All my life, I’ve been searching for answers.
Like most little kids, my favorite question was “Why?” I’d ask my mom about everything and anything, wanting to know why people did the things they did, how things worked, and what my mom thought about them.
As a teenager, I explored different experiences to find who I was and who I wasn’t. I tried being the over-achiever, the slacker, the arty kid, the theater kid, the choir kid, the daredevil, the music snob, the loner, and the social butterfly (at least as much as I could manage it).
Now, I’m a young adult. I’ve got an idea of how the world works and who I am. But like most young adults, I’ve struggled with another big question: what do I want in life?
For the past few months, this question has been interrupting my life almost every waking moment. It all started with my ex Jessie telling me that all of his relationships have fallen apart because he’s still in love with me. While this wasn’t exactly a shocking revelation, it still threw me off guard and left me thinking, “What am I supposed to do with this information?” That got me looking at my current relationship with my boyfriend Fred. Would our relationship allow me to pursue my dreams of traveling in the future? Suddenly I wasn’t so sure. And then I started thinking about the other big black hole in my future: my degree and my career. I thought I knew what I wanted, but the hoops I have to jump through to get there sound miserable. So, all day everyday I have been thinking, “What do I do? What do I do? What do I do?”
The more I realized I hadn’t thought things out, the more questions seemed to be hurdled at me: do I want to get a Ph.D? Do I want to be in a relationship with Jessie? Am I willing to give up on travel? What type of job should I pursue if I don’t get my Ph.D? Would I be willing to let Jessie go? Would I be willing to let Fred go? Should I just be on my own? Should I start traveling now? What do I do if I take a year off? How did I not think about all of this before now?
The trouble with happiness (as weird as it sounds) is that you quit questioning things. The way that sadness makes you hyper-analyze your life, happiness makes you under-analyze your life. After all, if you’re happy, why should things change? Isn’t that the goal, to be happy?
When I was a kid, I knew I wanted to change peoples’ lives. Probably not in a fancy way, like being president or discovering a planet, but changing them in a small, meaningful way. That’s why I chose to pursue psychology, so I could help people manage their everyday lives. I also knew I wanted to travel, to see every continent (except maybe Antarctica) and discover how other people live, and how different life could be. I held these two goals close to my heart and promised myself that no matter how far away they seemed, that I would do them because that is just who I am…I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have these goals.
Now, I’m in my early twenties, and I feel as though every decision I make right now will influence whether or not those goals will become accomplished. I’m terrified of waking up in ten years, stuck, and wishing I had done something different. I’m terrified of choosing wrong, and being unable to make it right.
So I had to make a choice. It all happened in one night, when I sat down with my mom and told her everything I had been thinking. I didn’t exactly want her to tell me what I should do, more like her perspective. What did she want when she was my age? Did she get what she wanted? What about the things she didn’t get—does she regret the decisions that stopped her from getting them? What happened? What changed?
Basically, that conversation with her reminded me of every other moment of doubt in my life. Time after time, I’d feel so lost and helpless…and what did I do? I did what I had to. I chose a college, I chose a degree, I chose to drop out, I chose to go to therapy and get medication, I chose to go back to school. I’ve always done what I had to, and when I found myself lost again I made a change. No matter what has happened, when I’ve had no other choice than to trust myself, I’ve ended up happy and content in the end.
So I chose to make it work with my boyfriend, and try to let Jessie go. I chose to pick a career within psychology that would get me a job easily, so I could have the money to go back to school later if I didn’t like it. I chose to make a choice—to suck it up, pick a direction, and trust that I’d take myself where I needed to go.
Weeks later, I’m more or less the same. I still haven’t figured out how I’m going to get into grad school, and I’m still working on letting go of Jessie, despite not talking to him for weeks. But I feel better, I feel confident in a weird way. I may still be a little lost, but I know it won’t last forever. Eventually I’ll move on to different problems, circumstances in my life will change, and I’ll still be the one calling the shots. The problems I’m stuck on now will seem smaller; the insecurities I face will have faded. Life goes on.
