Monday, January 7, 2013

What Can I Say?

I'm sorry it's been so long, but I suppose it's a bit tiresome to put off posting so long and then apologize. I need to accept the fact that it's probably going to happen a lot, and then be honest with you about it. I had plenty of time this past semester to write. It was my easiest semester ever, but I couldn't find the drive to do it. This will probably happen a lot, and there's not much I can do about it. I'm sorry, but I'll try to stop repeating that like a broken record. From now on, I'll just get straight to the post.

This last semester was hard emotionally. At least, the first few weeks were. I see the pattern now. I always get depressed after I spend a period of time with my family and then have to go back to school where I spend the majority of my time all alone in my room. The sudden loneliness shocks my system. But it had never been as bad as it was last semester. The loneliness hit me really hard because my parents had been so nice to me all summer. Not like the first time I left home, a year and a half ago. I hadn't felt as close to them then as I did this summer.

One thing that made it worse was that I'd realized, over the summer, how plump I'd gotten. I started exercising, but it didn't help much the first month or two. And when my mom dropped me off at the dorms for Fall Semester, I made what I thought was normal conversation, but it was all negative observations about my new room. She sternly told me, "Don't complain. It's not pretty." I was struck when I realized, not only was she right, but also I'd gotten into the habit of complaining to everyone about anything I could. I'd started doing this because I seemed to hear everyone else complaining in regular conversation. I always have a complaint or two, so it was perfect that I was able to fall back on that when I needed to say something or else look rude or dumb. But my mom was right: it wasn't pretty; I wasn't pretty; and I'd let everyone hear me complain. Did they ALL think I was fat and ugly? They must have, I thought. It couldn't have escaped them. Could they possibly even like me? No. Anyone who had ever been nice to my had only been pretending.

Sometime over the summer, I'd given up hope that I'd find a True Friend. I realized this the day I got back to school and mom left me. On that day, I also remembered my old deduction that my parents started being nicer to me when I started doing really well in college. I ended last year's spring and summer sessions with straight A's (discounting "minuses"). That's why they were so great to me this summer. That was the only reason. I was deluding myself to think that I was any less alone with them this last summer than I had been the summer before, when we hadn't gotten along. I told myself this but didn't want to believe it.

Feeling the pressure of new classes, all openly promising to be "advanced" and "difficult," I comforted myself by thinking that if I really couldn't handle college, I could just go home. It might seem to you that I was betraying my dreams. That's how it seemed to me too, but the fact is that material dreams are nothing when you're all alone. Even if my mother knew how ugly I was, she still loved me. I couldn't say that of anyone else. If I could only hear her say that I "could always come home," I might find enough motivation to keep going.

The afternoon of my first day of classes, I called my mom and voiced my thoughts. Specifically, I told her how hard classes sounded and how I wished I could just take the semester off and stay at home. At first, she just nervously coughed and said I'd have to get a job then. This would have dissuaded me a year earlier, but all I said this time was, "I know." That just irritated her. She told me to think of how hard it is for international students, who have to pay so much more than I do. She told me I might as well go to school now while we have the money to pay for it. She told me to think of how lucky I was.

Whenever I feel lonely, sad, angry, or in any way dissatisfied, my brain echoes comments like my mother's. Echoes I try to suppress, because let me tell you something, comments like that are the best way to make yourself feel infantile, spoiled, and worthless.

Hearing them from my mom that day, I broke. I told her quickly I had to go and hung up. And I cried. I cried like I hadn't cried in years. I cried in the way that makes your whole face, throat, chest, and stomach ache and your arms and legs buzz numbly. I cried because I saw it was true that my parents were only nice to me because I was doing well in school; take that away, and they'd be just as irate with me as they were before college. I cried because, yes, I WAS lucky, but I wasn't happy, and if Mom couldn't help me feel better, then no one could. I cried because I gave up hope.

