What You Are To Me

Jeff Bergen
Jeff Bergen

To me, you are the buzz on the back of the neck and the Cheshire Cat-smile after two generous glasses of wine. You are the brush of fingers against each other, if only for a moment, as I’m handed the glass. You are the flutter of the heart when the soft, dewy skin touches skin for just a millisecond too long.

You are the swell of my chest when, at all of eight years old, I look across the playground and see the best swing–the one I’m sure will send me over the bar and turn me inside-out forever–completely open. You are the pebbles scattering under my tennis shoes as I race past the monkey bars and under the slide. You are that first big swing forward when my legs stretch out in front of me and I can see over the roof of the next house over.

You are the warm, happy din that settles over those perfect house parties–the ones where all the friends you haven’t seen in a while are all back together in one place. You are the clink of glasses against each other as we toast to something absurd and obscure. You are the arms around shoulders as inside jokes are laughed over, as people pass around nostalgia like a peace pipe in the kitchen of a friend’s house.

You are the wind blowing gently over the beach, that thin layer of traveling sand that brushes against me as I fall asleep to the sound of the waves. You are the ice cubes in the lemonade, the condensation, the little breath I take in when I press the cold glass against my neck to fight the heat. You are the suntan lines I wake up with, the freckles that show up on my shoulders as I go to sleep. You are summer vacation.

You are the heady rush I get when, lying on the floor surrounded by torn-apart wrapping paper on my 10th Christmas morning, my parents tell me there’s one more present behind the couch. You are the delirious, happy coma I fall into as I agonize over which toy to play with first. You are the shiny, light brown glaze on the ham as my father carves the first slice. You are A Christmas Story on a 24-hour loop.

You are the first day of school, when all of my pens and notebooks are perfectly organized and even the little dividers are labeled with the little pieces of paper in their colored slots. You are the promise of a pencil case filled with fresh ink and unused erasers. You are the satisfying snap of a three-ring binder as you place your first papers neatly inside.

You are laughing, laughing so hard I can’t see through my tears, laughing so hard I need to sit down for a moment. You are the happy ache in my side from laughter that comes in gales and waves and only gets worse as you try to stop it. You are that moment when I’m being held down and tickled and legitimately wondering if anyone has ever died from being tickled too hard. You are the cries of “Stop it!” that can barely be understood through the squeals of open laughter.

You are all of these things, you see. But I’ll be polite; I’ll resist the urge to grab you and shake you until you see yourself the way I do. I want to show you the Polaroids and postcards of images you embody, the snapshots of our lives we want to save in a shoebox and pass down to our grandchildren–but I won’t. I won’t. I’ll let you go on thinking you’re just some ordinary human, if you want to. I understand, it must be easier that way. TC mark

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Chelsea Fagan

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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  • did

    /swoon

  • Liz

    I love this.

  • Jasmine Goh

    an amazing collection of happy memories. made me smile (:

  • Ay

    perfect 

  • charlotte

    wow… that was so SO beautiful.

  • Anonymous

    i know someone like this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

    You are the rugburn on my back

    • Ritz Gomez

      LOL

    • Customconcern

      You are my new Moleskine. You are the tiny fingerprints on my white iPhone 4. You are the– fuck this, I think I might just go cut myself, or something. 

  • Denz

    sigh :) sweetest thing i’ve read in months

  • Jen

    Lovely :)

  • http://twitter.com/rrpeters523 Ryan Peterson

    This was amazing and sweet and beautiful. Thank you.

  • Jordan

    I just had a convo with friends about that first day of school supply organization.  One of the true joys of childhood.

    Nice piece!

  • douchegirl

    This was great

  • Anon

    That was so nice.

  • Grrrrr

    Are you all mad? This was terrible! Totally cliche and self-indulgent. Blech. 

    • Anonymous

      You are the piece of pizza I just stole from the conference room and hid inside my sweater

      • @mcoddaire

        Hey kaitlyn, I like you. Lol. :)

      • Guesty

        You are the Red Bull I put down my foodhole every morning even though it doesn’t do anything

    • Susiederkins

      Sometimes things that are deemed cliche are used so often because they are universally identifiable. Nothing wrong with that. 

      • Grrrrr

        Yes. The definition of cliche is an idea, expression, or mode of expression that has been overused so as to render it meaningless. The whole point of good writing is to move beyond cliche and express universal ideas in a way that makes them resonate.

      • Susiederkins

        How sad that these things have become meaningless to you. I’m thankful for subjectivity. 

    • Pirate

      This is why I avoid most TC articles from girls…and I’m a girl. It’s fucking sad. This sucks.

      • devin

        so you must be the cool type of girl that hates girls because girls are so stupid and petty and they like shit like love and shit. bro, you’re so above it all. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Timberman/922794 Steven Timberman

    Not really feeling the love-a-thon, but that’s probably because I’m way too jaded (how cliche) at the moment.

    That said, your conclusion KILLED, as always. I  think Dan Savage has that line about how a relationship is believing in a false version of your partner – one that they must struggle every day to live up to. And you, of course, do the same. 

    • Anonymous

      Thank you, Steve! Your comments are always so constructive and interesting. :) Also–love that Dan Savage thing.

  • Grrrrr

    You are the crusty bits that form in the corners of my eyes while I dream about something at once hip and obscure.

    • Anonymous

      You are the awkward silence that settles over a room when somebody accidentally farts.

      • Guesty

        You are the paper bag I breathe into when an ordinary situation freaks me ouuuuut.  

      • Grrrrr

        You are the sweet smell of my own armpits, which I wipe and sniff when I get nervous. 

      • Customconcern

        You are the relieved, sweaty feeling that follows vomiting eight martinis into a toilet. 

      • Grrrrr

        You are the accidental open-mouthed kiss from my grandmother.
         

      • Customconcern

        You are the relieved, sweaty feeling that follows vomiting eight martinis into a toilet. 

  • Susiederkins

    “But I’ll be polite; I’ll resist the urge to grab you and shake you until you see yourself the way I do. I want to show you the Polaroids and postcards of images you embody…”I see what you did there. :)   
    For me, this is a lesson in loving things without requiring anything in return, and how that is possible with people too. 

  • Susiederkins

    “But I’ll be polite; I’ll resist the urge to grab you and shake you until you see yourself the way I do. I want to show you the Polaroids and postcards of images you embody…”I see what you did there. :)   
    For me, this is a lesson in loving things without requiring anything in return, and how that is possible with people too. 

  • Guesty

    you need more good non-childhood memories

  • Jordan

    i really, really liked this. there is a person out there in the world that is all of this and more to me, and i can’t say any of it to him.

  • Sophia

    This was lovely and beautiful and gorgeous and sweet and [insert positive adjective here]. I want to identify with this feeling in the worst way.

  • julie

    gahhh I relate. This made me tear up at work

  • julie

    gahhh I relate. This made me tear up at work

  • A fan

    Simply lovely.

  • Susanna

    absolutely brilliant.

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