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It’s No Concern When We’re Wounded Together…

May 13, 2009

My head is reeling.

I am the eternal optimist.  You know this about me if you’ve read this blog for the past, oh, I don’t know, two seconds.  I’m full of hope and faith and a general outlook on life that might put Mary Poppins to shame.

But my optimism is crumbling- slowly, but ever so surely.

I picked up an extra shift at work tonight and was set to work doing GO BACKS for SIX HOURS. I don’t know what you know about working retail but that’s one whole lot of boring and eventually leads to talking to yourself.  Out loud.  And startling yourself when one song fades out and another fades in and there you are in the sudden silence, prattling on about God Knows What to the ruffley flowery thing in front of you and you realize that there’s a customer standing three feet away eying that very ruffley flowery thing and you think,

“Oh, Lord, I’m going crazy.”

In other words, I’ve had a lot of time to think today.

I mean, I started my day off with good intentions and things just kept throwing themselves back up at me saying NO.  I finally just opened iTunes, set the Jon McLaughlin album to play because it has really been too long since I heard,

“I’ve been around for a little over 20 years
and for anyone who needs advice on getting here
don’t ask me, the path I took was not exactly by the book
by the book…”

and sat down with the box of notes my mother dug out of hiding for me.

You know? While there have been a few things here and there that have made me smile, I’m realizing that even though I didn’t know it then, I was a miserable, self-deprecating, self-conscious kid who didn’t have a clue.  I know many, many people who swear junior high was the worst time of their lives, and I never realized until today how true it really is for me too- I just had no idea then.

I found one from early high school written to me by my then very recent ex.  If I could have actually heard him reading those words out loud, his voice would have rung with maturity I never gave him credit for possessing.  I had gone around crying and moping and just begging for attention for who knows how long until he’d taken time out of Anatomy and Physiology to write in his tiny handwriting, a full page front and back, and all I could find within those words today was regret that I felt the way I had and calm, measured explanations I certainly didn’t deserve.  He said things that back then I brushed off as complete fabrication and today I looked back and realized how completely right he was.

Sometimes, it is my fault.

Not that he blamed me for a thing.  He didn’t.  But I know.

But I guarantee that the night I read that note, I was not okay, and I’m here to tell you that today, I am feeling the same kind of not okay.

It’s not because of any boy this time, or since I’m 23 now maybe I should be referring to them as men, and I guess I do depending on which one(s) I’m talking about.  That’s beside the point.  It’s not about the opposite sex, the reason I’m not okay.

It’s about me.  It’s about the world.  And it’s about me figuring out where the fault lies.  It’s some of both, I’m sure.  It’s not that I’ve done everything wrong, but it’s not like I’ve done everything right either.  In another time, doing what I’ve done right would be enough right for things to have worked out, but this is now and what I have done is not enough.

It’s not enough.

You know what really perplexes me?  Many people still get married in college or right out of college.  It’s what my parents did and it’s something I always thought I might do– really wanted to do actually, but I wanted to move to Tennessee more.  This is an acceptable, marriagable time of life- finishing up an education, finding jobs that can turn into careers, choosing someone to spend your time with, your life with.  But, it seems that if you don’t get married immediately when you’re done with school, all of a sudden you have to become completely independent before choosing to again become codependent with somebody else.  I’m not even referring so much to finally leaving your parents’ financial support behind as being able to support yourself without having to live with a roommate, have student debt paid off, everything.  I understand some people’s reasons for wanting to do all of that, but you know what? I don’t.

I don’t want that.

For one, at this rate it’ll be another 20 years, and I ain’t waitin’ that long.

My mom jokes every now and then that she couldn’t divorce my dad if she wanted to (and she certainly doesn’t) because she couldn’t afford it.  She has worked nearly her entire adult life doing a job she loves, and she’s good at, and in my opinion, it is important work.  It’s work she’d have never been able to do if she weren’t married.  It’s not like my dad was making a whole lot of money either but together, they were able to own a home and feed their kids and pay us a small allowance basically for existing, among other things.  We didn’t live like millionaires but we were happy because my parents were smart and they made what they had work for them.

