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2021-08-04 13:30:13 (UTC)

Veronica's Incomplete Guide to Becoming a Better Person

"Halloween" by Horse & Wells [I'm going on a date and the guy sent me this album, it's pretty good!]

August 4, 2021 Wednesday 1:32 PM

I'm on the phone with Liberty Mutual right now, cancelling my renter's insurance. I've been so productive today, I'm proud of myself—I am possibly surfacing from a week-long death? I was having nightmares, and then I was having anxiety, and I was like: "oh, that's chill."

Now that I'm sitting down to write: head-empty.

Ash and I have been talking a lot. We're watching Bakemonogatari together and we both sort of passively hate it, LOL. Most of the time, we end up chatting for a bit. I was so scared of video chatting her for awhile but I got used to it pretty quickly—Ash talks a lot and it's nice. I often feel at a loss for how to reply, because she's just really smart and I can barely keep up. But I like to hear what she has to say, and I like her advice and observations about people and storytelling.

The most surprising thing about her, to me, is how anxious she gets. She's generally pretty chill, but apparently gets really stressed about responsibilities, but in far enough advance that everything usually turns out fine. I think of my own social anxiety and how different it looks. How different everything looks to me.

Ash remembers little comments, things I've said here and there. I'm good with faces but not phrases, so I don't. But I also don't pay attention enough, and she pays a lot of attention, because people are the most interesting thing to her. And me, I think personally, the thing I find most interesting is stories and the way they make me feel. So I end up neglecting the outside world to a degree in favor of an internal narrative that I'm making up as I go. As such, I miss a lot of things. I pick up on how people say things, but I think I often don't notice what they're saying, or I don't find it remarkable enough to remember. That's something I'm working on.

I'm trying to become a better person. I am being a better person—I think. Or maybe that's something I've made up to explain why I feel different, why I feel quieter.

It's easier for me to be nice. A couple of months ago, I was tired after we returned from Hawaii and my sister wanted help with moving. I declined and later my mom came back and said my sister was really upset about that. Given that my sister and I were already on the rocks, I felt extra bad and promised myself I'd do whatever she asked after that, and it hasn't been very hard. I just give her a lot of rides places and save her food or tell her if we're having salmon for dinner. I think she might feel bad about needing rides from me all the time, but I don't care. I feel glad that I can do something for her.

I am not as tired as I used to be. It really took energy, for me to do simple things like put away the dishes or comply with basically any request to give people rides, etc. Sometimes it gave me anxiety, I felt afraid that I might forget to do something and let someone down somehow (this sentence had four some- words).

Now, I just like to do things for people. I have energy to spare, so I'll do the grocery shopping for my mom or fold her laundry or buy her cider. Whatever, it's not nearly enough, I should be doing even more. I just remembered I forgot to take out the bathroom trash—I'm going to do that once I finish with this.

It's so weird to be able to do things at all. To keep promises instead of breaking them. Commit and follow through and not entertain my exhaustion afterwards, if the exhaustion shows up.

Welcome to another episode of Veronica Being Surprised to Find Out What It's Like to Be Not-Depressed. I can't actually tell if this is a non-depression thing or just a side-effect of not really having a job yet, lmao. Could be both—last summer. Wait, I had a job last summer. But still, I felt comparatively paralyzed. And then, of course, there were the days where anxiety actually did paralyze me.

(Those days are going to return soon, when I move to China. I'll be alone and I'll be doing a difficult job. I know in time, I'll get used to the routine and it'll feel automatic, but the fear before that happens is intense and bodily. I know I'll be frozen every day after work and I can only hope I'll be able to sleep well enough that I won't have to suffer through the weeks.)

Anyway, the doing-things part—that part is easy. Socializing isn't as hard either. I've been connecting with friends, or trying my best to do so.

I do feel like I'm missing something. On the car rides with Caroline, we are usually silent. It's not uncomfortable or anything, but I feel a little—guilty. I think I used to fill that silence with my mindless chatter. And when she speaks to me sometimes, I feel like I'm not being a good enough conversationalist, because I never know what to say to make her keep talking except to relate what she's saying to one of my own interests and then it's back to my own selfish ranting, right? It would be fine to do that—that's how people talk—but I don't know how to pass the conversation back to her.

It's kind of a reality check, to know how bad I am at tossing conversation. I was never good at socializing, and I depended/depend a lot on my talkative nature to fill in when the other person is sort of reticent/private. So I'm at a loss.

I don't want to ask her if she's getting along with her roommate or ask her about work—well, I do, but I'm scared it will come out fake. I know I don't like when my sister asks me questions in a way that I know means she's just trying to make small talk. I don't know why it rubs me the wrong way, it's pretty irrational. And it's not like she'll necessarily react the same way.

But I think it feels a little like I'm admitting I don't know how to talk to her anymore. And a part of me doesn't want to admit that to her. Because then it's real and we've let something between us fade a little, as I've gained awareness of how I depend on her.

