Life is an infinite process of letting go. If I’ve learned anything from my first year in college and this summer so far, it’s that I tend to dwell on my mistakes and the people who have hurt me. It’s a habit a lot of people with depression tend to have, and can muck up the present with all of this thinking about the past. But sometimes it can make what you see around you a little clearer.
Everyone has a past. Events collide together like waves that wash up onto our “destiny”. If my boyfriend and I had not gone to the same birthday party two years ago we probably would have never met. If my best friend hadn’t left us that night I might not have let him kiss me, and if he had never messaged me over Facebook later that week I probably would have never messaged him due to shyness. But things happened the way they did, and here we are. I am so lucky to be with him, to get to share our lives with each other. And this incredible act of coincidence or fate or God would never have been possible without our pasts. The good and the bad, the parts we miss and the parts we wish we could forget. So, upon reflecting about my last post, I’ve decided that it’s ok…all of it. The rejection and betrayal I felt because of Jake, Jack, all of those people in the past. The fact that Charles and I will probably never be friends again. The reality that Landon will probably never own up to taking advantage of my feelings for him. It’s ok because it lead me here, and here is a truly beautiful, beautiful place.
Instead of analyzing where it all went wrong, I know it is far much better to look forward to the future. Someday I hope to find my place in college, move in with my boyfriend, get my degree and a few more, find a real job, get married to my boyfriend, travel the world together, and build a life together where we could raise a kid. The possibilities are out there, and all I have to do is reach out and catch them. And as for the “what-ifs”? Well, I would rather know I have the man of my dreams at my side through all of the challenges life throws at me than have any other guy who could possibly be out there. As important as it is to learn to let go, sometimes it is just as important to learn how to hold on.
When you watch a movie, do you ever see a scene that makes you whisper to yourself, “I want to do that someday–I want to have that moment.”? Sometimes stories from books or your own imagination inspire people to make certain things happen in life for real.
Like love, perhaps. People see other people in love and tell themselves they want that.
Take a sunny afternoon. You lie on a colorful blanket in the grass, shaded by a familiar tree. It is around eleven in the morning. You hear birds chirping happily all around you, insects humming with the excitement of a full day ahead of them. In the not-far distance, you see your childhood home, filled with your family quietly working away. Your skin is warm, your heart young.Beside you lies the person you are in love with, breathing softly with lazy sleep. Their eyelashes are long, brushing their cheeks with a tenderness that melts your temptation to wake them, to see those beautiful eyes… Their hair curls around their head, brushed with the occasional, flighty breeze. Finally, in utter adoration, you press your lips to their nearby hand, cradling them as they dream, a sweet and unsuspecting kiss.
Wouldn’t you want that? Even if it may not be the most absolute beautiful moment you can think of, it’s not half bad. So we say to fate, “Ok, sign me up for that.” But what we don’t know is that later in the week we will be unable to sleep that night, tormented by that same love for that same person. “Why didn’t they try to call me or text me or anything today? Probably busy with a project…but, don’t they miss me like I miss them so much right now?” And the night swallows you up in the absence of their pounding heart next to yours.
Love is so freaking bothersome sometimes. It takes a lot of trust in another individual, and often the rejection of temptation to compare what you have to what the rest of the world tells you to have. Once you let insecurity and greed filter in your heart, love becomes spoiled. So you must fight for your love…to keep it innocent, and as your heart originally intended it.
Most of the time we spend with these loved ones give us reasons to fight, but as a person who feels the sting of depression more than the average person, I worry that the time I spend with my boyfriend is something I do not cherish as much as I should–meaning, that I greed for more than “normal” because of my already struggle with insecurity, and the last thing I want to do is push him too hard.
It’s a complicated thing, love. Often just a fluffy, beautiful picture on the outside, the inside can transform from everlasting bliss to bitter loneliness (or worse, cruel indifference). How you let it grow decides everything.
No pressure or anything.
Something I think I will never understand is how a friend of mine will read the last page of a book before anything else. It’s like that whole car scene in When Harry Met Sally without the morbid outlook. See, my friend cannot stand when the author of a book ends things on a sad, abrupt, or ambiguous note. She’s quite the fan of happy endings. I, on the other hand, love endings that are surprising, realistic, and mysterious. Reading the last page would absolutely ruin the thrill of not knowing where the story will end up. And yeah, there is the risk of buying a book that totally sucks in the end, but I love that too. You get to rant to other bookworms about how the publishers must have a toxic leak in their building’s ventilation system to publish such a sorry excuse for a book.