See, on top of all this, I had to admit that I NEVER seem to be happy. If it's not one thing, it's another. All through my life. With one exception, I can only remember being one of three things in all my years: unhappy, very mildly unhappy, or giddy. These giddy times -- they always seemed like real happiness as I experienced them, but looking back, I just can't see them as being any different than extended sugar highs. I feel only shame when I remember them. I feel like the only times in my life I was real were the bad times. I've had many more bad times than good times anyhow. On that day I called my mom, I could only think that maybe it was my fault. Maybe I was incapable of happiness. And if I never HAD been happy, I never would be happy.

It felt so certain.

I felt so weak.

Why didn't anyone else ever seem to hit these abysmal lows? Why didn't anyone else seem so sad and lonely? Why didn't anyone else cry when they couldn't be close to their moms anymore? I apologized to myself for being weak and promised to be better, but that only made me feel worse.

I couldn't stop crying. It's a bit of a blur. At times like that, internally, I scurry around frantically, trying to find paths forward. You need to move forward, even if you think you're trapped, because if you don't move forward, you'll be stuck in that painful place forever. You need to find something, anything to make yourself feel better. What to do, what to do?

I considered suicide. It was basically the first time I seriously (albeit feverishly and surreally) considered it. I felt like "that would show mom," and I'll admit that I wanted to do it all the more BECAUSE I said on here that I'd never commit suicide. Since that was on record, it would prove how far my mom had pushed me. (She doesn't even know about this blog.) The only thing that stopped me was thinking that God probably wouldn't like me committing suicide.

I tried eHarmony. I figured that was the best place to find a friend. No matches though, which didn't even surprise me in the dismal state of mind I occupied.

Somehow, someway, that horribly day ended. For the next few days, I felt really ugly and any human interaction was a terror. Till one day when an RA was friendly and nice to me, and that was all it took. Life was bearable again. Not good, but bearable.

For the months that followed, I had to reconsider my earlier conviction that whatever didn't kill me would make me stronger. For the longest time, I only felt frailer. I felt like a sheet of printer paper that had been turned into tracing paper. During that time, I listened often to Kesha's Hungover, and I realized that my heart was broken. It broke on that day, and since then, nothing had mended it. It took a while, but time mended me, and I feel like printer paper again. The rest of the semester was ok.

The classes weren't nearly as hard as they professed to be. For the first two months, I didn't really focus on school. I focused on getting through each day. I've ended up with five A's and B. I feel kinda bad about the B, but considering I don't feel like I learned a whole lot this semester, I suppose it's reflective.

I feel like I should have learned something big from all this, but I didn't. I'm going to list some small things though, because I feel like I should leave you with something more than a sad story.

1. I need to be ok with my own pain before I can be of any use to myself or others. When I deny that I'm in pain, I just feel even worse, and I'm so awkward and useless when other people show their pain. This is because my mom looks at anyone who is open about their pain as touchy feely and whiny, and she passed that attitude on to me. I don't want to look at it that way anymore.

2. This may only feel like the lowest of my all-time lows because it's the most recent. It obviously wasn't the first time I crashed and burned and lived in an emotional ditch for an extended amount of time, and it won't be the last. I used to say that I knew I'd always get through these lows. I don't know that anymore, and it's almost nice to let go of that expectation.

3. "How do you get up from an all-time low?" According to my recent experience, you don't ever really "get up." Not on the same legs as before. I had to grow entirely new legs. It was like I reverted to tadpole stage, and I had to grow into a frog again. I'm reminded of that line from Lilo and Stitch: "Every time an asteroid strikes their planet, they have to begin life all over." Haha! =)

4. Never give up hope. You can soldier on without many provisions but not without hope.

I haven't forgotten I promised I'd publish my post on true love last summer and I failed to follow through. I really want to post that one, but I just don't know when I'll be able to. In fact, this probably sounds conceited, but I feel like I have so many insightful things to say but I don't have the time and/or energy to say them, and I don't know if I ever will. . . Makes me sad. But I won't give up.

Meanwhile, to anyone who reads this, thanks. I feel better already, and I hope in some way you do too.