I’ll only cry a little


Maryann Warren

I had this snapshot as my profile photo on Instagram for a few months last year, during a similarly nostalgic period in my life.

Lately, everything has had a pattern.

There have been nights that have drawn on to lengths unimaginable, my time spent within a shallow pool of cluttered thoughts, the ripples on the surface composed entirely of unintelligible prose.

There have been days that start with promises to “just get through it,” my words ending up in heaps on my comforter that cuddle close as I either fall asleep or lay restlessly awake.

Yet, most of all, there has been loneliness—not the kind that I feel inclined to absolve or the variant that pangs within my chest alongside each heartbeat.

I have not been lonely, but rather alone.

Yet—despite these idiosyncratic elements that tinge my days in familiarity—everything has felt without order. From my hair that bridges the gap between blue and brown in discomfort to the septum piercing that now graces my face in understated recognizability, the winter months have accosted my spirits as readily as the wind has accosted my windows.

From the seconds to the hours to the days that blur together, every moment has stung like growing up. Fingernails embedded in the bedrock of my life, I’ve been clawing my way towards any remnant of what once was, and each night before I go to bed, I find myself listening to the pop radio hits of the early 2000s.

Most of all, I revel in the growing up of it.”

I find myself looking at pictures so deep within my camera roll that I have to scroll in sweeping motions.

I find myself playing the Sims 3 and turning on episodes of Pretty Little Liars to fill the empty spaces within my emerald and flush oasis of a bedroom.

It’s like a quilt with the squares sewn up in the wrong order or the eclectic collection of antiques that they always station near the back door—some people may want this, but not the people on the street. The people on the street would never choose to walk in on the promise of becoming what this has become.

The people on the street want antiquated, dainty jewelry and fine leather couches from unknown places. They don’t want small, gilded duck statues and peeling pages filled with discordant poetry.

That’s okay though, because I want those things. I want the patterns, no matter how convoluted they may seem at first glance.

I pine for music and Sims 3 families that bobble along the screen in increasing nostalgia. I look forward to antique store shopping trips that end in the cashiers recognizing my face—end in them telling me that I “walked in with a purpose.”

Most of all, I revel in the growing up of it. It hurts, but not like anything else I’ve ever experienced.

It’s like getting a needle through one’s septum—a second of pain that paints the walls in slowly ticking clocks, clocks that gradually speed up with each in-breath and disappear with each out.

And just like last time, I’ll only cry a little.