re so pretty, I just want to keep kissing you. We don’t have to do anything, I just want to hold you.” Yeah fucking right.
I looked at the messages the next morning. Hmm he seems a little clingy.
My generation seems to be afflicted by a deep psychological problem, we want the people we can’t have and once we find out that we can, indeed, have them, we don’t want them anymore. It’s that grass is always greener mentality I suppose, and perhaps it affects us in more ways than just our relationships. We want the clothes that are too expensive for us, the jobs that are the furthest from our reach, the hair color that’s not naturally ours and the love that only exists in romantic comedies. We are the victims of our own day dreams, and when we get too caught up in the ‘what-ifs’ we begin to lose sight of what actually is.
We met up again the next night, my drunken self unable to stay away from those intoxicating lips. We began the night as we usually did, kissing in the corner of the bar. I don’t know why kissing him was so fun. There was this spark between us. This pure physical connection that made the fact that we didn’t know anything about each other an insignificant matter. They were the types of kisses that could last for hours and be endlessly entertaining, but nonetheless It didn’t take long before he muttered the inevitable phrase:
“Do you want to go home?”
To whose home it didn’t matter, we made it as far as the bushes that lined the dark walk from downtown.
There was something wild about what we had going on, there weren’t any strings, no deep feelings, there was just youth and passion and heavy breathing and laughter. But lust, as I’ve learned on countless occasions, is a tricky thing to hold on to, and if you don’t keep your eye on it, it may very well get the best of you.
We spent just one more night together after that. I invited him over, it was maybe 2 am, my friends and I were all still awake, still drinking and smoking—it had been a long night. I had butterflies in my stomach before he even arrived; the anticipation of seeing him made my whole body tingle. I let him talk to my friends for maybe five minutes before I pulled him into my bedroom.
It was the bed that changed things. The realness of having him under my sheets. How adorable he looked as he lay there, muttering nonsensical words as he drifted into sleep. I couldn’t keep my mind from wondering if maybe there was something more to him than just that set of irresistible lips and smoldering eyes. I barely slept that night, partly because of him lying next to me, partly because of the events that preceded in the night. I spent hours feeling his breath on my neck, listening the the rise and fall of his chest. All of the sudden I was imagining a future; a life with this guy whose name I barely knew. Fuck.
Perhaps he could sense it the next morning. Sense the attachment I had formed as the night rolled on. If he did, he didn’t make it obvious, but that was the last time I saw him.
I told myself I wouldn’t text him until he texted me first, apparently now I was the one trying to play hard to get, what happened to him being the clingy one? Half way through the week I realized I wouldn’t be hearing from him. I sent him a casual text, and after hours of no response I sent him a dismissive one, just to ensure I was the one who had the final say in things.
I’m always amazed at how quickly the tables turn; amazed at how quickly I forget that lust is lust, not love. And with all the love faking we do now a days I guess I’m not surprised that occasionally I get confused. I always think of it as a fucked up double standard; an unfair quirk written into my biology, which in a way it is. It isn’t just a difference in how men and women view sex, it is a literal chemical reaction, the release of a chemical known as oxytocin, which is released into a woman’s brain in high amounts during intercourse. Oxytocin causes increased feelings of connection and allows humans to be more trusting; It is what causes people to form close bonds, but during sex that chemical reaction is one sided. Unfair? perhaps; a good way to weed out the douche bags? definitely.
We don’t work in the same way, men and women. We think differently, we act differently, we love differently. For a while I can allow lust to take the reigns, I can ride it out, but eventually my need for something deeper intercedes. Eventually my need for protection and for someone to talk to at the end of a long day takes over. Eventually that wild passion takes a turn into dangerous territory and whether I like it or not, my heart becomes involved. I know it’s not the same on the other side, while my mind is moving a thousand miles a minute, he lies there, in a deep sate of contentment. Well that was fun, what next, who now?
There’s no use trying to deny it; no point trying to see if you can become more detached from sex and treat it like a man does, biology literally won’t let you.
And sure, I could preach to the guys, tell them they should be more cautious about who they sleep with since sex is more emotional for women, but I’m smart enough to know that I’d be preaching to an empty room. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be cautious about who you are sleeping with and why. I’m not trying to say you can’t have fun—I’m all for doing what you want to do, and sleeping with you want, as long as your not doing it in a self-destructive way—but you can remind yourself of why you were attracted to this person in the first place: was it a good mental connection and a compatibility of personalities? Or was it strong arms and a mutual desire to rip each others clothes off? It turns out there’s a big difference between the two.
