themes on love

 
Anna Myers | WRITING
 

“You made me who I am today, Nanni. All this might as well be in my head, and in my head it stays. But I've lived and loved by your light alone. In a bus, on a busy street, in class, in a crowded concert hall, once or twice a year, whether for a man or a woman, my heart still jolts when I spot your look-alike.” — André Aciman

It is not the union, but the separation. Of that, I am convinced.

I am never more interested in the multitudes of the human heart than I am months, years after their first passing, obsessively scouring my memory for scraps and clues. Misplaced, tampered with, perhaps a little more rock’n’roll than I left them. Never untouched, but forever unmoved.

Something happens to memories examined: they turn sour for a moment as they land their blow, as I chew on them with the fervour of a starved woman longing to taste the sweetness she knows, knows will follow. It always does.

I’ve been looking my whole life for a taste half as sweet as lost love, but I never came close.

It’s the naivety of blossoming love. A devotion I would die for in any other form but know I will not find, for by the time I turn to look, it’s gone for good. And it endlessly fascinates me, ‘how we move through time, how time moves through us, how we change and keep changing and come back to the same’.

Given a chance, given a chance, given a chance.

Would they survive, given a chance. Would they snap under pressure. Precious little things, marks on their throats right there where their hearts sit, would they make it.

You and me, but also: the people in the novel on my nightstand, the ones in the songs I play on snowy days, in stories that leave me frozen in my seat long after the credits have rolled? Would the boy in the story I can’t not come back to, even after all this time, even after all I know?

In another life -or perhaps a parallel one- they’d stand a chance.

The red string would bend but not snap. I’d pay more attention to my words on that very first week, on the flight home, on the night I slept on your floor and she in your sister’s room. The following August, I would meet you where I said I would instead of pretending not to hear your ringtone in my pocket as our friends’ laughter echoed in the empty square. Fast-forward a couple of years and maybe I wouldn’t lose your number, so I’d have something to remember you by other than the knowledge that your mother named you after a composer I cannot stand and the faint memory of your arm around my stomach, the boat rocking us and your brother calling from the shore. That night in the bar painted red and gold, we would speak of something other than that one author you don’t like and oranges in summertime. Two years later, I would walk back out to the smoking area just in time to catch you leaving, and wouldn't spend the journey home crying on the N8 thinking, how the hell did I let it get this far. That same summer, I wouldn’t chicken out before the clock rang 4AM, or lie to everybody’s face the following morning. Six months later, I would say yes to Paris. I would, I would, I would.

The revelation is in the separation, you see.

Multitudes of the human heart, forever unmoved. But never, never the same.

“Our star life, yours with mine. As someone said over dinner once, each of us is given at least nine versions of our lives, some we guzzle, others we take tiny, timid sips from, and some our lips never touch.”


in between

 
6F9A0C5E-C573-402A-B0D8-BB60B281A3CB.jpg
 

Someone told me recently, I should make space for love before I go looking for it. 

But there's clothes at the foot of my bed since I can never remember to hang them up, and empty breakfast plates on the floor since I never have time to put them away. I sometimes switch my phone off for hours on end and I am a terrible, terrible texter. I hate making Sunday plans because there’s nothing I love more than the golden stretch of morning that is mine, mine, only mine. I hate sharing desserts, and I hate sharing my time. I don't own a spare toothbrush, I always run out of milk and sometimes I look at my thighs as if they were separated from the rest of my body.  

Planning takes energy, but making space takes a village. 

make-believe forever

Anna Myers | WRITING

He says all the right things. I play all the right moves.

Soon enough we’re dancing in circles and promise we’ll only stop when somebody comes looking.

Nobody does.

Afterwards, I will say I didn't really mean any of it. It’s a lie and we both know it is. He won’t call me out because his arm feels nice around my waist, so, who’s keeping score anyway. A friend will loudly remark: ‘Oh, isn’t the beginning just so wonderful!’ —but that’s a lie, too. Which is it say, beginnings absolutely are, but that’s absolutely not what this is.

It’s the nostalgia of it, the pretense that under different circumstances we could almost keep the game going. The sobering reality of a loud crash somewhere near the kitchen, someone yelling out my name, his name lost in my mouth, my phone refusing to charge, glass breaking under our feet and that fucking song stuck in our heads.