So maybe down the road I’ll change my grad school plans. Maybe I’ll decide to travel on my own. Maybe it won’t work out with Fred, maybe it will be too late with Jessie. No matter how scary it gets, no matter what happens, it’s going to be okay. I’ve kept myself safe thus far, and I know I’ll do it again.
Our society has many rules of dating, some of which make sense, and others not so much. For instance, there’s the common rule not to sleep with someone on the first date. Or the rule that says you have to wait a certain amount of days before calling or texting someone who just gave you their phone number. Personally, I think these dating rules are best when they are broken—after all, not every situation is the same and not every person is the same. So why should we all play by the same rules?
While I have broken many of the dating rules out there (starting with my first date, when I didn’t order the lady-like and easy-to-eat salad and instead opted for hot wings, fries, and cheeseburger pizza….also I was wearing old, ratty jeans and a T-shirt that belonged to my brother), one of the big rules I have broken is taking back my boyfriend Fred after he cheated on me. Before I go any further though, I should explain one thing: I have been a cheater myself, and taken back myself. So yes, I know both sides of the experience.
I never thought I would cheat on someone. It seemed like something that was obviously fundamentally wrong, and how could I ever do something like that to someone I cared about/loved? Why not just break up if I wanted someone else? But life happened, and I jumped into a relationship right after ending one that lasted 2 years. I never processed the breakup, and I ended up dealing with those feelings in a really awful way, by cheating with my ex. It was the biggest and worst mistake I’ve ever made, and while I have forgiven myself I will never forget it. Long story short, both the relationship and the cheating blew up in my face and left me miserable and alone. But months later, that same person I cheated on took me back.
I was incredulous that this person would want to be with me again, let alone not hate my guts. After all, I had broken their trust and not owned up to it until much later. I lied again and again…so why take me back? Well, I think it had a lot to do with the fact that in-between these two relationships I found out that I had been cheated on in the 2 years I spent with the very person I cheated with. It was then that I owned up to my own cheating, and realized just how badly I had hurt the person I cheated on. As silly as it sounds, you just can’t realize the pain cheating causes until it happens to you.
So let’s jump forward onto the timeline to this past March, when I officially took back Fred, aka Mr.2 years. After yelling at him again and again, and then not speaking to him, I had realized I still had feelings for him, and he still had feelings for me. So we decided to explore them, and see if we still could get along and function together on the regular. But then we realized we both wanted to make it official—neither one of us wanted to see other people. So we called it a relationship, and here we are months later.
How do I trust him? How do I not worry about repeating the same mistakes? Well, it’s not easy. If I didn’t believe that this person wasn’t worth spending the rest of my life with, I wouldn’t be with him. If he hadn’t changed his behavior and started being honest and open, I wouldn’t be with him. If I hadn’t learned to deal with the insecurity and mistrust the cheating instilled in me, I wouldn’t be with him. A lot of work has gone into repairing the damage, and a lot of serious talks between us had to happen before I felt like we both knew exactly what we were signing up for again. And even now, it is still a process. Honestly is something that has to constantly maintained, and that will never change. We both have promised to keep each other in the loop, to talk about whether or not we are happy, if we are feeling tempted by someone else, or if we are doing something (or in the position to do something) that might upset the other person. He works on not sugar-coating the truth or hiding things, and I work on actually speaking up when I’m upset or feel insecure. By dealing with the hard stuff directly, we are able to have room to truly enjoy the happy, easy things.
All in all, the cheating made our relationship stronger, opened both of our eyes to the ugly parts of each other, and forced us to grow up a bit and realize what we want. But other people don’t always understand that part of the story…when you tell your friends and family that you took back the person who cheated on you, there tends to be some judgement. Luckily, everyone I’ve told has been supportive and happy for me, but I still feel the need to justify my decision when I talk about how my relationship is going.
