Learning to be Honest

I’ve really wanted to avoid ranting, but I guess it can’t be helped sometimes.

So… Yeah, his will be pretty stupid, and I don’t really expect anyone to care.

Do any of us really know what’s best for us? What we want? What makes us happy? It’s irritating to feel like you have everything figured out, only to realize you really don’t know the first damn thing about making yourself happy. And it’s even worse to find yourself doing something that you hope will potentially make things better, only to find yourself lying awake at 2AM, wishing you’d just isolated yourself and disappeared. Blogging because it’s the only way you can really get any of this out.

I realized something today.

I hate fake people.

I don’t mean “fake” in the sense most people seem to use it these days. I don’t mean people who act kind to your face but talk about you behind your back, although they do suck, too. No, I mean people–generally everyone, really–who can’t be honest with themselves and how they feel. It’s a harsh reality, but when it comes down to it, most people don’t trust other people. Casual conversation and joking sarcasm is one thing, but how often do people really open themselves up? I mean really open themselves up.

Not just complaining about this or that, but really getting into your own honest issues. Accepting your own insecurities and allowing yourself to be honest about them. Why? Because everyone has those insecurities, and I don’t feel it’s fair that we make eachother feel so isolated and misunderstood.

This world is full of people who pretend to be okay when they’re not. Full of people who act like they have all the answers when they really don’t. People who act invincible when they aren’t. it isn’t just a few people, it’s a greater majority of people than most people realize, and that’s the problem. When you look around, all you see are people who are successful, happy, and who seem to have everything they want. So you find yourself feeling isolated, wondering why you can’ be like them. Why you can’t have what they have. Why you can’t be happy.

And in the most extreme cases, people go crazy. Because if there’s one thing in the world that can drive a person to do something they never thought they could do, it’s isolation. Even the strongest people break down, and when that “no one cares about me/it doesn’t matter what I do” feeling sets in long enough to cement itself… it changes you. And even if it’s only momentarily, that one moment of weakness can drive you to a decision that could completely ruin your life forever.

So… here’s the meat of this.

I had a friend. We weren’t best friends–first-tier or any of that. No, we were more third-tier friends. We went to the same high school and eventually started working together. We shared music, I gave him rides home, and I stayed with him at work until 4am, even after having been working since 8am that morning, to teach him how to be a shift leader at our job. We never really spent time together outside of work, bu we had a lot in common. More than he’d realized, and I wish to God I’d told him that.

He was similar to me in personality. Extremely sensitive, maybe too sensitive. Cared too much about what people thought about him and said about him. Cared too much about what mattered to other people instead of just doing what made him happy. Wanted someone to love him to a desperate degree. And toward the end, his sadness and loneliness turned to bitterness. I wish I had told him I understood. Told him he isn’t the only one with terrible luck with relationships. Not so much maintaining one, but even just finding someone to love you, and accept the love you have to give because your heart is so big that when it hurts it makes your whole life crumble. I understood, but I was too busy pretending that everything in my life was perfect. Like I had everything I wanted. Like I didn’t feel alone.  It didn’t help, in his case, that he was a virgin in a world full of people who value sex to the point of treating it like air. His initial values were to wait until marriage, but those values changed when he was constantly persecuted by everyone around him for holding onto “something so stupid”.

I wish I’d taken up for him. Helped him fight for his right to retain his innocence, because it’s easier with two voices, even if you’re both still outnumbered.

He was a good person who did a horrible thing.

He fell in love once and became obsessed. They didn’t date for very long, but he still felt something. The problem is, what counts for “love” these days usually isn’t much more than mutual dependency. The relationship is doomed to fail when that dependency wears off, for one side or the other. And it’s worse when one side is still holding onto that dependency and the other wants distance, or to chase something they really want. It wasn’t easy for him, being ridiculed by everyone at that job for getting dumped and still hanging on.  It can’t be easy to be a virgin after having dated someone who talks about sex a good 90% of the time. And it can’t be easy to want to have sex with that person and get rejected.

No, of course it isn’t easy. I’ve been there myself. But most people talk about sex these days, don’t they?

