The "Something" Series

Get Yourself Out of Something: A Scene.

How Remote Work Will Save the Night Owl | by Clive Thompson | Index

The only lights on in the building are the ones in Grace’s office. She sits at her desk typing on her keyword occasionally and scanning papers onto a printer. Her hair is tied back in a bushy ponytail and her sweater is rolled up at the sleeves. The sound of the scanner continuously echos through the small office.

A door is heard opening towards the front of the studio. Grace stops to hear who could it be at this hour of the night. She quickly goes back to work when she heard the person calling out for her.

Ari: Grace! I know you’re in here; Emerson told me!

Grace: *to herself* Fucking Emerson…

Ari: Grace!

Ari walks into Grace’s office and sees Grace still working. She sighs, and places her purse on Grace’s desk.

Ari: You’re not about to overwork yourself doing shit like this.

Grace: It’s necessary work.

Ari: Not when it’s after your work hours.

Grace doesn’t listen, so Ari places her hand on Grace’s pile of paperwork.

Ari: Girl.

Grace: *annoyed* Why are you doing this?

Ari: Because love you and care about your well-being. Come on, let’s go do something, like a bar or some shit fun!

Grace: Why would we do that?

Ari rolls her eyes at Grace. She grabs her purse and then walks over to where Grace’s purse is. She grabs it off the hook behind the door.

Ari: You’re either going to leave this work for Monday morning, or you’re gonna have to stay all weekend here without your wallet and keys. Your choice.

Grace rolls her eyes and steps away from her desk. She grabs her coat from behind her chair and walks towards Ari. Ari smiles and hands Grace her bag.

Ari: Good. Now let’s go out for dinner and drinks.

Both women walk out of the office door.

The scene is particularly busy on on this Friday night. Ari and Grace get seated at the bar, and are handed menus to order.

Grace: You had to pick the busiest place in the city tonight?

Ari: Bitch, the food here is to die for. Dean and I came here a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been craving to come back here since.

Grace: And you couldn’t drag him along?

Ari: *deadpans* I’m just trying to hang out with my damn best friend, and it would be nice if my stubborn best friend would appreciate it.

Grace: *sighs* I’m sorry, Ari. I’ve just been… not so into things anymore. I’m not the same girl I was when I was younger.

Ari: A bitch turns 30 later this year and now you’re “a different person”. You need to get yourself out there or something.

Grace: Maybe I don’t want to though?

Grace’s phone vibrates and she checks the message in her hand. Ari loudly sighs in annoyance.

Ari: Max isn’t the direction I was hoping you’re going in.

Grace looks up at Ari; she’s clearly confused.

Grace: What do you mean?

Ari: Max is a great guy, but I just think that chapter in your life is over. *raises an eyebrow* You’re not thinking about getting back together with him, right?

Grace doesn’t say anything until she sees Ari about to say something.

Grace: *defensive* I’m not saying that it’s out of the picture, but like… we have Willow together. Maybe things happened this way for a reason…

Ari: Grace, I know Max is not the guy you want to be with. I mean, you literally lied to his face telling him that you had to come back into the city because he made you feel bad about Willow and the whole thing with her tantrum.

Grace shifts in her seat; she’s clearly uncomfortable with the conversation.

Ari: I’m just being honest, Grace. Don’t settle for Max because of your daughter. You were doing fine without him when–

Grace looks up at Ari. Ari stops mid-sentence. She drops it. The waiter comes and takes the women’s orders.

Grace: Can I have a jack and coke?

The waiter writes it down and leaves the two ladies. Ari raises an eyebrow and looks at Grace.

Ari: Okay btich, I see you.

Grace: Might as well get shitfaced and go home to watch reruns of American Cat.

Ari just looks away and reaches in her bag.

Ari: Well, I’m going outside to smoke a cigarette.

Grace: You should really quit that habit, girl.

Ari: I quit mine when you quit yours, workaholic.

Grace rolls her eyes as Ari laughs and gets up from her seat. She walks through the crowd of restaurant goers and out the front door.

Once she’s outside, she teaches a cigarette and lighter out and lights it up. She smokes and looks around in her environment. Something immediately catches her eye. Her eyes widen at the sight. She sees three men walking towards the restaurant. She immediately puts out her cigarette.

Ari: Jamie?

Jamie stops in his tracks, and his friends also stop with him. He nervously looks at Ari, and for once; Ari is nervous looking at Jamie.

The Teenage Tell-Tale.

The Teenage Intervention: A Scene.

1,775 Brooklyn Brownstone Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images -  iStock

The sun is setting on this warm, June day in New York City. Two teenagers, Milo and Mollie, sit on the front porch of Mollie’s house. Mollie throws a tiny ball from palm to palm, talking to Milo who clearly is concentrated in a notebook.

Mollie: You know, when you come over to a friend’s house, you’re supposed to hang out with them and, oh I don’t know, hang out with them.

Milo looks up from the notebook to look at Mollie.

Milo: My family being here doesn’t count as us hanging out. It’s a family gathering.

Mollie: Whatever.

Mollie stops playing with the ball and begins to get up, Milo watches her.

Milo: Mol?

Mollie looks down at Milo.

Mollie: What?

Milo: Have you heard anything going around the school about Simon and I?

Mollie: Why would I care about that airhead?

Milo: Because it’s about me and Simon getting into that fight a week ago.

Mollie sits back down on the steps, wondering where Milo is going with this.

Mollie: Yeah, I know. I don’t know why you’d even entertain that fuckboy though.

Milo shakes his head, frustrated.

Milo: Nevermind.

He goes back into doodling in his notebook; Mollie puts her head over the page to prevent him from continuing. Milo looks at Mollie.

Milo: Can you not?

Mollie: Not until you tell me what the fuck is going on.

Milo: Nothing, Mol. It was just a question.

Mollie: Look Milo, it’s never “just a question” with you. You always ask things with reasons behind it. Now, should I be worried about that ass hat Simon or…?

Milo: Something just didn’t make sense to me.

Milo closes the notebook on Mollie’s hand, She slips it out of the notebook.

