h1

in the present

October 18, 2010

in high school on slow nights, my best friend and i would drive for hours through the meandering roads of a park. we drove because we had nowhere to be, but even though we drove in the same tired circles, we felt free, exhilarated. we would play the stereo so loudly we could feel it vibrating in our chests. we would talk for hours about boys, college, getting out of this horrible, cliquey town. it may sound ridiculous to you, but on those drives, we felt alive and young and present. it was like living life in color.

i’ve always had this problem living my life versus watching myself go through the motions as if i were the narrator to my own story. there are very few times, like those car rides, where i’ve felt as if what i was feeling was pure.

how to explain?

example: friend tells me about a mutual acquaintance, very close to her, who died at age 27 of a heart attack. my reaction is clinical. my brain, and i almost picture a dry british voice doing this, articulates that i should feel sad because that’s the appropriate response. and so i do ‘sad’. and truly, i am sad. what frustrates me is that i have an emotional middleman—nothing i feel is instant but the result of some sort of consultation. during special events when i’m out on a night where there’s no reason not to enjoy myself and be happy, this voice constantly flits through my head: “remember this moment, try to picture how everyone looks right now, laugh harder, make your face relaxed and happy in case someone is looking”. i’ll be taking care of my drunk friend, and as i’m rubbing her back as she retches into a toilet, that damned voice says to me, “look at what a great person you are”.

i think maybe this might be the root of my self-esteem issues. basically, i have so few seemingly unadulterated emotions that i feel like a fake. i can’t really believe things people think i am—compassionate, sweet, thoughtful—because even though i feel empathy, go out of my way to help or do nice things on a birthday, there are always those few seconds before whatever feeling i’m supposed to be experiencing kicks in, or that Voice takes satisfaction in a good deed. even when i know people like me, i’m left thinking that they couldn’t really because i’m not fully what i portray. they just don’t know that, and i don’t want them to because i desperately need people around to be happy.

why can’t i just BE? not just during those special days scattered throughout my 25 years of life, but every day.

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2 comments

  1. FYI, i think this post is more a work in progress. the words were just not flowing tonight, but i wanted to have something solidly in print. whenever i let things go, i never finish them. this issue is something i’ve spent a lot of time thinking about, so sometime in the future i’ll try to express it properly.


  2. Ha. That sounds like the attorney in you. When you hear, “Someone died of a heart attack at 27,” you have to analyze it. “Well, was he a drug dealer? If so, then good.”
    I bet that analytical personality makes you better appreciate those sincere moments in your life whenever they come around though.



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