Recluses’ Excuses

Recluses’ Excuses

I wrote this entry back in late May and never published it, so here it is ūüôā


There’s been a change in my life over the past 2 months. My anxiety has dissipated quite a bit.

Explanation? I think I’m just getting used to my work routine, and I think the subway is helping me grow a thicker skin, so to speak. Also, lots of prayer. And it’s sunnier longer now!

With the current season of warmer weather, I am entering a season of my life where I actually want to go out and do stuff. I’ve spent the past three years letting my anxiety dictate what I will or won’t do. Now that I’m calmer, though, I’m realizing that a fully lived life requires going outside and interacting with people–and that I don’t want to look back on my early 20s as “the time I did nothing because I was afraid of everything.” Real life doesn’t happen within the confines of my room.

So, for fun, I’ve compiled a list of “recluses’ excuses” that I’ve used over the past few years. (A recluse, by the way, is someone who stays in their house and doesn’t go out. Like ever. Emily Dickinson was a recluse. I can’t help but wonder if that’s why she wasn’t really famous until after she died.)

Okay, so, these are things I’ve either told myself/my mom/my sister/my friends whenever I want to get out of going out (along with some snarky responses I have for myself):

1. “But I’m tired…”–I am convinced that exhaustion is 40% physical and 60% mental. True, there are times when I feel really tired after work, and yet for some reason I find myself doing contemporary dance in front of my bedroom mirror at 11:30 PM. More often than not, my second wind will kick in. I just need to eat some protein and keep calm. (My mom recently joked that I need to take Geritol *sigh*)

2. “It’s too cold outside”–I know I’m not the only one who hibernates in the Winter. And really, it’s not always healthy/safe to spend extensive amounts of time outside in the cold. But if I’m just traveling from point A to point B in a heated vehicle, then what’s the problem?

3. “It’s too hot outside”–As you can probably tell, I don’t like extremes in temperature. I like when the weather is somewhere between 40 and 85 degrees (Fahrenheit). Last summer I did attempt to go to the park with a friend during a heat wave. It lasted all of 15 minutes, and judging by the fact that only 5 cars were parked in the usually-packed parking lot, we were among the brave ones. Same as I said in point #2, though, just because I can’t be in the outdoors doesn’t mean I can’t go out at all.

4. “It’s raining”–Not kidding, I used this excuse twice in the past few weeks. Apparently I’m not waterproof…even though I own a raincoat, rain boots, and an umbrella. I think the reasoning here is just sheer laziness. Also, I get strangely sentimental about being cozy in my house during a rainstorm….

5. “Nobody will care if I go or don’t go”–Don’t go for them. Go for you.

6. “I’m not familiar with that neighborhood”–And I¬†never will be if I¬†don’t visit sometime and explore a bit. Granted, there are certain neighborhoods I wouldn’t visit by myself after 9 PM. That’s common sense, though.

7. “I don’t know anybody there”–Exactly! That means a clean slate for making a good first impression. And if the chances are high that you’ll never see these people again, even better! Hey–you never know who you’re gonna meet.

8. “But I was planning on doing this nice indoor activity”–Oh, like reading? Or going on Facebook? Or watching a movie? Unless it’s a creative project, this excuse doesn’t apply.

9. “My [insert random body part here] hurts”–It will hurt whether you stay home or you go out. As long as it doesn’t prevent you from enjoying yourself and being able to engage in whatever activity is going on, just go.

10. “My nerves are shot”–This is something I usually say after a busy day at work and a tough commute home. It basically means I am emotionally spent and I am in “the panic zone.” This does not necessarily mean I *will* have a panic attack if I go out, but the chances of me feeling anxious while I’m out are pretty darn high. Interestingly enough, there are times when my nerves are shot and I go somewhere because I have to, and then after the first 15 minutes of being there, I end up having a good time for the rest of the night. So, in short, results may vary. But “what if’s” are inconsequential either way.

I will do my best in the upcoming weeks to avoid using these excuses and, as Nike says, just do it. I would love to take a pottery class or sing karaoke or go see Shakespeare in the park.

I just need to find people to do these things with. And I just ended a sentence with a preposition.


Letters to guys I had crushes on in college.