Milo: Like, I don’t give a shit about him, but he just comes up to me one day and starts fighting me like I stole his girlfriend away from him.

Mollie looks at Milo; she doesn’t say anything at first, but she can’t keep it in.

Mollie: Okay I wasn’t going to say anything because like, who cares about them, but like Laurie and Simon are still together after what happened at Prom. Like, she must be stupid for taking that cheater back.

Milo: Laurie took him back?

Mollie: *nods* Mhm. I swear that bitch is just going to get her stupid heart broken by a guy that wasn’t even on the radar like, a year ago…

Milo: *intrigued* Is Laurie still friends with So… I mean, did Laurie forgive her friend too?

Mollie: *annoyed* I don’t know! Why are you all of a sudden interested in the drama? Is your little project partner not spilling the tea anymore? *laughs* You know, its been a while since you and that girl worked on your project; you do know it’s due in like, 2 weeks?

Milo doesn’t answer back, he just takes his notebook away from Mollie and begins to doodle inside of the notebook.

Mollie: Is there something you’re not telling me, Milo?

Milo: Its kinda hard to keep anything from you, Mol…

Mollie snathes the notebook away from Milo, in which Milo protests.

Milo: What the hell, Mollie?

Mollie: *confesses* Are you and Sophie not dating anymore or something? Did you tell that two-timing bitch to get lost and that’s why you guys aren’t talking?

Milo: What the hell are you even talking about?

Mollie: I heard what was going around. Simon was probably mad jealous that you were dating Sophie, because I mean anyone can see that Simon has a crush on her…

Milo is dumbfounded, not sure what to say.

Milo: So you knew this stupid rumor and didn’t even tell me that it was going around?

Mollie: I didn’t even know it was a rumor! I was just waiting on you to tell me because I mean, I am your best friend and you didn’t even tell me!

Milo: *annoyed* There’s nothing to tell! You really believe a stupid rumor without even telling me?!

Mollie stands up, annoyed and defensive.

Mollie: What was I suppose to think when all you do these days is hang out with that dumb girl and never talk to me anymore! At least I make time to hang out with you, and now that we finally are, you’re moping over a girl who literally kissed her friend’s boyfriend! Is that the type of girl you want to date?!

Milo gets up and faces Mollie; he’s frustrated and angry.

Milo: First of all, you don’t know a damn thing about Sophie, and I’m sick and tired of you bashing her every chance you get!

Mollie: You’ve got to be kidding me. Are you seriously going to defend a girl you barely know? Like, you just met the girl like 5 months ago!

Milo: I’ve known Sophie for almost a year! What are you saying?!

Mollie blinks, trying to comprehend what was just said.

Mollie: What?

Milo doesn’t realize whats going on, and keeps talking and confessing.

Milo: You think you know so much about me when in all honesty, you don’t! Did you know that Sophie and I hung out all summer last year? No, because you didn’t care about what I was doing if it didn’t concern you!

Mollie: You… you spent the summer with Sophie?

Milo finally realizes what was said and he immediately looks anxious. Mollie nods her head, and begins to yell at Milo.

Mollie: You seriously spent your entire summer with her, and now look at you. She played you, Milo! She’s nothing more than just a Laurie follower; a wannabe! You got your heart all tangled up in her and look what she does; she runs to Simon and kisses him!

Milo doesn’t know what to say, but he’s feeling defensive.

Milo: You know, you really have to start worrying about your own life, especially with everything that’s happened with you in the last year. *malicious* How’s therapy going for you? Heard you now go on Thursdays too on top of your usual Tuesdays!

Mollie is visibly hurt.

Milo: See, it sucks when someone brings up your own business and have opinions on it, doesn’t it?

Mollie: You know, it’s one thing to look out for your best friend because the people they start hanging out with is no good for them, but for you to just throw my life in my face like its some type of joke, is fucked up.

Mollie turns around and begins to walk back into the house, Milo feels a little guilty for saying what he said to Mollie. Milo doesn’t say anything back; he lets Mollie walk back into the house.

Overexposed: A Self-Love Project.

Overexposed: “Have Some More”.

To my friends and family that are looking out for me within my WLS journey,

I appreciate you guys. I appreciate you being here throughout this unfamiliar process; one that has left me feeling as happy as I could be, but also has left me in some of the worst depressive episodes I’ve had in a long time. I am grateful for those who ask me what I can and cannot eat and try to include me in gatherings as much as possible. I am thankful that I am able to talk about my process, the good and the bad, with open ears and willingness to be reassuring that everything is going to be alright. I will forever remember those who were around for this life-changing journey with me, no matter how far away some of them were or how close they were. I appreciate your presence in my life.

But please stop telling me to “have some more” regarding my food intake.

I know that doesn’t come from a malicious place; it’s actually the opposite. I know that those around me want to make sure that I’m okay, that I am comfortable with the setting, and that I feel included when in reality, I’m now different. But, I don’t want you to keep asking, or telling me, to have more food.

You guys know first hand how long it took me to learn my new body and hunger cues. You guys have been around during the days where I would be in the bathroom, just waiting for the puke to come up and be over with it. The days on end where I feared eating large amounts of food for that reason alone, and when I did eat more, the sick days and nights were happening more. So, now that I have a better understanding of my body and know when to stop eating when I feel full, telling me to “have more” just makes me feel like I’m lying to myself or something. Clearly I feel full, so why are people telling me to have more food or try every single thing that is being served?

I may not have express this out to you all, but since having surgery, I’ve developed some sort of food anxiety, which I’m very terrified could develop into a eating disorder in the future. I fear I will plurge, puke, then plurge again. I fear I will train my mind and body that I’m not hungry at all and end up not eating anything for the day. While I am not new into this journey, I am still learning and doing things in my own way; a way that fits for me, and a way that is both helpful and healthy for me. I want to be control of my own body, and if I want to put food on my plate and it’s not as full or normal like everyone’s plate, then let me decide what I want to eat. If I just want one small piece of a meat and skip the sides, then let me do just that.

