Sometimes despair bleeds in through the cracks, no matter how many towels you stuff under the doors.
Sometimes life is all questions and no answers. Not simple uncertainty. But literally no answers. Questions that are beyond rhetorical. Questions that haunt you.
If you think you’re happy, are you happy? Can you “fake till you make” happiness? Is happiness really a choice? Can you change your attitude and perspective to ensure you always find the silver lining in even the worst situations and thus be “happy”?
What if you want things but you never get them? Not unreasonable things. Not winning the lottery or becoming a princess or running a one-minute marathon. What if what you want are fundamental things. Love. A family. A satisfying and perhaps successful career. Time to relax and travel without worry.
If you never get the things you want, do you want the wrong things? Can you change the things you want? Should you have to?
Yes, patience. It’s importance. Just because things haven’t happened yet doesn’t mean they never will. But…there also isn’t any real reason to believe they will. Not a single mile-marker to prove you are on the right track.
What if what you think you were put on this earth to do doesn’t seem to be what the universe wants you to do? Not that the universe is giving any hints, it just isn’t flowing in your direction. No matter how hard you pump those arms and kick those feet, you are merely treading water.
Words I hate: “It’s better than nothing.”
I’m currently staying afloat. I can pay my own rent, I live alone. I hate where I live. I feel isolated. But…it’s better than nothing.
I have a job. It’s decent money, I truly like the people I work with. I don’t think it utilizes a single of the theoretical unique gifts I was born with that one would assume the universe would want me to use. It’s not a stepping stone to where I want to be. But…it’s better than nothing.
I want to go to Europe. I finally have the money to do it. It’s likely I’ll go alone, because I don’t seem to have any kindred spirits who think the things I want to do are awesome because they are also the things they naturally want to do. So I’ll go, but I’ll be full of anxiety at maneuvering a foreign country alone. I won’t have anyone to share the memories with. Maybe I’ll learn a valuable lesson about myself by doing it alone: the knowledge that I can overcome my fears, be self-reliant and enjoy my solitude. It’s. Better. Than. Nothing.
Masturbation. Our bodies are built to achieve physical pleasure on our own. It’s not love. It’s not heel-rocking, breath-taking, soul-consuming partnership. It’s not someone who wants to take care of me as much as I want to take care of him, who I can sit still with and be perfectly content. But…it’s better than nothing.
And one day when I settle for someone who will at least consistently pay half the bills, even if he doesn’t make me laugh, I guess that’ll be better than nothing too.
I took the road less traveled, I made a right turn away from suburbia/marriage/babies/annual trip to Disney World. And yet I have no fulfillment as an artist. I have achieved nothing as a writer, no matter how good my mom tells me I am. And I know it’s partially my fault, I don’t put myself out there enough. But that’s one of the universe’s hilarious jokes: that I have a Salieri-level of desire to create beautiful, meaningful things, and no ability to self-promote/network. No. Ability.
Even in the world of theatre bohemia, I have stumbled into the one job that makes participating in live performance irrelevant – there is no joy of constantly meeting new people, teaming up for new projects, bonding through the long hours of tech, being proud of putting up a quality project with limited resources. I don’t do any of that anymore. I rarely have time to go SEE new plays. My love for theatre has atrophied. I like my job, please don’t misunderstand. It is a quality project that one can be proud of. In this economy, it is most definitely better than nothing.
But it is enough?
Is existing enough? No matter what I do, I don’t live fully – people are disappointing, circumstances are beyond control, I make bad decisions.
Can I learn to be fully self-sufficient? Can I be happy if I’m all I’ve got? Many advise for it. Emerson. There’s a slew of quotes about God helping those who help themselves. You shouldn’t rely on any other human being for your own happiness.
I get that. But I also wonder what’s the point?
If we don’t need each other, why bother? If God or the universe or whatever you believe in meant us to be solitary, why do we struggle so hard for relationships, for community? If I’m completely expendable to every other human being on the planet, and I can’t attain anything that I want by relying on myself, why do I exist?
I recognize that I’m ignoring some subtle nuances in favor of self-reliance.
How can I change what I want? Do I need to compromise, settle, lower my standards? Am I not trying hard enough to see the silver lining in the little rain cloud that follows me around?
Is it possible to train yourself to want the things you already have?
I’ve always been disturbed by “if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.” Is that fair to either of you? But if what you think you are best at is loving people hard and completely and unconditionally but no one seems to value or desire that love…I guess we return to masturbation. It’s better than nothing.
It was a crappy movie, but God did I love Circle of Friends when I was 15. All these years later, one quote still resonates: “It’s like taking me to the top of the mountain and showing me the world, and then marching me back down, and saying, ‘That’s what you can’t have.’”
I feel like lately I’ve gotten close to some things I want, close enough to touch…only to have them taken away. They are things ultimately I can’t have.
The two things I want the most, that I think I’m goddamn good at – loving people and writing – are the two things I throw out into the universe and watch immediately dissipate and blow away without anyone trying even half-heartedly to catch hold of them.
How do I stop wanting what I want?
Should I look at my life right now, exactly as it is, and say, “Yes. This is exactly what I’ve always wanted. Thank you universe, for so completely helping me get exactly where I wanted to be”?
I can hear my mother admonishing me to have patience. Life is all moments and baby steps and maybe the fact that I’ve touched the things I wanted before they were whisked away means I am getting closer to death-gripping them the way I’d like to.
But – when is being patient just being an asshole waiting for things that will never be? When are you hiding behind patience but living in self-delusion? When do you become a never-was?
When do you give up on your dreams and settle for reality?