catharsis

June 5, 2011

Looking through my things for a way to keep my class notes organized, I came upon a fairly long journal secreted in the back flap of an old high-school binder.  I used to be a fairly prolific journal writer back in the day.  It was cathartic; a way to express my confusion and frustration at the situation was in, as well as a way to feel like I was creating something meaningful despite my ever-present depression.  My teenage years were very difficult, and left me with emotional and mental scars that I have battled with for years.  I am sure most people could say the same.  Essentially, though, much of my high-school career was spent locked into an emotionally and sometimes physically abusive relationship.  The only freedom I felt I had was being able to write, and only then in vague metaphors.   This journal was written in one of the later years of the relationship, most likely close to graduation, and obliquely references love and violence, as well as an attempt by a superior at a clandestine relationship.  I post it because I believe that there are many who can relate to some aspect of it, whether it be the alienation of youth, the bittersweet hope of those who lost their way, or the experience of an abusive relationship.  I never asked for help when I needed it most, and suffered greatly and needlessly.  Fear, shame, and pride kept my lips sealed.  And while I have come a long way, there is still the sense of catharsis in writing this, and posting a note from myself as another person.  Maybe it can be cathartic for you too.

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How it used to be. . . all of those memories are not to be trusted.  They never fail to be tinged with idealism, and when examined in detail they become dreamlike.  Past mistakes make you what you are today, and lessons not considered are lost forever.  Still, I cannot rightly expect much from how it used to be.  Circumstances change.  The transition between then and now can be ages, or just the distance of what used to be today and what used to be yesterday.  At any rate, this is how it is now.  It is not time to think of how past situations have changed me, but rather how the present ones continue to.

I am not a happy person, but that fact does not trouble me.  Happy people are foolish; they never grow.  No, what I find difficult isn’t the fact that I cannot smile, but the fact that I can.  Mine are always lopsided to be sure, and my laughs always hollow, but I do them well in spite of everything.  Little quirky grins in the middle of a nameless face, they are here to please.  A fault line between the mind and the heart, they are the start and finish-line before a word is even said.  It saves me the trouble of trying to explain it all while looking into your eyes.  Nothing exists in the world that is worse than that look of pity, because pity is what exists in the absence of action.  It exists in the absence of the physicality of compassion.  That is really all most anyone wants- the physical; a touch, a caress, an embrace, anything solid, anything to make them feel like something more.

Perfectly content with learning the truth, I am not yet perfectly content with what I already have.  In this way I am childish, even though I am not a child.  I am young, this I cannot deny, but that which made youth beautiful has long since flown.  Held out in offering, my hands hold nothing.  Held close to my heart, my fingers are covered in ink.  Held to my eyes, I can see the lines that battered truths and denied expectations carved, and so am able to read of my own disenchantment.  So very bright, the sun through my window promised a lovely day once.  Now, despite the darkened window, it is yet promising, only the pledge has changed.  It promises that I will rise with an expletive on my lips every time I wake.  It pains me that this is what is expected of my hours now- to just pass, because pass they do.  I am aware that one day I will mourn those fleeting moments, but for now they flow by as if tomorrow was guaranteed.  If there is anything that I have learned, it is that there is no such thing as a guarantee.  Promises are broken as people change, and promises assumed are just that.  Nothing lasts forever, and only through loss can one learn this.  This knowledge is essential, but it is a painful lesson that no one wishes to learn.