Telling me to have more feels triggering. Telling me to take some more food makes me feel like people think I’m starving myself, or I secretly want to eat more food which, again, if I want more, I will take it. Telling me to have one of your sides or look at me like I have 5 heads when I only eat a small portion of food doesn’t feel good. It makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong. It makes me feel like I have to take your offer for your food so that I don’t feel antagonized for not doing so. It also fucks with my brain, telling myself that I should eat more and that I really want more when really, I don’t want to eat because “I’m hungry”, I’ll eat because I’m fucking anxious about food and think I want food.

What I’m getting at is please don’t tell me to eat more or pass me a dish and insist that I try it, especially this holiday season. This is my first holiday season post-op and I’m unsure how things are going to be for me, but please allow me to figure out what I want to do with my food during these times.

I love you, and thank you for being here for me through this uncertain time in my life.

The "Something" Series

Something I Haven’t Figured Out: A Scene.

Crescent Moon Over Manhattan Neighborhood Stock Footage Video (100%  Royalty-free) 1020206581 | Shutterstock

The sky is clear on this particular winter night in NYC. Light music is playing in the background, and the lights are low in the apartment. A man walks out of a room in formal attire; he walks to the mirror in the living room and slicks his hair in place. He takes a deep breath as he finalizes his look for the night. He heads on over and puts on an apron to check the dinner cooking in the oven; everything is going as planned. His phone rings on the kitchen counter; Jamie automatically answers.

Jamie: Hello?

Shawn: *teasing* Hyung, you answered the phone way too desperately.

Jame takes the phone away from his ear and rolls his eyes. After he stops hearing laughter on the other hand, he places the phone back to his ear.

Jamie: Can I help you with something?

Shawn: Just checking in! I’m guessing Sandra didn’t make it yet.

Jamie: No, she hasn’t.

Jamie checks the food once more while Shawn talks on the phone.

Shawn: Well, she’s not the type of woman that wouldn’t show up. She’ll be there.

Jamie: *while closing the oven door* Remind me again why I even agreed to go on this date?

Shawn: Because she was staring at you in the meeting and asked me about you. Plus, you just… need someone else…

The doorbell rings and Jamie immediately gets anxious.

Jamie: She’s here–

Shawn: Wait, I wanna hear–

Jamie: *annoyed* Are you kidding me? I–

The doorbell rings once more. Jamie hangs up on Shawn and places the phone back on the counter. He takes off his apron and walks to the front door. He opens the door and there stands a woman with long black hair wearing a pea-coat and a short dress with heels. Jamie observes the woman, but smiles when she looks at him.

Jamie: I’m glad you can make it.

Sandra: The pleasure is all mine.

Jamie gestures Sandra to walk into the apartment. She walks in and looks around.

Sandra: Nice place you have, Jamie. Like really nice. *turns around* How did you get it in such short notice?

Jamie tilts his head in confusion.

Jamie: The firm I work for provides their workers these places…

Sandra: *amazed* Wow, you must make some really good money then!

Jamie awkwardly laughs and walks towards Sandra. He takes out a hand for her as she takes off her coat. He looks down at Sandra, surprised she’s not cold in what she’s wearing. She walks over to the couch and sits down. She looks at Jamie and smiles. He puts Sandra’s coat on a hanger and into the closet next to the front door.

He walks over to the couch and sits in respectful distance from Sandra. Sandra looks and him and gets closer to him. Jamie’s face flashes red when she does.

Sandra: So, tell me more about yourself; what brings you to America?

Jamie: I’m here for work; I’m a lawyer.

Sandra: Are there not enough cases in your country? Why would they have you here?

Jamie: *slightly annoyed* I choose to be on cases within other countries.

Sandra: Is this your first time in New York?

Jamie: No. I’ve had a case here before.

Sandra: *flirty* I love a foreign man that appreciates American culture!

Jamie awkwardly smiles and gets up to check the food. When he does, Sandra turns around and watches him.

Sandra: Are we having some of your country’s food tonight?

Jamie: *awkwardly laughs* No… lasagna.

Sandra doesn’t say anything; she looks disappointed. Jamie doesn’t say anything, he just serves the food to Sandra and himself. He sits back down and observes Sandra slowly eating the dinner.

Jamie: So, what do you do for work?

Sandra: I work as an accountant on Wall Street.

Jamie: *raises eyebrows* Wow, that’s great.

Sandra: I guess.

Jamie drops the topic and begins to eat the food. Sandra still eats the food slowly. Jamie notices, and gets nervous.

Sandra: Is this your recipe?

Jamie: *nervously* A friend of mine lent me their recipe…

Sandra: It’s definitely… different.

Jamie’s face flashes red. He tries to desperately change the subject.

Jamie: So, how do you know Shawn?

Sandra: We briefly went on a couple of dates.

Jamie swallows his drink too hard and coughs loudly. He places his drink down on the table and wipes his mouth with his napkin.

Jamie: Oh, I didn’t know that.

Sandra: It was nothing to remember, we would just go to some restaurants here and there.

Jamie doesn’t say anything, he just places his napkin on the table. Before he says anything, Sandra speaks.

Sandra: You seem like a nice guy, Jamie, but I really don’t think we are compatible.

Jamie doesn’t respond, he just listens to what she has to say.

Sandra: It was nice meeting you, though.

Jamie gets up from his seat as Sandra gets up from the table. She gathers her stuff and heads out the front door without saying goodbye to Jamie. Once the front door closes, Jamie takes in a deep breath and pushes his hair back. He looks into his apartment and slowly walks back to the table to begin cleaning up.

Before picking up anything, he goes for his phone. As he opens up his phone to message Shawn, he stumbles upon his messages with Grace. He opens the messages and reads the last message sent from her.

Grace: Call me when you can. Thanks.

Jamie closes the messages on his phone and places his phone on the counter. He takes a deep breath and starts to clean the kitchen. Nothing but the sound of the busy city is heard in his apartment.

The Teenage Tell-Tale.

The Teenage Delinquent Area: A Scene.

