Reflection from December 16th, 2007 @ Age 26
RE: LEARNING THAT “HAVING A LIFE” IN THE SOCIAL SENSE, REALLY ISN’T SO IMPORTANT AFTER ALL.
Hi. It’s 12am precisely and I’m finding it difficult to sleep, earplugs and all. My mind is racing, but for what reasons I am not sure.
I went to sleep last night and woke up this morning feeling uncontrollably angry—angrier than I’ve felt in a long time, angry in the sense of needing to destroy something, anything. I didn’t destroy anything, or at least I didn’t destroy anything to the point that it would have satisfied my anger. Instead, I sat with my anger and I suffered through it and it was supremely dissatisfying, and I couldn’t tell whether it was the result of or merely a manifestation of my late, supreme disappointment with life.
I’ve been feeling the need lately to go to a meeting, in a manner I can only describe as immediate. I feel so disappointed, so angry and so dissatisfied with life, and I know just about the only thing that can cure this surge of emotion is a meeting. I leave those meetings, I know I do, with a sense of gratefulness, realizing all that I have and all that I’m living for, which leaves me wanting for the reasons why I do not continue to go. Blah blah blah I’m trying to write more fancy than my mind is currently functioning. Enough of that…
My room is finally organized for the most part—my clothes have been gone through and sorted for goodwill. Hangers have been hung, that which is not currently being used has been packed away for the winter. My paper records are almost organized and filed away. I’ve still yet to go through my boxes to sort out what’s no longer necessary, what I no longer desire to hold onto, and what I could be using while I’m living here with mom and dad. You see I want to be thankful that I have a mom and dad who I can live with, I want to be thankful they have such a nice home in which I can stay, and I want to be thankful that they’re genuinely nice people with which to room—but I’m not, at least most of the time.
I want my own apartment and I want to be able to smoke weed and I want to be normal and have friends and go out to bars and be social and have fun and feel like I have a life, I want to feel like I’m important. And the crazy thing is, I’m important here, right where I am. I’m more important to my mother than perhaps I will ever be to any other person, and yet I cannot appreciate what I mean to her. For some reason, there is some need I have yet unfulfilled. I want to be important to someone who’s interested in knowing all the minute details of my life. And yet my mother, I can assure you, is interested in the minute details of my life. But she is not enough—her love is not what I am seeking. Perhaps, in part, that is because I already have it. I have the love of my mother and I take it for granted, and that in and of itself is infuriating.
Except that I am human and I cannot help it, I cannot help the way that I feel. All I know is that I feel so much less of these most awful of human feelings when I go to meetings, and henceforth, I’m feeling the supreme need to attend one. And in fact, I have a Columbus meeting schedule from the last Columbus meeting I attended, and I’ve already gone through and highlighted the meetings that are closest to where I live, and I found one at the corner of 315 and Home Road, at a church built in an old barn that I’ve been longing to go into since I’ve seen it. And the group is called “Fireside” and I do wonder whether they have a fire by which they sit beside; I somehow doubt it, but you never know.
And therein lies the problem. I despise that I continue to seek hope when I simultaneously want to feel certain that all hope has been lost. I’ve been so disappointed by the world, and by my life experiences, that I want to be at the end, I want to end it all because I feel as though the pain and suffering will never end. But then I wonder, whether I am creating the pain and suffering for myself, and how much the world actually has to do with it, if anything at all.
I feel infuriated and desperately wanting by what life has to offer. You want to know a cruel irony of life? People inevitably hurt you, and sometimes people hold grudges and you get sucked into their grudges, for no other reason than you are present and they need some face to attach to their mutiny. But more often than not, I would say, people who you love, who love you, hurt you for no other reason than they are human and it is inevitable. And that’s not even the worst part.
The worst part, I tell you, is that you have to learn to forgive these people, or else you end up even worse off—namely, left all alone in this world. In other words, you have to be willing to forgive the people you love, who hurt you for no other reason than they are human beings prone to imperfection, or else you end up worse off in finding yourself alone in this cold and dark world.
