8/14/2016
Try

"Why don't you talk to someone about it?"

Okay, sure, let's give it a try.

They always say you only really need to talk to someone to feel better, at least for a little while, at least for a little bit. Nobody, however, talks about how most of the time there really isn't somebody you can talk to about things.

Let me talk about right now. Right now, I've only been in front of my laptop. I've done some errands, and I have a few more to do later. And then, for some reason, I started feeling gloomy. I don't know why, or how. I just feel gloomy. Still do, as I type this, to be honest.

So, why don't I talk to someone about it?

I can't talk to my parents. I can't ever talk to my parents. They have never understood. And, to be honest, I don't think I'll ever trust them with whatever this is.

None of my friends are available.

This is more complicated than it sounds. Yes, I'll admit that there are people I can easily talk to more than others. There are people who I can just drop a line and expect a reply within the day, or something. But right now I'm thinking I'm really just burdening them with this gloom, and on a Sunday! On a weekend! How dare I be that negative force on what's left of their free time?

Let's be frank - nobody wants to be that downer around friends. Even I don't - and I'm the guy that's always written against that bullshit belief that says you should surround yourself with people of an eternally sunny disposition. It's cloying, being with a bunch of people who extols gratitude and optimism like they were taught to do so by some cult leader who promises a non-existent utopia. It sucks for those who do not have a reason to be thankful, too. Why force yourself when there's really nothing to be thankful about?

I see a couple of those posts. I shrivel. I'm never worthy, I think, and force myself to move on.

To be fair, not everybody says this outright. Then again, when you see them talk about the things they have and the things they do, you can't help but feel that they're saying the same thing.

"But you're doing fine" is a common reinforcement - again, I say this myself. Still, I feel like I'm not really worthy of my friends' time. They're traveling in Japan again. They're winning big projects again. Thankful, again. Grateful, again. Here I am, once again being told that my priorities are all wrong - or, perhaps, my priorities are right, but I'm not doing enough. Here I am, running at my own pace, and there they are, running their third race. I am not worthy.

Rarely I muster the courage to talk to someone randomly. How do you actually start? "I feel gloomy." You'll be forced to explain everything, when all you really need is someone to talk to. These half-strangers do not have the time for you, but kudos to them for trying, but, well, I take that kudos away for not being more understanding. You hear the same suggestions. "Go to church." "Go to a therapist." "Go distract yourself." I don't think it's what I need at this moment.

Why am I being picky, though? I know very well that the odds are really stacked against me. Shouldn't I be - fucking hell - shouldn't I be grateful that someone is at least taking the time to deal with me?

It's a storm in my head. I don't want to have to navigate through all these conventions just to find the right one. I just want shelter. I want safety. I want to understand and be understood, not to be turned away because, you say, fuck the gloomy ones. I know I can't afford to be picky - in the right circumstances I wouldn't be - but I'm uncomfortable enough as it is. It's hard enough for me to actually start that conversation. I do not want to be rejected slowly, rejected softly.

What about Shalla, then?

For what it's worth, she is really the only one I have. She is the only one I trust, and the other way around. I stumbled upon the best way to describe this when I was chatting with Nat while we walked the humid sidewalks of nighttime Cebu. I remember it vividly: we were past the non-sidewalk bit and were finally on proper pavement. I was skipping, somewhat, as there was even a patch of grass, wet but not muddy. I'm sure I didn't have to, but I was giddy, because, well, I was talking to someone. At the risk of sounding creepy, I had Nat all to myself that night. That rarely happens with anyone before.

Anyway, we were talking about Shalla, and I stumbled upon the best way to describe our relationship.

"I stabilize her," I said, "and she stabilizes me."

"That's nice," she answered.

Shalla is the only one I trust, and yet I do not want to burden her as much as I already am. I cannot go into detail, not even if you force me. It's frustrating for both of us - to feel gloomy all of a sudden, to us realizing we don't really know what to do about it, to feel inadequate at the face of it all. I don't want her to go through that, not with me. We're so intertwined we drag each other down.

It's a tall order, being stable enough to keep both of us afloat. Most of the time I succeed. Most of the time we succeed. But there will be times when the sea gets rocky and I have to work double to make sure we both stay afloat. And so, if I sink, I have to work even more to ensure she doesn't sink with me. Yes, perhaps, we're just playing a game of hide-and-seek just so we don't lapse into something darker, but for now, it's what works.

"So, why don't you try talking to someone about it?"

I tried, and there is nobody.

And your responses...

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