The nonchalance with which we lie to ourselves.

It’s the fleeting moment at four in the morning on a Sunday in an overheated, overcrowded flat in Camden, almost letting myself believe that his fingers tracing my back could still mean what I so desperately wanted them to only half an hour ago. Or was it two hours. Or have we just been going through the motions this whole time.

Maybe it was the moment I spotted him leaning against the fridge and thought, I guess tonight is as good a time as any to make sure I never forget what he looks like with his hand on the back of my neck.

We only falter when we forget.

We only remember when the music stops, and oh god , isn’t that ironic.

cafe chappe

 
Anna Myers | WRITING
 

Hugging a lamppost in solidarity with 17 year old me who used to live two streets down from this glorious establishment and spent many a night there, naively downing 3€ shots (lol) and excitedly making plans that she had exactly 0 chances of seeing through.


She used to go by a different name and dream of very different things, but as I walk the same streets all these years later I’m reminded that really, all she wanted was a tiny spark of magic. Back then it meant mattresses on rooftops and kisses under arches, cameras rolling and desperately loving anyone who’d admit to feeling the same. A language I’d come to claim as my own and one I would look for on every stranger’s lips (as I type this sentence I realize that in therapy this is what they call a breakthrough, and holy shit).


These days, I’ve given up on the show. I look for quiet magic instead. A letter from my grandad, a dog licking my cheek. Warm baths on a friday evening and really bad chinese food on the wonky piano at tottenham court road long after the last train has left. Still, I carry the lines I’d memorized for our final scene and the one our teacher spoke that july afternoon, and I know I owe them everything.


Also good to know I’m just as partial to a diy experiment resulting in accidental red hair at 25 as I was at 17. Watch me do it all over again.

new romantics

Anna Myers | WRITING

We took about 1000 photos that evening on the balcony, as I fixed my hair and sucked in my stomach and tried to think of anything other than the fact that March made me sadder than I‘d been in months; which is to say the words printed on my eyelids were cruel but familiar, and sometimes pushing back is a bitch but that only makes it so much more important; which is to say I love this picture because I look like my mom, and I look happy because I was, and all things considered that’s good enough.

We got all dressed up ‘cause we were supposed to go to a boat party but it turned out to be closed down so we sat in front of the eiffel tower and drank wine and took polaroids and if it all sounds too chic it’s only because we got drunk and went to mcdonald’s right after. I lost a shoe. I didn’t think cruel words once.

so we could dance

 
Anna Myers | WRITING
 

This post was first published on Dear Damsels.

It’s my heart beating a little too fast, threatening to spill out of my ribcage.

My feet moving but always in circles, thoughts spinning in a blur of tentative ‘why’s and ‘how’s and ‘what is this trying to teach me’s but never able to give any answers.

If pressed, I’d admit it’s the fear I get on a January night when the light hits just so, eyes damp and the smell of vanilla burning from the window sill. It’s the fear that follows every other night, when the notes aren’t flowing and something has been stuck in my throat long before my lips touched the second cream cheese bagel I ate in a frenzy after 2AM because I just, couldn’t think.

Lately it’s been a hand on my shoulder. Soothing the hurt, keeping me sane.

You trace your lips on my knuckles and trail your fingers down my back. I promise in turn, I’ll keep this feeling as safe as I can.


It’s a fragile feeling, you see. It puts one foot in front of the other, but never seems to put them down quite right. It’s an anxious feeling. Its breath catches from time to time and it can never find the right words. It spent months warily wishing for a sign, then wanting to be heard, or felt, or just acknowledged long enough to make a home in a hidden corner of my heart while I wasn’t looking.

I remember where I was when it finally did.

I’d promised I would cook so I spent forty minutes on the phone to my mother while she explained how to make a risotto for the hundredth time, then downed two shots of vodka while waiting for the doorbell to ring because my hands were shaking and I couldn’t stop pacing. The risotto was edible. The feeling was there. Hours later I sat on a white pillow with my head in your lap and my legs dangling off the couch, and as Streets of Philadelphia played through the speakers I felt my resolve crumble faster than you could say ‘this is where I ask you to stay’.

So fragile. But it was there, right then, in the corner of my heart it claimed as its own while I was too busy laughing like a kid and snorting into my glass, so happy it hurt.

