From that title, you might think that this would be about a girl's unrequited love, causing some heartache and dramatic sighs that descend upon us all in the shorter months of the year, sort of like the flu, when the cold wind and blah days following the cacophony of practically overlapping holidays inevitably bringing forth two reliable and depressing marks of January: the start of another year of uncertainty and naive/self-denial-ladden "goals" that last for a few months, if you're lucky, and the influx of terrible movies that Hollywood couldn't find a place for in either the summer blockbuster bloc or the Oscar-bait "serious" films that get stacked in with the already crammed months of November and December. This is not about unrequited love, at least in the sense that most young adult novels would have us believe. But there are some heartache and dramatic sighs, if you're into that kind of melancholy thing, as I am.
There's something to be said for all the resolutions that people have in the first few weeks of the beginning of every year, and that something is that I love it. Not in the way that it signifies people's hope and wishes of a better self and better life, and how that sense of renewal and rejuvenation and redoing is uplifting for a person's drifting spirit, but in that I am a super Nosey Parker and any opportunity for me to find out more tidbits of other people's secrets and lives is an opportunity that you'll surely find me casually asking questions and then hastily tucking away new information in my mind's filing cabinets bursting full of "Other People's Lives."
It's a sign of self-awareness and integrity, I think, that the older I get, the more aware of the fact that I am quite a selfish and self-absorbed person. As an adolescent and a teenager, I spent so many hours thinking and daydreaming about other people, concerned for their feelings and welfare, feeling helplessly overwhelmed with the sense of being a single tiny wisp in a vast universe of souls and experiences and thoughts. Now, those thoughts still linger in the recesses of my undercurrent, but mostly, I am consumed with thoughts of ME. What is my purpose, why am I here, why can't I be like everyone else, how am I supposed to live, why isn't there a god damn manual to this thing. It feels like my life has an unrequited love for me. I don't really understand it, and I like it, too, enough, most of the time, but the feelings just aren't quite mutual.
I am blessed and lucky in many ways that I recognize easily - and also in many ways that takes me longer to understand or acknowledge - and on paper, I totally get it. My life isn't perfect or exceptional or even that interesting, in a overall sense, but it's got it's good stuff. Family, friends, dog, boyfriend: all of whom I love deeply with every single bone and sinew in my body. But these joys are a metaphor of beautiful and thick Persian rugs nailed hopefully to fragile doorway to muffle the furious and desperate storm just outside: used confusingly and inappropriately and inadequately. Take a jar of thick black paint, slide your hands in one at a time to cover them with the tar-like consistency, and manically smear and wipe it all off on a large piece of canvas, and you'd have the beginnings of an idea of my insides.
It's the nosiness that keeps that messiness at bay. Hearing stories of other people, reading obsessively (most recently: a lot of noir-ish books for children 9-14, The Bell Jar, and The Virgin Suicides), watching a television show from beginning to end (sometimes twice in a row), and trying to revel in other people's weirdness and normalcy - that's how I stay afloat in my loneliness. It's a way of wrapping myself up in a crowd of consciousness, without having to actually be in a crowd, which usually just depresses me more.
Yet, I'm not actually depressed. Yet. It's come to me before and I would recognize it's crushing presence if it had come back. You know what else I have? I have Carter, my real-life bodyguard against the tide of self-pity and self-loathing and self-doubt. Dogs are true and happy and so perfect in their trust and love, how can you waste time drowning in sorrows when those pure and loving eyes gaze at you, and that overly-warm and overly-large 107lb body forces itself against you, and that pungent odor of canine gas wafts toward your nose to bring you back to the shores of the present. I have Albert, my real-life life-partner who has undergone the abnormally painful growing pains of a relationship with me for the last 8 years, and who gets me and supports me and loves me, even when he thinks I'm a little weird. I have parents and a brother, who don't really get me, but try, and that counts for something. I have friends who don't always get me, but always accept me, and that counts for a lot, too.
So I'm not exactly as in love with my life as it is with me, but I am in love with the souls and spirits and hearts around me, and those are a good number anchors to keep any ship from drifting too far, even in the rocky and tossing waters of epically biblical storms and floods. I need to get better at metaphors. And at writing cohesively, instead of all over the place, like this was.