Sex is one thing, but love is something else entirely. If you are looking for a way to find someone to love there are other ways to go about it, ways to even the emotional playing field before you hop into bed with one another. But if you’re just looking for a little fun and a little physicality, than accept that and don’t let those chemicals fool you. If this guy you all of the sudden feel attached to is looking for the same thing than perfect, things will probably work out, but if you never hear from him again, remember that you didn’t see much of a future with him in the first place. Remember what brought you into the moment, remember why you started kissing that guy in the first place, because that wasn’t love, baby that was fire.
The small pink tube is pressed into the palm of my right hand, in my left there is a brown bag filled with greasy food, the scent of which fills my nostrils, teasing and taunting me. My feet are continuing along in forward motions, with home as the only goal, the only salvation. I am not drunk, tipsy perhaps. I can taste the mixture of Fireball and tobacco at the back of my throat, a lovely taste, until morning comes at least. But I’m not drunk.
I walk with conviction, my boots hitting the pavement hard as I march along. I am fumbling with the little tube, realizing I don’t even know how to work it, and how effective is mace that isn’t going to spray when you need it to? It isn’t even mine, the small pink tube, it’s my roommates, but tonight I just had a feeling, some small voice in the back of my head, telling me to grab it. Maybe it was the fact that I knew I would be walking home early, leaving my friends at the bar to prepare for my 8am wake up call, or maybe it had to do with the crime- the face in my bedroom window; the man in the basketball jersey caught at 3am as he was walking out of our house.
There is something in the air tonight, the wind is heavy and sweet, it ripples across my legs, a small reminder that the seasons are changing, that summer it coming. The world is dark, quiet, muffled. The way it only is when the peaceful are sleeping and the restless are prowling the town, poisoning their bodies and stirring up faded emotions. You shouldn’t be walking down a back road, I think to myself. Go down College, with all the cars, it’s safer. But I don’t turn. My feet carry me along their usual path, feeling as if normalcy is what I need right now. You’re just being paranoid. I continue to fumble with the small pink tube, wondering where to press down, until it becomes evident to me that the hard top flips up, revealing a red button below. Ah ha.
I take another turn; I am close now, just a few blocks. The street lights flicker in my mind, the warm glow they give off pulses like a heart beat, spurring me on. I hear the group of girls before I can see them. Giggling, chatting, all dressed up. They are getting into a car. Ask them for a ride. No don’t be stupid, you’re house is two blocks away. Exactly they wouldn’t care. No, no that’s so embarrassing. The internal battle continues until I am passed the girls, passed the car. Too late. I am on my street now, the final stretch, familiar buildings surrounding me.
I see him before he sees me, the man on the bike. I can feel his eyes boring into me as he passes. I continue to walk, strong, with conviction, a snarl on my face, the small pink tube at the ready in my hand. He passes by, but then I hear the wheels behind me, I hear them change course, just as I knew I would. I step to the side just as he pulls up beside me, too close for strangers.
He has tanned, withered skin and dark, dripping eyes. All the colors on him are the same- dark, muted, dirty. In this moment I feel as strong as I ever have. This is what you have been waiting for, you knew it was coming and here it is.
“Get the fuck away from me,” I say, as I hold out the mace in front of me, finger on the trigger, armed and ready.
“Ah, don’t be scared beautiful.” He says in an unfamiliar tongue, his voice as poisonous as his intentions.
“No,” I say, my voice rising, the fire building in my chest, “You get the FUCK away from me.” I turn on my heel and walk as fast as I can, not willing to break into a run for fear of loosing face, down to the nearest street light. His voice follows me,
“You fucking punta cunt,” he yells behind me, his frustration evident as the string of profanities continues to stream from his ruined mouth. I don’t look back; I know he won’t follow me.
My body is buzzing, shaking. My heart is pounding inside of me, a mixture of pride and pure fear pulsating through my body, through my blood. But my feet continue to carry me, down the last block, through my front door and into safety. The truth is my house doesn’t even feel safe anymore, but it is safer than what awaits me beyond closed doors. I place the brown bag on the kitchen table, now stained from the greasy meal inside. I get out the ketchup and I begin to eat. The food is slightly cold now, but it still tastes just as good as I knew it would. I’m still shaking, but I will not cry. Nothing terrible happened. You did it. You stood your fucking ground. I am so proud of you. The small pink tube rests beside me. I look at it and wonder what might have happened had I not had it. Would I have turned on College, would I have asked those girls for a ride, would I be sitting here right now? Because when it comes down to it, that small pink tube was my first line of defense.
