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5/30/2024 2:51 pm
Part 1: My 2024 Retrospective
In true procrastination fashion, I should be getting ready for a dinner party at my friend's apartment on the Upper East Side, and I should be getting ready to grab a coffee with my friend and walk through Central Park. (Do you think it's okay if I bring Oreos instead of real food?) I chose to write something really quick instead about my thoughts on this year so far.
I'm feeling engorged by romance lately and I think it has to do with the summer season being around the corner. I often feel nostalgic in times like these around the Summer Equinox. In 20 or so days, things will be alive again and I won't feel the weight of the snow. Last night I was helping my boyfriend move apartments and on our way across the park, it started to rain. We catch the bus just in the nick of time and he let me have the umbrella so I wouldn't get my hair wet. He used his suitcase. We got on the bus and listened to Amy Winehouse through my wired headphones and watched the city move without us for just a minute.
I had asked him a little while back if romance seemed to be missing and I think it came from a place of us not being in the same area and also focused on different things. I was upstate focusing on my master's, he was here in the city focusing on his two jobs. There are many things that can prevent romance from being apart of your life, but work is the hardest one I've been meaning to get around. We all need money, we all need to figure it out, but I think of how miraculous it is sometimes that despite all of this, people get married. They move in together, please each other, and talk about the weather. 
When I moved back, it felt weird. I was tiptoeing around my new friends and my old ones and I had the lucky opportunity to play with the dynamics of who's who and where they can be at what time. I got into my dream school which was devastating to my prior belief system of myself and though it's broken down the many thoughts I've had of myself, new ones take its place. I am new, and I am encased by people who love me enough to let me sleep on their couch. I have surround sound of laughter for jokes that I hear as well as opposed to hearing the laughing of jokes I wasn't around for. 

5/18/2024 11:45 am
I've just gotten back to the city after spending a well-needed 4 months in the Hudson Valley and boy was that a ride. These past months have been such an eye opening experience that was. I don't plan on making this post all about that, but I instead want to make today's post about what it takes to let go.
Something I came to terms with lately as I was moving out are the core identities that my parents have instilled in me as individuals. What I mean by this is, my mother copes with control and my father copes with holding onto things. They've both described their behavior to me as "protecting what's theirs" and "being very sentimental", and I've explored these energies a whole lot lately. 
As it turns out, you cannot get what you want by staying comfortable. I've discussed this with my friends, that your new life will cost you your old one, but I wanted to look deeper into this. Why do we hold on when it doesn't suit our best interest?
We may have all sat down with ourselves and said it's out of love or sentimentality or protecting what's yours, but truthfully, it boils down to the core sensation of comfort. You stay with people who make you the most comfortable, not always physically, but psychologically. The brain has a funny way of working where comfort can look like your bed, but it can also look like your abusive ex. Or your addict parent. Or your mean best friend.
In the era of new-age spirituality, we explore the idea of 'soul ties' and 'twin flames' and 'karmic bonds', but how much of our soul is choosing the person who is bad for us, and how much is it our brain playing tricks on us? I was once on the train with my friend Chloe and I told her that I felt my ex-situationship creeping back up into my life. She looked at me like I was a fucking idiot. Here I am, in a relationship with a man who loves me, and I'm still seeing 'signs from the universe' of my ex-whatever.
She told me to thing of something blue, to close my eyes, and after she counted to 3, she told me to name something red. I said her carnelian bracelet or the exit sign. So her plan didn't work, but I got the gist when she explained the point to me after the fact. Sometimes your brain will look for answers to explain the irrational and 9 times out of 10, they're going to be explained in ways that cater to what you think you want.
I'm not used to a loving and caring and attentive relationship to a man so I conjured up reasons why it couldn't be so. That there will be some miraculous return to what I knew before, to what was psychologically comfortable. Painfully sentimental, dangerously protecting what is not mine.
So there comes a time when you can just wake up one day and walk down the street and throw away a reciept from your time together, and you can clear the notification that for some odd reason has his name, and you can delete his number. Maybe we've all been making up stories to get us through the hard feelings, but when you get to the other side of it, you learn that comfort is not worth chaos. 
True love will show you peace.
4/29/2024 12:04 pm
Hi, my love.
I have a story and a question.
Last week, I got back to New York City from upstate New York. I was on the Upper East Side in the middle of the night. I was crying on my friend's stoop because I was waiting for something to make sense to me. Emotionally, I felt like my clothes were too tight and like I just bought them and they fit the other day, but they did no longer. I called my boyfriend and asked to talk. I didn't want to keep him because he was reeling from a Broadway play high and had a flight at 6 am.