It’s months later now and it’s up to me to keep it safe. To protect it when someone takes a swing, keep it warm when the nights get cold. Guide it back when it wants to run free, which is often. Guide it home when it wants to destroy everything that’s good, which is not as often as it used to be because, look at that, progress.

This much I can promise.

A shaky rib cage and a fearful heart, willing to put in the work they need to for this whole thing not to crumble. A snorting laugh and the certainty that given a drink and the opportunity, I will inevitably spill it on the nearest white shirt. More dog pictures than you will know what to do with. Burnt toast, but really good coffee. The fact that I’ll wait too long to introduce you to my friends, but when I do, they will all love you. The knowledge that this fragile feeling grows a little stronger every time you rest your head on my shoulder or your hand on the small of my back. That I breathe a little easier every time I go to check and find it right where I left it, where I can protect it, where I want it to be.

It might not be everything, but I think it might be enough.

The post-it is a metaphor

Anna Myers | WRITING

“The post-it is a metaphor, Kristi,” I yell.

We met three hours and a few drinks ago, after she texted the WhatsApp group asking if anyone else needed company on this sunny but stupidly lonely Sunday.

It’s the first warm day of the year and I’m wearing the only item of clothing I own with superimposed French text on it, because ‘drama queen’ wasn’t only my MSN screen name when I was fourteen but also very much a life choice I committed to then and clearly haven’t since renounced.

On any other day, I’d almost find it funny.

t w e n t y f i v e

 
Anna Myers | WRITING
 

24 was fun.

I broke two ribs! Read a lot of books! Ate more meals than I skipped, sang out-of-tune songs in bed with Fab, had sunday rituals with myself and heard the words ‘You’re doing good’ for the first time in a while.

It was more work and less sleep than I thought I could get used to, but also -not as hard as I’m used to. I didn’t break, I didn’t heal. I didn't —lose— myself. I stopped trying to —find— myself.

24 started with Helena and Kristi surprising me with tiramisu & balloons and ended with me surprising even myself, because holy hell, there’s a lot of stuff I could have fucked up by now and somehow still haven’t.

Sometimes not for lack of trying, but I guess there’s poetry in that, too. Just like there’s poetry in scary nights, and messy parts, and crying with your head in the toilet on the morning of your twentyfifth birthday, because it all works out in the end but that’s never going to be what’s interesting, so.

I made a wish. I’ve had leftover cake every day for a week. Life is fine. Fine, I tell you.

m&k

Anna Myers | WRITING

Accidentally wandered into an old bookshop, serendipitously found a Stones biog I haven’t read.

Page 64: “Mick and Keith at the time were living in Hampstead, at 10 Holly Hill.”

I walk out of the café, turn right, and, well.

I am so in love with my little corner of the city it sometimes stops my breath —but sometimes it’s for a different reason. Both are mine, mine, mine. And I am grateful, grateful, grateful. 

blue nights

Anna Myers | WRITING

“During the blue nights you think the end of day will never come. As the blue nights draw to a close (and they will, and they do) you experience an actual chill, an apprehension of illness, at the moment you first notice: the blue light is going, the days are already shortening, the summer is gone...Blue nights are the opposite of the dying of the brightness, but they are also its warning.” - Joan Didion

fingers in cheese, feet in water

Woman reading, Alexander Deineka

On the second Sunday of the month I wake up early to have breakfast in the garden. In the sweltering heat, on a flimsy burning chair, as I listen to the neighbors' kids play on the other side of the fence and laugh easily as they throw water from their makeshift pool directly onto my feet. 

I wear my best French-woman-going-to-the-market-to-buy-bread-and-olives-and-flowers outfit and make my way to my favorite spot in the city. I walk behind two dads pushing a pram and my heart does a little jump because London Pride was just yesterday and I will not apologize for being an Emotional Aquarius Baby. I get my usual order at the creperie stand and pick flowers to press and send to my grandmother in my next letter.

I dip my fingers in cheese and my feet in water, and tell myself it's okay if my breath still catches from time to time.

 

I have been good for a while now. Which is not to mean I haven't had bad days, but I have been doing good. Day after day, for more days than I could have hoped for less than a year ago.