See, it’s really easy to say, “Don’t ever take back a cheater!” when you’ve never been in the middle of cheating. It’s not as black and white as you would think—yes, it is wrong, no doubt about it. But the person who did it still may be a good person. If I hadn’t cheated myself, I probably couldn’t have forgiven Fred. But after my own experience, while very different, I saw how confusing and trapped someone can feel in that situation. When I cheated, guilt swallowed up my entire life and ended up destroying my relationship. I couldn’t take it back, no matter how much I wished I could, and I couldn’t seem to convey how deeply I loved the person despite cheating on them. But people hated me and judged me for cheating anyway, and while I understood that I wished they realized that I was still the same person, just one that made a very terrible mistake.
So that’s why I’m breaking the rule. Ultimately, I am in charge of my life and my happiness, which I don’t have to explain to anyone. Fred makes me happy, and I make him happy, so we are working hard to make sure that we maintain our relationship and prevent any cheating. The bottom line is: you can’t change the past, but you should give people the opportunity to learn from it. I’m not saying that everyone in every circumstance should take back their ex who cheated, just that people are more than ‘cheaters’ and more than ‘cheated on’. We are human, we make mistakes and hurt others, but that doesn’t mean we can’t change or that we don’t deserve love.
It’s finally fall. And as cheesy as it sounds, as the season changes the questions in my life are falling into place, or falling apart. And I’m falling for Isaac.
Here’s how I knew my feelings got real: last weekend when I was home I told my mom about him. Isaac and I have been hanging out since August, (maybe late July?) but I never mentioned him because I was keeping my distance. But suddenly last weekend I found myself describing him to my mom. She sounded both impressed and relieved. “I know I’m not supposed to say this, but I pray every night that you’ll end up with a guy.” I sighed. She gave me a guilty look, “I just…my head tells me it doesn’t matter if you end up with a girl or guy, but my emotions…” “I know, Mom.” It wasn’t a surprising thing for her to say. “You’ve been really really great about all of this,” I assured her. “It’s okay that you feel that way; after all, you’re a product of your generation.” It’s conversations like this that remind me why my mom is one of my best friends; she’s always so honest and speaks to me like I’m a person, and not just “daughter”. “So,” she said, “tell me about this guy.” I felt myself get this really goofy smile on my face. And I told her.
Isaac isn’t my boyfriend, but in a way he might as well be. I feel so safe and content in his arms, and find talking to him easier and easier. I laugh all the time, and he always surprises me. Sometimes he gets embarrassed to tell me things because he’s worried what I might think, and it’s pretty adorable. And he’s not afraid to tease or bicker with me. I find myself thinking about him in classes and wondering what he’s doing, and at night I wish he was sleeping next to me. It’s pretty sappy.
But, in another way, Isaac isn’t my boyfriend. I still haven’t had the I-struggle-with-depression conversation with him, and I find it scary (but also exciting) when he shows me that he cares about me. Yesterday we had a conversation about dependence. “It’s just not something I like about myself,” I told him. He started to get frustrated. “I don’t see how you can say that; that’s part of getting to know someone and being with them. I mean…I like being dependent on people. I always feel like I’m dependent on the people I sleep with, unless it’s some sort of one-night situation where they just leave afterword. I mean, that’s just a part of sex.” “It doesn’t have to be,” I said. “But what’s the point if you can’t be dependent on them?” he asked. “What’s so wrong with being dependent?” I paused for a really long time, thinking about how I felt after sex with Fred. I would curl up next to him and thank God or whoever for letting him exist. I thought he was my soulmate—he was closer to my heart and soul than anyone else. I would have done anything for him…take a bullet for him, give him everything I had, including the rest of my life. I felt the tears building up in my eyes, and even let a couple slip down my cheeks. “You don’t have to answer that,” Isaac told me. I held him closer, and felt him snuggle closer to me as well. I want to let you all the way in, I thought, but I’m scared you’re going to hurt me. I don’t think I could take it if you broke my heart.
Even though I don’t want Fred or my ex-girlfriend anymore, and have let them leave my life, I still feel the repercussions my relationship with them. I don’t think I would be as fine as I feel if I stopped taking my prozac, and that worries me. As the weather gets colder, the risk of being depressed once again gets higher, and it becomes harder for me to stay positive. But I’m trying. Right now my big focus is to start acting like an adult, and think with my head instead of letting my heart be impulsive. So I’m taking it slow with Isaac. It’s good that we haven’t defined our relationship, even if we are exclusive. Relationships don’t fix fear, so I’ve got to give myself time before I can let myself become too dependent.