I guess what my friend likes about reading the last page is that she can determine if reading that book will be a waste of her time. Which is practical on one level, because if you could read people like books and just skip to the last page to see if their last words were “I go to seek a Great Perhaps” (François Rabelais) or “Shut up” (I bet somebody has), then think of all the dumb people you could have skipped. On a metaphorical level it conveys human’s constant struggle for control in their lives. I know, I know…I sound like a pompous psychoanalyst who thinks that because they have a degree they are superior to the rest of us morons, but let me go somewhere else with this.
Okay, so, if you could read the last page of people’s lives you would, right? But what about yours? What about the whole flippin’ book, skipping around to all the really shocking stuff? If I had known when I was ten that at seventeen I’d be spending my days at a psych ward, I’m pretty sure my whole future would have switched around. Maybe for better, maybe for worse. If you’ve ever seen Back To The Future than you know what I’m talking about. And if you’ve seen Back To The Future III, then you know where I’m going with this.
So, if we had these people-books right now, and could know how stuff in our lives turn out, what would you look up? Sure, how you die for starters. Everyone wants to be prepared if they’re going to die in a plane crash in the middle of Antarctica while sitting next to a clown named Chuckles (and you can bet that most people would prepare by getting their cousin Bubba to shoot them in the face because there’s no way in hell that dying listening to Chuckles, well, chuckling is going to be the way they go). Death, check. How about figuring out which major they actually graduated with a degree in? Or knowing how many kids you’ll/your wife will pop out? Which friends actually stuck around for life?
Ooo, now to get the attention of every female on the planet…how about knowing which relationship turns into happily ever after? Or happily never after, even?
We all want to skip husbands one and two to get to number three or five. We all want to skip the embarrassing blind dates, the awful duds who whisked you to tacky restaurants, the heartbreak of the ones that got away.
Now before you think I’m going to start spewing some relationship mumbo-jumbo about how relationships are life lessons and how sometimes they’re just “not meant to be”, hold on a second. I’m wondering how many of us got into a relationship, fell in love, and truly, truly believed that they had found something. Something worth it, someone who made life worth it. The whole life lesson and “meant to be” crap just becomes a reminder that you were wrong, that you didn’t find something.
Or did you?
Look, one misleading decision may or may not affect my happily ever after, or happily never after. Three months of mourning a broken relationship doesn’t mean it was a meaningful misleading decision, either. Life has this awful case of dry humor sometimes, where it likes to throw something monstrous in our path and see how we can get around it. Just because you got around King Kong doesn’t mean you’ll kick the Yeti’s ass. But I suppose the upside to all of these daunting obstacles is that you can one day say, I got through that, and it wasn’t the end for me.
I guess struggling with my depression has taught me a few things (here comes the annoying life lesson crap). I know that one day I will be depressed again. One day my mom will die. One day I’ll lose my money. One day I’ll get my heart-broken again. Basically, bad shit IS going to happen, no matter how prepared you try to be, no matter how strong you are, no matter if you cry or don’t. That’s just life. We can’t control the bad shit; we can only avoid it for so long. The good shit, however, is in our hands a bit. If you keep reaching for happiness, it doesn’t always mean you’ll get it, true. But if you trust yourself, really trust yourself and put your life in your hands, you will go in the best direction for yourself, and become, you know, happy.
We can’t control our mortality; we can’t control fate, luck, or any of that other mumbo-jumbo. But one thing we will always have control over is who we are, and the decisions we will make.
So looking in your life book…not so much important if you trust yourself.
Life can suck, but it doesn’t have to end there.
Originally written: 6/15/12
I have no idea who Murphy is, if you want perfect honesty. But nobody wants PERFECT honesty, they all want honesty that protects their feelings at the same time. They want selfish honesty, predictable honesty, honesty that wipes their ass AND flushes. But they never stop to think that there are only two types of honesty: perfect honesty, which kicks everyone in the balls, and dishonesty, which is the avoidance of honesty.
I’m getting off topic though. Let’s get back to good ol’ Murphy. I’ll skip the part where I try to remember the book I got this accuracy from (and get off topic again), only to never remember the title of that friggin’ book.