I left that job and lost all contact with him. Like I said, we were only third-tier friends, who really only spoke at work. But I heard from mutual friends that he’d left that job for another. And he was finally getting his life together. Got a promotion, finally got a car, moved out of his house and got a place with a roommate. Things were looking up.

So why…?

I guess I just hate how fucked up things can get. How suddenly you can see someone you once knew turn into someone you never thought they could be. It isn’t like I agree with his decision or support it. No, I honestly believe he did the most terrible, selfish thing he could have possibly done. That ANYONE could possibly do. But… I guess what breaks my heart is understanding how it could have come to that point.

He found a new job and ended up repeating the process. Met a new girl, fell in love, dated a short time, etc. I didn’t know the details, and no one I knew really knew either. What I learned came from the news. He wanted to be with her, came to see her, bought her flowers and gifts–really tried. I guess he was desperate. But… it doesn’t work that way. “Trying” doesn’t really get people anywhere when it comes to love. Ironically, it seems like the less you try, the more successful you are. And it’s a common fact. Most people find themselves attracting people they don’t really care about while repelling the ones they want to notice them.

The news said he went into that place one day and shot that girl. She died on the scene. A young girl who valued her family more than anything else–probably wasn’t interested in dating at all. It wasn’t his fault–probably didn’t have anything to do with him that she turned him down. But I don’t know the details, and local news has a way of twisting situations to make a victim seem more angelic and the assailant more deviant. He shot her and ran and hid outside overnight while the police were hunting him down. I was told about it by a mutual friend within an hour after he did it, while the pursuit was still at its apex. We were all surprised, because we knew him and the kind of guy he was. There was no way he would’ve done that. We worried overnight, and I honestly believed, knowing the kind of person he was, that the guilt would lead to him turning himself in.

But as the police closed in on him, he decided to take the other way out…

I told this story because it caused me to think about things. About what can happen when people become too obsessed with images and going with the group thought of “what’s good” and “how things should be” to the point of isolating people with a different point of view. It isn’t fair. It just isn’t fair. And it ruins people who just can’t fit into that mold.

I’m not someone to harp on things or tell anyone what to do, because I hardly know what I’m doing in my own life. But I’m saying this because I really feel this.

Don’t be a liar. Don’t be fake. Don’t be afraid to be honest. Don’t kid yourself about how you feel, even if it’s painful or embarrassing to admit. Because chances are–no, almost guaranteed– you aren’t the only one. And if everyone’s sitting around waiting on someone else to just understand, why can’t it be you? Why don’t people reach out more and try? It hurts to be rejected, made fun of, and isolated, but that doesn’t make it fair to follow the herd and shame others for fear of being shamed yourself. Be brave.

Let’s just be honest, okay? Let’s actually try. Because… Even if you never realize it, that simple “I understand” could mean more than the world to someone. It could definitely save a life.

Power in Depression

So this is probably just a piece of meaningless writing, but it’s something I’ve been thinking for a while. Really, I guess because of the late Robin Williams, I’ve decided to be a little more… vocal? To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I should even post this, but in the end, decided that I “had to”. 

So forgive me. It’s a bit rambly and my wording might be hard to follow but… this is the way it came out. And really, I’m happy with it, because this is the way my heart writes. When I’m being honest and letting my feelings flow naturally, without prompt or planning.

So… Here it is:

I believe there’s a power in depression.

Typically, those who suffer from depression are easy to spot, because they tend to be the ones who seem least depressed.

That’s because these people have a gift—something bordering magic more than mere mental control. Many would notice that these people have the incredible power to turn darkness into light. Similar to a battery that can power anything but cannot feed on its own energy, these people are usually capable of adding a brilliant light to the world of those around them. And it isn’t a simple as conveniently helping only the people they can see. No, often times, these people seem to be compelled to help other people smile, whether they’re close friends or complete strangers, in sight or half a world away.

They’re usually the loudest. Often the brightest. Typically the most helpful. Seem to be the most confident and self-motivating. Maybe not the smartest, but they definitely tend to be the most witty.

And they’re addictive to be around.