I’m only willing to let myself fall so hard…
I guess it just takes time. Time to go from wanting to tear up at their voice to being unable to recognize it. Time for songs that used to be “our song” to go from utterly heartbreaking to enjoyable. Time to become someone else, without him.
This is the post where I rant and talk about how much I hate him while fully knowing that it’s not true. I want to hate him, is all it is. I want to punch him in the face so he might feel a fraction of the hurt that I feel, but I won’t. I’m trying my hardest to be mature and act like an adult in this situation…but that doesn’t mean I’m not seething on the inside.
I hate seeing guys that cram their pockets full of receipts, random change, and a wallet they’ve probably had since 8th grade. I hate seeing guys with freckles and calm, reassuring voices. I hate hearing people talk about politics and current events, or video games or even cheesy TV shows. I hate seeing people on the sidewalk with their shoes untied. And I hate him for ruining those things for me.
I hate tomorrow. I’m going to this amazing concert with one of my best friends Polly, but I know that the whole time I’ll be thinking about the wedding I was supposed to go to with Fred. I’ll be thinking about how much I love his family, how dressed up I wanted to get so he could dance with me and I could pretend he was mine. I hate that I no longer get to be there to share in that special moment with all of those people I love. I’m ready to write off Fred, because he’s an ass that cheated and lied, but I can’t bear the thought of breaking up with his family. I thought they were only to be my family one day.
I hate not having one of my best friends around anymore. I hate that in moments of uncertainty I still want to call him and ask for his advice. I still want to tell him when I try something new, like a TV show or food or even a new song. I still feel myself miss his arms wrapped around me, and waking up to his breathing…even though I lost those things way before I found out he cheated. I had lost a lot of things already, but I hadn’t lost my best friend. He might have been a crappy partner, but he was a great best friend.
But we can’t be just friends. I’m not naïve enough to convince myself I can get over him if he visits my college town or texts me now and then. After a while I would get used to him caring, and that would probably be the precise moment he would stop. He’s hurt me so much already, there’s nothing left for him to love or hurt anymore.
And it’s all left me with this big mess of a life. Most things haven’t changed, but my relationships with other people definitely have. I don’t know what is right for me to do…I don’t know what is best for me. All I know is that as soon as I got off the phone with him after I told him I never wanted to see him again, I dove into my roommates arms and sobbed, “How am I ever going to trust anyone again?”
I don’t know what’s scarier, the fact that the person I believed was my soul mate cheated on me, or that I was foolish enough to ever think otherwise. The trust I lost in my own judgement is what keeps me up awake at night.
There are people, real people with layers and stories and pain behind their actions, their motives, their words. And then there are false personalities, that people pull out at cocktail parties and job interviews to please others and themselves. We all use these personalities to cover up the fact that we are people–vulnerable and human and raw. And we use them at the worst moments sometimes.
The thing about having a blog is that people get to know me, the raw vulnerable asshole me through a screen, when in real life my false personality still wraps around me like a security blanket I can’t shake off. And it hurts them, to see how much I hide from them and later reveal through a screen. That’s one of the reasons I considered telling no one about my blog from my real life. I figured it was my big chance to recreate myself, to not let any of those expectations people have for me, the guilt that of disappointing them, seep into my words. But I was too excited, too brash, and I shared my blog.
You can’t unshare that shit. And it’s not that I wish I never had, but it just makes me feel like such an ass when people from real life ask me about stuff from my blog, because I haven’t mentioned any of it to them in person. I even came out to one of my friends as bi through my blog. In high school, it was how my friends knew to check my arms for new cuts and knew I was lying when I made up some bullshit story about tripping and falling. In my relationship with my boyfriend, it’s how he knows something is getting under my skin. This blog is my mouth when the thing on my face just won’t suffice. It is where I create my own space, my own story, and people are welcome to listen or fuck off as they please.