But this guy, Murphy, was alive back in the day and created a law. It has a pretty fascinating name: Murphy’s Law. You can tell that he was also the person who named Bob’s Car Wash and Carl’s Doughnuts. But this law was a pretty accurate one, which is why it is not written in the Constitution or legally approved. The law goes as such: If something bad CAN happen, it will.
Basically, plan on being screwed over in life.
Now Murphy may have been a bit of a negative Nancy, but he tends to be right. Tsunamis, famine, George W. Bush’s inauguration…we never plan on these things, but our instinct tells us that they are things to stop watching the news for. (It’s so damn depressing to watch the news anymore.) And we all know we can’t stop them, well, not the tsunamis anyway, but can we really stop the other disasters in our lives?
I can’t do anything except laugh when my friends interrupt masturbation with phone calls about dead batteries to cameras. I can’t do anything about painful math problems involving finding the square root of A multiplied by two over C cubed divided by X minus infinity except to try to solve them (despite the look on my face as I make my attempt). I can’t do anything about my parents fighting about how to raise their kids except squeeze my eyes shut and want it to be over.
But I can stop them from fighting about me losing my job. I can stop barely passing math tests and study. I can turn my phone off.
Life will always present tests we didn’t study for. There are things we cannot stop from invading our lives and eating away at our happiness like termites.
But what about insurance?
Somewhere down the line a genius discovered that you CAN sell a bit of “peace of mind”. You CAN stop the bad stuff from wrecking havoc on your car, your house, your life. That, of ’course, is strictly in medical terms. What if there was a way to have insurance on what wasn’t on the list?
We all want that guarantee. Isn’t that what marriage is? A way to prevent a broken heart? In a day and age where people can afford to be picky about the happiness they want, we are starting to discover that insurance on love doesn’t always last. I bet Murphy is making trillions on all the movies and songs and everything else that talk about how “fate” screwed them over in the end. What a greedy bastard. Zale’s and Kay Jewelers might hate him more than we do.
There’s also some perfect honesty in him, though. Sometimes an unexpected downfall is just the thing to push us to rise up. Experience is what makes us into better people, as long as we learn from it.
Being human, though, we still try to play God and avoid the less-than-peachy experiences. And, being human, Murphy’s law is proven right again as we mostly fail.
My question is, is there a way to get insurance on ourselves? And if so, what is the price?
That might sound silly, but think of it like this: a teenager wants to do something ballsy for new year’s eve and guesses that they will either get drunk or smoke a little pot. When they mention it to a friend the friend joins in and hooks them up with a pot-dealer. The teenager knows they will have to work the next day, and knows they could get caught, but tells themselves they will say no if it feels wrong or like they’ve had too much. How can that teenager trust themself to back out of the deal when their friend wants to pony up the cash and head over to the dealer’s? How will that teenager be sure they will say no to the friend and listen to the sick feeling in their stomach?
Is it simply a question of inner strength or trust? Or is it another secret form of insurance that Murphy hasn’t found out about yet? Is this why some people get to ride off into the sunset with their loved ones and others file for divorce? Why a teenager might tell their friend they’d rather hang out on new year’s sober instead of emptying their wallet for feeling they no longer wanted?
Which people are the ones who have the insurance policy? Is it all of us that cheat Murphy from time to time? That sounds plausible to me. Maybe this is the “luck” people talk about making for themselves. But do we really make our own luck or does Murphy or God or Whoever/Whatever bestow it upon us? Is this all merely coincidence, in which case there is luck, or is there a fate that declares when things in our lives are “meant to be”?
Too bad there isn’t a perfectly honest answer to every single question on that list.
We’re all scared of screwing up our lives, of losing what makes us happy. Should we Murphy to blame for this, call it fate and idly sit by, or do we fight as hard as we can to hold on and take the chance of losing our cause?
So I guess that when this important person in my life told me he didn’t want to be in it anymore I was right to think, “I knew this was too good to be true”. Murphy at least tells me I am. On the other hand, if he hadn’t told me that to simply discover my true feelings, I would not have realized that I loved him as quickly. And he would not know that I cry at the thought of that conversation becoming reality.
So if something bad can happen, and will happen, maybe it is better that instead of fighting it, prolonging it, preventing it, we accept it. Nothing is forever, and though Murphy makes sure of that, he cannot stop us from discovering happiness again, and maybe even a rare exception or two.
Originally written: 1/5/12