They had each other.  They got to figure it out together.

And I’m sitting here looking at my life in general wondering who would ever want to pick up this mess and help me figure it out.  I don’t always know that I’m capable of doing it alone, and while I know my parents are only a phone call away, it’s not the same, crying to mommy, as it would be to just be in it with someone else and know that no matter what happens, not only do I have him but he’d have me too.

I need help picking myself up, but I’m afraid I’m not worthy of that help until I can prove I can pick myself up on my own.

Now, there’s a contradiction for you.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 13, 2009 7:33 am

    This was a great post. I wish I had some advice for you–as an old man of 24– but all I can suggest is keep walking. You’ll get there sometime.

  2. May 13, 2009 10:23 am

    “I need help picking myself up, but I’m afraid I’m not worthy of that help until I can prove I can pick myself up on my own.”

    So not true. We all deserve love and help and guidance. We deserve it whether or not we get it, and we certainly don’t prove our worthiness by not needing it.

    There are advantages and disadvantages to everything. I married young- really very young- and I can tell you that, yes, it is comforting to have someone there. It is also restricting, in the sense that rather than growing up into the person you are wholly on your own, you are allowing someone to shape who you become. This can be as hard, and every bit as lonely as not having someone there.

    Marriage, when done properly, is all about the love and commitment. When you find the right person, you can’t *not* marry them. Whether they are a train wreck or a shining beacon of maturity and perfection. It’s that moment where your love become bigger than you are, bigger than anything else, that seals the deal. So when you find Mr. Right, or he finds you, he might be concerned about your this or that, but in the end it won’t matter, because he won’t be able to imagine a life without his precious train wreck. I swear. I promise. Plus, you are not so much a train wreck as you are a work in progress. ;)

  3. May 13, 2009 11:15 am

    that’s hard. as a single girl in my 20s i COMPLETELY know where you’re coming from. i have my days like the one you just described, where nothing seems to work out, and one bad thing after another keeps happening, and i feel like i’m drowning and there’s no way i can pull this off on my own.

    but then i’ll have days where i just kick some ass. days when everything seems to go right, and i feel so proud of myself that i’m able to handle all this life on my own.

    and then there are days that are in between. that doesn’t change the fact that i ultimately want someone in my life that i can share all this with. but that’s got to happen in its own time.

  4. May 13, 2009 6:47 pm

    oh lady, you’re in my head again except that i’m five years older. aye yi yi. i totally get the “what the heck is going on and where is it taking me” vibes out there. and i agree with vbc about how we all need people. and i think it’s okay to feel that need/want because you’ve got a good head on your shoulders.

    and one more thing – i think the twenties are the hardest times of your life for the people who are trying to figure themselves out. yes, fun and challenging, etc, but it’s also a time of change and discovery and while awesome at times, it’s never easy. but you know that. and you know your optimism will start poking through again soon. just a matter of time, as always :)

  5. May 13, 2009 11:05 pm

    that last line you wrote up there? i’ve spent the past five minutes just reading it and rereading it and then reading it again. it’s the the truth… a beautiful truth at that. so many people think that this time in their life, RIGHT NOW at 23 or 24ish is the time to settle down. me? i think this time, RIGHT NOW, is the time to discover the kind of person that i want to be.

    life is a long journey. we’re not even started yet. there’s so much that lies ahead for you (and me) and i think that even though you might think no one will want to pick up the “mess” that is your life and start something… that it’s all part of the story. the beauty of this story is that someone is going to come along and be your counter. they are going to balance you out in such a way that life just seems a little more… vibrant.

    i don’t want to be dependent. i don’t want to be supported. i want to follow my own dreams, make my own path and do the things that i love… but all the while standing on my own two feet. there have been some setbacks but that’s just life… you know?

    truthfully, i always believed i would be 18 and married. heck, i almost was. but you know something? figuring things out and fumbling a little is a whole heck of a lot better than settling.

    anyway. thats a whole mess of rambling. i’m not even sure it makes sense. but, you’re awesome. keep your chin up and life will reward you. you’re too amazing for it to be any other way.

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