One thing I love about New York is that nobody really cares.
People walk by with their too-small dogs and my sniffles are nothing, like a cough pre-2020. Regardless, I bawled with my duffel on the stairs behind me and twinkling lights so high up. My friend eventually came and asked why I was spending the night, which I could, but he was confused. I explained that I left my keys upstate and didn't feel like waking up my father to unlock the door at midnight. He's retired, he needs the sleep.
In those moods where you feel like you don't want to go home, that you feel like you'll cry if you see your bedroom, I took a couch instead. I spiraled on the taste of what it takes to just leave where you are to go somewhere you don't know yet. At times I feel as though I know too much and too many people know me. It's like a sick joke only I know that I am constantly looking to go somewhere but upset at the idea of belonging to nothing. I am hypocritical on that front, I hate to say.
I've been ready to leave the Hudson Valley for a while and just go home, but I never really know what homes are supposed to feel like. Sometimes I feel like it's Rae Dunn pottery, other times it's where nobody knows my name, and it all makes no sense but I came to think that nothing is supposed to make sense at 20.
I got breakfast with my therapist friend, Rylie, today (friend first, therapist second). He was saying I look good and says something that everyone always tells me. That every update I have is said in a very underwhelming way, I just casually have finished my book, got 3 publications at my school upstate, and went to a fashion panel in SoHo the other day. He made me think about a lot of things over breakfast, as he usually does, but he applauds me on how everchanging, and adaptable, and how I can pivot so easily.
I love talking about change. It's all I do, I have never been the same person at two points in a row. People who are rigid in their beliefs and assumptions are the worst kind of people to me. This is polarizing to a lot of people who need a routine to structure their lives around, but I am a free person. I adore variable, you can be someone new by tonight. I wasn't a person who did pilates until like 2 months ago. You can just.. do anything.
Back to me, I explained that my therapist (the one I pay) told me this as well. My ex-therapist found wonder in the fact that in my childhood wish to be everything to everyone, I grew up to become someone who can be anything to anyone, anywhere I want. How lucky I am to have the opportunity to be anything to anyone anywhere. My biggest strength and the thing that makes me cry the most. I am secure in the idea that someone somewhere will love me. So I say all this to ask: 
In a world full of variables, why keep everything the same? 

4/21/2024 10:31 pm
Hello lovers.
I'm sick today! Call it a spiritual reckoning or just a repeated pattern of experience, but I love getting sick. I'll explain.
So beyond the sniffling, I've been telling my boyfriend to just forget about me, feed me to the wolves, I barely made it through this harsh winter. On a less harsh note, I've noticed that whenever I get sick, I experience a little death of my former self. Sort of like an orgasm but with your immune system (kidding, sort of). I'm not sure if anyone else feels this way but I get sick and I feel like a revamped version of myself. Last time I got sick was right as I moved upstate for a bit and I figured college is yucky and the air is dry in the mountains, etc. 
I eventually got over it and it actually brought my boyfriend and I closer together. We started this ritual where we order things to help each other when the other person is sick. I recall laying on my bed just wishing I would perish and I ordered some spicy pho to help out and he tells me that there's a good amount of stuff on the way, Mucinex, Dayquil, Nyquil, the works. I walked into the lobby where the delivery person was and I hear my boyfriend on the phone a bit panicked saying that "The order isn't for me, it's for Justin D, he should be out shortly, I just want to make sure he gets it." I butt into him overexplaining himself, "Hi (boyfriend name). I've received the package." (real inconspicuous).
I could gush about him being a gentleman, but I'll save those stories for another day, this is about me right now. So! I love getting sick for the rituals that occur. There's a special something you put in your tea, an extra dash of dealer's choice in your soup. It's a little bit of magic that only really comes up when our bodies are plagued with something smaller than us. I dare say as well that in the times we think we are at the pinnacle of life, sickness will take us down a peg and make us look at the things that truly matter. Your health, your family, your loved ones. The invariables like time, life, death, rebirth, taxes (ohhhh the taxes). My dad's always told me that there are few things in life that are unavoidable: death and taxes. Something is always gonna die and something is always gonna be owed, it's just the natural balance of things.
I love getting sick because of the reminder of how small things are. We stress over any and everything but when our body is under attack all we can really focus on is the life that we have and taking care of the being that we inhabit. And oh God how lucky are we that we are alive, what are the odds! Also how lucky some of us are to have people to take care of or to take care of us! I always say that humans inherently know how to love, the tricky part is whether or not they do it in the right way, and the right way is absolutely subjective depending on who is on the receiving end.
