Did you ever see that Woody Allen movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona? Well, you should, because first off there’s this whole obsessive-style shout-out to Oviedo, and we support that, and then there’s the part where the film’s crux is that Scarlett Johansson’s character can only be sure of what she doesn’t want.
And we GET that.
We (I), too, go through life whittling away at the undefined mass of desire caged in our hearts, slowly shaving off one disagreeable fragment after another, hoping that a more concrete concept of what it is that we DO want will slowly take shape. Spain has been really good for this. It may leave a bitter taste in my mouth some days, but it’s a complex flavor, and this is how we learn.
You see, I don’t want to send home birthday presents for my friends with May birthdays, because my friends with April birthdays couldn’t be bothered to pick theirs up. I know this isn’t fair. I don’t care.
I don’t even know that I want to be fair.
Because if I make only vague plans with a friend, I want to be able to later say “Actually, I don’t really feel like it. Actually, I’m going to do exactly what I want to do, what makes me happy, instead of what’s most convenient or pleasing for you,” and I don’t want the other person to tell me that it’s not fair or imply that I owe them anything. I don’t. I owe it to myself to do as I please.
I don’t want even one more person to tell me that they miss me, things just aren’t the same without me, and when am I coming home, again? They can’t wait to see me! For me to bake them things! For things to be fun! And easy! I want them to know that actions speak louder than words. I want them to know that their continued silence and complete lack of effort speaks louder than anything.
I don’t want to keep putting more into relationships than I get in return, offering up sweet little trinkets like some naïve puppy. The type that you just sort of want to kick, and who could blame you.
I don’t want to keep searching for a father figure. Please, please, please let me above this feminine, Freudian cliché.
I don’t want to waste even one more minute of my time trying to please some boy I’m not even sure that I like, just so he’ll stick around. Just so I can have somebody to hang out with, to make out with, some little bit of excitement. I want to “look up to see integrity finally won over desire.”
I don’t want to go to yet another condescending, anciano Spanish doctor to either confirm or deny the presence of kidney stones in my fracasado body. Nine times out of ten you just have to pass them on your own, and that’s exactly what I’ll do, if it comes to that–cursing and spitting like a woman possessed.
I don’t want my knees to ache when I run too much. I don’t want this viejita’s body that can’t handle anything spicy or intense or new. I want to be like all the other 24-year-olds who can drink and stay out late and still have the energy to climb mountains and make more bad choices the next day. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink to excess. I eat very well, very healthy. I exercise (cardio, strength AND flexibility)–it shouldn’t be like this.
I don’t want my body to reject life.
I don’t want my spirit to, either. I don’t want to curl into myself like a frightened child every time things get hard.
I don’t want to forget so easily. I want to remember that things will change, for better and for worse, and that I, little sarah, will still be me, that I’ll still be here, knowing what I know and thinking how I think and imagining and creating and growing stronger, battling these silly little demons (self-imposed or otherwise), and being Sarah.
And not needing any more than that.
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I don’t want you to worry about me. ‘Cuz I’m gonna be just fine–check it out.