Life can be really strange sometimes. I know I don’t have to say it because everybody already knows that, but today I’ve seen real proof.
Almost exactly one year ago, it was my senior year of high school. I was stressing out over four AP classes, writing, editing, and publishing my first novel, and leading an improv comedy troupe. But foremost on my mind was plotting how I would get my best friend to fall in love with me, as I had already done for her.
Specifically, I was forming plans with our Government teacher about how I would ask her to Prom. It went pretty damn well if I do say so myself, but unfortunately she never learned how to handle the fact that I liked her. The answer she gave was that she would go “if other things didn’t come up”. And as stupid as I was I took that as a yes.
Spoiler alert: Things came up. It basically summarizes how our relationship had always been. I would spend hundreds of dollars and several hours hand crafting birthday and Christmas presents, while she would order things online on a budget. As George Carlin once said, “Behind every cynic is a disappointed idealist.” (Or, Peter Bishop’s version, “Behind every cynic is a frustrated romantic.”)
Her shutdowns tore me apart, and I lost hope that I would ever be happy. Exactly one year ago I was under a depression so thick it drove me to self harm. It’s funny, I had never pegged myself as that kind of person, but in reality, I really don’t think any of us are. But that’s a story for another time.
Anyway, last year was the worst year of my life. I barely got through it. But barely is the key word there. When the school year ended and graduation came and gone, I decided it would be best to distance myself from her. It was hard, but it worked. Just before New Years, I met up with her one last time (unbeknownst to her), and basically told her I was done with our friendship. It’s weird. I always thought that break-ups were exclusive to romantic relationships, and I guess in a way this was, but she never saw it that way. She lost a dear friend that day, but I cut ties that had become identification to who I was. I remember being in the car ride home, making small talk to my mom, then going into my room blasting The Eagles and sobbing into my keyboard. It could very easily been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. But I did it.
Now, things are different. I’m making money. I’ve taken on a work load I can handle (even if it’s less than fun.) I’m taking college classes (already a step up from high school) and I’m taking ones I genuinely enjoy. Some of those classes I actually get excited to go into. Like a creative writing course I’m taking is a lot of fun because I get to read other students’ work and compare their skill to my own. Some people can do magic with dialogue and details, and its become clear to me that my area of expertise lies strongly in epic fantasy. I may not be the best writer, but I’d say my world building skills are nigh impossible for anyone else my age. It may be arrogance speaking, but I’d rather be overconfident than unsure of myself.
So, the funny thing is, the coin has flipped. I think that I am literally the happiest I’ve ever been these past few weeks. I’m finally reading and writing consistently, and enjoying it, too. That’s something the old me could never have hoped to achieve. I’m no longer bound by all the things that held me back.
But the funniest thing of it all? The real reason the coin has flipped? Before I was pessimistic that I would be happy. Now I’m optimistic that I will be happy for the exact same reasons. It may turn out as it had before, but this time it can’t destroy me. I’ve developed antibodies to that strain.