Letters to guys I had crushes on in college.

The title speaks for itself, no intro necessary. I will say this, I don’t think any of these guys knew I liked them (except for one).

If I said what I really wanted to say, here’s how it would go.


Dear Blue-Eyed Nice Guy,

When I met you at orientation, I couldn’t help but feel drawn to your shaggy hair and goofy personality. You were one of the prime reasons I wished I was single upon entering college, and I spent the rest of the summer wishing the end of August would just come already. Of course, given that I already had a boyfriend, I couldn’t date you. And as time went on, I realized that you and I weren’t compatible. Whenever I hung out with you and the rest of the group, I felt pretty out of place. Of course, being the only girl–and the only person in the School of Arts–didn’t work to my advantage. I’d visit you all¬†after classes were over, and you’d all sit and play video games as I sat quietly and watched. Any attempts to start a conversation with any of you failed when you were all in video game mode. Unfortunately, I was quite immature and insecure, since I had just graduated from an all-girl high school and I was in a long distance relationship. I wish I could start that semester over and “be better,” less¬†clingy…but hindsight is 20/20. You were the¬†one I missed the most when I backed away from the group at the end of the Fall 2009 semester. At least we both liked Maximum Ride novels.


Dear Spoiled Greek Boy,

I call you a “boy,” because you were never a man. You were the main reason I had to leave the group behind at the end of the Fall 2009 semester (but I do forgive you). You spent money like water, because your mom had money. Like, she had-had money-money. Our AIM conversations were hilarious at best and insulting at worst. We argued over beliefs, you made fun of my obnoxiously large bookbag, and you badmouthed me behind my back. But in the beginning, you were quite sweet. And you played guitar. And I like guys who play guitar. I still remember that conversation we had when we sat back-to-back in the library and spoke in hushed tones. It’s the stuff of movies. You never got to hear my story, and I never found the right time to tell you. I was happy when you transferred out, because at least I wouldn’t have to see you around campus anymore. Talk about awkward.


Dear Sadistic RA,

You are quite possibly one of the most villainous guys I have ever met. You enjoyed sabotaging people for the fun of it, you had an ego the size of Russia, and you were too talented for your own good. You were a¬†savvy violinist and sax player. I think you might have even played guitar, too (me and the stupid guitar players…). Perhaps you were bullied as a child, and that could be why you liked bullying others for the fun of it. One moment, you would seem wise beyond your years, and the next moment,¬†you would act like an 11-year-old jerk (gotta keep it PG here). You led my friend on, but I wasn’t going to let you do that to me. You and Spoiled Greek Boy reminded me that GUYS GOSSIP TOO. When you found out I was a pastor’s daughter, you said that made me even more desirable–because of the conquest that would be. But oh, you never conquered me. You ridiculed me to no end, which is why I had to unfriend you on Facebook. And despite your frequent attempts to re-add me, I will never, ever add you again. I remember when you tried to teach me a self-defense move. And with every time you coerced me to hug you hello, I would *shudder*. It was like God was convicting me¬†to get away from you. You were nothing but trouble, trouble, trouble. Enough with the Taylor Swift references. Clearly, I found dysfunction attractive.


To My Favorite Atheist,

When I first saw you in Intro to Psychology, I thought you were a junkie. With your matted shoulder-length hair, skinny body, and worn out grey hoodie, I was convinced you were a drug addict of some sort. But once I saw you in a t-shirt, my perception began to shift. Talking to you was like pulling teeth. Either you were incredibly shy, or you had no social skills whatsoever. Or you found me annoying. I don’t know. We both started out as English majors, though, and I liked talking to you in class. I don’t know exactly why I was attracted to you. I guess there was something endearing about your awkwardness, and you were so¬†freaking brilliant, and–oh–you played guitar. I have a video on Facebook of me singing an original song called “Closer to the Edge.” I wrote that one for you. The message of the song was to give you the motivational push you needed to pursue that girl you liked at work. Because I had already accepted that I would never be with you anyway, and I wanted you to be happy. Or maybe I secretly wanted things to not work out…maybe.¬†Anyway, you were the first and only time I’ve cried for someone’s atheism. I found out from something you posted on Reddit. And I sat at my laptop and cried. Not because of me, but because of you. That might change someday, but in the meantime, I’m glad having a girlfriend changed your life for the better. When I see how you look now vs. how you looked back in freshman year, I can’t believe the difference. Did you sell out, though?


