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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPR chapter.

Nobody unpacks the consequences of maturing, nor how boring and confrontational this process can be. Risking it all for the plot no longer fits your schedule and you have more time to stew on the things you did for the sake of a juicy storyline. I can’t tell you the amount of times I have found myself neck-deep in embarrassing situations and said ‘this would be good for a stand-up comedy routine’. Sure, as if that could soften the blow of momentarily losing my dignity. I have probably bored my audience with the subject of crushes, if only it wasn’t such a consistent source of bad decisions for me. I dispel some sarcasm, analyze our collective insanity, and tell you to move on. Me, the person who has probably never gotten over anything in her life.

It’s easy to talk about crushes because you always have the inkling that it probably won’t develop into something real, and the water breaks you take between the last one and the inevitable new one gives you a brief moment of clarity. But I’m not here to talk about that. The real villains are the people that I’ve actually liked. The ones where the mere thought of them still squeezes my chest like a stress toy. The kisses that I wish had lingered, the hugs that surrounded me with fleeting adoration. I hate how I don’t trust my memories that much, how their voices have muddled together, how they all fell into the same bunch of ‘what-ifs’. I talk a big game but deep down, they’re not the main culprits. I didn’t need their help in sabotaging my romantic endeavorsー trust me, I could write a book on it.

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When I have a crush, the sense of delusion that electrifies my bones fuels the impulsive choices that I make in that short moment in time. The bravery that comes from fixating on a stranger is unmatched. However, when I seriously like someone, you cannot get me to do anything that will help that romance take flight. Maybe it’s the writer in me that strives on planning ahead and maps out possible scenarios in my head. I’ve never really practiced at live-action adaptations, but I’m sure that they would pale in comparison to the chaos that resides right behind my eyes. I like the concept of it, and I constantly dream about ideal outcomes. Unfortunately, any chance of it transitioning to my reality flusters me. Yes, I am that frustrating friend that never gets the hint when someone is flirting with them and loves to announce my self-imposed angst into the world.

Whenever I proclaim that nobody likes me, you will most likely find one of my loved ones restraining themselves from tackling me to the floor. I don’t say it for attentionー I’m just incredibly bad at recognizing that my feelings can actually be corresponded. I would love to pin the blame on my insecurity, but sometimes I gain awareness of what’s going down and I still look the other way. You could make heart eyes at me and I would wonder if I’m your new best friend. Should we buy friendship bracelets at Claire’s? No? Okay.

At my age, this isn’t entertaining anymore. Oh, she’s just being silly. She’s just so oblivious. Meanwhile, I am a menace, aka public enemy #1. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to have a crush on me. Oh, how the tables have turned. The call was coming from inside the house this entire time, and I am probably the subject of another person’s rant on crushes and it is deserved. I have noticed the chemistry I’ve had with people that I liked and I gaslit myself to oblivion, chalking it up to them being nice.

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Having said that, I am not the only one to blame. Hear me out and get that interrogation lamp out of my face. The people that I am drawn to; some of them really did a number on me. My type is individuals that are in need of severe character development. I have been pursued, and once I start to reciprocate the attention this person gives me, I’ve been dropped like a mic after a mediocre joke at your local bar. Oh yes, these types of Jedi mind tricks have rocked my world and made me appreciate the self-preservation that comes with being oblivious. Oh, you want to kiss me? Let me just look at the ceiling. You want to be my boyfriend? You’re so nice to me! I know that I’m difficult to reach, but nobody seems to have the patience to actually stick around. Everyone wants to be graded on a curve but I can’t help but want someone to pass the test with flying colors on the first try.

Remember what I said about maturing? How we slow down and inevitably become viewers to the blooper reel also known as our past? I’m guilty of treating the present as a sure thing. I know deep down that I need to learn how to appreciate it before it fades to the past and blends into the background. I try to pull it back, scrapping at it like old paint on my bedroom wall, wanting to relive what I tossed away without care. Now my regrets pile up like pairs of mismatched socks.

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So, I wonder, and I wonder, and I wonder. What parts of me stayed with you, even as a frustrating afterthought? Do my jokes still make you laugh? Will you remember who said it and how I looked at you when you shook your head at me? The people that I meet have such an impact on me that I long to know if I possess that same power. Does my sparkly eye makeup still gleam in your memories? Was I warm enough for you or did I leave you out in the cold for too long? I could lose hours trying to figure out not only how you perceived me, but fearing over how much of me I gave away. Take care of those glimpses, I hope they were special. 

We never know how much of us still lives in other people’s minds. It can be our favorite color that they notice as they buy a new shirt. The song recommendation we gave them, unconsciously staining the lyrics with our presence. Maybe I’m just selfish, but I like to think that I probably ruined some things for you too.

Elisabet 'Elisa' Ramírez is an Education in English major, with a minor in Acting. An artist at heart, she enjoys writing short stories, comedy routines and scripts. Her articles are mostly reflections on the process of coming of age. She aspires to make art that offers understanding not only towards her but to those that engage with it.