So this story began the way most stories worth telling in my life have, by crying over a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
A few Thursday’s ago, I ran 3 miles around North Philadelphia. Attempting to clear my head, pull myself together and channel my frustrations into adrenaline. Only to end up bent over a tub of Cookie Dough Ice Cream, half a bottle of wine deep, mascara dripping down my face, as I realized that my summer career goals weren’t exactly going in the direction that I had pictured, my priorities were a mess and to top it off, the guy I’ve been dating for the past five months had basically just moved 1,000 miles away.
Which is sad, but I met this guy on Tinder, so now you probably feel less sorry for me. Because tears and Tinder basically go together like Peanut butter & Jelly. And let’s be real, I doubt there’s been many worthwhile romances that began with “When I swiped right..”
But I put on a brave face and for awhile I overcame my summer blues the way I can imagine normal people do. I spent a lot of time at my job, in coffee shops preparing to take on an ambitious fall and a little bit of time working out. But I knew I was getting closer to a break down. Anytime I’m trying to appear “normal” means that theAmeliaBurns is about to do something incredibly impulsive and somewhat destructive to the status quo of her life.
My tears began when I decided it would be a good idea to re-listen to a song that my Crush had once told me he had connected to growing up. Which left me with a shitty pop song on repeat about a singer who was too caught up in “being a bad guy” to care about keeping the people he loved around. Which left my thinking about all the “bad boys” that had entered my life and worrying if this D-list singer was trying to tell me something about my new babe. Bad boys are like candy to me. They’re super sweet until they leave you feeling fat, agitated and sad. We leave them behind until we’re healthy again. Only to forget what we learned, binge & end up in the exact same situation later.
But I didn’t believe that I had binged and the realization that I may have just lost something a lot healthier than bad boy candy, mixed with a lack of sleep is what brought on the tears. And because I’m a writer, I spent hours dissecting those lyrics until there was basically nothing left. By the end of my night, I was a full bottle of wine deep and you would have thought I wrote this guys album.
This shitty pop song, however, was about a pretend bad boy. And that’s what pissed me off so much. Because this song was about realizing that you do care and that you could be better but basically choose not too. And it made me wonder if I was letting my summer be a boring one by not doing enough about it and making things worse by ignoring my potential feelings.
I realize the appeal of emotional ignorance. Much like that shitty pop song, I was once a fake bad girl.. in high school. I skipped class, told teachers who measured my skirt to go F themselves and cared about little but myself. And I thought I was “cool.” Until the day, when I realized all I actually had was a shitty GPA, a boyfriend whose only real skill was baking pot brownies, and a group of gal pals that actually thought they were “beating the system” by not going to college.
What have I learned since “adulting?” I’ve learned that it’s cool to care. It’s even cooler, to recognize when you care about something and do your best to positively develop that love. I shouldn’t be afraid to care, I should be afraid of not caring because all that leads to is shitty music. So let’s drop the pop songs, leave the Daisy peddles behind and finally ask out loud the life long unanswered question,
“Do you like me? Or do you like me not?”
Because at the end of the day, what makes me stand out is that I’m brave enough to openly admit that sometimes I cry about people over a tub of ice cream. But I’m also mature enough to know that crying over someone doesn’t mean that I can’t be better. And if you’re dumb enough to leave theameliaburns behind, she will do just that. My point is, embrace your fears.
I have no idea how long this romance will last and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hope that it would. But I also realize that lately, too much of my energy has been dedicated to one person rather than to myself. And I know this because I spent an hour crying over a shitty pop song like it was real life and 2 more hours being pissed at a man who didn’t actually do anything wrong other than recommend a mediocre song.
So I decided to do what I’ve always done when I need a new perspective.. run. Impulsively, freely and unapologetically unpractical. In the past, my heartaches have led me to other states, foreign countries, and random opportunities. I’m like the Daisy that you keep asking for love from. Crush me, but all I need is a change of season to grow back again.
And as much as I hate cliches, I am an artist. I feel things hard; I channel them into poetry, photography, writing and style. I turn my tragedy into art and at the end of the day, It’s tragedy that has always fueled my success.
That’s why two weeks ago, I cried over a tub of ice cream and decided that with a mere savings from my summer, I was going to Fly to California that week.
I was confident that I could create a California summer dream for anyone (stupid enough and) willing to hop on a plane with me. I tried to recruit people for an adventure, I really tried. It’s strange how some people will act like if they only had the opportunity to be spontaneous, they would be. But like many of my goals in the past, I got things like “that’s crazy,” “Isn’t that a little unpractical?,” and the list goes on. And some of you will read this blog and think about how cool and fun it would be to just hop on a plane one week. But will you ever actually do it?
If you’re trying to make ends meet or you’re in the midst of a totally rad opportunity. Then you gotta do what you gotta do. But it’s frustrating to know that some people only say no merely because they’re looking for permission from somebody other than themselves or they’re afraid of taking the risk of doing something outside the “norm.” And I’ll admit that I was unsure when I didn’t have a buddy willing to live out my Hollywood fantasy. But I realized that I never want to be the kind of person that uses phrases like “that’s impractical” to stop me from having an amazing experience.
At the end of the day, I pay thousands of dollars to study Television media, I have a key to a house that I share with 200 other sorority girls, sometimes I get paid for Instagram posts, last week I threw up in an Uber, tomorrow I have an interview with the Mayors office and last week I cried over a shitty pop song for two hours. There is absolutely nothing practical about being 21 which is why now is the time not to be. There are many things I strive to be called in my lifetime but practical is not one of them.
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” – Jack Canfield
So two weeks ago I was crying over a tub of ice cream. And the next day, I impulsively booked a ticket to Los Angeles, California. Then I booked a bus to San Diego and nights at a millennial hostile for surfers, travelers and wanders. I contacted friends to meet up with, reached out to photographers to shoot with, and made a spread sheet of free activities to do in San Diego. And today, I’m drafting my blog here.
And so that’s how I ended up on a random solo trip across the country.
And yes, I might be young, dumb and recklessly living off of PB&J sandwiches for the next 5 months. But I learned a list of things about myself that week, more than I ever would have learned by just sitting in my day-to-day routine.
- My dark poetry is my best poetry
- leaving my camera behind is the biggest mistake I can ever make. Art is not in an iPhone.
- I miss Fishtown. I should move to Fishtown
- I hate L.A- Philadelphia is too cool to care, Los Angeles cares to much to be cool.
- I had the best pastry I’ve ever had while here. I wish I could bake, I should learn to bake.
- Everything I fear always ends up being easy once I do it. Nothing is ever as bad as it seems.
- I’d rather share a room with 10 strangers than be in a hotel room by myself
- I should listen to the things that my subconscious misses. People, places, activities. These are the things that actually matter.
- Going to a museum alone is better than going with someone who talks the entire time. It’s okay to only want to hear your own opinions sometimes.
- I occasionally let people make me feel bad about doing what’s best for myself. That’s stupid. This was a great idea, all of your desires are great ideas.
And I’m sure there is a separate list of things that I have learned but will never fully realize. And at the end of this life, you’re not going to remember the 5 days that you didn’t take off from your summer job or the money that you saved to spend on boozing in the fall.
But I’ll always remember the week that I spontaneously backpacked through California.
Just something to think about.