I'm sure some of you noticed my general withdrawal from Facebook as of late. The truth is, it's been hard. I'm experiencing the joy of new love tarnished by those who would to destroy it. I've kept it in, kept it in, tried to tell myself it didn't matter, but somehow it still does. And so I've descended into a pretty deep depression–the desire to stay curled in bed all day trying to cry away the hurt. I shouldn't let anyone make me feel this way, and, rationally, I know it.
But the thing about being a writer is you have to be in touch with your emotions day-in and day-out in order to bring stories and characters to life. And, well, sometimes that's not so great for writers' lives off the page. This is one of those times. To close up feeling would be to dry out my talent, and it means too much to me to even attempt such a solution.
Instead I turn to my craft for guidance, reassurance, and hopefully closure. This piece is extremely personal, but then again so is every word I ever clack onto my keyboard. And as painful–private–as this is, it still comes nowhere close to the admissions I poured into both Open Heart and Torn Together.
So I had a beer, composed a depressing music playlist, and confessed my feelings below. Clarity, serenity, courage–I am waiting for you.
Unworthy. That’s how I constantly feel. Unworthy, unloved, unimportant. Self-esteem is something I simply can’t hold onto. And the funny part is that the world assumes the opposite, that I’m arrogant—no, I just try extra hard to compensate, to appear like I serve a purpose in any given social setting, rather than just taking up space that my peers would rather not have filled. I’m a living silhouette. Nobody likes a living silhouette. Not even me.
“Learn to love yourself,” conventional wisdom says. Well, that’s pretty damned hard to do when you’re constantly faced with rejection, disapproval, outright hatred, whatever. But why? I keep asking myself this tiny little question that harbors such huge implications.
I’m a good person. I type that just as sure as I believe it. I AM a good person, complete with morals, a conscience, a desire to do good onto others, no matter how many times they take my extended hand of help and yank me down upon the muddy streets, kick me, spit at me, remind me I’m just not worthy. Nor will I ever be. Yeah, message received. Can you quit shouting it now?
Cowering inside this oversized hunk of flesh is the nine-year-old girl who’s never had a friend, whose bio-dad would rather drive a fancy car than pay her child support, who never quite fit into her family, and still doesn’t understand why. Rocking that pitiful child in her arms is the twenty-seven year old divorcee who knows how bad her marriage was but still nearly lost her sanity during its dissolution. Curled in the fetal position is the woman who contains them both—still twenty-seven, still scared of rejection even though she knows it’s a given.
She expected to live alone forever. “I’m not the marrying kind. I’m not the anything kind. I’m meant to be alone,” she said, and she believed it with all her heart. That is until her heart professed a different plan altogether:
“You’ve got it all wrong. You are not so different that you’re doomed to be alone. This man right here, he was made for you. Or rather, you were made for him. But before you can have each other, you need to open up again. He will not reject you. He will only love you. Even when—especially when—you feel you least deserve it. He will hold you in his arms and let you weep giant, irrational tears. He will smile during the good times and make you wonder how happiness ever existed before you found him. You will be loved. But first you have to take a chance.”
And because the dream is what’s kept me going all these years—the dream of writing, the dream of happiness, the dream of love, and above all, acceptance—I take that chance.
“Here I am,” I cry, both overjoyed and terrified. “Here I am.”
And he finds me. We find each other. And despite our collective shortcomings, our far-too-long list of past pains, we seem to be made for each other. Just like my heart promised.
It feels like only a day, and yet it feels like eternity, since we found each other. I look into his eyes and see the long road before us. What came before doesn’t matter anymore, because it was all leading up to this. What we have is so personal, so true, so right, so—dare I say?—perfect.
But where there is light, there is darkness.
There are others who see our tiny flame of hope and make it their mission to snuff it out. “I’m not happy; therefore, you cannot be happy. Simple as that. You have what I want, which means I can never be happy for you—never even like you. Remember that whole thing about being unworthy? Yeah, you still are. Always will be. Don’t fight the status quo. After all, it’s there to protect you—I mean US, and clearly you’re not one of us. You need to go away, refute your happiness, cease to exist if you wouldn’t mind. Because your existence? It’s horribly inconvenient for us.”
And no matter how clearly irrational, cruel, entitled it all is, I can’t help but listen. “Pardon me,” I whimper. “I didn’t mean to cause any trouble.”
But how can I give up the dream when giving up one is giving them all up?
Why do I listen to them? Why do I crawl under the covers and refuse to emerge? Why do I let the blackness cloud my heart during its sunniest epoch?
Bliss with my love. Despair because of those who would rob us of what we’ve finally found. Why do they think it’s their right to judge, to decide who deserves happiness and who doesn’t? Why was I born to be unworthy, no matter how hard I try, how much I insist on maintaining my integrity in a world that hardly remembers what that word means?
Simply put, I don’t know, and I’m tired of trying to figure it out.