I hate life. It’s painful to no end, and as far as I can tell, the pain and suffering far outweigh any joy and happiness to be had. I look forward to being proven wrong, but it makes me sick to think that after all I’ve endured, I still have a place in my heart that yearns to hope. I want to hope for the prevailing of good over evil in human beings, I want to hope for love and for peace, I want to hope for a man who will love me like I’ve never imagined possible and I want to hope for the capacity to once again make and have friends. I hope for stability and for sanity, I hope for inner peace and I hope to help people. I hope to make this world a better place by being in, and by becoming a productive member of society and humanity at large. I hope to find solace in being regular, and in struggling to pay my bills and all that I become as a result. I hope for love more than anything, to find an undying love within which to grow, a place to shield me from the worst and the coldest this world has to offer, a place where I can continue to learn and to give and not be hardened by the gritty compass of reality.
I’ve felt so angry that I wrote that bullshit to law school Rob, gushing that there was no one better to be editor of the law review than him! What they fuck did I know? Not many people, and certainly not well, from that law school with which to compare. Ohh I feel irate that I would feed all that bullshit to the ego of someone whose clearly needn’t be fed. And I can’t decide which part I hate more, the fact that I fed this bullshit to a guy who seems to not have struggled at all (though I really haven’t a clue), who had a Cadillac going into to law school and was editor of the law review, had perfect grades and the adoration of the majority of the law school community I’m sure, a wife and a three-figure salary (of which I’m also sure, but then again have not a fucking clue), or the fact that I’ve been bitten in the ass by feeding my own self-interest.
You see I wrote this boy in an effort to secure a, well secure future. My mom told me I could have made things easier on myself by feeding into a false love, taking advantage of someone who loved me, who I could not love in return, because this person could have financially and perhaps (though she’d have no way of telling) emotionally supported me. Maybe she said that because she’s tired of financially and (at least theoretically) emotionally supporting me. I think it was a cruel thing to say. Anyways, I wrote to this boy with my own interests in mind, and fed him bullshit in order to do so, and it didn’t work out the way I had hoped, namely because he’s married and they built a house together and are now living happily ever after (so I assume), and I find myself, once again, written off into self-pity.
Man I fucking sense self-pity all over this writing, and yet the thought that I’m creating my own agony really fucking irritates me. I’m so irritated I can’t even tell you. I’m so fucking angry I can hardly stand it. I’m angry at everyone, but really I’m angry at no one more so than myself.
I hate life because I cannot figure it out, and yet I see others who are perfectly content with not having figured it out at all, and I wonder wherein the difference lies. I wonder why I have this need to understand life in an effort to give it meaning, and why I can’t just be happy in the meantime. I want to apologize to Stacey for getting drunk the night before her wedding, and for being high during her wedding, and for going to sleep early the night of her wedding such that I never danced and was missing from all the pictures. I want to hate myself for not being perfect, and yet I know that if I cannot forgive, I will live alone, not even with my self. I feel defeated. I feel deflated. I feel miserable and I feel irritated. I feel angry and I feel resentful and I feel cheated and I feel ungrateful. I loathe hope, and yet I cannot separate myself from it. I want to feel hopeless so I won’t feel guilty killing myself. I want to die so I don’t have to feel longing regret.
And yet I cannot help but think that this is the difference between life and death. I think about David, and I’m not sure whether he can see me or not. I’m not sure which would be worse. But I’m almost certain, for him, and for all the dead it would be far worse to be forced to see what remains of life, and what’s been left behind.
For when you are dead, you are completely helpless to right a wrong, to provide comfort to another, and to make a difference. You’re chance is up; David’s chance, is up. Young aspiring Harvard med-student, falls to his death because he is drunk and in need of a good time. Young aspiring perfect Harvard med-student, and nonetheless, amongst it all, he needs the escape. David wound up dead because he needed constantly to escape. Or so I assume, because I have no way of knowing the difference. That’s another problem with life; that we as human beings are constantly crippled by our inability to achieve a healthy, all-encompassing perspective.
We are constantly getting stuck, or shall I say I am constantly getting stuck, in the limited and therefore destructive purview of my own consciousness. But the curious part of the matter is this: I know that my currently closed mind is destructive, and yet I continue on living in it for reasons I refuse to recognize.
It’s so simple though; I know. I know why, and it’s simply because living with an open mind and forcing oneself to maintain an open heart is perhaps the most painfully excruciating kind of suffering a human being can put herself through. And the worst part of that mess is that in order to maintain an open heart and an open mind, a conscious choice must be made to that effect by the human being. Notably, in order to live a life that is worthwhile in this lifetime, we must consciously choose to enter a place where we are subject to a form of suffering that is comparable to none. And I wonder, is that where I’ve been all my life? And I wonder, will it be worthwhile after all, in the end? And here I lay, and I have not a clue. All I know is that it’s 12:52am, I am no more tired than when I started, and that I’m terribly awaiting the onset of this meeting that awaits me approximately 19 hours away.