Often times, these people are like a drug, and they captivate the people they draw into their lives to a degree comparable to infatuation. They’re the positive extreme of polar opposites—that person who can bring a new life to a party through loud antics and shameless self-deprecation, but can be the most silent and active listener when it’s most needed, or even when it’s not needed at all.

That’s the power that comes with depression, but it’s because these people tend to experience a constant flux between the two extremes of highs and lows that they even have this power

. Because of that seemingly endless darkness spiraling within and around their hearts, they can experience the rays of light that manage to pierce through their personal darkness to a much higher degree than someone whose heart resembles a usual sunny day (with a few scattered, but short showers here and there). And while their own heart is like a moon veiled by thick clouds that can’t touch the earth below, it can still reach out to gift a warm glow upon the mountains—those hearts of the people within their reach. But while the moon can cast a beautiful glow on everything within its reach, its power is reliant upon the sun, and that’s the flaw with depression.

The sun isn’t always there for this particular moon—

And it’s during those times when the moon ceases to be a moon as we know it and becomes a dull rock, ashamed of its own dry form. But while others may still be fascinated by the moon for continuing to be what it is: an impossibly large, distant, floating orb that’s mesmerizing even without its glow, the moon itself can’t see the beauty in itself without that glow. And while others may still speak praises of its beauty as they see it, the distant moon can’t hear the people’s praises and continues to feel shame in itself. The moon can’t control the sun’s glow, and while others may say “get over it!” or “just cheer up, it’s not that bad!” or “you have so much going for you, why are you sad?”, depression isn’t something that can be turned on and off like a light switch. No, “happiness” is a sun that burns out of its own accord—sometimes with an explosion that takes the moon’s life with it.

However, while depression is scary… it can also be beautiful.

And while these people are like a fire that can bring warmth to people seeking it, they also need care to continue burning, because the fire is always at risk of burning out when those around it turn their backs at the wrong time, for the wrong amount of time. Suddenly, the fire burns out, the warmth fades, the darkness comes, and everyone says “What? How could this happen?”

The sad truth is, while the clouded hearts of these people seem vibrant while being compelled to pierce light through its own darkness to reach the hearts of others, the darkness takes a full, choking hold when there are no other hearts to touch. When alone, sitting in a room, being consumed by thoughts the people in their everyday lives couldn’t even believe they possess.

The truth is, it’s during these times when the fire is most likely to burn out, or when the moon will lose its glow. And it’s during these times that we should try tending to that fire, or reminding the moon that it’s beautiful—even when it’s raining and we’re sure the fire is going to die anyway, or when we’re certain that our words won’t reach the moon.

We have to keep trying. Why?

Because most anyone who has such a friend who suffers from depression will know that these people are the ones who are capable of instantly giving up on themselves while continuing to push and fight for the ones they love to outwardly limitless bounds. And it all comes down to this one simple thing that resides within the clouded heart, dying flame, and dull moon…

…Something I’ve often been told by people in my own life who have confessed to suffering from depressing.

…And this one thing that I’ve often found myself saying during my own times of blinding darkness.

“I never want anyone else to feel what I feel.”

Looseleaf Chapter– Maybe Someday

“I hate this,” she says, her voice shaking. “Why can’t I just be fucking happy.”

It’s the first time I’d ever seen her be honest. Ever seen her be vulnerable. And the first time since I’d known her, that I can’t think of something to say. Some witty retort. Some light-hearted joke. Or even an insightful comment. I can’t think of a single thing.

So here, beside the roaring ocean waves, I stand silent and listen to her.

“I want to hate him. I wish I could hate him, but I don’t know how.” She almost sounds like she wants to laugh. “Maybe because he just seemed so perfect.”

I quietly watch her back—hands in her pockets and her hair tossing in the wind.

“He seemed so perfect… Someone who was just like me. Someone who had been hurt, just like I was. Who seemed to understand how important friendship was… who shared the same dorky interests as me. Who could be just as untrusting and guarded against people as me… yet somehow found a way into my heart, and somehow managed to let me into his…

Goddamnit… And my dumbass never saw the signs.”