The Principal: The Most Misunderstood Person in All of Education - The  Atlantic

Last Summer…

The sun is going down; Milo and Sophie sit at the edge of the pier, eating ice cream cones. Nothing is said between the two until Milo looks at Sophie, who hasn’t touched much of her cone since getting it.

Milo: Scout?

Sophie turns her head and looks at Milo.

Milo: Is everything alright?

Sophie takes a deep breath and stares out into the ocean.

Sophie: I’m not ready for the summer to end.

Milo: Tell me about it. To think that I gotta start getting up at 7 each morning for school is already getting me sad. *to Sophie* I thought you would love going back to school though; reading, math, projects; you seem to enjoy all of those things.

Sophie: I had a whole summer not being able to see, you know…

Milo doesn’t answer Sophie, so she sighs and lets it out.

Sophie: I’m not looking forward to seeing Simon with Laurie all of the time.

Milo nods his head, understanding where she’s coming from. He doesn’t say anything.

Sophie: It just hurts that he did what he did and then just forgot about my existence.

Milo: Well, he’s stupid for doing that. You’re a great person to be around and hang out with. You’re kind, funny, and a great friend, Scout. Don’t let him get to you.

Sophie doesn’t look like she’s been convinced.

Milo: Do you…?

Sophie looks at Milo as he asks the question.

Sophie: I can’t. He’s with Laurie. That would make me a horrible friend.

Milo: But it didn’t take much for your two friends to hook up with each other even after knowing how you felt?

Sophie shakes her head and shuts her eyes. Milo hates to see Sophie upset like this.

Milo: Scout, that doesn’t make you a bad friend. You and Simon were friends and for him to do that to you–

Sophie: *interrupts* We weren’t just friends, Milo. We were dating. He broke up with me and in two weeks he started to date Laurie. I feel like I was used; that two of my closest friends went behind my back and hurt me. He was more than just this guy I have a crush on; he was my best friend, and he broke my heart.

Milo: Then stop being friends with them. They did something shitty, and they hurt you and don’t deserve you as a friend.

Sophie: *defensive* It’s not that easy, Milo. You don’t know my friendship with Laurie or Simon to even tell me what to do. I don’t tell you how to manage your friendships, so don’t tell me how to.

Milo: *annoyed* You’re allowing them to just walk all over you! They are shitty friends that do not care about how you feel!

Sophies walks away from Milo, and off of the pier before he can get up and get her from leaving.

Sophie walks out of the staircase, upset that she’s been sent to the principal’s office. She turns around the corner and stops in her tracks when she sees another kid sitting outside of the main office. She slowly walks to the bench outside of the office.

When she sits down, the kid turns to look at her and chuckles to himself.

Milo: Of course.

Sophie: What is wrong with you?

Milo: *turns to Sophie* What’s wrong? What’s wrong?! Do you not fucking remember what happened at Prom?!

Sophie finally gets a good look at Milo, who has a busted lip and bruising on his face.

Sophie: What happened to you?

Milo: Don’t pretend you care.

Sophie: Milo, we are friends, and you are hurt and I just want to know what happ–

The main office door opens and out walks Simon, who visibly also has bruising on his face as well. He looks at the two sitting at the bench; he scoffs out loud as the security guard escorts him out of the office. Sophie watches Simon walk out and puts two-and-two together.

Sophie: Did Simon…?

Milo: *loud* Again, why do you care?

Sophie is at a loss for words, and her feelings are hurt.

Sophie: If Simon did that to you, I swear I’ll-

Milo: You’ll do what? Tell your boyfriend to stop?

Sophie: *confused* What are you talking about?

Milo: How are you going to tell me everything you went through with that fuck-boy and still go ahead and kiss him?

Sophie: He kissed me, Milo! What was I supposed to do?

Milo: Whatever, Sophie. You know, I thought you were different than the rest of them. Always stood by your word, and didn’t take anything from anyone. But Mollie was right about you guys. You guys all are the same.

A security guard opens the main office door and calls for Milo Kamalani. He grabs his book-bag and walks into the main office. Sophie looks away, and wipes the tears falling on her face.

The bell rings and Sophie leaves the main office to go back to her class. Students exit their classrooms and chatter in the hallway in between their classes. Sophie walks over to her locker and opens it to get her things for her next class. She’s by herself, with no friends, and her only friend that she cared about isn’t talking to her anymore. She wipes her eyes and puts her books back into her locker. She slams it shut and quickly walks down the hallway, towards the staircase when the side door to the outside would open. She thinks before walking out, but ultimately decides to walk out.

Back in the Kamalani household, Jennifer is icing Milo’s bruises and cuts on his face. He winces in pain, and Jennifer tries to tell him that she’s trying her best to keep the pain to a minimal.

Jennifer: You know, this really isn’t like you to get into these dumb fights with that boy. You gotta stop letting him get to you.

Milo doesn’t say anything. Jennifer stops doing what she’s doing and looks at him.

Jennifer: Milo.

Milo: *annoyed* What?

Jennifer places the ice pack on a towel and faces Milo once again.

Jennifer: Is this about Sophie?

Milo is in immediate shock. He tries to conceal the fact that Jennifer may have figured him out, but he just don’t want to get into it.

Milo: No?

Jennifer: Her mother called me earlier and asked me if she was with you after school. Apparently she didn’t go straight home from school.

Milo ponder the thought before he says anything.

Milo: No. She wasn’t with me.

Jennifer: This Simon guy, is he dating–

Milo gets off of the kitchen bar stool and heads towards his room.

Jennifer: Milo!

The door shuts behind him. Jennifer sighs as she cleans up the first aid-kit area from the counter.

Overexposed: A Self-Love Project.

Overexposed: Biggest Anxiety on my WLS Journey.

Four months. Four months since I got bariatrics surgery and in total lost 55 pounds.

I’ve been documenting this process and journey for the last 5 months; I started about a month before I had the surgery, and continued to do so after surgery and here we are. I’ve written about some of the major highs of this process and how much healthier I’ve been feeling since then, but I’ve also not been shy to talk about some of the lows that not may people will talk about, and i still think that it’s important to talk about these things.