Dear Mumbling Scarecrow,

After I met you, I held onto the idea that the transfer students at MC were more interesting than the students who were there since day 1. You were an upper classman, so I knew my time of seeing you around campus was limited. All the same, I made the most of the meager opportunities to converse with you. My friend and I agreed that there was something kind of James Dean about you, even though you don’t even remotely resemble him. You walked with a swagger, your lanky limbs moving kinetically as you balanced your brown leather messenger bag on one shoulder. I remember that you¬†duck taped the inside of one jeans leg because you didn’t like the rip at the knee. Despite the fact that you could paint (and play guitar), you were a Physics major. This always boggled my mind, the dichotomy of being an artist interested in science. Our conversations often consisted of me saying “what?” because you never spoke clearly–you spoke in this low mumble. Words were buried behind your lips. And yet, your resume says you did¬†Toastmasters International. A friend of mine saw you not too long ago, and she informed me that you remembered me. Since I’m always afraid of being forgotten, I’m glad you remembered.


Dear Esoteric Metal-and-Pot Head,

Ah, you. Every time we spoke on AIM, you were either about to take a shower or about to go smoke a blunt. Clever excuses. Just kidding. Maybe not. Anyway, you were yet another guitar player I knew, except you had legitimate skills. That combined with your talent for poetry is what made you intriguing. I found your ideas about “the universe” a little strange, but you found my ideas about God a little strange, too, so I guess we’re even. You once answered your door shirtless, and I had to restrain my inner giddy schoolgirl as I sat at your feet on your carpet¬†to hear your teachings ramblings and musings about life and music. You lost my copy of The Case For Faith by Lee Strobel, but I hope you find it when you most need it. What I liked about our conversations about beliefs¬†is that they never escalated into arguments. We were able to have thoughtful and challenging discussions without leaving a bitter taste behind. Thank you for that. My short story “Wander” is based on you, in case you didn’t know.


Dear Writing Thief,

We met on a mutual friend’s facebook wall. I recognized your name because your short story¬†won the Egan Award¬†the¬†previous year at¬†Manhattan Magazine’s release party. So I was like, “Oh my gosh, you’re that guy! You write well!” Thus began an internet correspondence, which turned into an internet flirtationship. You had already graduated MC, but you were going to visit campus in the Fall. ‘Til then, we spent the summer chatting long into the night, and you told me things you probably haven’t told other people. With honesty comes vulnerability, though, and I knew we were both becoming attached, and I knew that the relationship was doomed before it even began. Beliefs aside, you had a dark side to you, and I knew the potential was there for you to become volatile as times goes by. I had just started learning to deal with my own baggage, I couldn’t carry yours, too. And yet, I didn’t want to completely leave you behind. Severing ties with you was one of the hardest decisions I made during my college years. Then I had to face the consequences….You knew the best way to¬†get your revenge¬†was to steal something of importance to me. So you kept the only existing copy of that play I wrote when I was 12. I never got it back in my hands. You never mailed it to me. For all I know, you probably burned it. I can’t say I didn’t deserve what you did.


Dear Artistic Jersey Boy,

You (serendipitously?) transferred in when I was starting out my new major–Communication. I looked forward to every Tuesday, because we had 3 classes together–a total of 7.5 hours worth. I loved your creativity, your refreshing¬†sense of humor, your intelligence, your taste in music, and your smiling eyes. I think you were the strongest crush I had in college–to this day you still occasionally pop up in my dreams (not like that haha). I admired your colorful perception of the world, especially since I was very black and white and grey. I thought we would’ve complemented each other nicely. Thing is, you wouldn’t give¬†me the time of day. After leaving Public Speaking, we’d walk back to the main campus for Video Editing, and we had that 1 hour break in between those two classes. I always told you I would be eating my chicken cutlet sandwich from home for dinner. Portable meal, dude. I could have eaten it anywhere. But I never found the courage to just ask you if I could stop by your dorm room. And you never thought to invite¬†me, so we would go our separate ways until Video Editing. I’d¬†sit alone at the mini quad and eat my sandwich in silence. But my imagination was loud with the possibilities of what could be. I felt envious of the girls you befriended, and I wondered why I could never have that sort of friendship with you. I guess I wasn’t…colorful enough. Interesting enough. Bohemian enough? I don’t know. I stopped trying to initiate conversation and embraced the truth–this ship was sinking at the harbor. My story “Anticipation” was written based on you. I figured that would be obvious…but for a deep thinker, maybe you’re more dense than I thought.


