"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."

- Taylor Swift

Sunday, September 11, 2016

dark cloud.

Now Playing: Sommeil by Stromae (et si je compte et je compterai pour toi, je te conterai mes histoires, et je compterai les moutons, pour toi) 

Ever since little me tripped and fell in love the first time and then cried her little heart out, people have been asking me what a tough modern girl like me was doing, crying over boys.

To be honest, I never understood it, either. I want to fall in love and get married in the same way I want a PhD - I know it's not for everyone, but it's what I want, at least for now, and it'll take a lot of work and also a lot of luck to make it all work out, and it might not work out after all. But either way, in love or not, with a doctorate or not, I recognise myself as a fully realized human being. I am not and never have been incomplete. I'm just ambitious.

The cold truth of the matter is that the end of a relationship, a crushing disappointment, the knowledge that people don't follow through simply because they don't care enough to...has always been a trigger for depression. My penchant for blue hour romances comes, at least in part, from this fear that I will fall down the rabbit hole again; when I was young enough so that my friends weren't getting engaged and married and pregnant left right and centre, I put off any notion of a long term relationship. My happiest, healthiest relationships are the ones that transitioned smoothly to friendship or even just vague acquaintence, but always with a lot of respect from all parties involved. It's really...it's really not that hard. Some of them even managed to do it as a) teenagers and b) quite drunk. I'm not the kind of person to expect or even want forever and always from every beautiful stranger on the street. I was just raised to have a shred of empathy and a touch of self-respect.

When you're a smart girl, people expect you to think rationally - but that's absurd. Young people are not rational; it's not easy to think about the solid benefits of a good education compared to the fleeting comforts of what once was when you're suddenly deprived of the rush, of the literal high. It's not easy to keep in mind that there will be time, later. I spent too long living in the now, I forgot about my whole childhood of coolly planning for the future.

When you're someone like me, with a lot of privilege but also with a lot of things working against you, you learn from a young age to take control of your own life. My life has been one shrewd decision after another, the decisions one can only make when one is fairly level headed, fairly self assured, and fairly insulated from such pesky notions as financial inviability of ones' ambitions. I have let my imagination run wild on what I can do, on what I can be. I'm re-reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and I remember, vividly, being fifteen, being stuck somewhere I didn't really want to be, under the authority of people who really had no business having authority at all (my school principal was Literal Umbridge). But back then I had this immense capacity for hope. I lived almost exclusively in dreams or in daydreams about the future. I wish I could ask my fifteen year old self how to do that, because I think I've forgotten. Because the truth is, as you get older, it becomes harder and harder to make shrewd decisions. When you're young and arrogant (and you have a formidable mother and Actual Dumbledore as your favourite teacher) it's easy to feel like destiny is just waiting for you. But the stakes get higher, the chances of failure get bigger, and some of the decisions you make...are not so shrewd after all. I am so used to my choices resulting in some benefit, in some improvement on my life, that when they are decisions concerning something so volatile as other people I am still not used to the shock of failing. I am well acquainted with failure, of course, but that's a personal thing; eating humble pie is a solitary task. Taking the fall for other peoples' stupidity is a misfortune I've never really reconciled myself with.

So, truthfully, I am depressed. I am constantly fatigued, but sometimes I can't will myself to fall asleep, or stay asleep. I struggle immensely with writer's block and anxiety and imposter syndrome. I'm afraid of the dark and long silences and loud noises. And sometimes I just cannot get out of bed, not even to just make a cup of tea and curl back up. I see my friends message me and all I feel is guilt at not responding, but not the actual drive to actually reply. I try to escape, try to plan for the future as I used to, the endless hours of pretty aimless research that used to bring me so much pleasure. A long, long, time ago, I felt this hollow. I can't remember when or how or why it ended, but it did. And that's the only light at the end of the tunnel for me, that dark clouds must eventually give way to the sun.

But I will no longer let myself feel ashamed about feeling this way. All my life people have made me feel guilty for the audacity to have feelings, to act on them, and to sometimes get hurt. My happiness is not contingent on the whims of others; but people should understand that actions have repercussions, and we all have a great capacity for cruelty and that all people - smart or not, rational or not, shrewd or not - will eventually find the straw that breaks the camel's back.

I am not weak for my demons. I am brave for overcoming them, for knowing that the only way out is through.

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