It’s 3:03 a.m. and I have to be awake in four hours. As you can see, my life is in shambles.
I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this. I couldn’t sleep, so I was on Facebook (naturally) and came across a blog of a senior in my sorority that she’d started when she was a freshman. I think it’s kind of brilliant. It’s like a diary that’s always within reach. The scary part is that I have a firm belief that anyone can find anything on the internet, so I could never be completely candid. I might tell my friends about this. I also might not. I just really like to talk, and this is a vessel through which I can do a whole lot of talking about whatever I want to. That’s very appealing to someone who’s loud and attention-seeking.
What’s that Jewish text that’s basically just rabbis over the course of time debating about things? The Talmud? That’s an embarrassing gap in knowledge, but I just do not care enough to Google it right now. Anyway, that’s kind of what I think a personal blog could be but with yourself. It’s like an ongoing dialogue between younger you and older you. It also just seems like a good way to keep track of things. I’ve recently become terrified that I’m going to forget how happy my youth is, because it really, really is. I’ve had a healthy dose of misfortune in my very limited experience, but things could always be worse. I have friends that are a hell of a lot cooler than I am and parents that spend a hundred percent of their time supporting me and each other. That’s just about all I could ask for. That and never to have to accelerate past the pace of a leisurely stroll for the rest of my life.
I recently experienced a situation that reordered my entire universe. The only experience I’ve had that was at all similar was the death of my grandmother when I was nine. One of those things that feels like a building collapsed on your head and pushed you into the center of the earth where the pressure squeezes your eyeballs out. I’ve been handling it using the very healthy and courageous method of “pretending it didn’t happen.” Sometimes I remember what exactly I just did and it knocks the breath out of me and gives me the building-crushing-eyeball-squeezing feeling all over again. I tell my friends about it sometimes, but they don’t respond. They don’t know what to say. I wouldn’t either. I don’t know what to say to myself. When you face a problem, a real problem, after a lifetime of being a privileged and blissfully (and willfully, I might add) unaware child, you face the horrifying realization that not all things can be explained by a Tumblr quote. I’ve gone through nineteen years of Easy-Bake problems that have already been answered by generations of women before me. This one hasn’t. It’s okay. I will be okay. I am okay, if you judge my general mood by the frequency and enthusiasm of my fake instagram posts.
It’s interesting that when I’m most upset I get louder and more crass. Way more crass. I’m basically just really clumsy with things that hurt. I don’t deal with it by retreating to solitude like any real human being; I deal with it by marching out into public and demanding an audience to listen to me yell about things that both of us know are of absolutely no consequence to anyone at all. I’m actually pretty good at seeming okay though. I’m not trying to make it seem like I’m consciously biting back tears all the time; I’m not at all. I don’t feel cripplingly upset. I just see glimpses of the fact that I’m not as okay as I would have my friends believe when I do things like send a rude, provocative text-challenge to my suitemate who has never been anything but kind to me because she butted me in line. I see it when I get so annoyed by my drunk friend that I abandon her in a crowd. I see it when I post twenty pictures on my fake instagram in one day with captions that are desperately begging to be laughed at. I see it when I start a f*&king blog like some sort of basic at three o’clock on a Tuesday morning.
All of this is to say that I’m working on it. I’m going to a counselor at 8:30 tomorrow morning (or today, lol). I will say that for someone who likes to force people to listen to her as much as I do, you would think I’d be better at talking to a therapist. I did it for the first time last week and I felt the same way I do when I’m on a bike. I don’t know how to ride a bike.
I move back home for the summer in less than a month. I’m curious to see how that will affect me. I feel like being wholly safe for a while might be good. I also might get stir-crazy which could contribute to the loudness problem.
If you couldn’t tell, one of my characteristics that I hate the most is how loud I am. I’m constantly seeking out interaction and acknowledgement. Maybe it’s because I’m the youngest of a very big and very loud Southern clan. I basically came out of the womb having to remind my mom to feed me.
She always told me to speak up.
One thought on “the first (and maybe the only)”
You won’t forget how happy hour youth was. You’ll simply start hoping you don’t forget how brilliantly happy your adulthood is. I remember vividly saying, or maybe writing, that exact same thought. It can feel like you’re nostalgic for the present moment. It can seem like, no matter how much you try to let go of that ever-present awareness that time is passing, there is always a background app running in your mind that is already lamenting the passage of time.
After living with that reality myself for a decade now, I realize it’s not crippling and, in fact, it’s not even negative. What you are is grateful. I believe there is Grace in that impulse. True, divine grace that allows you to have the upper vantage on your life. What you fear is being the one who wakes up and, as the song goes, says, “how did I get here? Oh God! What have I done?!” Well, by simple virtue of having expressed that awareness and possessing it, you’ll never be that kind of victim of life. You’re insuring you won’t be right now, in this moment.
You’re right in that your friends simply don’t know what to say. They don’t because no one in this world is going to be able to identify wholly and completely with such a fiercely personal, soul-deep battle. And don’t forget: this is a battle. You say you don’t know what to say to yourself either. That’s because the temptation toward that bastard shadow of self-pity looms larger and larger as we face the unremitting trials and misfortunes of life. When shit hits the fan, especially for the first time in your life, it can seem like the world is conspiring with the temptation the cast that shadow ever longer and darker. It’s not. The world is just happening. What we say to ourselves in those moments is, “Get up. Get up. One foot forward. Straighten your back. Get up.” That is the only choice. Anything else is capitulation to the Devil.
Marching out into an audience when you’re hurting ain’t such a bad thing, especially if the hurt stems from injustice. That’s not a bad quality at all. Those who slink into solitude will likely have a much harder time reminding themselves to get up. I mean, I wouldn’t yell at a crowd when you fuck something up, but I think you’ll understand my point. And we’re all clumsy with things that hurt. A wounded animal is clumsy because it’s bleeding profusely.
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