I told my dad I was sick and he always says "I have just the thing." and it's always cough medicine that tastes disgusting, my brothers and I all agree, but it always does the trick. If we never got sick, 
would we care for each other the ways humans do?
3/3/2024 4:39 pm
One of these days, you come to the reckoning of what it was like to have your first love.
I knew about love since I was young when I saw my parents sleep in the same bed together for a family trip even though they were divorced. Parents have the privilege of saying that they are your first love and while I wish I could debate that, I really can't. Everything falls into its place, like rocks in the water, back to your parents and the look they gave you when you aligned with their fantasies of parenthood.
I don't think I grew up in a broken home, I want to say misshapen. I want to give my parents and siblings the credit they deserve for getting me here. I didn't do it alone, but I remember that my mother had the impression that I thought that. There was a bit of my growing up where I felt more alone than ever. That gap has only been growing since the age of 12 and I fill it with people who I choose to supplement the family members that have since been left behind or changed shape right before my eyes.
The paranoia of death set in for me at 12 as well, and then I realized that I was not, in fact, bisexual, I was gay. I realized as well that I did not get frustrated with my best friend because he made jokes at my expense, but because I was irrevocably in love with him and lost sight of all normalcy in his presence. The first time someone looks at you and your stomach goes blah and you start orchestrating run-ins, that is when your world becomes a bit supernatural. You start believing in ghosts and vampires because this only happens to the characters in your novels. So on my 13th birthday on August the 13th, I thought something miraculous had to happen, but it was only my first iPhone for Christmas. Basically Harry Potter.
I recall that year feeling like the world was gonna change right beneath me and it did in a sense, but God was it awful. I was existential and scared and acne-prone and suddenly tall for some reason even though I've always been short, and my favorite clothes didn't fit anymore and I didn't feel like eating and always felt like crying, etc., and then boom:
On one of our walks home, my best friend said I should go to one of his soccer games to be his cheerleader. Suddenly everything felt worth it. In my mind, I would be up there with his parents, I would feel awful and beautiful and satiated and free.
I went home with a smile on my face, my mother burdened me with chores and I smiled all the way through the dishes and the laundry. I would lie awake feeling perfect, stomach still in knots, making up my scenarios to go to sleep. I dreamt that he kissed me and another time I dreamt that he bathed me. I woke up like my house had been exorcised and opened the blinds like my fear of death would be turned to ashes by the sun.
I met my tragic and naive end when I told him that I liked him more than a friend over text. He never responded and we stopped hanging out, then eventually in high school, we got back into the swing of things. I crashed and burned again, letting all the love I had die in my hands for however long it took. That love was a plucked flower in a coffee cup and I hoped eventually it would bloom. It did not.
All is not lost though. I learned to love smaller things like actual plants, and I fell in reciprocal love along the way. I think of all the loves you have in this life in terms of their own pocket universes that affect you long after they have their heat death or big rip, or even a big slurp as it leaks down the drain.
I could make the argument that he taught me that I could love boys in the first place, but I definitely would have figured it out. I don't think of him as the first great love I've gotten in this life, I don't even know if I have had that yet, but I'm 20 so let's give it a minute. I think he's the first boy I've written poetry about. I would summarize those years as my wish to belong somewhere, to something greater than myself, to someone.
What's the difference between your first love and your first great love?
3/23/2024 9:11 am
Hey lovers.
I've been thinking lately about the prospect of dating strangers
Me being me, I always have the urge to go somewhere. With that urge to go somewhere, I am forever the optimist wishing for greener pastures, and with those greener pastures come more people to spend time with and love.
Spending time upstate I ran into so many girls who told me that they got cheated on. I've never cheated or been cheated on, but for the sake of being honest, I thought about cheating a lot in my last relationship. I absolutely would never, if someone cheated on me that would deeply shatter my sense of trust in relationships. But as I think about it and why people do it, it's insecurity.
When I dived deeper into dating generally, I found that I like the men that I date to be strangers. I'm not a fan of everyone knowing who I date and their past or beliefs. Some people like to be friends with their lover before they get serious. I'm not one of them. I get the idea, I like that you should be able to be friends with someone you're seeing romantically before delving into the depths of romance.