Blah blah blah…I wonder what my writing sounds like; I can only imagine, and my imagination conjures thoughts of inadequacy and overreaching. I find it endlessly frustrating that I cannot sit down and write like Dickens or Fitzgerald or Salinger. I wonder if I will ever have a child, and if it’s a boy, I wonder whether I will name him John David Salinger. If she’s a girl, I wonder whether I’ll name her Charity Autumn. Life is so endlessly frustrating, with all of its twists and its turns. For all that is unknown, I would love to be excited, but instead I find myself living in fear.
You know what I’ve learned? Let me tell you…I’m not sure if I’ve got the words here at 1:29am in the morning to put it eloquently, but I’ve learned recently that getting down to nitty gritty and just doing already, is much much more difficult than continued planning in the abstract. I was thinking just a short six months back, that I would continue going to school for public policy, and now I’m beginning to see that such an idea, while perhaps an interesting one, was made more out of fear of the real world than it was out of any real desire to continue my already extended stay in the world of education. Formal education, that is.
I was so terrified of the real world, and for legit reasons I’m not embarrassed to admit, that I wanted to hold on to something I know how to do. I know how to be a student—I’m good at being a student. Granted I’ve never been really into studying all that much, but I love reading and learning and discussing ideas, and my mother has said this before and I’ll say it again, I’m no doubt one helluva test taker. If I were not the amazing test taker I am, there’s no doubt I’d have failed out of college and never made it into law school. I’ve never been all that great at sitting still and studying for tests, but man do I love to learn. There’s nothing like it, for me.
Anyways, that’s just one of the many things I’ve been learning lately. I’ve set myself up in a position in which I will be able to continue learning new things for a long, very long time. I didn’t quite realize when I went about setting myself up here that it was going to take me such a very, very long time to learn just all the basics of what I’d need to know. I forgot to think about how much I would need to learn once I got out of school, just to get by. For some reason I had it in my head that once I graduated law school, I’d be ready to go, hence one of my most recent disappointments.
It’s both difficult and pleasing to know that I’ve set myself up for the future, that while I must continue to endure in the present, I’ve set myself up for happiness in the not too far off future. I’ve achieved so many of the things I’ve wanted to achieve in my life—not working for a corporation, not working somewhere in a cubicle where I could not see the light of day, not working in a job doing the same damn thing over and over again, not selling products, not bullshitting or taking advantage of people, being able to put good into the world through the work that I do, being able to help people and to continue on a process of lifelong learning…looking damn good while doing it. I’ve achieved so much in my life thus far, and it’s hard to see all of that when concretely I feel like a moron and have over $135,000 in student loans, but in time I will see; if I can only continue to endure, in time I will be able to see, finally, the good that I have done.
In time I will begin to see just exactly what I’ve been building all of these years. In time I will see, but in the meantime I must endure. In time I will see all that I have to contribute, but in the meantime I must continue to endure.
You know it’s 2:05am now and I have one more thing to say before I go to sleep. Well, two actually. The first is that I feel more hopeful tonight than I’ve felt perhaps in a year, which coincidentally (or not) has occurred within the same short span of days in which I’ve felt more angry than I have perhaps felt before in the past year. There’s a saying that people talk about, the calm before the storm. I don’t really know what they’re talking about, because I’ll tell you, it’s the worst storms that come in and wreak havoc with my mind before peace ever befalls.
And second, I was thinking the other day, and I wanted to record it, that many times when I’m having trouble finding a way to forgive another, I love thinking of myJenJen. For it is myJenJen who, through all my bullshit and the grief I have put her through, has loved me ceaselessly, if not more with every day. After all I’ve put her through, all the pain and suffering I’ve caused her, I think she loves me more today than she has any given previous day. And in my thoughts of her, I am able to forgive the worst of them. In knowing that I have been forgiven, I am able to forgive and to continue loving others.
It’s a difficult thing to recognize and to see the ways in which seemingly small acts of kindness conjure up results that are larger than life. In Jen’s forgiveness, I am no longer blind. Through Jen’s love and forgiveness, I’ve at long last been given eyes through which to see.