The weather is cold and pretty, making me want to be outdoors a lot, all the time. But more than that, I want to get outside of myself. The upper half of an entire wall of my dormroom is a window, and I usually position myself so that I can look outside just by lifting my eyes any time I read or use my computer. When I gaze at the outside world, my skin feels less solid, more permeable—like I could easily escape through it.

As the week progressed I felt less and less contained, not just because of all the staring out the window. People may see me as a body—and I usually feel like a body—but looking outside makes me feel like I’m also a part of what I see. Like the energy in me is everywhere I look.

On Monday, a graduate student in one of my classes startled me as I was packing up by turning to me and speaking: “Me and a few others like to get coffee after class. Would you like to go with us?” I freaked out. I had a French class after that I was going to skip anyway, but the surprise of the offer was enough to make me panic. I stuttered and said uh a lot, and apologized for what seemed like an infinite amount of time before finally asserting that YES I WOULD LIKE TO GO. I very much wanted to go with her and the French graduate student who was going with her because they’re crazy smart and interesting, and I hoped I didn’t mess it up by being initially hesitant. Talking about it now I can still feel that moment of anxiety like it’s happening in real time.

After coffee, I hung out with a girl from my French class I’ve been talking to. We started by having lunch, then talked for a while, then extended our hangout into studying together. After she leaves, I feel like my mind has been freed of something warm and heavy, though in reality it’s just received a lot. I feel crazy energy in my fingers—like I could extend them into the universe if I wanted to. I forgot that talking to people could make me this way. It was so distracting I couldn’t focus on schoolwork until later that night.

I continued to talk with others throughout the week. How was I able to study so much in high school when I was interacting with people all day? By Saturday morning I was more like the version of myself that is slightly more fun to be around—it’s one of the times my brother would say my personality is “on.”

On Saturday night Chloe and I went to a fetish-themed party in a dorm across campus. I didn’t have any spectacular clothing, so I spent tons of time putting on weird makeup—purple and pink eye shadow, thick winged eyeliner, black lipstick, and double rows of false eyelashes. I looked tame-ish, partially because my outfit was just a wool plaid skirt with a black top, tights, and heels, but I felt proud that I didn’t look internet-trendy, and that it felt like my outfit was communicating a bit of the energy I was feeling. I felt like Nelson Sullivan as Amnesia when she says, “I feel so pretty that I feel like I must have always looked this way.” This was going to be the first college party where we would have fun. Maybe we would even meet people we could get along with. Everyone we’d been meeting thus far seemed more conservative than us.

An hour later, I’m standing in line alone while Chloe tries to talk our way into the party, which is at capacity when we arrive. From outside I can hear that the music selection is good, and I catch glimpses through the windows of people inside dancing, not standing around bored like they usually do at parties. The line is moving, but depressingly slowly. Finally Chloe returns, shaking her head no. The security guard informs us that with 40 minutes of official partying hours left, we probably won’t get to the front of the line in time.

We break out of the line. I scream into the air and start running toward our dorm. I look bonkers, but there aren’t many people out. The screaming turns into one long ugghhhh, my running becomes jokily bratty stomping. Chloe catches up to me and groans.

Later, over glasses of chocolate milk, we whine about how good we look. I whine about how badly I wanted —want—to dance tonight. I guess I talked to some cool people in line, but I want to dance around people who also feel this gorgeous energy. ♦