In childhood there are no expectations of the future.  Even in adolescence it is hard to see what will become of one’s self after reaching the age of eighteen.  When everything is handed to you, the thought is almost inconceivable.  That is what angst is, the feeling of being denied what one always thought was rightfully yours.  Angst is now cliché, but a friend once said that clichés are cliché because they are true. Another also said that generalizations are inane because they can so easily be proven false, barring, of course the one that states that they are inane. It seems that it isn’t necessarily through age that one gains wisdom, but simply through observance.  Unfortunately, just like thought can be an excuse to not participate, open eyes can all too easily become a substitute for living.  I fear that as of late this has become my preferred form of escapism.  Watching and waiting, dreaming of futures that will never be, I become lost in the ticks of many clocks, none of which are set the same.  That is the reason I refuse to wear a watch.  It is so that I might not suffer so acutely over the minutes denied, the minutes squandered.  Staring at the ceiling lost on thought is a poor excuse when the sun is shining.  How can I relax when I know that the sun sets all too soon?

From rise to set, from sun to rain I feel no transition from love to hate.  My life passes by from and okay to a worse, or from a feeling of emptiness to a pressure in my chest.  From cigarette to cigarette, one cup of coffee to another, school to work, through parodies of relationships, then to sleep, a body with no heart walks in my stead.  Few things give me a sense of completeness except maybe a pencil in hand, or a brush cradled in the fingertips, each mimicking physical reality in the poorest of ways.  What is left but to consider the profound complexities of simplicity?  What is left but the painful literalness of icons and symbols when what they were meant to convey no longer exist?  What is a heart but a bloodied fist?  What is love but a burden?  I have no head for such things that mean so little, and I fear to make sense of those that mean so much.  I refuse to believe in anything blindly, because blind faith is nothing but self-imposed ignorance, the like of which I want nothing to do with.  When looking to the heavens I am looking for clouds and stars, not an excuse for my troubles.  That is a contemptible sort of weakness, and I have many of those already.

Glasses half full alongside those that are half empty, it doesn’t change the fact that once the contents have been drained the glass is useless.  That which once was pure, now tainted, now drained to emptiness.  Starving for understanding or thirsty to understand, everyone is desperately searching in all of the wrong places.  With corrupt values we all exist in poverty.  Living in a world of egotism and fear, it is of little surprise that so many lose themselves muffling their senses with ephemeral moments of illicit peace.  All that I possess are stolen spaces of time and I would give anything to sit in the back seat of some car and chain-smoke while listening to music for the rest of my life.  Maybe the passing scenery would make me feel as if I am finally getting somewhere.  No delusions will ever soothe my wounded pride and make me feel as if I deserve that however.  Humbly narcissistic, that is how I stand before you; how I stare right through you.

Knowing no one who is truly happy, but nonetheless seeing so many smiles is disconcerting.  It seems as if I am missing something of the utmost importance.  It just feels so wrong to ignore all that has created so much turmoil.  Wishing to confide in no one, for when spoken, all problems seem trite. There is a sound like a face hitting pavement, and a look like a knife through the heart-what have I done now?  You fall in love with anyone that you get to know well enough, and I already love another.  Do I give the wrong impression?  I never wanted to play the part of some tragic beauty; I just wanted to be beautiful.  I never wanted to be so cold, but I did so to ease the hurt.  How ironic, then, that my decision has only created more of what I wished to prevent.  Lost already, please don’t follow, for I will only lead you astray.  Never take my advice, for I know not what I say.  Look me in the eyes, for I am she who squanders gifts, she who misses the point, who waxes sentimental unnecessarily, who wants what she doesn’t deserve, and she who dreams impossible dreams while ignoring the responsibilities of the real world.  She is as I am- melancholy with a grin.

Now, if there is anything to be learned from my self-indulgent ramblings let it be that circumstances change, and a lack of happiness does not mean a lack of hope.  There are no guarantees, no substitutes, and no symbols that truly mean what they were meant to.  There is no such thing as perfection, and there is a point to it all out there somewhere.  Until that point is discovered, purposes must be manufactured for one’s self.  Until I find one that works, I will simply live and learn.  No one ever said life was meant to be easy, but then again, no one ever said it would be this hard.  At least I can take pleasure from the fact that one day spring will return and along with it fresh breezes and light rains.  I will then smile to myself and be thankful that it is such a lovely day.

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