I am born to a mother and a father, I have one sister and one brother, but my family consists of each person in the world. We are all here for each other, to listen to each other, to support each other. Some are friends, some are lovers, some are there for guidance, others are there for play. But the thing we have in common is our love and respect for each other.
The world we live in is vast, limitless. But the place of my birth is in the center, with the world sprawling out around me from all sides. From my front porch I see the ocean, beautiful, blue, teeming with life and colors. Behind me are the vast mountains, which tower up towards the heavens, home to mystery and wonder. In other parts of this world exist the jungles and the desserts, the great plains and the valleys of ice. If you want to go there you must simply go. The way in which you get around is up to you, you may fly, or swim. For as beings of this world you are able to do both. Or you can sail or take a helicopter, it’s your choice; It depends on the journey you would like to take and the experience you wish to have.
In my home the four seasons are equal in length. There is just enough of each to appreciate the beauty and splendor that the season’s possess, but they do not extend long enough so that you become resentful of them.
As children we play and laugh and live and learn as children do. Our imaginations run wild and our hearts are full. We imagine to be anything we want to be and we grow with our dreams, towards the future we imagine for ourselves. As we grow older we begin to discover our passions and we are encouraged to do whatever it is that makes us happy. For me, I dance. I learn to make beautiful movements with my body, I learn to appreciate music and to turn those sounds into something physical, with my body as my instrument. I learn to sing and to play instruments; I learn to paint and draw and make art using nature as my medium. I learn to read and write and I spend hours outside, immersing myself in the fantastical worlds laid out before me. Stories of alternate universes- of aliens and princesses, of robots and dinosaurs, of magic and dragons; all of these are worlds that exist just beyond our own.
When the time comes for me to move away from my parents I explore the rest of the world, independently. I see different languages and cultures. I live in huts and castles, I dwell among the creatures of the ocean and I hike to the top of the highest peaks. My body is strong and lean, for not only do the humans on this planet move as often as we can, we eat only food that nourishes us. Delicious substances which come straight from the earth, chemicals and preservatives do not exist, no one would ever think to add such poison to something that enters our bodies.
When I feel as if I have lived enough of my independent life I come back to where I was born, back to my family and loved ones. I have a lovely home, the one overlooking the mountains and the sea. A home bathed in sunlight, with places to think, and read, and write, and do yoga, and laugh, and sing, and relax. I have a wonderful man by my side. He is not my husband, he is my partner. He is the one who will help me form a family and carry new beings through the first part of life. He is soft and strong and the same time. He is the warmth which lights a fire inside my chest and the dependance I can count on at the end of the day. He has glistening eyes, which make my heart melt, and each time we kiss the rest of the world sinks away.
We have beautiful children, boys and girls. They have curly hair and full, round eyes. They live each day as if it were their last, because they never believe it will be. They are carefree and curious and each day they remind me of the magic in the world. We teach them to laugh and we teach them to fly. We help them when they fall and we show them how to swim. When they have grown and moved on, my partner and I continue to explore the world. We have homes in many different places and we move as we feel.
Old age comes to us slowly and we feel our bodies becoming tired. We begin to search for restfulness instead of adventure; this is fine with us, we have had plenty of adventure. We talk and reminisce of days gone by, we find pleasure in the simple things- a warm cup of tea and the blowing of the wind. We visit with our children and soon enough their children. We see the circle of life continuing on.
Throughout my life I have found many passions, but writing is the one that brings me the most joy. I have written short stories and long novels, memoirs and fantasy. My writing has been read throughout the world, the small lessons I have imparted have inspired change and conversation. I have learned more about the world and myself through this writing and it will remain long after I am gone.
When it is time to leave this earth my partner and I will do it together. We have a party the night before, bringing all of our loved ones, and anyone else who wishes to say some final words, about the time we’ve shared together on this earth. It is a great event, with dancing and laughter, and smiles, and perhaps a few tears- but not too many, for we will all see each other again. When we close our eyes that night, hand in hand, we depart this life, but our souls will fly onto the next world. Perhaps next time we will be dragons, or maybe butterflies floating through the sky- we will not know till we arrive, and when we do another wonderful life will begin.
