Ajax minus the violence | Darlene Salazar

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I fucked up. I like really, really fucked up. I started the grad school program of my nerdy
dreams last year, it feels weird even just saying it! The start of the program kicked off
with no shortage of self-reflection and asks of personal discoveries through new ideas in
philosophy, anthropology, art and literature- I was enthralled. To add to the excitement
this was right at the time I started coming out after 28 years. And while it continues to be
exciting (literally every single day, feeling more happy and confident knowing who I am),
when it first happened it was magic on steroids because… I was completely in love with
someone I can only describe as quite actually the girl of my daydreams. Writing about
everything was easy and the words flowed out of me, not just for class but for her.

It’s been 2 months since she told me she wasn’t ready for all of it and 1 month since I
last saw her since moving cities for a new job. Everything about the somewhat quick
decision to move has felt so good and true in every aspect of my life except for her. Her,
and my (what I’m formally calling it as of now) writer’s block that’s seemed to
accompany my move but it’s only now just occurred to me why.

In writing a class assignment, (they are literally called Reflection Papers) I was writing
about using leadership concepts discussed in class material being used as blueprints
for my own personal life, AKA dealing with this weird flirty just friend space I’m
navigating with my now ex while we live 3 hours apart. I didn’t go into this amount of
detail but I said I felt like I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Yes, like the
common saying but also because of the song by H.E.R.. And because drawing on
different forms of art and literature as comparison and connection is encouraged, I
made a footnote, quoting the entire line.. insert quote here

And I lost it. I broke into tears like I am again as I write this except as soon as my face
started to make that ugly scrunched goblin face you can’t fight, I shouted, “FUCK. I

I can’t write shit about the comparisons to my personal life because it’s very
inconvenient to want to cry every time you think about writing something that isn’t filled
with a joy that spills out onto the paper. Or when you think about how one of the sources
of that joy needed some space so you said, “hold my beer” and accepted a job in a
different city 2 weeks later to make sure they got enough space. And now that joy feels
so far out of reach and when you write, your heart muscles still tell you to say all the
lovely things about her because maybe just maybe

I can’t finish that line, I’ve come back to it a couple times and it will remain as is.
Now I am tired again from all the crying and I don’t think I’m going to finish this paper.
I’m already so behind and while I’m making progress, it’s slow and painful. A funny thing
I heard today keeps floating in my mind, “you’ll have some calluses on your soul” as
ridiculous and cliche as it sounds, pushing through the discomfort of writing while
thinking of someone and feeling like your heart is physically aching with each line- it
feels better at the end. For a little bit at least initially but it feels better over time, not just
in little spurts. Your muscles have been stretched and not just the heart (cheesy I know
but I mentioned it earlier so it makes sense, stay with me I’m going somewhere with
this) but the ones in your hands and your legs holding you up at your standing desk
because it helps you focus just a little bit more sometimes.

The legs that walked you back to your desk, crying, stomping and pounding your feet
like a child not getting their fucking way. And you do feel like a child because you have
everything else but in some ways that just makes you want it even more- that joy that’s
so special it fills all the empty spaces that the rest of life leaves in between the cracks.
To fill it and make it so you’re always walking in it everywhere you go. You remember
the feeling and then you cry and you write and you cry and you write.

Then you remember a point you were trying to make earlier about feeling like Ajax
minus the violence and you remember some good thoughts you had that actually come
out on paper so you actually have a paragraph more than you did this morning and it’s a
tiny step but a potent one.

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