bad self portraits

Allow me, if you can, a moment to be a bit…. dramatic. I have been profoundly sad for roughly 2 weeks. I want to cry all the time and I feel like I’m pretending to be someone else when I’m not crying. I want to avoid being alone at all costs and drink alcohol. Then I go out, however, and am annoyed by everyone and have 1 glass of wine and just want to go to sleep.

It’s weird going from having a very intimate perspective of a person to effectively  pretending like they’re a stranger while you try to forget the electricity you felt and still do, feel for them. It’s hard just being friends with them because what do you do with all the other stuff and how do you just ignore the elephant that’s standing in the room? I feel stupid because I didn’t know them for very long but they invited me into their lives, introduced me to some of their family, shared personal things with me, made me feel special and how do you forget that? How do they? How do you not feel a certain sense of inadequacy about yourself?

I suppose that’s what’s got me most upset, this feeling of not enough that’s sort of always screaming in the back of my head but only really gets loud when you show someone yourself and they reject it. For me, I spiral into thoughts of what’s wrong with me? How come the people I want to date, never want to date me? Why do terrible people get to have a bae and I don’t? Why don’t I know how to make good decisions? Why do I keep repeating the same patterns? How can I trust my judgment?

It isn’t exactly dating that’s got me so upset or the fact that yet another guy, doesn’t want to date me but rather it’s what it represents at this point for me. I’m going to be 30 in a week and I have nothing to show for myself. I don’t have a real career (I’m a bartender at a grocery store). I don’t own a home (I rent with 2 random women I met on the internet). I don’t have children (I don’t want them). I am single with not even a potential prospect. I have failed on all points of society’s perception of a successful life and I think oh that’s why: I have nothing to show for myself.

I don’t exactly mind that I haven’t followed the “American Dream” footpath because I think back to when my mom turned 30. I was 7 and I remember we had a house party and it was “over the hill” themed. Being 7, I didn’t know what hill she had gotten over or what that even meant and even now, I don’t really feel 30. I think about how at 44 she was a divorcé living with her parents and not eating.

I think about this customer that comes into my work, who in his late 40’s and is seeing a 27-year-old woman who told his now ex-wife about the affair causing him to get divorced. The same woman broke his foot with a flower pot when she was upset with him.

I think about this other middle-aged woman who told me how one day she came home early with her children to find her husband in bed with another man. She was unaware he was unhappy in their relationship or that he was battling with his sexual identity.

It occurs to me, fundamentally speaking, humans are messy. Life is messy and that’s okay. It is very hard to go against the grain of what the world expects of you. You do regularly have to answers questions about what is wrong with you? Why aren’t you doing this or that? To a point, you can say fuck society but when it’s all around you, at times your perseverance will be worn thin, at least that’s the case for me. Right now.

It helps me to consider the ways other people’s lives fall apart because it helps me put into perspective my pity party with a realization, life isn’t that bad for me. That’s not to say I don’t still battle with my insecurities of failure and inadequacy. I don’t know how to overcome these feelings despite the fact I know I have a lot of good qualities about myself but so often, I’m reminded that these things aren’t that important.

I went on a date with someone weeks ago who told me it was OK that I like to write, am into theatre, and do art but that I should also get into “cool” things like sports and partying. He didn’t care that these are things I’m proud of and things that I value more than sports and partying but that is so often the mentality I am met with.

I feel like I’m always being put into a box of “this how you should be” and there is no regard to whether or not that’s what I want to be or whether or not I want to accept that. I perpetually feel like I’m compromising my feelings and opinions about a situation for the comfort of everyone else involved. I don’t always know where my voice is and I’m sometimes afraid of using it.

I’ve worked jobs I hated because I wanted to not be seen as an unmotivated loser. I’ve put an unnecessary financial strain on myself living alone, because I wanted to prove I have my shit together, so to speak. I’ve gone along with things I hated because I didn’t want the confrontation despite those people wouldn’t do the same for me. I’ve remained friends with people who have hurt me deeply because I don’t want them to be sad too even though it can feel like my insides are falling out every time I see them. It’s still this box I’m shoved into or maybe I go willing into and the best part is, no one cares that you feel this way because it’s easier for them.

So I’m met with this sort of identity crisis at 30. I don’t know how to trust my judgment because it seems like I am wrong at every opportunity. Even though this episode was spawned by someone not wanting to date me, it’s more so about the perceived ways in which I am failing in life. I don’t know how to make peace with these things or how to overcome them. I think things will eventually turn around for me because at best, I am a stubborn sort of woman and perpetually curious about most things. I do know that I have people who love and care for me. I know that I do have many great qualities about myself and I know I’m not as much of a mess as it feels sometimes. Eventually, I will find the path I’m supposed to be on (or maybe I’m already on it) but in the season of life, in this current moment, I have lost the sunshine.

starting 30

I live in dichotomies
and reflect on the mile stone
of reaching another decade
around the sun.

I feel old
and then I don’t
feel old enough.
I listen to jazz
like a good intellectual
and say things like
Miles is so existential
and I want
to punch myself
in the face
when those words vomit
from my mouth.

I think about
the first 10 years of adulthood
and how I don’t remember
the first half
because maybe nothing happened
but rather, I was dead.

And the last half
has been a zombie
trying to be human again
melting the ice
that had gripped
a tired heart.
A heart thats still tired
but still beating.

I’m still chasing pipe dreams
and I hit that pipe every day
because while everyone else
was alive at 22,
I was drowning
in seas of gray,
further and further
until the bedrock
of the sea welcomed me
to my new home
where I stayed
shackled in muck
and blinded by darkness.

Only now,
did I find the surface
and gasped for air
and
only now,
do I feel like I’m actually
in control of myself.

Only now,
have I accepted
the role of ruler
of my life.
and I think about
how I’m not where
I considered I would be
at 3 decades deep
into this journey
through space,
but I think it’s okay
because even though
like Andre says,
everyone around me playin marriage
or paying child support
or buying houses
I can’t cope –

My tinder profile
is a sea of mirror selfies
and camo
with dead carcasses
and advertisements of hard working, homeowners
who’s only hobby is sports,
not playing, just watching
and its like –
is this really enough for people?

And if it is enough,
why isn’t it enough for me?
because I’m constantly hounded
with questions likes
Whats wrong with you?
When are you are going to get married?
When are you going to have a baby?
like there’s nothing better to do.

Sometimes I feel like
I’m being childish though,
with my pipe in hand
and day dreams of adventures
of a life
that doesn’t included houses, camo
or apple pie –
Because I’m chasing something bigger,
and sometimes I think
it’s a waste of time
and, perhaps I should acquiesce
to the kool aid before me.
Give into my consumeristic tendencies
and buy a big box
to put my camo shit in
and close the blinds
and the rest of the world away from me.
But I’m not ready
to nail myself
inside a coffin just yet.

And it feels like
everyone else wants me
inside these boxes
so they don’t have to worry,
and so they can tell their friends
she’s OK because,
she’s has the correct mile stones
accomplished in order
while looking at me to say
well there’s still time…

I hear people say
you don’t act 30
and I don’t know
what that even means
because what does it mean
to act 30 when I don’t even feel it?
like should I be honored or offended?
but mostly I don’t give a fuck
and maybe that’s what being 30 is.