“Girls always cry; guys will never admit they did.”
– ‘Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over’ – blink-182
I started bawling my eyes out the other day over my recent– and, let’s be honest, lifelong– inadequacies. I cried like a little girl in a pink dress, with tiny, bouncing pigtails, and a frilly ribbon bounding from my teensy-weensy baby head. That’s not a metaphorical description, either: I threw on a Lil’ Bo Peep outfit to match my emotional disposition that day (or did I?), because that’s the kind of shit I deserve (or do I?).
Life is hard, don’t ya know, and sometimes I lose control of the stoic demeanor I try so damn hard to project. Perception is all that matters, and if/when the people around me perceive me as a functioning adult who keeps himself composed to the unrelenting stressors of millenial life, well, that’s mostly good enough. The world sucks a lot right now, and it’s frustrating feeling completely helpless, like a lil’ lass thrashing out wildly, with all their might, while the world sticks its long arm in your face to keep you easily at bay.
I can imagine areas, and facets, where one day I’ll be a positive agent of change, when I can offer anything beyond social media rantings like a lunatic. But that day ain’t today, so it’s like, despite all my rage, I am still at this moment, just, I don’t know, like a little rodent caught in an entrapment, unable to break free? I can’t write no good, clearly, which is why I’m destined to stay a Cheetos-eating, nobody blogger.
It’s immensely demoralizing, to feel so incapable of keeping yourself in order that the mere thought of contributing to the world– and offering any genuine assistance to the greater good by pushing through the unrelenting horseshit that is planet Earth in 2019– is exhausting. I see these peers and contemporaries of mine accomplishing so much, yet here I sit, tapping wildly away on a laptop keyboard, about how sad I feel, and how anxious I get when I consider doing ANYTHING beyond lounging around my house, playing video games and watching sitcom reruns. What conclusion, do you reckon, am I supposed to draw?
Some days I struggle just trying to ascertain what exactly is my mental illness rearing its nasty head (ready to pounce at the least convenient moments to pull me down a peg) versus the normal minutiae of human life piling up inside. It can’t just be me, I’ve concluded, that suffers from a crippling case of the ‘Will-Never-Be-Happys,’ because the thought of living a joyous, contented life as an adult seems impossibly unattainable for anyone, regardless of any psychological conditions or barriers in their way.
But maybe that pessimistic vantage is at the root of my depression: this belief that I’m completely fucking broken– fully humpty-dumptied– and nothing is remotely capable of putting these jagged pieces back together again. The path my life has traveled, from the moment I burst forth from my mother’s womb, appears destined to lead towards one conclusion. Any optimistic flourishes from the first 19 years– before my mother’s sickness irrevocably rampaged me off the beaten path— were a mirage, a slight taste of delectation designed to ensure my fall hit harder and farther.
You can’t change the past– the ink is dry as it were— so beating myself to a mental pulp over things that can’t be undone is worthless. I recognize the futility of living with regrets and focusing any energy on the mistakes we’ve all made. The past is the past because it’s already passed; move on, learn from the experience and outcome, and fold that knowledge into the person you are now. Yet…how can I simply get past some of the completely fucking stupid decisions, and choices, and actions (or non-actions), that have led me to this point at age 33?
I hate, hate, HATE the fact that, for so much of my adult life, I’ve merely been existing, as opposed to evolving. I’ve exerted endless energy in propping myself up to the world to show I’m what they all expect, rather than investing my time and efforts into actually becoming the person I wish I was destined to be. I think about how many years I wasted doing nothing– by not writing, legitimately not one iota, for years on end– and it crushes me. I think about my twenties, and about my slightly-less-than-three-years in California, and it makes me want to crawl under a house, curl up into the fetal position and let myself be ding donged.
When I allow myself to genuinely reflect on California and my time in Long Beach then Norwalk, it’s like I’m in a World’s Strongest Man competition during a keg-loading squat contest, where keg after keg is tossed onto the platform above my head, demanding I support every additional pound with ease and gusto. There’s a yarn I’ve been able to weave about my experience in the Golden State, one that’s allowed my ego to stay slightly less accordioned than it usually is, but it’s all bullshit. (More on that later this week, on the four-year anniversary of the last time I stepped foot in L.A. County)
Maybe failure and Adam Swierk just feel inextricably linked and attached at the hip, because, in all honesty, I have failed a lot during my three decades. For years and years, I refused to try as hard as I could, to put forth the maximum effort necessary to reach the heights I’m desperate to climb, because my greatest fear was doing so and failing. I’ve always been terrified to confront the reality that maybe, just maybe, I’m not quite as talented or capable as I envision myself being. And by being so fearful of failing? I’ve failed, repeatedly and excessively, both literally and figuratively. The ironing is delicious.
It’s a pretty dumb thing to be so trepidatious of, even if it’s entirely understandable. No one wants to put their all into something, only to flop like a fat man’s belly on the water during a summer contest. But we have to fail to learn how to succeed, and learning that lesson later in life, rather than sooner, doesn’t mean success has already passed me by. It just means I’m a day late and a buck short; since I’ve always been poor, what’s the difference?