This post is about a low that I’ve been experiencing and been worried about, and I wonder just how many WLS patients have dealt with the same struggles or have had a similar mindset like me.

Hi, my name is Liz, and I’ve been worried about the future of my eating habits.

In a nutshell, I’ve officially hit that mark in my journey where my doctors don’t need to hold my hand as much as they did before, which means it’s now completely up to me to keep up my eating habits and making sure I am getting the nutrition I need. For the most part, things have been pretty normal and nothing major has changed within my diet, until I came down with a cold.

When I got sick two weeks ago, I started to realize that I felt more hungry than usual and I was able to keep down more food than I could’ve in awhile. I was beginning to get nervous; I didn’t understand why all of a sudden, I was able to eat more than usual and not stay as full as I used to prior to getting sick. I was nervous to believe that maybe my body was now getting used to eating more and that I wasn’t as scared to puke if I overate anymore.

I was afraid to think that if I kept this mindset that I was able to eat more (like unhealthy things I should avoid) and eventually get sick, all I could do is just puke it out and blame it on the unwillingness to keep it down. Again, it’s a mindset I don’t want to end up having, and I hope that my mental health doesn’t get to a place where I think that’ll be okay to do.

I’m afraid that even if I eat more than I’m used to, I could eventually expand my stomach, which again is something that can eventually happen if your body gets used to holding in more food. When I was sick, I was able to eat without getting sick and still get pretty hungry pretty quickly. I was getting worried that a.) I was now eating and expanding my stomach which can possibly result in me gaining the weight back, and b.) I was actually eating normally than I’m used to but considered it to be a bad thing so I would try to cut back and eat small, despite if I was still hungry or not.

I guess I was getting nervous that in the future, I’m likely to get an eating disorder because of my newfound food anxiety since surgery, and I wonder if many people who’ve had this surgery felt this way at least once in their journey, or have sadly been diagnosed with an eating disorder after having surgery.

I don’t want it to get to a point where I think I’m eating too much when in reality, I’m eating just the right amount. I don’t want to keep looking at the scale and judge my stagnant weight as a failure. I don’t want to punish myself into thinking that I’m a failure because my journey isn’t what it was a couple of months ago.

In a way, this 4-month checkpoint is more so a start to the second step of my journey. Now I definitely have to limit my “bad food” intake to as little as possible because it’s time for me to actually put some work in. I need to do some exercises. I need to meal prep and be more cautious about what I eat. I can’t have this mind where I’m like “oh, lemme see if I can have this” to find out that I can and begin to indulge in the bad habit. I can’t keep thinking that the weight is just going to keep coming off without me actually being proactive and not doing things to keep the weight loss going. Yes, the weight is still coming off, but it’s not going to be like how it was when I was just a month into my post-op and the weight was just stripping itself off me. I now have to stop thinking that someone will hold my hand and tell me what to do when really, I’ve had just that for the first three months.

I’m just trying to not let myself go down this rabbit hole where my food anxiety gets so bad, I get diagnosed with an eating disorder. Again, with my weekly therapy sessions and just having people around me to talk to about my concerns and worries, I know I’ll have better control in what I do with my body.

To those who have been with me throughout this journey, I sincerely thank you all for being here and comforting me when I’ve felt lost, confused, and alone in the process. This process very much feels like grad school; being the only person I knew who went through it, I pretty much had to learn and experience everything on my own and in the process, developed an immense amount of anxiety due to the certainty of the outcomes. I am grateful that I’m able to talk to my family and friends and get some support for this uncertain and new journey.

Until then, here’s to another month on this journey.

The "Something" Series

Something I Never Want: A Scene.

Calm Winter driving .. December 11 storm in suburban west end toronto  southern Ontario winter driving (Mississauga) stock photo  1942ee5d-6946-4d2d-b5ec-caafac5b6fe2

Grace sits in the passenger’s seat of a car. She looks at the rear-view mirror and sees her daughter, Willow, sleeping in her car seat. She smiles at the sight. She looks over to the driver, Max, who is focused on the road. Grace takes in a deep breath and looks forward.

Grace: I could’ve took a cab to your place, Max. You didn’t have to make the trip.

Max: It’s nothing. Plus, Willow wanted to take a ride.

Grace smiles. She’s happy she’s still here, in Willow’s life, as she gets older. She may only be 3 years old, but she still feels accomplished that throughout everything that’s happened within the last couple of years, she’s still here, with Willow, and still being in her life.

Max: Are we going to your mother’s house for her birthday in January?

Grace: Yeah, she insisted the family be there; my dad bought her a camera and now she wants to take all of the pictures for the house.

Max: *laughs* That’s adorable.

Grace: *scoffs* Definitely annoying in my opinion.

Willow: Mommy!

Grace turns around and looks at her daughter.

Grace: Yes, little bean?

Willow: Santa got me a horsey for Christmas!

Grace: *confused* Oh… really?

Grace looks at Max to confirm what Willow is saying. Max mouths out that it was a rocking horse. Grace laughs silently.

Grace: That’s great, sweetie! You have to show me your horsey when we get home!

Grace looks down at her phone when she receives a message from her best friend, Ari.

Ari: Are you in upstate yet with your "boyfriend"?

Grace rolls her eyes at the message. Grace looks outside her car window and sees the once-grass-now-covered-in-snow fields pass by. Everything around them is white, wintery, cold. She thinks about how she got to this place. How did her and Max get on good terms after feeling like they could never be. She cares about him, and he’s the father of her daughter, but she never saw herself being in his car, driving up to his house outside of the city, to spend the day with him and their daughter.

They enter the house as Max places Willow down and she runs off.

Max: Willow, make sure to take your outside boots off!

Willow climbs up the stairs, clearly not listening to her father. Grace carries her overnight bag into the house and places it to the side next to the front door.

Max: Coffee?

Grace nods and looks around the house. She slowly walks to the kitchen as she observes the house.