Dear Curly-Haired Adonis,

Your hair was the first thing I noticed about you, but then again, it’s probably the first thing anybody notices about you. Where do you get those incredible golden locks? ¬†Your tall, athletic frame, your blue eyes, your happy disposition, how articulate you were (are)…I’m surprised girls weren’t just throwing themselves at you. Or maybe they were, I wouldn’t know because I only saw you in class or on the quad playing ultimate frisbee with your friends. In our Film Noir class, I had dubbed you as one of the members of the “holy trinity”–you and two other guys made the most philosophical, intellectually rich observations about the films we watched, and I would sit there in awe as you spoke. I was smitten with you from a distance. I didn’t know you well personally, but you seemed like a swell guy nonetheless. ¬†You are also way out of my league (like, I am far beneath you). It’s like the difference between creme brulee and jello…and that’s a film reference.


Dear Younger Christian Man,

Last, but definitely not least. Unlike the previously mentioned guys, you and I actually share the same beliefs. Because of this, you were able to help me through some rough times in college when I needed (wanted) to hear a Godly perspective. I liked how I was able to tell you anything, and nothing shocked you. We’d have these obnoxiously, gloriously loud conversations about God in conspicuous parts of the campus, so people within earshot could hear everything we were saying. And we didn’t care. When we went with our friends to the Argentine Tango lesson, I thought you were my best partner. I liked you enough to ask you to accompany me to an event. That slow dance with you is the last time I slow danced, and it was the first time I slow danced in a long time. You were always able to uplift me, but I knew you were carrying some burdens of your own, and you had to put them on the back burner while you went to school and worked. In the end, I’m not sure our lives were going in the same direction. I mean, sure, we’re both following Jesus, but we’re parallel to each other, and our individual paths aren’t crossing. I left the ball in your court on purpose–when I told you I wasn’t going to initiate contact with you anymore just to see what would happen, my hypothesis was proven correct–indeed, you forgot about me.

But it’s okay.


College was an interesting time for me. After I graduated from an all-girl high school, I was ready to take the plunge back into a co-ed environment. The fact that I had a boyfriend outside of school for almost 2 years actually saved me from a lot of misery. If it weren’t for Clark*, I don’t know what lengths I would have gone to to impress guys back in freshman and sophomore year. I still had some growing up to do. By the time I graduated, I believed wholeheartedly that I didn’t need a man to complete me. There was a lot of sorrow that came with this lesson, though. Because if you read the above, you’ll notice a trend.

Okay, besides the guitars.

Ignorance. I only liked guys who were mean to me or who ignored me (with a few exceptions, I guess). Sure, I was never 100% ignored, but if I hadn’t opened my mouth to talk to them first, I probably would have ceased to exist in their minds. Just another face in the crowd of undergrads wandering around campus. With the exception of one guy, the attraction wasn’t mutual. Over the course of the past few years, there were a few guys (inside and outside of school) who have expressed interest in me, but I wasn’t interested in them. I wanted the guys who made me feel invisible. Why? I wish I knew.

But I love and respect myself enough now not to bother wasting time with crushes like these. Actually, that’s not fully true. The truth is that there is a sad lack of testosterone in my life since graduating, so there aren’t any guys around for me to like. All the men at work are married or taken (and old[er]). Which is fine, because I can just focus on my work without any distractions. No guys my age at church. *Sigh* This is something for another entry. ¬†I’m tired of my days of pining and pursuing. No more. I’ve sworn it off.

Except for those times I glance¬†at guys on the subway, hoping we’ll make eye contact.

But they don’t see me.