I wanted to be friends with my ex-boyfriend when we broke up but I could tell he kinda hated me already so I rescinded the offer. He said it would take some time before he could even see me like that and I understood. I was in Costa Rica debating if he ever loved me and concluded that he did, just not in the way I needed him to. It was an average case of me being too much for him and him not being enough for me; after our 8 months of dating.
In this new relationship I'm in, I told him about how I thought about cheating on my ex, and that I would never. He didn't judge me and part of me thinks he didn't judge me because we were already in the midst of an argument at the time. Even at the time of writing this, we're freshly reborn into the new throws of our love.
I feel that if my current lover knew about my destructive tendencies from the jump, we wouldn't be together. He also admits to destructive thoughts and behaviors and I see him for who he is. Rarely nowadays do we stay in romantic love where we truly see another person. When you're capable of seeing yourself (e.g. me, someone who thinks they're a good person with occasionally really messy and destructive thoughts), you allow others to see you. It's only a matter of how close and comfortable you become with your partners or friends that you see how much it matters.
Many people only think their character matters when they have someone else to judge and view it, myself included.
I write all this to express the belief I hold that when you choose a stranger to date and a stranger to love, that love feels more profound. 
Here are two people on a quest for love, inside and out. The deeper they wade into the waters of intimacy, the skeletons leave their closets, the mistakes made in the light are seen for what they are and these two people find themselves at a crossroads.
Is my love stronger than my pride?
That's all for now.
3/8/2024 7:13 pm
Hi there.
I decided tonight to go to the city this weekend (impulsively) so I'm writing this on the Metro North, feeling very Gossip Girl, very Writer In the Dark, very Carrie Bradshaw. 
I'm thinking tonight about the things that make you feel like you belong somewhere. I have a therapist friend and he asked me a bit ago what felt like belonging to me. Honestly, I didn't have much of an answer.
I'm personally very attracted to ideas and aspects surrounding escapism and newness. This idea and belonging don't go hand in hand. There is no belonging to escapism. I fear sometimes that my internal longing for something new is going to destroy anything I build.
I didn't think I was a self-destructive individual but destruction looks different to everyone. Belonging doesn't agree with destruction, they hardly coexist. So with this, cultivation is it. Being like a farmer, looking at a field and knowing that your harvest will come, but you can only think of a general idea when like a season and a time of year. You never know when your moments of cultivation come when you're going based on your perseverance, you can only hope that it will.
Today after class I asked my British Literature professor if she could overview my book, and she said no for various reasons -- but this story isn't about me. 
There was a girl who talked to her before me who was deeply worried about another professor who wasn't fond of the normal way she types nor when she uses a program to make her words sound "better". She started the conversation laughing, ended it crying, and said she didn't know what to do because it felt like nothing she did was enough. She is Black and is from Brooklyn, she is sweet and she is funny. When her voice started cracking I felt her pain and asked if she needed a hug, which she let me give her. I told her that regardless, I was on her side.
I wanted to tell her to not let people make her think that she didn't belong there. 
I wish I could write about things other than race sometimes because I feel that there's so much more to life than worrying about color, but it is a pervasive little bug that finds its way to the depth and root of every issue. 
It reminded me of a time I was in middle school, 7th grade, I believe, at a charter school* (a story for another day*) that I attended in Brooklyn. I hated it there, but that was its own problem. I remember my English teacher at the time, Mr. Johnson, banned me from reading in his class for the entire school year. I would cry before school sometimes because beyond debating whether I wanted to live or not, I debated if I even wanted to show my face at school. Here is a Black 30-something-year-old man yelling in my 12-year-old face about reading during our morning assignment that I finished early, banning me from reading in his class.
I looked directly in front of me, slightly up, at a sign that said "Keep Calm and Keep Reading". 
Do we see where this is going?
Besides my escapist tendencies, he evidently wasn't my favorite educator, and discouraging a child from reading should honestly be illegal but I digress. He would also go around the classroom at the end of every school year and tell each kid what was wrong with them. The dean of the school actually would come in each year and laugh, it was entertainment. 
My necessary insight from Mr. Johnson was that: I would get farther in life if I applied myself, but I didn't.
So what about the girl in my college British Literature class who applied herself and was shot down at every flap of her wing? She said that she felt like the professor didn't even like her and that she didn't know what she was doing wrong.
I've come to realize that sometimes you really aren't the issue; that sometimes people fall into places where they do not belong, and in our cases, our educators didn't belong where they were. Maybe it's too optimistic to hope that everyone finds their place, but here's to hoping.
That's all for now.

2/26/2024 6:38 pm
Hello lovers.
