The Things I No Longer Feel Anymore by Ryan O’ Connell

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I remember feeling like no one would ever hurt me—certainly not after we laid in bed together and circled each other’s stomachs with our fingertips, and ordered delivery food and made up inside jokes before we fell asleep! Why would anyone do that? You’re supposed to treat me with care after I’ve exposed all of my vulnerabilities to you. You’re supposed to protect me and make me feel good about people. I remember feeling this way, I remember being naive and trusting. I don’t feel that way anymore though.

I remember feeling satisfied by finding five dollars underneath the couch cushion. I remember having a pure relationship with money and not really being aware of class. Currency used to be in Pogs and stickers. I didn’t know that people could have so much and I remember feeling shocked when I walked into my first big fancy house. I remember not understanding why people would go to such insane lengths for a buck. I remember feeling okay with just a hamburger from McDonald’s. I don’t feel that way anymore.

I remember feeling scandalized when someone would do drugs. I remember feeling like this person snorting something in her bedroom at her parents house was really cool and maybe understood things in a better way than me, like she had it all figured it out and just got the memo before I did. I remember feeling inadequate to the popular kids when I was sixteen and feeling tired from trying so hard. I remember feeling like I would be happier if only I got invited to that dance party in someone’s basement. I don’t feel that way anymore. (THANK SWEET CHRIST!)

I remember feeling invincible, like nothing could ever get taken away from me. I would always have these limbs, these fingers, these hands, this body. I owned it. It was mine. I was going to stay the same forever and never have any health problems or injuries because that stuff wasn’t easy or nice. That wasn’t meant for someone young anyway, wasn’t fit to print. I don’t feel that way anymore.

I remember feeling like my parents were immortal and would never need me in the way that I once needed them. The father becomes the child and you become the caregiver. That wasn’t something I never understood or felt. I remember feeling like it was their job to protect me and make sure my life was nice. I don’t feel that way anymore.

I remember feeling like I had a set list of things I would never do in my life and thinking I was going to feel the same way forever about things. My opinions would never change. I had drawn a line in the sand and there was no way I was going to change it. Inflexibility, stubbornness—I remember feeling these two things constantly. I don’t feel them anymore.

I remember feeling like I was owed certain things. I was owed a boyfriend in high school because everyone else had one. I was owed a job after graduation because, hello, I just spent four years working my ass off. I was owed a dog and a husband and money in Los Angeles. I was owed a grown up life because that’s just what was supposed to happen. I don’t feel that way anymore.

I remember feeling excited over something as small as new music or the new issue of a magazine, of feeling excited whenever someone cute would kiss me, of feeling lucky that I’m able to do the things I do, of feeling like everything was going to be okay no matter what. Luckily, I still feel this way.

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