 

With that in mind, I walk slowly, with no real purpose. I try so desperately to commit these moments to memory, as I've been doing ever since I realized things had shifted -I have rarely put as much energy into anything as I did trying to crystallize perfect solitary mornings spent on Santa Monica beach into souvenirs for my heart.

 

Timestamps of a tide turning burned to my eyelids, a resolution. 

 

Like my high school teacher once (really, actually) said, "Anna, if you put half the energy you dedicate to your own personal drama into studying, you'd be top of your class".

I mean, she was an asshole but she wasn't wrong.

 

Thing is, I believe there's power in paying attention to small victories and slow days and big moments because everything else just --goes so fast. I forget birthdays and cancel plans as weeks and months blur one into the other, I forget to water the plants and do laundry and come home at a reasonable hour and to remember to breathe. I answer too many emails and listen to too many podcasts on my way to and back from work, I take too many calls during lunch hour and never answer my texts or drink enough water and never ever go to the gym when I said I would, I spill sauce on white clothes and stay up late investigating conspiracy theories and I am terrible, terrible at taking care of myself.

 

But I want to. 

 

So when I stick to the only routine I know is good for me, when I cancel out the noise and the messy and the complicated and just focus on here, now, still and silent, I am taking care of myself.

 

When I press play on Storms by Fleetwood Mac for the sixth time in a row just to hear the last minute one more time, when I get my skirt wet by jumping into the pond a little too hastily, when I spend five minutes watching a ladybug walk from one of my rings to the other and back, I am doing exactly what my heart needs. 

 

I've been scared shitless of change and questions I want answers to but do not have the energy to start asking myself. I've been scared to write, ever since I turned my back on so much of what made up my identity. I've been slipping and slipping and wondering if this is how it starts or if I'll only notice when it's too late.

 

I’ve been restless and hard on myself and I’ve been wasting time waiting for something more, always something better. Always waiting for whatever comes next when the pieces align themselves and you’re not breathing underwater for the first time in years but still expecting something to drown you. 

 

So I walk slowly, commit, commit, commit.

I tell myself perfect moments are worth celebrating more than a perfect life ever might be, and I breathe out my fear with every shaky breath.

 

I crystallize every moment, just as it is. Timestamps of a tide turning burned to my eyelids, a resolution

you get what you need

Anna MyersAnna Myers | WRITING

Mom visited for the weekend and she feng-shui’d my room and moved my Mick Jagger vinyl ‘cause it sat where the divinity and spirituality spot is in relation to the cardinal points and she wouldn’t hear me out when I said that worked quite well because Jagger is, in fact, my god.

I told her the story of good ol' Swifty in 2012 and we laughed and we laughed and we couldn’t stop laughing when we realized what it meant now in retrospect because, life is funny. Sometimes it takes a few years for it to sink in, for it to spin the right way, for it to stare at you right in the face -but it always does.

And it sure does so better when you’re not working against it like I have been my whole life, so.

That’s where I'm at.

Sat on a new pink stool mom put in the ‘dreams, ambitions and opportunities’ chakra-spot-corner, not really trying to get anywhere but letting it get to me.

Me and my eyeliner-wearing, lipstick-sporting, songs-that-make-my-heart-go-kaboom-writing divinity, obviously.

 

I also loved this from Chani Nicholas' weekly horoscopes very, very, very much:

I relax knowing that all I need to do is show up in this moment as myself. For myself. In service of what needs me. This is the place I plan my days from. This is the place I run my life from. This is the place that I return to. 

I am enough. I am everything that this moment needs. I am discovering who I am one situation at a time. I am not a mystery solved, I am a mystery revealing itself. Anytime I find myself struggling to get it right, figure it out, or fix myself to fit in, I remember that isn’t the point. The sharp edge of life’s sword is always asking me to cut through the self-doubt that inhibits me from doing what I can, when I can, as often as I can.

Might just hang it up on my wall.

Right next to Mick.

fight for the rebuild

Anna Myers | WRITING

"Fight for the rebuild", a friend told me a while ago. 

"You've got to fight for the life you want," she said. "It's worth every ounce of struggle."

 

Back then, I had no idea what that rebuild would look like. Six months ago today, I boarded a plane at LAX and landed in London tired to the bone but wide-eyed and weirdly excited about starting over, about building something back up from scratch. 

I didn’t know what the life I wanted looked like, which made the whole affair harder than it maybe needed to be, but.