Her voice cracks a little more. Her shoulders heave—noticeable even with her sleeves wavering in the moonlit gust.

“He always complained about being abandoned. How his friends always left him behind, and how he felt like he couldn’t trust anyone to be there for him. And I wanted so desperately to prove him wrong. So I stayed, even when left me. I stayed, even when I was hurt because the moment he found someone he wanted to be with, he disappeared. And when I dared tell him how hurt I was, he told me I didn’t have the right to feel hurt…”

She bites her bottom lip, staring out into the ocean.

“So I should be happy… I’m finally free… so I should be happy…”

She kneels down and picks up a rock, her trembling hand nearly dropping it as she stands back up.

“I have a nice family, I’m doing okay in school, and I even have a friend like you to come out here and listen to me be crazy, complaining about shit that shouldn’t even matter, so…” She grips the rock tightly and then, as hard as she can, chucks it over the ocean. “Why the fuck can’t I just shut up and be happy!?!?”

She turns to me, tears in her eyes and her face burning red with anger.

“What the fuck is my problem!? Why can’t I just hate him!! I gave him everything I had and he left me! I gave him my time, my heart, my body—fucking everything!! I cried for him all the time and he treated me like shit the second he stopped needing me! He made me hate myself, every fucking day!” She stops to catch her breath, panting like an antelope that just narrowly escaped being eaten.

She stops and laughs, half-heartedly, as if she’d just told a joke she knew no one else would find funny.

 “And then he called me out to see him when he was lonely, and my dumb-ass went, even when I knew he would just ignore me the whole time to talk to his new lover on the phone! And now look at me, hating myself again!”

She growls picks up another rock, gripping it so firmly that her hand turns red.

“And no matter how much I cuss, and scream, and break shit, it’ll never be enough to express how angry, and hurt, and horrible I feel!” She throws the rock with everything she has. “Goddamnit!!!”

She falls to her knees and claws at the sand—angrily, desperately, as if trying to find something buried that could be the answer to everything.

“Why am I so goddamn stupid!? Why do I fuck everything up!? Why can’t I just be happy!!”

She keeps digging.

“Why!?”

And clawing.

“Why!?!?”

And scraping.

“What the fuck is wrong with me!?”

…And I don’t know what else to do. So I kneel down in front of her.

“What?! You think I’m crazy, right!? You’re gonna tell me I’m crazy! Go ahead! I know I’m crazy! I don’t give a damn what you think!!”

…And I don’t know what else to do… So…

“Tell me I’m crazy! Say it! Go ahead and say it!”

…I pull her into an embrace. The only thing I can offer.

“What are you doing…? I’m crazy, so… you can’t…”

I hold onto her, almost desperately, as if she could slip away any second and disappear forever.

“…You can’t save me…”

And I feel her shivering in my arms, stuttering, and trying to speak through broken breath.

“I-I’m just—I can’t—”

And I feel myself shaking.

“I can’t—”

…Maybe because I understand… all too well.

“You’re not crazy,” I find myself whispering. “You’re just… You really loved him. And he never understood…”

I feel her fingers gripping my back. Her tears staining my shoulder. Her quaking breaths against my collarbone.

“I tried so hard… I did everything I could… Why  can’t I just be enough…?”

I don’t know what to say.

I wish to God I knew what to say, but I don’t. I can’t tell her how special she is. I can’t tell her how important she is. I can’t tell her how much she matters, because I know that it won’t be enough to express how important, and special, and ‘worth it’ I honestly believe she is.

…No, I can’t say anything because I know words won’t be enough to make her understand any of that…

…So I hold her instead.

“Why can’t I be good enough…?”

—One day, she’ll understand. One day, she’ll know how special she is.

But until then…

I can’t be what she wants. I can’t be what he was to her. I can’t be what she wants, but I can be what she needs—a real friend, to be here, and help to pick up the pieces of her shattered heart. Here, beside the tossing waves, I hold under until I feel her grip weaken and her heaving breaths calm. 

And for what it’s worth, hopefully, she’ll get a glimpse of how much she really does matter when she wakes up to see that I’m still here.

That I stayed.