But god, this stupid front I have, this false personality. I try to look strong, to keep my problems locked up so no one has to step around them or look at them. That was the hardest part of going to therapy and doing outpatient. Everyone knew I was fucked up. My parents tiptoed around me for months, and in the evenings I could hear my dad ask my mom, “Why do you think _____ is depressed? What do you think is wrong with her?” And that is a great example of why I don’t tell people when I am upset. I don’t want attention, I don’t want pity. I don’t want people to change the way they looked at me like my parents and friends did when I hit bottom. And I’ve gotten a lot better about being open, but there’s still a long way to go. There’s still this false personality, this false smile, that appears sometimes around people I have known for years.
This blog is a blessing and I curse. I like that I don’t have to have some of those hard conversations with people, but at the same time, maybe if I didn’t have the blog it would force me to have them. I would practice, and maybe get better. Maybe I’d learn how to talk about certain things without shutting down, or worse, crying. But the problem is, it’s not just about looking strong. It’s also about not thinking anyone gives a damn about my personal life. See, that is my default expectation of others: that I am there for them, but they don’t want to be there for me, because it’s easier that way. I know this is a terrible assumption, especially because there are so many genuine, kind-hearted people in my life who are there for me…but it all goes back to those first few assholes who entered my life, took my heart, and left almost nothing left. What can I say? Our first real rejection from our first real love is what irrevocably changes our perspectives on relationships, and most importantly trust.
As time passes, and I become renewed, farther and farther from that person I was on the floor when the person I loved was piercing me with his words, “Just tell me. Just talk to me. Say it. Say it…Say it!!”. I become whole, more receptive to love and more unafraid of the hurt. I have come so far…I just hope the people in my life continue to have the patience to wait until I get there, when there is no false personality and no bullshit lies…when I can be real.
As a person with depression, one thing I’ve always strived for is to be positive. Which is so much easier said than done, because let me tell you, when you’ve been depressed for months straight and hear someone say stuff like, “Oh, you can overcome anything if you just try hard enough.” “All of life’s struggles are blessings in disguise.” and my personal favorite “Just put your faith in Jesus and he will lead you in the right direction.”, you tend to be less than amused. People who have told me directly to “cheer up!” have seen my death look many a time, and can tell you it isn’t pretty. However, I like to believe this people are genuinely trying to help, rather than make me wish I had a baseball bat. See, positivity?
Ok, maybe that isn’t the best example. Despite my apprehension toward inspiration phrasing, though, I always try to make it a point to let others know I am there to listen, to lend a shoulder to cry on, and to tell them how truly great they are as people when they are having trouble believing that themselves. So to me, that’s positive. I know that most suffering makes us stronger, but I also know that after you find out you’re getting laid off or that your dad has cancer, that’s not exactly the thing you need to hear.
Anyway, so cynicism, while tempting, is rarely helpful. But lately I’ve been having some struggles in avoiding it….