 

I’d just discovered what I didn’t want it to look like, and that had to count for something, right?

 

It was raining because of course it was, and as the plane touched down the speaker system started playing Carolina and I laughed into my pillow because I really don't like Carolina one bit but it still means something, you know.

 

Six months on, I think I'm starting to realize what it meant.

 

On my last night in Milan, the night before I moved to London, I walked around the empty (and rainy! what an omen!) streets of the old city center listening to Sweet Disposition and wondering what the future would bring -wondering if I was making the right choice, how long it would take before I crashed and burned.

 

It meant a lot to me in 2013, that song.  I loved the promise of it, the sheer possibility of it.

 

I’m only half kidding when I say I moved to London for the way Sweet Disposition made me feel, walking up Primrose Hill one morning and thinking well, isn't this nice.  (Mom, do you like the Alanis reference?  I do.)

 

I might have crashed and burned, but I sure as hell haven’t forgotten that. 

 

Another friend said to me the other day, “Every day of your life since 2012 has been leading up to this moment.”

 

I’ve been thinking about that a lot, and she isn’t wrong. I have no way of knowing what else it’s leading up to, what else this rebuilt of mine might bring. But I know this: I have built something.

 

I’ve worked tirelessly at it, day and night at it, cried all my tears for it and waited patiently for it in a way that was so un-typically myself it shocked me with every moment passing.

 

Still I built it. 

 

It’s small and fragile and sometimes struggles to stay upright. It breathes funny and walks slowly and I get so scared it will not survive, I am terrified I will wake up one day and it will be gone, built from scratch and gone in a single night.

 

Runaway renegade, just like its architect.

 

I am scared it will do to me what I've always done to those of its kind, killed them off before they could grow legs good enough to stand a single chance. I'm scared to meet the person I'll have become next time I set foot in Los Angeles. I wonder if I'll recognize her, if I'll even like her.

 

I'm scared I'll go back on my words, I'm scared of long summer nights and faint promises and my friends getting tired of me pulling the same tricks, of the pictures losing their meaning and words I've marked in pencil on the books on my nightstand turning sour as I chew on them like I have any right to. 

 

Still, I built it. 

 

It’s small and fragile and sometimes struggles to stay upright.

It breathes funny and walks slowly and I get so scared it will not survive, but it's alive for now.

It's trying its best now.  

 

And the promise of it. Oh, the sheer possibility of it.

 

Happy six months back from LA to me. And happy birthday to Sign Of The Times, because some coincidences are too good to be overlooked. I think I'm starting to realize what that means, too.

ma destinée, cette vie

"Peut-être que ma vie sera toujours ainsi,

on doit se résigner, bon,

il y a des gens et ils sont le plus grand nombre,

il y a des gens qui passent toute leur existence là

où ils sont nés

et où sont nés avant eux leurs parents,

ils ne sont pas malheureux,

on doit se contenter,

ou du moins ils ne sont pas malheureux à cause de ça,

on ne peut pas le dire,

et c'est peut-être mon sort, ce mot-là,

 

ma destinée, cette vie."

 

Make this feel like home

hampstead

Last night I had a conversation about identity and belonging, about the meaning of Home, and I found myself thinking about it a lot today. About how I've always felt split between cities and countries and languages and cultures and people, and how I've anchored myself to the places I call Home in hopes they start feeling like it, too. Places and songs and books and memories and foods: anything can feel like Home when you don't really have one. A few come and go, and some linger and shine just a little brighter, just a little longer, as if to say 'you picked us but we picked you, too, baby' -which is exactly what I imagine Home would say if she was an old lady with a kind smile wandering the streets of Hampstead. You picked us but we picked you too, baby. You picked us but we picked you too.

 

They say home is where the heart is, but that’s only half the story. 

 

Home is the cake my mother made for Christmas when I was twelve and my father’s favorite songs, walls painted red and dogs barking in the distance. The weekend trips we used to take out to the lake, red boots filled with snow, books stacked near the fireplace and camera rolling in the background. 

 

It's my heart split between three countries. A fake, a joke, a mix I say I never wanted but spent my whole life secretly running after. My soul a patchwork of cultures, languages and airports, suitcase packed at the end of the bed, rewind, repeat, start all over again.