She walks into the kitchen and sees Max at the kitchen counter making a pot of coffee. For a second, she thinks about how different life would be if she stayed. She would be married, living in a house outside of the city; no noise, no busy lifestyle. She would probably be a full-time mom that signed their kid to do all the extra activities in daycare and become a part of the PCA when Willow is old enough to go to public school. She wonders how much she would either love or hate having that life.

She snaps out of it when Max turns away from the counter and brings a coffee mug to the kitchen table. Grace walks towards the kitchen table to take a seat.

Grace: Thank you.

Max: Of course. Are you hungry?

Grace: No, no; I’m fine.

Max sits across from Grace at the kitchen table.

Grace: So you’re gonna leave your Christmas tree up all year round this year?

Max: *laughs* Willow insisted we keep it up for another week. She likes the lights, I might get her some lights for her room or something.

Grace: *smiles* She’d love that for sure.

Willow: *from a distance* Daddy!

Max gets up from his seat, and Grace follows. They walk to the stairs to see Willow trying to bring down her rocking horse.

Max: Baby, don’t bring Simon down the stairs, me and mama will see him upstairs.

Willow: But I want him down there!

Max: *stern* Willow.

Max walks up the stairs to help Willow put back the rocking horse to her room. Willow causes a fuss and begins to cry. Grace looks at the top of the stairs, growing anxious as she watches her daughter throw a tantrum.

Max: Willow, Simon can’t go downstairs; he likes to be upstairs.

Grace begins to walk up the stairs to talk to Max.

Grace: Maybe we should just bring him downstairs for the time being.

Max: No. We’re not gonna teach her that the way to get her way is to throw a tantrum.

Grace: But it’s–

Max: No, Grace.

Max picks up Willow and she takes her in her room to talk to her. Grace’s face flushes red. She turns around to walk back down the stairs. When no one is looking, she looks up at the ceiling and tries to fight back tears. She walks back into the kitchen and sits back down at the table. Her coffee is now lukewarm. She shoves the coffee away and takes her phone out. She scrolls through her photos and comes across the pictures she had of when Willow was a baby. Sometimes, Grace wonders just how did she get to this point; even though she was in Willow’s life as a baby, the older she gets, the more she feels like she doesn’t know her own daughter.

Within her scrolling, she comes across a photo with Jamie. She stops at the photo, staring at it longer than she intended to. She jumps when Max walks into the kitchen.

Max: Sorry, she had to be put down for a nap. She gets fussy when she’s tired.

Grace: I bet.

Nothing more is said, they just both sit in the kitchen. Max scrolls on his phone as Grace sits there watching him.

She doesn’t want this lifestyle.

The Teenage Tell-Tale.

The Teenage Outcast: A Scene.

School, school building, back to school, yard, school yard, schoolyard,  high school, exterior, education, building, empty, entrance, windows,  elementary school, bascketball, canada, ottawa, front, structure, sky,  wall, schoolhouse, golden hour, brick wall,

The 8th grade class is spending their lunch period in the schoolyard, enjoying the warm weather that May brings. All of the cliques hang out with each other; the jocks are playing basketball, the unpopular kids are minding their business, and Milo and his friends are hanging out at their favorite bench near the grass. Davy and Ronnie are playing soccer in the grass, Jonah is drawing in his sketchbook, and Mollie is laying down on the grass near the bench. Milo twirls around his drumsticks, staring into space.

Mollie: So, it’s like they didn’t even know that it was there in the first place!

Without having Milo react to her story, Mollie sits up and looks at Milo.

Mollie: Hello? Earth to Milo?

Milo widen his eyes and looks at Mollie, clearly distracted.

Milo: Huh?

Mollie: *annoyed* I swear you never listen to me anymore. What’s the point of talking to you if you’re just gonna tune me out?

Milo: I’m just…

Milo notices Sophie walking in the schoolyard by herself. She sits by herself under the bleachers.

Milo: I just have some things on my mind.

Milo gets up and gathers his things.

Mollie: Where are you going?

Milo: Music room.

Mollie: Why? It’s mad nice outside and there’s nothing to practice for anymore.

Milo doesn’t respond, he walks away to walk inside back to the school. Mollie shakes her head and gets up to sit at the bench. Davy and Ronnie watch what’s going on.

Ronnie: Is he alright?

Mollie: He’s been like this forever, I don’t know what his problem is.

Milo enters one of the music rooms and takes out his drumsticks. He sits at the drum set and looks down at them. He begins to let out his anger by banging on the drums. Moments later, there’s a knock heard on the door. He gets up to opens it.

Simon: Look, some of us are–

He stops once he sees Milo.

Simon: Ah, makes sense. I knew I wasn’t hearing actual music.

Milo: Fuck off, Simon.

Simon: *laughs* Damn, not even a “hi, go away”? Harsh. I should expect it; I did kiss your little precious Soph.

Milo gets angry, his hands are in fists.

Milo: Yeah, and got the whole school to hate her, even her own friends.

Simon: Man, you know Laurie and the rest of them were not her friends. She must’ve told you how she really felt about them.

Milo: So you use her to prove a point? You used to be her best friend.

Simon: Does that bother you that we were? I mean, she didn’t think twice about kissing me back at prom.

Milo tries his hardest to keep his composure.

Milo: Just get the hell out of here, man.

Simon: You’re right. I should go find Sophie again and spend my lunch with her, she is a good kisser…

Milo swings at Simon and they begin fighting in the hallway. Simon pushes Milo off of him and fights him back.

Simon: Who the fuck do you think you’re messing with?

Milo: Leave her the fuck alone!

Milo swings at him and they begin fighting again. Security guards are alerted and run down the West Wing to separate the boys. Simon has a bloody nose; Milo with a busted up lip.

It’s English class and the students walk into the classroom at the start of the period. Sophie is seen sitting by herself, a place where she didn’t sit before. Mollie comes in and sits in the seat that she would sit next to Milo in. Once the bell rings, Laurie looks around for Simon; Mollie looks around for Milo.

Mollie: *turns around* Yo, have you seen Milo?

