What it feels like to end a long-distance relationship.
You guys. You guys you guys you guys. Ending a long-distance relationship is a level of bliss I have never known before.
I apologize for my extended absence. I moved to SoCal and then hopped on a flight to the Philippines and was on vacation for 2.5 weeks and have been mostly in my underwear working from home since getting back.
Even though I’m still living at my parents’ house while my sister and I look for an apartment, and even though I’ve been living out of three extremely disheveled suitcases for the past month, I still feel like a sense of calm has settled over my life.
While I was still in San Francisco, I anticipated my move to LA with a mixture of excitement and hesitation. What if Chris and I had grown too far apart during the three years that we were long-distance? What if we’d become too accustomed to our independence and freedom, our ability to come and go and more or less do whatever the fuck we please? I moved to SoCal and three days later we were on a plane together, about to embark on a 2.5 week trip in which we would be spending 24 hours/day together. What if we were over each other and just didn’t know it?
However, falling back into the routine of being together has been so easy, it’s as if we were never apart. It feels so simple, so right, as if I just stepped out to grab coffee and of course he would be there waiting for me once I got back. In the past month, we’ve spent as much time together as we have over the course of the past 8 months, and it’s been fucking wonderful.
Now I split my time evenly between my parents’ house and Chris’ apartment in LA, driving back and forth across stretches of freeway as the what-feels-like-permanent sunshine beats against the windows of my car. Earlier this week I woke up in Chris’ bed and we got bagels for breakfast and I worked from his apartment and then went to yoga afterwards and he came home from work late and crawled back into bed with me at 3am, and it was perfect. It was perfect it was perfect it was perfect.
But, anyways. While I have more to say on long-distance relationships, this feels like enough for now. How wonderful it is to be young and in love and in the same part of the state.
Nothing but roots.
I’ve been going through a lot of my old writing recently, something I’m apt to do when faced with a big life transition. I tend to return to previous periods of evolution, searching for guidance on how to feel, how to react. It’s been an odd experience, to pour through years of writing and suddenly notice how the dreams I had once crafted with striking detail now seem so absent from my life.
Growing up I always thought that I would live with a pen tucked behind my ear, a life on the run. I thought I would live in a perpetual state of travel and transition, a life of total impermanence, traversing languages and time zones and existing without an address. I imagined that love would come in waves, break with the current, and get washed out to shore. I never thought or expected that love would be my sun, a star around which my entire life revolved.
I used to write about so many things, about the cities I would conquer with my words and the bodies I would break beneath me. I had so much passion, I thought it would scorch everything and everyone around me, destroy all of my relationships.
Yet here I am. I look back and notice how the practicality of reality has weighed on my decisions. Boxes packed around me, on the cusp of a brand new life.
Since moving out of my family’s house, I haven’t decorated anywhere that I’ve lived or anywhere that I’ve worked. My reasoning was always that this apartment, this desk, this space was transient - I would exist here for a certain period of time, and then I would move on. This was also the case in some of the flings I had while in an open relationship: I always saw the expiration date. What was the point in investing my money, my time, my energy, my love in anything that I knew would inevitably end?
This next move is different, though; there is no end date. And it’s strange, because I’ve spent my entire life thinking about my next move, about the future that existed right around the corner, and I feel very removed from that line of thinking now. While I’ve had to bury a few dreams to get to this point, I now have nothing but roots to dig into the ground.
San Francisco, I love you, but I’m leaving you.
San Francisco, I have loved you long and I have loved you well, but the time has finally come for us to part ways. In 2.5 weeks, I’ll have a new city to call home.
It’s bittersweet to think of all the things I need to pack away in preparation for this move. Beyond my clothes, my journals, my furniture, my appliances, there are many other, intangible parts of my life to walk away from, routines and traditions and acquaintances to shelve. Remnants of a previous life.
In the 4 years that I’ve been here, I have seen and tasted so much of what this city has to offer - I’ve explored continents of food within city blocks. I’ve spent cold afternoons holed up in cafes, reading and writing in Japantown, the Mission, the Castro and Lower Pac Heights. I’ve let the sun bend down and kiss my skin in the Marina, in North Beach, and on the rare occasion, even in the Richmond. I’ve let the rays embrace my pigments and depart them a deeper, caramel tone.
I’ll miss the bits of my life that I’ve shared with random strangers - the man in the halfway house across from my bus stop who nicknamed me “Boots.” The impoverished man with three kids who sold incense in front of my office building and who inadvertently taught me humility. The regulars in my yoga classes. Even the lascivious 94-year old WWII vet who hit on me twice while on my way to the gym.
It would be fruitless to try and catalog every notable experience that I’ve had in San Francisco; there are too many. I’ve stomped around this city for years, littering it with memories. Concerts and dinner dates and festivals and happy hours and questionable decisions, one after the other. It’s difficult to walk away from a city that I feel has taught me so much about myself, that taught me generosity, autonomy, strength and spontaneity.
I feel like these words aren’t even enough, they don’t do this city justice. How much more can I convey that I fucking love this city.
San Francisco, I would hate to call this the end, so let’s just call it a new beginning. A new beginning to a different chapter, in a story that will feature you again soon. I can’t wait until we meet again.
My Week in Numbers (also known as, My Week with E. Coli)
- Number of work sick days taken: 3
- Number of medical visits: 5
- Number of ride shares taken to and from medical appointments: 7
- Number of blood tests drawn: 2
- Number of hours attached to an IV drip: 1.5
- Amount of weight lost: 6 lbs.
- Number of times I had to poop in a little cup: 4
- Number of times I threw up: 2
- Number of bathroom trips: Probably 80. 50 of those trips probably within 36 hours.
- Number of antibiotic pills taken: 6
- Number of full meals eaten in 5 days: 1
- Longest stretch of uninterrupted sleep in 5 days: 4 hours
- Number of times I tried to fall asleep standing up, because I thought doing so would alleviate my stomach pain a bit: 1
- Number of times I considered dialing ‘911’: At least 2
- Number of times I thought I might *actually* die: 2
- Number of times a fart wasn’t only a fart: Too many
- Number of excruciating, crippling, blindingly, agonizingly painful stomach cramps experienced within a 72-hour period: Innumerable. Well over 100.
Well, I’m pretty certain I got E. coli poisoning last week. From some fucking kale salad from fucking Mixt Greens, which needless to fucking say, I WILL NEVER FUCKING GO TO AGAIN. It was awful. For almost 72 hours straight, I could feel my intestines writhing, twisting, crunching, as if trying to rip apart my skin and escape my body through terrifying, aggressive force. Like someone had punched their hands through my stomach, grabbed my intestines and were wringing them out like wet towels. For days I was doubled over in constant, unyielding pain, agonizingly waiting for even some small hint of relief that no pain medication, no water, no sleep, nothing would bring.
Today is the first day that I finally feel alive again. Today, I ate the first meal I’ve eaten since Tuesday. I have no lessons learned, no advice to bequeath to any unlucky readers who may be unfortunate enough to also experience E. coli poisoning. I have a fairly high threshold for pain and discomfort, and I feel like I only barely survived this. It was the worst, most intense, most persistent pain I have ever experienced. I find it hard to imagine that any other pain, short of childbirth, could be worse.