 

It's sunlight through the windows and Van Morrison playing through the speakers, green hills and red trees and that one spot of the Heath that I know better than I know myself. 

 

Home is the friends I know will pick up the phone no matter the hour, a really good book, the bench on top of Primrose Hill at sunrise, dancing on Millennium Bridge at sunset, walking my best friend home, my ex-boyfriend’s favorite poem, waking up to snow covering the streets outside my window,that one dress that makes me feel like I could conquer the world, free brownies because the waiter’s in a good mood, the Alanis Morissette album that’s lived in my mother’s car since we were kids, rain in the summer, a friend showing me around their hometown, the buzz of a third cocktail, warm rays on my skin, that time Jackie and I slept on a roof in Paris, the smell of real Italian coffee in the morning, that one paragraph in A Little Life, my grandmother’s perfume, my grandfather’s favorite dish that his mother used to make, swans on the lake in May, running after my brother in the garden in Clusone, the second verse of Sweet Disposition, my flatmate knocking on my door at 2AM when I come home crying and drunk, knowing my best friend of 22 years' phone number by heart, hot soup on a cold evening, my favorite corner of my favorite bookshop, the building painted green that was my heaven and haven for the better part of my childhood, that one video set to Feel This by Enation I still can't watch without breaking down in tears, the first house I lived in when I moved to London, the 214 bus, the last bridge in Gravity by John Mayer, the ice cream place in the square near my parents' house, the nook by the steps of the Griffith Observatory, the chinese restaurant on the way to my high school, my best friend and I filling our bags of candy up to the top before going to the movies, my mother making us tea and Gocciole, being the last person out of their seat at the cinema, unexpected kindness, a tuscan sunset, takeaway pizza on the beach in Sestri Levante, seeing the sea for the first time in Pescara, the chorus to Ruby Tuesday, my family making fun of me for Leviosa, not Leviosà, Nic welcoming me back with homemade limoncello, walking along the beach in Santa Monica, a helping hand when you need it most, the buzz of the radio while my dad has breakfast before work, crying at least once when I go to any concert, my mother’s favorite cocktail, the lights on the patio at the pub near my flat, my favorite Bukowski poetry collection, the chocolate birthday cake I've had every year since I was 9, the hallways of my high school, the parties I snuck into and had a terrible time at, the Rothko room at the Tate Modern, the boy I was desperately in love with for the better part of a decade throwing me into a pool, the last line of the last Harry Potter book, my first imaginary boyfriend, my brother burning incense by the fireplace, that year I spoke in a bad british accent, moments of fleeting bravery and reckless abandon, the photo my best friend gave me when I moved away and the one on my parents’ wall where I look exactly like my mom but have my dad’s smile.

 

Home is a crowd of 6000 girls singing my favorite song back to me, dancing till their legs give out, screaming, kissing, living, so fucking ALIVE

 

It’s that one line of that one song that makes my heart crumple up every single time.

 

It’s the language I taught myself at ten years old because I'm as stubborn as they come but also because part of me somehow must have always known, the first time I watched an english movie without subtitles, the purple notebook I used to write all those poorly translated Avril Lavigne lyrics in, the surname I chose for myself.

 

Not out of spite, but out of love for this home I’m building. 

 

Words born to speak

This piece was first published on Dear Damsels

This piece was first published on Dear Damsels

It comes in waves, bright and harsh and just out of reach. 

 

Every time a little closer but never quite enough. 

 

Here’s what you’re missing, it seems to say; here’s what you gave up, vanished westward into smoke but stayed closer than you realized,

I romanticize, 

push it aside 

but know it’s never the last time.

 

It feels good to linger until it doesn’t.

 

I trace the days and months and years backwards until I find it and press down like a thumb on a bruise, 

purple and swollen and mine mine mine

all mine to keep secret.

 

Words I was born to speak pressing at my teeth, pushing for release, saying you’re not fooling anyone and least of all yourself. Words I keep safe in their locket waiting for a better time, for a not-so-secret life. 

 

It comes in waves, on nights like these but sometimes when I least expect it.

 

It’s in the lies I tell strangers with practiced ease, in the shot to the heart when a friend says just the right thing. It’s an itch to scratch and sweet bliss come passing, heart ringing with remorse and hearing gone static. 

 

Moments I wish I could change,

but I was carried 

away.