Ronnie shakes her head no, and Mollie turns back to face forward. The teacher opens the class by taking attendance.

Teacher: Simon Hempstead?

No answer. She calls out for Simon once more, but there’s no answer. She marks him “absent”.

Teacher: Milo Kamalani?

No answer. The teacher, now frustrated, takes her glasses off and directs her talk towards the class.

Teacher: Listen, I get that school ends in a month and a half and you guys graduate, but that’s not an excuse to skip my class, or anyone’s class for that matters. On this section sheet, it says these two were in class earlier; does anyone know where they are now?

The class doesn’t say anything. Mollie sneakily takes out her phone to text Milo.

molscastro: yo, where r u?

She puts her phone back in her pocket and looks around the room.

At the other side of the classroom, Sophie keeps her head down towards the desk. Laurie leans forward in her desk and says something loud enough to her friends so that Sophie hears it as well.

Laurie: Someone should be asking Slutphie about Simon; I bet she knows where he’s hiding.

Sophie shuts her eyes and turns around and gets up from her seat and faces Laurie.

Sophie: You know what, Laurie? Maybe if you were to get your bloody head out of your own bum and cared about the people around you, then maybe every boyfriend you have wouldn’t be running to other girls.

Laurie: Excuse me?

Sophie: You’re not excused.

Mollie watches the interaction from her desk, jaw dropping and in shock.

Laurie: You don’t know what you’re talking about.

Sophie: Instead of worrying about other people and what they are doing, you might want to to care about your own screw ups and stop blaming everyone else why shit doesn’t go the way you want them to go.

Teacher: That’s enough, Sophie! Principal’s office, now!

Sophie grabs her bookbag and storms out of the classroom. Mollie watches, still in shock.

Ronnie: *leans forward* Looks like Sophie saw through all the bullshit.

Mollie doesn’t say anything, she just ponders in thought.

Overexposed: A Self-Love Project.

Overexposed: Gain Something New, Lose Something Old.

I feel like I’m always gaining something. Whether I’m gaining new friendships, newfound interests, new styles, or anything that I haven’t had in my life before; something is always changing. I used to call them my chapters, the parts of my life that I grow into and then grow out of when I don’t fit or belong in it anymore. I’ve realized that chapters are crucial to growth in life, and a lot of the things that I don’t fit in or belong in anymore is just a sign that I am always changing and developing for the sole purpose for myself. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt any less, or it doesn’t make me feel like chapters are just a apart of life, but just something that I disguise my unwillingness to keep things in my life.

Hi, my name is Liz, and I’ve realized that while I gain new things in life, I lose the old things that come with it.

One of the things I’ve gained was this WLS journey and have been able to lose 54 pounds within the last three months. I’ve gained new insight on myself, I’ve gained a confidence in style that I haven’t had in a long time, and I’ve gained a new perspective– a new lifestyle really– since having surgery back in July. I could feel those changes, and I felt them early on in this journey. Like I’ve mentioned before, I pretty much had to learn my hunger and body cues all over again and change the way I eat and drink. I had to literally press the restart button and learn things through trial and error.

But more than just my body began to change; it was also the people around me. I rekindled friendships these last couple of months that I thought I’d never have again, to state the obvious one. I’ve became a apart of two big online communities within the matter of a year and a half and made so many new online friends in the process. Of course, some of them lasted longer than others, but for the most part, I was not the same person even entering 2021 in, let alone at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.

But, I realized while i was gaining new experiences and relationships in my life, I started to realize that the ones I had previously were beginning to look non-existent. For context, some of the people who I considered to be some of my closest friends didn’t even check on me before or after my surgery, which again I’m not crying over, but it started to put more perspective on these said relationships in my life and showed me where I clearly stood as a person in other people’s lives.

I realized that the further away I stepped from the person I was, the more distance I created with the people who were once friends with the old me; the old Liz. The Liz that didn’t collect photocards and albums of kpop boys and girls and have posters of said kpop groups on my wall. The Liz that didn’t really have friends, or hobbies, let alone a place where I could geek out about the things that were now interesting to me. The Liz where I began to grow out of clothes faster than I was actually growing!

I realized this narrative was a familiar one, especially those who got into kpop later on in their lives like me. A friend of mine in the community has expressed how the friends they had before kpop ghosted them or left them completely once they started to grew interest in kpop, and wanted to start building a collection of their favorite kpop groups and such. I didn’t understand how someone who you used to fuck with so heavy could ultimately just ghost you or drop you completely because of a contrasting interest that had absolutely nothing to do with them. But I do, because I’ve experienced it first-hand; I’ve seen just how much contrasting interests I began to have from the other people in my life, and perhaps even though I’ve gained a new interest in something like kpop, I put too much faith on the fact that perhaps maybe I was able to still keep those in my life and indulge in something that made me happy.

But I guess not.

And then there’s just this constant thought of maybe I’m drastically changing and not being the person these people know me as, but then I sit back and think who the fuck cares? Like, who cares if my interests change? If the “aesthetic” is different? Who cares if my priorities as a person shifted into a direction they once weren’t? Who cares if I can’t relate to everything like I used to. Like I said, I am constantly changing; we all are, but one thing that shouldn’t change is the way you treat people within those changes. Friendships, or any type of relationships are meant to be long-term. Relationships are meant to morph and grow with you, not be tossed once they have no relevance for you anymore.

But, not everyone thinks like me and some people just ghost to ghost or just never keeps in touch, no matter how many times you’ve tried to.

I truly do wonder if things will keep changing like this as I go down further into my journey. Will I soon realize that the people in my life don’t like me not being the fat friend anymore? Will I soon realize that my diet restrictions and unwillingness to do normal things like drink be a reason why no one wants to hang out with me? I know, it’s ridiculous, but I can’t help but wonder what are some of the things to come, and if they will be positive things or negative things.

At the end of the day, we as people just tend to gain and lose things all in one lifetime. It’s great if we can keep what we hold onto dearly while still gaining things from life experiences, but it’s rare to have that outcome happen unfortunately. We, as people, can only hope that the things that come into our lives, the things we gain, make us even happier than the things that we lost in our past. We gain things because in that exact moment, it’s what you want and what you can relate to and share and have in common and such. We lose things for plenty of other reasons, and I know it’s okay if I lose things during this process as I end my 20’s in a few years.

