How I am right now is this: terrified of the future. I pretend everything will work out, because recognizing the implausibility of reaching the traditional adult milestones I once believed were givens is enough to paralyze me completely. It’s overwhelming. I’m overwhelmed. I’m disappointed in myself for blaming someone I care about for my emotions when I know I’m the one who controls them, when I know it’s a privilege to be responsible for them. I’m afraid to be more honest, but I’m ready to stop hiding from myself and from people who want the best for me. I’m ready to stop pretending everything is “fine.” I’m ready to ask how you are — and not when we’re about to rush off in opposite directions, not at a loud party, not like some automated machine that spits out rhetorical questions veiled as interest. I’m ready to ask you halfway through a long conversation, in the middle of your day, when I can tell it’s all you want to hear. I’m ready to listen.