I thought it was probably time for another guest post. I haven’t published one for a while now and if honest haven’t really felt like writing much myself lately. So I was absolutely delighted to have received the following article from Kelsey G, who is not herself a blogger but who has a wonderful writing style.
So it gives me great pleasure (and of course my thanks go out to Kelsey for allowing me) to publish this piece for you…
Familiarity can go to hell.
I turn the light out and stand stationary in the doorway of the bathroom, waiting until I can act on the realization that I shut everything down again too quickly. I flick the light back on, continue to brush my teeth, take my pills, re-evaluate my perception of “self” in the obnoxiously brightly lit mirror. Just on time – that catch in breath that sends shock waves down the spine. A signal of impending doom without the gratifying feeling of inevitable death soon to come, the guilt of viewing it as gratifying in its place.
So this is life. This is life? When did this happen? I’ve cried so many times: over The Office finale for an hour until I was ridden with such a nauseating stress migraine I couldn’t even think about moving; over numerous failed dates with failures of human beings, just wanting someone to listen to their rendition of “all seven types” of their cat’s meows; over food – so many times over food. There’s something intrinsically different about these involuntary fits of tears, though.
I turn on the decorative hanging lights in my room, hung on a night when I desperately needed to forget. To move. To do something – something that required planning and space evaluation and every other “completely legit!” concept we make up when so desperately avoiding what’s most legitimate in life – pain. PAIN! Woe is me, you, but definitely me, the bearer of all pains when feeling any pain.
Seriously, to hell with it. But don’t for one second doubt its ability to shake every foundation you’ve ever known, as naive and already fractured as they may be.
The floor at the foot of the bed will have to do this time; my body is too exhausted to make it downstairs again in an attempt to crawl beneath the dining room table and pull in all the stools, creating as tight and secure a panic room as possible, courtesy of IKEA. This room will have to do. The lights strung along its walls are usually a source of invaluable relaxation, their pattern still unpredictable in the most time-consuming and mind-numbing way. But tonight they just remind me of every conversation we’ve had under them. I fiddle with the empty socket on the strand right next to my pillow.
“This little one looks so sad. So empty.”
“Just wants to be loooved, poor thing.”
I compare the dark and lonely socket to myself in the following moments of silence between us and immediately have to recount all the ways to stop from tearing up. Who the f*ck am I?
Back in the present, the pressure of god-damn living these past several months is condensed into a sudden burst of heinously bizarre sobs and choking noises, followed by the familiar snapcracklepop of salty snot bubbles erupting from each nostril and I wonder why I’m still so alone in these critical moments. I say “critical” like I’ve actually experienced anything substantial, and I say “alone” like the internalized sad clown, moon-boot-fanatic version of my eighth grade self. The fact of the matter is, I have several people in my life that I can talk to about this- this, anxiety? Panic? Stress overload?
Three people, to be exact. More, on a good day. Far fewer on a normal (every) day. First, there’s the “number-one-go-to, hands down will always understand friend” who’s lived almost exclusively “substantially”. Oh, crying under the table again? Talk to me. But then, should probably check on that. Here’s why. Go. Then there’s the “obligated/still concerned family members”, one of which just doesn’t understand to the point of complete destruction, bless her god-damned, unintentionally ignorant heart. The other knows everything about mental health (or the lack thereof) but just can’t express the necessary emotions needed for a conversation on account of her inability to feel them in typical ways. On good days, there might be one of the occasional passers-by in life, the meaningful people who share their lives and expect the same in return and inevitably disappear into god-knows-where at the time of their choosing. I don’t call on these people in these moments, though. Actually, I don’t call on anyone. I drop a story here and there about these little panic episodes, making sure to add the precisely measured amounts of humour and sincerity in order to have the fresh-out-of-the-oven product: depth, desirability, just enough sanity (or the lack thereof). I don’t call when the breath catches and the tears start and the fetal crumpling kicks in, because what would I say when or if they answered? What do any of us say?
Things happen. F*cking duh, said every person ever who ever said something obvious. But really though. Things are always happening, and we learn to always expect the always-ness. Life has been pretty saturated these past few months. Anyone could see that the resulting anxiety attacks are a pretty natural reaction. Graduation (but maybe not?), moving cross-country and getting real jobs like real people and getting into actual graduate schools like actual assholes (after graduation FERSHER, but like..
maybe, maybe not even then), coming to terms with the most twisted, embarrassing and realistic cause of complete shame, misery and longing for portable IKEA panic rooms: Tinder.
Cue: An unlikely match that killed the conversation one minute in, only to still be the topic of most, months later – with myself, my friends, mycrosoft word at four in the morning after this “Shit Show Beneath the Stars.” Beautifully introspective and self-deprecating, everything I’d want to be but also not, because it would mean not being able to see it exactly the way I see it in him. The deal was “casual”. Why would we do anything else? I’m leaving in two months. Fuck, Two Months came and went over a month ago. Close to the time I hung these lights, hoping to avoid the inevitable darkness these realizations would hurl me into. The power of unstated discomfort cannot be overstated, but my god, what hope do the socially inept, anxiety-ridden souls of this world have? The simple (ha!) act of living is one disproportionate belch of unstated discomfort, wriggling and writhing within us until we throw up in our mouths as the inexpressible discomforts of existence finally force their way out, knowing we can’t possibly take anything else on in that instant. But in a moment, the crying will stop, the strange choking noises that I’m sure have been reported by neighbours as criminally offensive sex acts will subside, and the snapcracklepop of snot bubbles will dissipate.
This come-and-go routine is just as familiar as any other. But while we’re left seasoned and more impervious to the timing and mechanics of these unwelcome, gut-wrenching reactions to anything and everything, the fact still remains: this is life. What does that mean, exactly? No idea. “Knowing” this leaves us just as lost and helpless as ever. But I do know that I’ve had some really great days and some incredibly beautiful moments in this life as well, and I know I’ll have them again. And when I do, I’ll probably appreciate them for what they are – great, and beautiful – because I’ve gone through hell to understand the alternative. So we wait. And wait. And maybe wait some more. Because eventually the sun has to come up and shit on all this darkness, because this is life. And that’s how life works, right?
[Editor’s Note: I would again like to thank Kelsey G for sending me this piece and for allowing me to share it with you all. I believe that real, raw, well written, descriptive and informative pieces such as this one are so very important. And I hope that you will have enjoyed reading it as much as I did and will take time to comment accordingly.]