I don't remember how this conversation started, but I'm sure we had it many times...
"I don't think you get sad on the same level that I do. Or not the same way." I said, looking out the window at a rolling hill of Austin Bluffs. I don't remember where we were going, but I know that I was not in a good place mentally. This was during the time in my life where I had extremely little control over my mind, and one day's depression could turn into a flood of actual psychosis. I frequently felt that my brain was attacking me. Feelings were symptoms. They were the animals stampeding out before the hurricane of batshit rolled in.
I made a mental note that this was my absolute least favorite stretch of road. There was nothing but crappy townhomes and a field with power lines that separates those townhomes from the suburban castles on the ridge. I hate this city. Inside I was thinking about emptiness. I was frustrated with him, because he never seemed to have bad days unless I manufactured them, but who would want to do that? You don't want to make someone sad, but it's hard to know if they understand your emotional struggle if you never see them have one. How could he have any empathy if he never got upset or hurt? Either that, or I was jealous of that kind of stability. No matter which way it appeared, I was definitely annoyed by it. I don't remember where we were driving to, but he was focused on the road and nonchalant. He usually was. It took him a minute to answer. He was thinking about it.
"I think it just happens to me differently," He replied finally, shifting gears and squinting out the window. "Your depression is like my sister's. You get really depressed for about a third of your day. I get depressed for about a third of my year. I see it coming. It's all at one time for me so I just get used to it when it happens. It doesn't surprise me like it surprises you."
Looking back on that now, five or so years later, I realize how right he was; all these emotions, every event in my life seems to follow that waltz; Quick, quick, slow. High, high, low. Who knew that emotions were also so keen on the rule of threes?
The past couple months have been blowing past me so quickly it's hard to know if I can keep up. I've changed time zones and states of mind like clothing. I have been sick and moody, then having fun and meeting great people, feeling truly fulfilled and then frighteningly alone. I think about leaving my ex as a terrible mistake, I think about going back to him as a worse one. I have thought everything is going the best it's ever gone and then thought my life is fucking worthless. I have been whirling and out of breath, but now the music has stopped and nothing is happening at all. Quick, Quick...
I've been in a writing rut for most of this month. I think that surprises people, because I've still put up jokes (none of which I'm very proud of), written for this site, written for shows... It's all been operating as normal I suppose, but I haven't felt okay about it. A lot of it feels like going through the motions. Most of the time I haven't been writing for the reason that I write.
As I formed that sentence in my head, I realized I don't have a damn clue what that reason is. Obviously writing is a form of communication. The fact that all of this is so personal makes me tend to believe it's something selfish or narcissistic. I struggle with that. I don't incubate self-esteem so I rely pretty hard on the validation of others. I know that's not healthy or sustainable but I have yet to come up with another system. It's very difficult to imagine myself any other way, given how long it's been.
I think I used to like myself a lot, but I saw what that arrogant version of myself did to others. She was far more cavalier about how people felt. That hasn't exactly changed, but I'm more aware of, or at least less okay with that ambivalence towards others. My own lack of self value has led me to value other people more, if that makes sense. I'd rather be humble, self hating and want the best for others than to think I'm amazing and value my success over other peoples' feelings. It's just a decision I apparently made.
I have had the fortune for most of my life of having someone to lean on when I was feeling weak, sick, or alone. I haven't had that option this year and I don't know if it's been tumultuous as a result of that or I'm just more aware of it because I have no safety net. To be fair, I have enlisted the help of a lot of amazing friends and one diminutive T-Rex and that has been very helpful. This is what it's like to be me, I guess. I'm finding myself more certain of who I am. I have anchors to reality now, because if I lose my head there's no one who's going be able to come get me.
I've hit that point where I know I can't wait for him, and I've had to stop using that as some kind of excuse. I'm not totally sure what that means but it's a strange sense of closure. We left on good terms. I ran into him once a couple months ago and we said everything that we needed to. He told me he wasn't angry over any of it and that maybe we'd get together in a few years and see how things were going. I had a friend in high school who said. "I don't ever miss people, I look forward to seeing them again." That's a nice sentiment but a little naive. I do think about that last part a lot. That's a level of closure I think you have to be really lucky to get, and here I am.
I think about him a lot more when I travel. I think about the things we could be exploring together, but sometimes I think about how indifferent he would be to what I think is fascinating. I thought about the trips we took together and how we didn't fight at all in the car on long rides.
There's a lot of silence in my imaginary memories though, and a lot of moments that don't go well. We would run out of shit to say, or I would talk and watch him lose the capability of pretending to be interested. That's something you realize after that much time with someone; the tepid moments are the ones you phase out of your mental worship. I could have been fine with him in any situation except the one we were in, and that was the only one we could put together because we hadn't figured out who we were. It's easy to frame it all through the person I am now, but I'm only the person I am now because I left him.
Since he's been gone I've stopped given a fuck about consequences, money, time or how I'm perceived. Part of that I owe to him though, funny enough. I use that relationship as a compare-and-contrast. I already know that someone loved me undeniably, so I don't really care whether or not these other people do. That being said I still feel incredibly compelled to try, I just don't take that kind of failure that hard. I've gotten pretty sensitive about comedy and writing, though. Bad sets effect me, stage fright effects me; the social game ebbs and flows.
I seek acceptance and validation just like anyone else, but more and more I find that I seek people I accept and I desire to validate other people, if that makes sense. I want them to feel fulfilled and know who they are, because wanting that makes more sense somehow. I'm still figuring out how to be this person that I am, but at least I know who that is now, and that sense of self all I could hope to give anyone else.
I am writing this from the low, slow place. This morning has been a struggle at best. I don't feel happy, or even reasonably okay for some reason, but if it's only going to be a third of my day at least I've got two thirds more to look forward to being just fine. There is no way he will ever be completely out of my system or out of my head, but that's taken a different meaning now. That's the person who taught me how to waltz. The funny thing is no one told me that I'd been dancing, and you don't dance because you've got some place to go. You do it because you like to move. I've stepped on a lot of toes figuring that out.
"Your problem is that you want everyone to be in love with you." It always amazed me how he could be so soft spoken and harsh at the same time. I never knew how to defend myself from it. It was something in his eyes. Some people know how to scream just by choosing not to blink.
"I do not!" I was looking into those eyes I knew I could look into forever and they didn't want to be looking at me.
"Then why would you stand in front of a crowd of people and try to make them laugh?"
You know what old friend, I think I wanted them to love you, too.
About A Blog
I'm a Denver Comedian, occasional cartoonist and person of interest to someone, probably. These articles are really too long.