It never ceases to amaze me how loneliness consumes me despite being surrounded by people who care about me. The walk of life is an interesting one. Where one road ends, another begins. Occasionally these roads cross again, but the majority of them end. But what happens when one road ends, and we find ourselves unable to discover a new one? It seems to be that is where I find myself now….stranded.
For the past year, I have experienced an unusual amount of depression, happiness and numbness. I have discovered that being numb hurts less, but lack of emotion tends to dismantle the psyche. The few months leading up to my college graduation were amongst the best of my short life thus far. Finally, it seemed, I had found peace with myself, removed myself from destructive environments, and enjoyed the company of a house full of roommates who truly cared about me.
I have the uncanny ability to fight off stability in my life, and destroy solid relationships. Whether it is a conscious or incidental process, I do not know. For much of my life, I have allowed myself to be stuck in the past. Blaming my childhood, high school years or tumultuous first love-relationship for my actions. Letting go of the past is a difficult process, and one that I continue to struggle with.
I fear attachment solely for the reason that the people I relied on most growing up, seemed to shut me out. From a young age, I decided to solve problems on my own, and shunned the idea of communicating. With anybody. Be it friends, lovers or family. If an issue arose in my life, I buried it deep, allowed it to fester until I reached the breaking point.
Throughout my life, I have taken advantage of close friends and partners. Starting with my first true love. This young woman loved me unconditionally. No matter how hard I pushed, neglected, pretended as if she meant nothing to me, she stuck by my side through the roughest years of my life. Yet, somehow, I refused to accept the idea that she truly cared about me. It drove me mad.
There were parallels between my first love and how I handled living with my roommates during my final year of college. On the surface, everything seemed perfect. We all got along well, connected, and discussed our problems. As the end of the year approached, the dynamics changed. I found myself closed off, taking advantage of those who cared most, and feared losing my closest friends. I panicked, much like I did with my first love. As a result, I pushed them away.
I’ve experienced hardship, emotional heartache, self-abuse and nagging pain throughout much of my life. I’ve let it consume me, shape the person I am and ruin the greatest things in my life–relationships, friendships and passion to live.
As I discussed in my previous post, these destructive habits of mine plagued my next serious relationship. Similar to my first love, my second was compassionate, gazed at me with admiration, and wanted nothing more than for me to return those same sentiments. I’ve recently discovered a terrible quality of mine: when people get too close, and attached to me, I have a tendency to inflict pain first. This is a defense mechanism. Lingering fears of abandonment drive me to push others away simply to avoid being left in the future. However, this leaves me confused, crazed and determined to remedy my mistakes.
My life experiences blessed me with the gift of empathy. The ability to understand people on a deeper level without passing judgement. No two people experience the same life. Upbringing, past traumas, present circumstances and future aspirations are constantly tweaking the people we are, and wish to become. I’m the type of person who won’t give up on you. Berate me, chastise me, push me away, I will find a solution to the problem and be there for anybody in their time of need. Cutting people off does not cross my mind.
The past couple months have been nothing short of hell for me. I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster ride with feelings ranging from deep sadness, momentary happiness and utter lack of desire to do anything. Initially, I firmly believed that salvaging my most recent relationship would bring me back to bliss. I pushed, and pushed, and when you push, the consequences are dire.
As I mentioned before, silence doesn’t work for me. I’ll cling onto any shred of hope and fight for the people I love. This, I discovered, is a fundamental mistake in my thought process. Every individual handles emotional trauma, and day-to-day issues however they feel best equipped to do so. What works for me, doesn’t work for everybody. I became obsessed with the idea that simply because I handle situations in a certain way, that everybody else should as well. But people come from all walks of life.
Back to the focal point of my post. I’ve spent much of my life attempting to figuring others out, and invoke a sense of empathy in others. The majority of people are afraid of understanding others, because often times, it forces them to reflect on themselves. Which is exactly what I have spent the past few months doing myself.
I lost myself amidst the chaos. Truth be told, I can’t remember the last time I was truly happy with myself. Many people appreciate me for the person I am, but when you don’t appreciate yourself, those connections appear to be trivial. When you can’t understand why a person appreciates who you are, how can you ever achieve your ideal self?
It feels as if all the positivity, drive and motivation has been sucked dry from the inner fabrics of my being. I hardly smile, there is little in my life that brings me joy, and I am merely going through the motions. Just a shell of my old self. I crave passion. A reason to live. Somebody to live for. But until I remedy myself, neither is possible.
I don’t know who I am anymore. I crave love and affection, but tear it apart when it sits in my lap. I seek happiness, yet continue to allow my bad habits to dictate my way of life. Chaos. Silence. Slow killers. All I want at this point is to be me. James Pope. My normal, humorous, kind and loving self. I want to hold onto love, not actively destroy it. So again, I ask, who am I? I really don’t know, but I guess time will allow me to find out.