I'm writing from a bedroom in Hudson Valley, NY in my third college. My temporary bed is bare, my heart kinda hurts, it might be my meds, it might be the dread, but regardless of it all, I am still here. I came upstate with the knowledge that it wouldn't be the city and I think it's a little funny that I wish it was. Today was a hard day, I left one class early, skipped the other entirely. I would flood my professors' emails with apologies but I don't feel sorry.
Something cool about anxiety is that you feel guilty no matter what. The guilt in my stomach isn't mine to hold so I'll put it down here and hope it doesn't follow me.
Last night my Syracuse-born roommate said the n-word to our other roommate in complete darkness in our three-person room and when I asked what he said, I heard the silence in the room. Maybe I was speaking to the dark but I knew who it was and where it came from. I thought he was the cooler of my two (racist) roommates, but I think they're both losers now. 
There was one time (last week) when they both agreed that my hair, which I just put in finger coils, reminded them of mealworms, googled a picture, put it next to my head, and laughed. I said nothing because you're not supposed to do anything to the white boys. I think they envied me for having more personality. Tonight I walked to an "emergency" dorm to stay in until they could find my new permanent/temporary home; I had two bags and one of my pairs of sneakers. I feel a type of way about the word "emergency" that makes me feel like I'm in crisis. The room was described to me as "if a pipe burst in another student's room, they'd move in here." but there was no emergency and there was no pipe burst. This emergency has been years in the making. 
I'm thinking about my ex-boyfriend who goes to this school, and I feel like I did when I broke up with him at my uncle's funeral. He told me that it didn't come as a surprise that I left him, it just felt final. If he could see me walking down the street with my bags, I wonder if he would've felt the same way too, just me, leaving, not a surprise, but final.
I'm thinking about how his mom said I lived in the slums, and I do, but what now? We broke up, so does the guilt that isn't mine just go away? I'm thinking about when I asked my ex-boyfriend when he was gonna tell me that his dad is a Trump supporter, and he asked what I expected from Italians in Long Island. I'm thinking about how his best friend once asked me, if she was forced to be racist or die, would she be allowed? My roommate asked me one time (two weeks ago) what I ate at "the cookout" like it was some ritualistic event, and when I said burgers, I think he expected me to break out into song.
The worst part about these things somehow isn't the racism, but the barriers that get put up because of them. I felt like my ex-boyfriend would never choose me over peace, with his friends or his family. Then I felt like acting "too black" in front of my roommates would give them confirmation bias about all pre-existing notions about black people and their bodies. If my hair can do it, so can my words, and so can my skin, and so can me watching Insecure on Netflix out loud, etc.
Disillusionment comes in the form of no longer wishing to bare your soul to others, to enclose yourself, and not ask for help. It looks like the act of being kind sinking to the bottom of your list of how you want to interact with people.
That's all for now.

02/10/2024  6:58 pm
Ahem, hi. 
My name is Justin Demmitt, and I haven't journaled since December 16th, 2023. As someone who claims to love writing, I feel like I've been doing so little of it due to the sheer fact that it's overwhelming having so much to say sometimes! I think it's one of those things where you love it so you have to let it go. In any case, I spent the last couple of days making this brand new corner of the internet gleam and glisten, and I can't wait to share so much more with everyone who stumbles into here. 
While you're here, take your shoes off please, and let's get this show on the road.
I submitted a copyright for my very first book of poetry tonight. I'm calling this project "isolated incidents". It used to be called "How Do You Sleep at Night?" and it used to be called "How Do You Like the Gardenias?" but I've since scrapped those names for something else. This book to me, grew a life of its own, and it feels like it's alive and breathing and it's just finally learning how to crawl. The copyright felt like signing the birth certificate, making this thing real, and I am kinda speechless. I've been writing it since February 2021 so this month makes 3 years that it's been in the works and it's finally done!
I'm also really new at this blogging thing, and I hope to make this a more long form version of my content, kind of like an open diary situation but also a place to let myself breathe. I huffed and puffed into the book, I breathed life into it. All the life that I had to live from birth to 20 years old is in that book and I hope one day, someone will enjoy it and be happy that I wrote it. It's honestly taken a lot of work to believe in myself enough to think that my words and my voice were even worth listening to, even now it feels that way. I hope someone loves it as much as me. I hope people will be kind to it, and me. And I hope that when I finally get it in my hands, with a cover and pages and a table of contents and a dedication and an author's note, I'll grieve those 20 years and hold the 6 foot boy that I am in my mind, fondly.
Right now I hope to see that version of myself soon
I'll meet you there.