#39: Common Sense

I’m sitting at the counter in my mom’s house, with a lamp on in the corner and not much other light. Usually I’m afraid of the dark. Today, I feel comfortable in it. Not in an emotional way, just that I don’t particularly mind the lights being out.

I feel grown up in a lot of ways, actually. The last couple of months have been trying for me. I think I’ve mentioned that in about the last 4 or 5 blogs. That’s because they have. I’ve experienced fear, anxiety, depression, and panic the likes of which I haven’t felt for a long time. And it wasn’t the kind of depression where you’re sad, it was the kind where you’re just scared. I was scared about how my life was going to turn out, thinking things like, “What if I’m never able to drive around in public or go back out to the grocery store again?”

I’ve had a lot of time to sit in that world, to experience those thoughts, to understand and deal with those feelings, and I feel that I’ve grown from it. For the last few blog entries, I’ve mentioned that I’ve been getting better over time. That’s true. A few weeks ago, I went out for the first time in a long time, and after all my seclusion, I’ve learned that I’m actually very comfortable in public, because the fear is gone. I can’t be anxious anticipating going out into public because I’m already there. Even when I panic, in general, it’s not as bad as I make it out to be.

There has been fear. There have been setbacks. There have been missed growth oppurtunities. That’s okay. I’ve had plenty of time to evaluate my life, and to try and decide what’s going to happen with it. I still don’t know what form my future career will take, but I don’t have to make that decision today.

This change has been brought about by a trip with my boyfriend to his home state. I’ve been with him 3 times before, and this has been the 4th. We spent a day there, and came home yesterday. I was of course aware of my anxieties, I knew that there was a chance I might make myself miserable. There was a long car trip, a waning supply of beverages (I need something to drink with me at all times, it’s a kind of security blanket), dinner in a public restaurant, and we spent the night at a friend’s house. I had a couple of moments. On the way there, I got a little nervous, but it was mostly just nervousness, it wasn’t a panic attack. In the restaurant, I got a little faint, and I had a little panic, but I remained calm and I felt much better when it was time to leave. And finally, rather than being nervous in a new environment at our friends’ house, I was completely inspired.

The apartment we stayed in was small. Our friend has a living room, a bedroom, a bathroom, and a kitchen, all basically in a square with doors dividing them, but no hallways. But it was beautiful. The furniture was soft, the rooms were organized, clean, and well-decorated. There were touch lamps and sleek, dark furniture, and lots of oil burners and generally good-smelling things. After that description, it probably goes without saying that the friend is gay. I like to make jokes that I don’t have “gay powers,” meaning I’ve never really had a knack for what to wear or how to decorate. I do like to keep things organized, but in more of a sleek, robotic way, and I can’t seem to organized my room into anything really comfortable, or pick out anything to wear for myself that isn’t already a cliche cut-out: skinny jeans and a band tee, cargo shorts and a motocross/surfer logo tee shirt, retro lace-up shoes and a striped hoodie. I pretty much just pick a look and go with it. My idea of fashion is whatever makes me feel comfortable, ideally I’d like to just wear everything I like: boots, gloves, headbands or beanies, maybe throw on some yellow glitter lipstick (okay, that’s a new one, but I still want to try it).

Where was I going? Oh, gay powers. So yes, I like to joke that I don’t have them. In all fairness, I think I do, they just haven’t been cultivated, or at least given a chance to thrive. After all, the money that I could have been spending on clothes for the last couple of years has went mostly to CDs, books, and food. But seeing our friend’s apartment really got me energized. I thought, “This is what it’s like. This could be my place. Here’s a bathroom and a laundry area and a kitchen, this place is small but look what can be done with it! All I’d have to do is work really hard, and I can have whatever I want.”

And, though my constant extemporizing on pop culture, music, occasional literature, and video games may lead you to believe I’m a slacker, I’m a hard worker at heart. When I’m put in a situation where I know it’s time to work, I work. That is, if I can keep my head and I don’t get panicked. Then everything starts to fall apart. The panic is what keeps me indoors and prevents me from going out into the world. But I’ve lived with it, I’ve allowed it into my life for a while, and I’ve conversed with it in my own way. I’ve heard what the anxiety has to say, and I’ve allowed it to have control of my life. I’ve seen that it doesn’t help. It turns me into exactly the kind of person I don’t want to be. Being there, in that apartment, seeing what living on your own and being an adult looks like, I was deeply inspired.