This is also a reflection of how I behave with other people too, so no matter what, I need to get better. Sometimes I really worry that I steamroll other people with how excited I get about things. Maria especially. I just want to hear about her life and stuff, and she'll talk about it, but I want more. Olivia is nice because she'll talk endlessly to me about her life and I feel so—it feels nice, to be able to lend an ear, even if it does tire me out. Same with Ash.

But people like Nadiya? I don't know enough. I know she enjoys talking to me, and I always feel like we have a healthy back-and-forth, but I do also feel like I overshare and I don't want that. I want us to be "even." Maybe that's not a realistic expectation... I wouldn't know and I don't know who to ask.

Anyway, I feel different. Yeah. I just feel... different.

My mom is so cute. I sent her a text saying I'd be having dinner with Olivia and she sent a crying emoji that said "ok amor." I'm not actually eating with Liv—I'm getting pizza with a guy. I don't want to tell my parents though, because they ask a lot of embarrassing questions and get weird about it. I can't even hang out with Isaac without my parents being like "oooo is he your boyfriend." I don't like dealing with it, lol—I wouldn't know how to explain the casual dating scene to them.

Speaking of Isaac—I think he's over me? He told me about a guy he has a bit of a crush on (I felt called out when he mostly contextualized his crush by saying "I hate him," because that's exactly what I do when I really like someone—is complain about them). It made me happy. And then made me even happier when I realized I was happy for him—because I guess I was still worried I might have latent feelings. Not a crush, really, because trust me, No. But more like, I was worried I'd be sad that I no longer had a simp.

Like when I was friends with Adrian, and I always felt a little upset when he'd get a girlfriend or something, because it meant he didn't like me anymore (which was not true lol, but take that up with him). I didn't have a crush on him but I was still possessive, somehow? Ugh, so gross. That's why it was a good idea to end that friendship. I really, really hope that he, like me, eventually realized that it wasn't good for either of us, and that he wasn't the only one to blame.

I hope he's doing okay, too. This is the most genuinely I've felt that sentiment ever, lmao. I don't feel angry about it right now, because I think enough time has passed and also I have more room in my heart for forgiveness—not just towards him, but towards myself. Because truly, I think that was the limiting factor. Not being able to forgive myself meant, in order to survive, I had to shift some of that blame back onto his memory.

It would be nice if one day we could talk again, but I don't want that to happen soon, because I think it'd be too easy for me to slip back into some complicated feelings.

Speaking of complicated feelings, Ash called me yesterday to tell me that, while chatting with this one guy (gna call him Sandy for convenience) who was also in the Literary Arts department, he mentioned something. The guy was in our Advanced Fiction class, but he was also in a different fiction class with me a year before, the same one I took with Melvin. I remember seeing them befriend each other during that class.

On Sandy's phone call to Ash (they're friends and Ash was apparently giving him a critique on a story he shared with her), Sandy mentioned he also got feedback from someone else and was like, "Actually, Veronica might know them." Ash was fucking LAUGHING as she told me this, because I had actually told her about Melvin.

At some point earlier in our friendship, we were talking about simps, and I said generally I was not a simp, but I simped for the wrong people. She asked me to elaborate and I told her about my huge toxic crush on Melvin, LMAO. This is what I mean when I say Ash has a crazy good memory, because this conversation was probably 2 months ago and she STILL recognized that guy's name. Wtf??? She doesn't even believe she has a good memory, she just thinks it's because she pays attention. Nah, fam, she's got natural skill, ok. Or at least very honed skill.

Anyway, predictably, I felt all kinds of ways. Oddly jealous of Sandy. Maybe that's not odd at all, haha. Makes sense for me, actually. Sometimes I imagine meeting Melvin sometime in the future and showing him I'm no longer the sad person I used to be. Not that he would really care beyond the normal base level of human empathy. Not that he'd suddenly be all "hey, let's go out on a date."

Not that that's exactly how my lazy fantasy goes. I'm really good at stopping my own fantasies from finishing—I usually prefer to fantasize about people who are not me, because I kind of suck in the romance department and I can't get past shooting myself in the foot or painting the other person to be unrealistic in order to compensate for aforementioned "shooting myself in the foot."

So my fantasy will usually stop with a quick chat in a bar (boring) and we never meet again. But if it were to finish, he wouldn't ask me on a date, instead we'd become friends and then naturally start dating, because I hate the idea of dating anyone I don't really know in a serious capacity. Sometimes I realize I've never been in love in a productive way and it makes me feel sort of—anxious. I should get it done soon, I think to myself. It's a stupid and insecure thing to think.

Anyway, due to my still-mostly-unprocessed feelings associated with Melvin (mostly negative, because negativity is safer than pathetically pining), his name still triggers me, but I mostly find it funny. I wondered how transparent I was in our conversation last night, given how perceptive Ash is (and how bad at hiding feelings I am).

This is all I wanted to talk about today. My bodily needs are calling—I need to pee, get more water (I'm so thirsty). Then put my laundry in the drier and practice piano. Yes, that's a plan.


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