Once Upon A Time
Once upon a time in a far away land that was known for its large meth and heroin addiction, a young mental health patient went to a high school and met this guy, Sir BlameALot. Blah blah blah, they got together, fell in love, and then broke up because they were both too screwed up to make any sort of legitimate relationship work. So the mental health patient decided to be with someone she did not love, but could give her what Sir BlameALot could not. Well that didn’t last, because this new guy, Sir SmokesALot dumped her on their one-month. But she was pretty okay with that, since she didn’t care much for him, anyway. So then our young patient learned that this fellow Lord FuckedMeOver, cared for her, and while she was struggling to slay the dragon of depression she called on him for aid. He fought by her side gallantly, professed his devotion to her, and then two weeks later was cast under a spell called, “It never happened”. So our mental patient was devastated, and tried desperately to find him a cure. But Lord FuckedMeOver quickly became transformed under the spell’s power and soon forgot that she ever existed. Sad and pissed off, our young mental patient went to a tavern with her friend Lady Let’sParty. Lady Let’sParty introduced the patient to her good friend King Petey, and quickly the two fell in love. For many ages our heroine and King Petey lived happily together, but then our mental patient was called into battle, where she would move far away into the land of Higher Education. The two vowed to continue loving each other though apart, and did. But in the new battle zone, the mental patient caught the vapid disease PlayTheField. Even with his love under such a different condition, King Petey still loved her. But because of the illness, our mental patient became ensnared in the clutches of two knights, Sir SmallerThanLife and the Duke of The Lumberjacks. Sir SmallerThanLife had convinced her he would be a dutiful friend and was kind at first, so due to the disease PlayTheField, she became infatuated. Soon after, though, while both had a terrible encounter with the Monster of Horniness, she realized he was a poor knight with terrible equipment and fighting skills. It didn’t even matter, though, because after their encounter with the monster he was never seen again. Then, with the Duke of The Lumberjacks, our patient was ensnared with his brave leadership and decency among the other lumberjacks who basically just wanted to show off their lumber. So for weeks the Duke showed her around the lumberyard and introduced her to all the guys, being a real decent lumberjack, and then as soon as our heroine defeated the Monster of Horniness with him, BAM! He vanished into the Forest of DoucheBag. So, amidst all the chaos, the young mental patient decides to retreat home from the land of Higher Education to rest. And as she is enjoying being amongst her friends again, she is courted by an old friend, Lord Ninja. Now I know what you’re thinking, “WHY CAN’T THEY JUST LEAVE THE STINKING GIRL ALONE?!?” But remember, she’s caught the disease PlayTheField, so now her love life is all fucked up. Our story ends with the young mental patient longing for the past happiness she had with King Petey (that’s now been poisoned by the disease…sort of), and deciding whether she is being cynical when she wonders if Lord Ninja will disappear into the forest of DoucheBag like the rest of them.
Anyway, to be continued.
So now you see my struggle. I don’t want to be the asshole here, or the helpless victim. But I’ve been royally screwed over so many times that I wonder if I have “Treat Me Like Shit” written on my forehead. How the hell am I supposed to trust people? Why do so many people see me as nothing? I certainly don’t see myself that way, and neither do my friends, family, or King Petey for that matter. At a part of the story that is so bleak, it is getting harder and harder to stay positive with my ideas of relationships.
But I guess that’s what the future is for. I remember reading one of those positive bullshit things on Pinterest that said: “Just because something ends doesn’t mean it never should’ve been. Remember, you lived, you learned, you grew and you moved on.”
Eh, I still like Eminem’s “Say fuck it before you kick the bucket, Life’s too short not to go for broke.”
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.
I’m happy. I’m so, so happy. But something is still not right.
Do you ever have that one thing that when you think back to it, it feels like it’s just happened all over again? It’s that moment that never dies, where you feel like you are still in that position, feeling those things, and watching it break your heart all over again. Part of me feels guilty for still being hurt over some guy that doesn’t even matter now….I have an amazing boyfriend, loyal and trustworthy friends…that guy doesn’t influence any of that. So why does it still hurt?
Why. WHY. Why did he tell me sweet things if he didn’t want to stick enough to back them up? What did I do wrong? Was it that I skipped the hand-holding and went straight to the sex? What the hell did he want from me?! I gave him my body, my trust, the inner dilemmas that torment my soul, and he tore them to shreds… he left me. He left me before we even had the chance to be together and let each other care for us.
It’s the end of my senior year. One month from now I’ll be walking out these stupid doors and leaving for a chance to actually make something of my life. I’m done with the play, prom is Saturday, and I’ve been accepted into my dream school…signing all the contracts, crossing the T’s…. I don’t want to still be thinking about this stupid guy who screwed me over back in October. I want to be done.
So then that’s it, it’s decided: I’m going to march right up to him next time I see him and ask him why. I’m going to get my answer so I will always know to never let any douche bag like him near me again. Maybe this will stir up shit and mess up the calm going in his life, but I deserve this, because I was never anything but good to him.
And damn if I’m going to still be mad at him forever…time to move the fuck on from all those negative memories that kept my depression alive, and forgive him and myself.
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