“He awoke each morning with the desire to do right, to be a good and meaningful person, to be, as simple as it sounded and as impossible as it actually was, happy. And during the course of each day his heart would descend from his chest into his stomach. By early afternoon he was overcome by the feeling that nothing was right, or nothing was right for him, and by the desire to be alone. By evening he was fulfilled: alone in the magnitude of his grief, alone in his aimless guilt, alone even in his loneliness. I am not sad, he would repeat to himself over and over, I am not sad. As if he might one day convince himself. Or fool himself. Or convince others–the only thing worse than being sad is for others to know that you are sad. I am not sad. I am not sad. Because his life had unlimited potential for happiness, insofar as it was an empty white room. He would fall asleep with his heart at the foot of his bed, like some domesticated animal that was no part of him at all. And each morning he would wake with it again in the cupboard of his rib cage, having become a little heavier, a little weaker, but still pumping…”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated
When I say that I’m crazy-that I’m a mad woman-a lunatic even, it’s not me trying to squeeze my way into a false compartment … it is in fact the truth. I have struggled my (seemingly) entire life with the demons inside of my head. I’m different, you see.
I see, think and feel in a way that has never made much sense to anyone else. I have been judged harshly for my inability to ‘fall in line,’ for the way I look, for my impossible curiosity and wanderlust. I have tried and failed at most everything I’ve done. I have gained and then lost everything I’ve had. I have used alcohol, drugs, “love”, sex, to try and numb the pain. And when all else failed, I tried to end the pain completely. I didn’t even hate myself … I just completely refused to be me. So for years and years, I spent every moment trying to be someone else. Anyone else. Of course, I failed at that as well.
I’ve been in therapy. I’ve taken a drugstore’s worth of medication. I’ve traveled here, there and back again (many times) in an attempt to find some sort of holy answer to my problems. All the while, desperately seeking a higher place where I hoped I would see a different reflection in the mirror.
I felt completely alone. Unworthy. Without any sort of purpose.
I’m not saying that I am 100% “better” now … that I don’t still fight those same demons. I guess what I am trying to say is that somewhere along the line (a very recent line), I threw my hands up in the air and said, “Fuck it! This is who I am,” and I have been traveling uphill ever since. Still no college degree, still no money, no place of my own, or car (you know, the things society deems important) … but what I do have is myself. An actual appreciation and even gratitude for the mind, body & soul that has overcome what it has.
People judge too quickly & too harshly. They forget that the cover of a book doesn’t ever truly/fully represent the words inside. If I hadn’t stopped listening and caring so much about the judgement of those around me, I would not be alive today. That is how much power your words and opinions can be.
Be careful with that power, eh?