And yes it’s an outlet for me too, of course it is. A place where I can bitch and moan, and think and complain. A place where I can heal, and a place where I can discover more about myself. But there’s no way in hell I would put it out there if I didn’t want people to read it.
It can be a little dangerous at times, because I’m no expert. I definitely don’t hold the answers to life (I’m 21 for Gods sake, I’m still learning to say no to that final tequila shot). But I do have some experience, and that is where my writing stems from.
The point is, I can be wrong. And although I try to write when I feel like I’ve learned a lesson, when I feel like I have some bit of helpful knowledge that I can share with people, there are some lessons that I just haven’t learned yet.
You see my writing can also be a good way to get back at people. A way to passively say, “fuck you” to the people that have screwed me over and that’s a dangerous game to play. Let me give you an example: the other week I wrote an article from that negative mindset. It was called ‘Severing Ties’ and maybe you read it. It was about ending relationships when they aren’t working, about not settling for something if it isn’t perfect, about waiting to find the person that can do absolutely no wrong in your eyes. But in this case, I was the one who was wrong. I didn’t know I was wrong at the time, but that’s another thing about life: you keep learning lessons, even if you think they are ones you have already learned.
I knew I was wrong when the two people in my life, who I respect the most, my sister and my mom, told me that they didn’t really agree with my latest piece of writing. That had never happened before, so I knew I had made a mistake. There are many relationships around me that I truly respect, but the two that I admire the most are theirs. Both of these amazing women are in relationships with great guys, and I always thought it was just because they were lucky enough to find their soul mates. And yes, they are with their soul mates, and by that I mean two souls that compliment each other, but there is more to it than that.
As my sister so wisely put it, life is a lot more like Frozen than it is like Cinderella. And no I am not going to give you a pitch on why Frozen is a good movie, I think the Internet has done enough of that, but it has a good message. Perhaps the person, who sweeps you off your feet and dazzles you with the possibility of a storybook ending, isn’t the person who is really going to struggle through the hardships of life with you. Maybe it is the person who you wrote off for whatever superficial reason, the person who you can laugh with, the person who you truly connect with, the person that wants to work to form a real relationship with you, who is meant to be your prince charming.
The thing is I had actually deleted the post before either of them talked to me about it. That’s another thing about lessons, for you to truly learn them, you have to learn them for yourself. I wrote ‘Severing Ties’ because I was angsty. I was sick of dating guys who didn’t want to put in the effort. I wrote it from a place of anger and not a place of understanding, and that was where I made my mistake. I knew that ‘Severing Ties’ didn’t convey what I was really trying to say and that is this: if you find yourself SETTLING in your relationship, if you find yourself wanting more, but you are too afraid to go and search for it, or if you feel like whoever you are with isn’t really trying anymore, then definitely sever those ties. But if you really want to be with someone and you are willing to work a little bit at your relationship, then that is what love is really all about.
If you end things with someone too soon, if you don’t try and work together to figure things out, and if you let your fear outweigh your better judgment then you might never know what kind of relationship you could find with someone.
So yes, I make mistakes sometimes, I’m a blogger, not a therapist. And no, you shouldn’t agree with me about everything. I write from my own experience, and each person experiences life in a different way. But I don’t write to air my dirty laundry. I’m not aiming to be the Taylor Swift of the writing world. I am writing to try and better the world, and that is why most of my writing ends with a lesson. And yeah, maybe I’ll lose a few potential suitors, a few guys who would never want to date me, for the fear of having our story written down someday. But I don’t think I’d want to be with a guy like that anyways.
I write so that people will think. I write because every once in a while I get a Facebook message from someone who has been going through a similar experience, and who really appreciated feeling like they weren’t going through it alone. And of course, I write so that people will read. And if you have read this whole long ass post, then congrats you have read more today than most of our nation and maybe you even have something new to think about. Maybe you are starting to look at your own relationships and consider how much effort you are actually putting into them and if that effort is being reciprocated. And maybe, just maybe, if your love life isn’t where you want it to be at, you will be inspired to make a change.
Thank you for taking the time to open your mind, and read a few thousand words. <3
BY Izzy Martens
"Love isn’t always perfect. It isn’t a fairytale or a storybook. And it doesn’t always come easy. Love is overcoming obstacles, facing challenges, fighting to be together, holding on and never letting go. It is a short word, easy to spell, difficult to define, and impossible to live without. Love is work, but most of all, love is realizing that every hour, every minute & every second was worth it because you did it together."