And so, I’ve opened the door and escorted the anxiety out. I can’t say it’s gone from my life, but I’m not afraid anymore. I’m sure I will have to deal with it again, I may have to deal with it for a long time, but it is not going to control me anymore. I’m taking my life back, with ferocity. I want to work, I want to drive, and I want to be out of my mother’s house. I’ve had the desire for a long time, but now I have the drive. I’m going to work with my mother tomorrow, and I’m not afraid. I might be nervous, and I might be aware that things could go badly, but that’s alright, I’m going to go anyway, and I’m going to work and I’m going to make money. If panic comes, it will pass. It will not control me.

I’ve been an odd mix of emotions since coming home from out-of-state with my boyfriend. I feel energized, and at the same time, very deeply sad. I honestly don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I had to leave, I had to come back here, to a place where I’m reminded of the fear and panic, and I can’t stay on vacation, I have to come back here and continue molding something out of my life. But that’s alright, I’ve had a small taste of what independance can look and feel like, and I’m excited. There will be bumps, I’m sure, but I’m going for it anyway. I think it might soon be time to begin job hunting.

As for driving, I still haven’t had my permit renewed, and I don’t really think I can go pass a driving test without having driven in almost a year. But that’s okay, it’s on the table, and it’s something I’m excited to accomplish. My insurance rates are going to be lovely for a few years, but that’s okay too. I’ll make it. Life is not so hard that poverty is the default. There are oppurtunities for an intelligent, healthy high-school graduate with high aspirations. For the moment, my plan is to get to sleep soon, get myself up, have some coffee, and go do an easy day’s work with my mother. Also on the upcoming agenda is getting enrolled in a local college, because online college just isn’t going to work out right now. That’s okay, I’d rather go to a physical college anyway, I’ll be dealing with my fears, and I don’t think it will be nearly as bad as I’ve made it out to myself to be.

And that’s my life at the moment. To everyone who reads these blogs, and who has kind words for me, thank you. I’m really living my life for myself now, not to please anyone else. I’m living because I need to live, and I’m awakening because it’s time to awaken. I’m only 20 years old. I’m just barely an adult. There’s still plenty of time. Life is not so impossible to live, and success is not so impossible to find if you’re willing to work hard for it, and I am. We live in a time where the most menial of jobs involve wrapping up prepackaged food and serving it over a counter, rather than in a time where work would mean risking your life every day to survive. Success is not so far out of reach.

The year’s end is coming upon us quickly, and I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog, and how much I’ve changed since I started it. That’s good, that’s what journals are for. At the beginning of the year, I was content to live in someone elses house and work an easy job without doing much to get my life going, because I could do it. I lived like that long enough that I started to get uncomfortable, and anxiety creeped into my life, and forced me to aspire to be more than a layabout. Throughout my life, I’ve seen my family members waste promising futures. I’ve seen them waste perfectly intelligent minds on lives of dependance, both on drugs and alcohol, and on other people. No one seems to want to do anything with their life, they’re all conent to end up white trash. I have common sense. I’m sorry, but I can’t help it, and I don’t want it any other way. People with common sense should realize that that kind of life is not all that the world has to offer. Don’t people want to be happy? Don’t they want to feel accomplished, clean, and good about themselves? Don’t they want to feel like they’ve benefited themselves and others? Why do people waste their lives on temporary, false happiness provided by drugs, when they could invest less money, less time, and a little more effort, on getting a real life going for themselves? We live in a country where there are oppurtunities everywhere, and yet no one wants to seize any of them, no one seems to want to benefit themselves, they just want to survive one more day, and then another, and then another. They don’t think about the fact that in two years, their life will be exactly the same, and they’ll still be children.

My family is disfunctional, there isn’t structure, love isn’t given freely and exercised when it’s needed, people bicker and divide themselves, they steal from each other and argue and cry and fight and point guns at each other. I don’t have any more sympathy for them because they’re related to me. We’re all related, they’re not any different from any other person. Everyone else has feelings too.

I’ve stayed still and lived as a sheltered child for too long. I can’t take it anymore. I simply won’t allow myself to do that. It will destroy all of my relationships, and drive me deep into depression. I can’t do it anymore. I’ve experienced it, I’ve lived as a child for too long, but I have common sense, and I’m not going to make the same mistakes my relatives do. My family are the people I care about, and my family are the people who love and respect me and make me feel that I have worth. The family unit is not necessary today the way it was in the dark ages, when families stayed together out of necessity, to survive.

I’m inspired, and I’m tired of this way of life. I want my own clothes, my own house, my own furniture, my own bathroom, my own lamps, my own animals, my own car, my own job, and my own life. I want to experience the joy of being a functional adult who does their part in society, and hopefully who does good in the lives of other people, and who helps to foster love amongst people, rather than divisiveness and hate. I’m ready to be an adult.

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