As long as you don’t lose yourself a long the way, I say that’s a win in my book.

The "Something" Series

Something From My Past: A Monologue.

The Absolute Best NYC Spots To Visit When It Snows

For once, I feel like a foreigner in this city.

I’m able to give directions like I’ve lived here my entire life. I’m able to go to the good spots in the city to grab lunch or something. I used to have a favorite spot in the city. To be quite honest, I haven’t been back since I got back to America.

I thought the city is forever changing. I thought things disappear and reappear as something new every other month. But, to my surprise, some of the things that were here before are still here, surviving like it doesn’t hold some of the most painful memories this city has on me.

Hyung!” I turned around to see Shawn and Kevin walking out of the building our law firm is using for this new case. I was tired of the travels, to be honest. To know that I can sit in my apartment in Incheon one night, and then fly across the world to live in a NYC apartment for a couple of months was starting to wear me out. I was turning 30 in April, and this back and forth for the job isn’t something I enjoy doing anymore. Besides this case, there’s really no reason for me to be here.

Mwo?” I responded.

“Lunch is on Kevin; wanna join?” Shawn said. Kevin hits Shawn’s arm, clearly not aware he was paying today. I laughed; if there’s anything I’m happy about is that the firm put Shawn and Kevin on this case with me. Some sort of distraction while I’m here.

“Sure, you have a place in mind?” I questioned. They both looked clueless. I couldn’t help but laugh; in the year that I did live in America, Shawn and Kevin came to visit for the holidays. I was surprised they were able to get back to their hotel in one piece after the nights we would go out for dinner and drinks. Those were the good times.

“How about the cafe? They used to serve a lot of good food there,” Kevin insisted. I looked at Kevin intently; it felt like he was up to something.

“You guys should want to try other food that isn’t the cafe,” I protested.

“Listen, their bagel sandwiches are some of the best things I’ve ever had. I don’t know what’s in their bread, but it’s too good to pass,” Kevin explained. He then smirked. Kevin…

“Plus, I’m paying, so it’s my choice of where we’re going,” Kevin declared. Clearly, I wasn’t happy. I didn’t want to go to the cafe. I didn’t want to walk in there and be reminded of my past. The smells, the atmosphere; it’s just something I didn’t feel like reliving.

“Let’s go then, I’m freezing,” Shawn said as he zipped up his coat up to his neck. There wasn’t that much snow on the ground, but it was cold enough for that snow to stay longer than it should. Was it always this cold in NYC?

“Oh, hyung,” Kevin started. “They wanted me to had you over the case folder.” I looked at the literal novel in Kevin’s hands. Aigoo.

“Is that all?” I said, sarcastically. Kevin deadpanned as I smiled to my own joke.

“So, Shawn wants a hot chocolate, and I want that bagel sandwich,” Kevin listed.

“Are you not going to order?” I asked.

“Well…” Kevin dragged. Kevin, a man in his late 20’s, would still feel incredibly shy making orders for himself. He didn’t do it in Korea, so what made me think he would do it in a country where he doesn’t fully speak the preferred language?

“I’ll order for us,” I finally gave in. Kevin smiled and handed over his wallet to me. He walked out of the line and left me there. The line was longer than usual today.

There were about 2 people in the entire cafe this morning. We walked into it, assuming they had just opened for the day or something. She sat at our usual table as I ordered our usual; a cappuccino with a shot of expresso for me; an iced Americano for her.

I walked back to our table and placed the drinks down first before placing the brown bag on the table. She looked up at me as I sat down across from her.

“Cookies,” I said. “I know you were going to ask for them. She smiled. I liked knowing that our routine was like this on most days; simple.

“Thanks,” she said. She’s been under the weather lately, and I hate to see her so miserable. I was hoping that some cookies would help cheer her up. I made a goofy smile which made her laugh. She was so simple to make feel better, which I was happy about. My phone vibrated in my pocket, so I decided to check it when Grace was eating her cookies. It was an voicemail from the South Korea Embassy. I put my phone in my pocket and put my attention back onto her. Jagiya. Grace.

“So, I was thinking,” I started off. Grace looked up from her cookie to listen to me speak. “Maybe we can go for a mini vacation sometime soon. You, me, Little Bean,” I was a little nervous to throw something so random like this out there. Grace raised her eyebrows, visibly shocked.

“You want to go away with both me and Willow?” Grace asked.

“Yeah,” I didn’t hesitate to answer. I wanted to show Grace that I was here, with her, and if everything goes as planned, I’ll–

“That’s very sweet of you, Jamie, but–” Grace started to say. “I just don’t feel right taking Willow away from Max with…” She couldn’t finish the sentence. She didn’t have to.

I nodded my head and let it go. I didn’t want to stress Grace out more than she has been lately. She already looked like she wanted to apologize, so instead I just smiled. I didn’t want to her to worry she had said or done the wrong thing.

I didn’t realize my papers had fallen on the floor until I felt the impact of a person rushing by me. I quickly bent down to the ground to gather them up. Whoever this was was in a hurry.

“Omg, I’m so sorry!” the person said. I stopped picking up the papers and looked back. The front door to the cafe was swung open. Shawn and Kevin came by to help pick up the rest of the file from the cafe floor.

I just froze. It was like my body didn’t know how to react, or to react at all. Maybe I’m just imagining things. Maybe I’m just so in my own head that I didn’t realize I was just imagining things. It wasn’t long until Shawn and Kevin looked up at me and snapped their fingers in front of my face. I blinked, now focused on them.

“Are you alright, hyung?” Kevin immediately asked.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” I looked back down to the ground and picked up the remaining papers from the file. We all got back up from the floor and Shawn followed Kevin back to the table where they were. I immediately turned around when I heard the barista call for the next person. Maybe it was just in my head, Maybe it was just something from my past that I need to forget.