Rainbow unicorn toast.

Nose to the sky, we fly through the crisp December air splitting the clouds into millions of pieces.

This setting is familiar.

My legs sit on the plastic leather seat. Iced coffee to my right. The sky is painted with city lights that glimmer along the black horizon. A man made Milky Way.

Where are you off to?

I take the large headphones off my head and rest them around my neck.

Boston.
Well, duh, But I mean after we land. Boston, Boston, or like Worcester Boston? He inquires.
Haha, well, right outside. I’m on the red line. Does that count?
I guess so.

He asks me where my accent is.

I tell him I left it at Logan airport in September. I’m going to pick it up at Terminal A when we land.

He’s amused.

I snap a picture of the sunrise.

Have you ever seen one of those before?
What?
A sunrise.

He’s sarcastic, but so am I. I understand the language.

No, I haven’t. I’m hoping to share this phenomenon with my Instagram followers. Maybe make it on National Geographic or something.

He smirks.

It’s a smooth trip so far.

I tell him about the time I was shot 6 feet in the air on my way back from Ann Arbor due to severe turbulence.

6 feet, huh? And you lived to tell the tale?
I’m here, aren’t I?

He rolls up the sleeves of his black and red checkered flannel and scratches his 5 o’clock shadow.

The clouds remind me of unicorn toast. The rainbow clouds, like butter, are lightly spread across the soft blue sky.

I tell him about this comparison.

He tells me that the unicorn trend is dumb.

I nod in agreement. He doesn’t need to know that I follow a unicorn toast account on Instagram.

The ice in my coffee is melting. I tell him to stop distracting me so I don’t waste my $3.42 that I spent on this beverage.

Iced coffee in the winter, huh? You’re a true Massachusetts gal I guess.

We talk about our confusion with Wawa. Why do people love gas station food so much? It puzzles us. I tell him that I went to the new Dupont location and was overwhelmed and grabbed a Greek salad from across the street instead.

It’s refreshing to chat New England things with a fellow New Englander. I tell him this.

You flatter me.

I roll my eyes.

Haha, you’re right though. DC chat can be sort of exhausting sometimes, right? Like, I’m just trying to enjoy my beer why you gotta bring up tax reform?

I laugh. I can empathize.

We start to descend. 20 minutes until we land, the pilot tells us.

The clouds begin to break. I can see the ocean beneath us. I don’t fear flying, but my stomach turns ever so slightly when we are above water.

I close my eyes.

You can’t nap now. We’re about to land and you need to keep me distracted because I get nervous when I fly over water.

I smile and look at him. For a moment, I forget my fear of crashing into the deep depths of the Atlantic Ocean.

Me too.

The ice in my coffee is melted. I take a sip anyways.

Ugh, this tastes like pond water now, I complain.
Sorry, I think I have $3 in my wallet, but you’re gunna have to come up with the 42 cents.

How about you just buy me a coffee in DC?

It was like word vomit.

Did I just ask this guy out? What the actual fuck Beth. Here we are, two strangers casually chatting on a plane, nervous AF flying over the Atlantic Ocean and you just made it weird. Gr8. Awesome. Well done.

Suddenly, crashing into the deep depths of the Atlantic Ocean doesn’t sound half bad.

Coffees are more expensive in DC, he responds, that doesn’t seem fair.

I turn red and my stomach is still twisting — and it’s not because of the water. I snort out a laugh as a nervous reaction. I don’t use “snort” for literary effect. I use it to describe the actual sound that came out of my mouth.

How about this, he suggests, I’ll buy you a $5 cappuccino from some trendy coffee shop, but then you gotta pick up the $1.58 and get me a scone or something.

A scone? I scoff at him. How about a bagel? My stomach starts to feel normal again.

Fine. Just make sure they don’t overdo it on the cream cheese.

The wheels hit the runway and the plane shakes. I hold onto what’s left of my pond water. Coffee, I mean. At this point they are one in the same.

Which one is your bag?
The purple one. 
He points, this one? No way. Is this vintage L.L. Bean?
You bet it is.
Unreal.

We exit the airplane and he hands me back my phone. 603. A New Hampshire zip code.

My names Ben*, by the way, I don’t think I ever told you. Pencil me in for after the holidays. I hope Santa brings you a new duffle bag. You’re overdue. Merry Christmas, Beth.

Merry Christmas, Ben.

I am a storyteller.

I am a storyteller. 

“What’s up with a pretty girl like you being single?” he asked in a drunken slur.

“Umm, idk! You know men these days!” I replied four vodka sodas deep, “just not ready for a boyfriend I suppose.”

After a brief make out sesh at the bar before I realized I wasn’t in college and sloppy make outs aren’t really my thing anymore, I called myself an Uber.

“How was your night?” Taj with a 4.87 Uber driver rating asked me.

“Meh, it was ok,” *deletes drunk text to ex boyfriend*

“You’re going home awfully early! The night’s just starting for some people.”

I hit the side button on my iPhone. The screen lights up to read 12:15am. He’s not wrong.

I fumble with my keys before getting to my apartment. With 6% battery, I receive a FaceTime call from an ex (well, sort of ex). My finger hits the red button. I have season 5 of 90210 to finish, I don’t want to FaceTime.

I strip down to just a bra and underwear and hop into bed. I’m too lazy to turn the heat on, so I pull another blanket over my naked body.

“Hey, I miss you. What are you up to?” My phone lights up. Oh, hey, random bar guest that I briefly dated. Haven’t heard from you in a few months. I plug my phone into the charger and shut my laptop.

