Wednesday, December 30, 2009

my friend, my friend

A quality about myself that I was forced to face is that my happiness is almost completely contingent on the people that I care about. It seems that every person that I am close to gradually gains ownership of part of me. If they leave, they take that part away with them. I don't mean this to be a sanctimonious, triumph-of-the-human-spirit sentiment. I hate when people I care about leave my life. I wish I could just keep adding more and more people and soon my happiness would be entirely leased out to other people like real estate.

I know what losing people is like. It's hell, I've been there. I have lost someone that meant so much that when they left they took such a large part of me that for a while I felt I could not properly function with such a gaping void. I was consumed by regret and sadness and the prospect of starting to rebuild was daunting. It was hard to believe that a pain so vivid had not left a tangible open wound. A swift descent into nothingness would have been much easier than coping with the healing of it. The thing with having a void is that in order to be happy, you have to find a way to fill it.

Initially I tried to fill it with things that were numbing. These things were both unhealthy and fleeting. They allowed me, however, to present such a convincing facade of happiness that most people fell for it. My grades didn't go down, they went up. I didn't gain weight, I lost it dramatically. I really feared letting people get close to me because then they were bound to see through the deception. And I had nothing left to give anyone. I had turned into a human game of Jenga, and the next brick to be pulled out would mean my undoing. This fear led me to push away the person who could see through the act, because I felt if I got attached and they left I wouldn't be able to recover. There was one piece of tangible evidence of my despair, and when it was discovered I was placed in therapy.
via oleada
In therapy I felt like an insect under a microscope. I did not want to be questioned or bothered. I was holding everything together as far as everyone else was concerned, regardless of how I was doing it. That should be enough. I couldn't do anymore. I did not want to break down and admit that I was unhappy and that I was beginning to see the upkeep of the facade, which had become my life, as a pointless struggle.

Rebuilding didn't happen over night, or in a month. Or a year. It took time and I couldn't expedite the process. It felt kind of like wanting it to be dawn really badly but not being able to force time to pass. It did pass, though, and eventually the emptiness began to fill itself with people and experiences. I stopped pretending to be happy when I wasn't, and, contrary to what I had presumed, the people around me seemed more appreciative of honesty than my distant ambivalence. Slowly I began to feel the sincere happiness that I had once had, if only momentarily at first. It did gradually get stronger, and more frequent, even though I didn't feel like exactly the same person.

We may not be as happy as you always dreamed we would be, but for the first time let's just allow ourselves to be whatever it is we are and that will be better. OK? I think that will be better. -Garden State

If you're like me, you won't be exactly the same you once were when you do fill the void, because a large part of you will feel alien. It will heal, though, and you'll just be different than you were. You can fill the void with something that you want to be part of yourself. You can be better because of what you have lost. You can force yourself to be stronger and to never take a person, or an event, or a moment for granted.
there are some souls on this earth that just seem to shine a little brighter. it's not because they've been left to burn in peace and quiet. i think it's because they've been stirred- and poked, and prodded. the fire grows and glows because of the beautiful struggle they're in. the flame get's a little hotter, the heart a little stronger, and the soul so very, very bright. you shine. -jodi hills

If you've lost someone that meant a lot to you, you already know how it feels. It is sometimes tempting to become an island so that you can eradicate the fear of this happening again (which it probably will). However, I can say without hesitation that the time I isolated myself from those around me was a time of much more profound sadness than when I admitted my despair and did not try to conceal it.

I think that life is too short to remove yourself from the impact that living has on you. Not just people, but also the sheer power of experiences to affect you and question things that you once believed. Question them, and don't resist your mind being changed. It is like the moon, which once was frequently being bombarded by asteroids, comets, and meteorites. The impacts of the debris left craters that caused the moon to have a constantly changing face. I think my friend Kristina put it best.

Amazement. When was the last time something truly amazed you? A moment when a person, place, word, thought, anything captivated you with such unabashed fury that it left scars on your existence.

One of my newest goals is to make this question obsolete. I do not want my amazement to fall victim to a quantified system of measurement. It will not occur in moments, rather as a continuous stream.
I want to view life itself with amazement. I want everything to leave a scar.

When this life is over, I want to be a glamorous patchwork of fibrous tissue. The constant stream of amazement always replacing what was once there.
Embrace the scars that formed this past year. They mean life amazed you.

What I've learned about life I can sum up in three words:
IT GOES ON. -Robert Frost


  1. "It was hard to believe that a pain so vivid had not left a tangible open wound."

    wow. incredibly put carolyn. i cant stop repeating it in my head.. thanks for sharing your stories, too. :)

  2. Thank you Chloe, means everything to me. You're the best.