I stare at the ceiling. I don’t know if it’s the Tito’s keeping me awake or if it’s something else. I switch a Podcast on, Sleepy Time. It’s supposed to help you fall asleep.

Eyes blink. The ceiling lies ahead.

I pull out my brown leather journal and open to a bank page. “This is Why I’m Single” I scribble at the top of the page.

I continue to write. Bullet note-ing the shit out of why I’m single. Pathetic? Maybe. I’ve already started the list in my head, so writing it out isn’t much different. Here was the start of my list:

  • I’m busy.
  • I’m tired.
  • I’m not pretty enough. Stfu.
  • I’m overly ambitious for most alpha males.
  • I don’t have time.
  • I don’t feel like dating.

The list continued, basically listing every reason under the sun that you could think of. For about 20 minutes, I beat around the bush with excuses until the vodka sodas caught up with me and I started to nod off.

The next morning I opened my journal to that page. Rolling my eyes at my pathetic-ness I opened my phone and realized that I had also drunkenly deleted dating apps.

I nearly ripped the page from my journal and tossed it in the trash at second-hand embarrassment from my sober to drunk self. The list started back at me, why don’t you just admit the real reason?

For months I have been pushing away men who have shown interest, dropping the ball on Bumble dates, not feeling sexually attracted to people that used to spark my interest.

I’m just not, well, interested.

No, you’re just not ready.

It’s a sign of weakness to admit when you’re just simply not ready to do something. Whether it’s moving to a new city, moving careers, or moving on from a previous relationship. Society always expects you to be ready to take the leap.

Do I have guys lining up to be my boyfriend? No, lolz. Absolutely not. Not my point, though. My point is that, yeah, I do feel sorta weird having another guy in my bed. I do have trouble connecting with other men so I avoid first dates and “grabbing coffee” like the plague. Is shutting any opportunity a sad attempt at dealing with my past? Maybe. I’m not sure. All I know is that I’m just not ready. And I should be OK with that.

I lost myself for a while, trying to get over everything and attempt to piece together everything that had happened. And frankly, I’m still working on it. Slowly, but surely.

The next statement is about to come straight from the single white girl anthem song but the fact of the matter is, I’m working on myself. Working on things that I have control of. My blog, my book, my health, my sanity, my future. Things that have remained a healthy constant the past several years of my life.

A couple of months ago, I had a news outlet reach out to me asking me to publish my story. They wanted to interview me about it and feature it in a series of articles they had been working on.

I wasn’t ready. I politely declined. 

Was I scared? No. Nervous? Not really. I don’t have any other explanation for it other than the fact that I just simply was not ready. I wasn’t ready to rehash it. I wasn’t ready to talk about it again. I wasn’t ready to admit to myself and to others that I’m still damaged from it.

Damaged.

This blog was born out of the pure fact that writing helps me understand things my brain can’t quite figure out. For months I have been beating down this idea of feeling “damaged” from my past. Forcing myself to pretend that I’m over everything, that every moment of sadness isn’t valid. I fill my time with 70 hour work weeks, random guys, and night’s out with friends, barely giving myself anytime to breathe. To write. To understand my feelings and validate them on my own terms.

I joke with my friends often and tell them I’m going on a “30 Day Dude Cleanse.” It never lasts long, as I’ve found myself using guys as a distraction from the fact that I, Beth Cormack, might be a slight emotionally damaged. Who, me? Damaged? Nahhh.

I don’t know the answer to it all. I know “time heals all” blah blah blah, and that’s something I’ve been trying to do. Just giving it time. Staying busy. Letting the days pass by and knowing that each day, a piece of my past is less relevant than the day before. Assuring myself that there are bigger and better things out there for myself. These things I know and I understand.

But, is it better to pretend the past never happened or to acknowledge it and embrace the feelings that come along with it? Or is there even a right answer to that question?

I don’t know.

Relationships have always been difficult for me. Sure, I “date” people, but usually don’t let it continue beyond just that.

We all have experiences in our life that have influenced the way that we are today. While some people are more comfortable with sharing these things, I am not.  Sounds funny coming from the girl who practically broadcasts her life on a blog, however, there are anecdotes about my life that I keep to myself — ones that I’m not sure will ever even make it into this blog. Anecdotes that help people understand why I am the way I am.

There are a select few people who know these stories. I have been molding this circle of people who know these things my entire life. It’s been working. I have a perfectly constructed “circle of trust,” if you will.

Well, had.

When I was thinking to myself, why did this relationship leave such a strong ripple effect? The answer was hard to come by at first. In retrospect, it was never a healthy relationship. While there were many glimmers of happiness, they were only temporary, glimmers that were to be whisked away by the wind at any moment.

I lost myself.

I started recalling memories of long nights lying next to each other in bed, pillow talking until the sky turned orange. Drives down the highway with my hanging out of the window and his hand relaxing on my leg.

I realized something.

I let him in. I let him in the close circle that is so hard to break through. My circle, once so tight knit and carefully constructed is now a strangely reconfigured shape I can’t ever mold back into what it once was. My circle is damaged.

Damaged.

I’ve been working on refocusing my mind to things I do care about. People who make me better rather than drag me down. I haven’t been putting too much pressure on myself to go on first dates I don’t feel like going on. I haven’t been blaming myself for feeling “damaged” at times, because, yeah, life is debilitating and damaging at times.

My perfect, carefully constructed circle is not what it once was. By choice, I let somebody else in on the stories of my past; stories that I usually use as a part of my shield of self-protection and I can’t take it back. He knows my stories, and I wish he didn’t. He knows me. And at times, I wonder if I ever knew him.

That’s the scariest part.

I am a storyteller.

These are stories I do not tell.