I am spoiled, not in the sense that I grew up having everything handed to me, but in the sense that make parents dote on me emotionally. I have no doubt that I am their favorite child out of three. They make it seem that in their eyes I can do no wrong. But it wasn’t always that way.
I was never impressive as a child, not in the way that my parents wanted. I sucked at sports, where both my brothers were track stars. I never had a boyfriend in high school and instead just hooked up with assholes at party when drunk. I was smart…ish, but not enough to get a full ride to a college for 4 years. I was just kind of there. I wasn’t ugly but I was no fucking prom queen.I was the epitome of plain.
When I was 19 I decided I wanted to bar tend, cause it was a lot more appealing than working a minimum wage job throughout college. I made it happen and began working at a few whole in the wall bars in northern Vermont. I made really good money, and not just for a college kid but in general. I had plenty of money to stop needing anything from anyone…but that was not enough to make my parents proud. Instead they were embarrassed that their college going daughter was just a bartender, not embarrassed enough not to borrow money from me when they were in need. But when they were talking to their friends, it was a different story.
Then I lost my shit, I had a mental breakdown because I had apparently been suffering from severe depression since I was 15. I tried to kill myself, quit all my jobs (I had three at the time) and slept on my parents couch for about two weeks before running away to South America. That’s when things started to change.
It was a slow transition, from being the disappointing child, to being the favorite. But my parents were always so worried about me, my happiness became an obsession. Once I moved to California it really solidified their need to make sure I was okay. They stopped making any comments about how I chose to live my life. They encouraged me to travel, be transient and explore life. They avoiding asking about my love life, knowing full well that I was completely fucking that up. They basically turned a blind eye to all of my faults, flaws and shortcomings. I could do no wrong. I even told my oldest brother that if he wanted them to stop harping on him he could just cry suicide and they would quickly change their tune. It’s hard to criticize someone when you are worried they may just off themselves.
This may seem like a great thing for me, and for a while it was, but now that I’m older and still fucked up I wonder what it would have been like if I had never been a manic depressive. I know for certain that the strange Californian lifestyle I am living now would have pleased them. The fact that I’m turning 33 and have nothing to my name, nothing even close to resembling a functioning relationship and no desire to ever reproduce, although I’ve slept with almost a nation’s worth of men at this point, would not have been on their wish list for me. But instead they are driving 3000 miles across the country to be with me on my birthday. This effort, at least of the surface, seems to be an incredible act of love for their favorite child, but in all actuality it is an act of fear, because they are worried that if I’m only on my birthday I’ll kill myself. So i guess I may not be their favorite, but rather just their most fucked up. Either way at least I no longer have to hear about all the things I already know I am failing at.
I must be doing it all wrong. I can’t figure it out, I really can’t. No matter how hard I try, how far I go, how long I work, I’m still so very very unhappy. I must be missing a big fundamental part of being a human. It does not seem reasonable that no matter what I do, that feeling will always control me. Maybe not fully all of the time, but it’s always there in the background and then out of nowhere it rears its ugly head. Sometimes I can tell what triggers it, rejection, finical failure or obligation, lack of career or a future are all easily identified. But what always gets me is when it just seems to sneak up and knock me over the head. These are the times that are most difficult for me to deal with, because I can’t see them coming and I can’t tell why they happened. Which means it just in me, there is something within myself that is completely and utterly opposed to happiness, or even contentment. That realization that I will never be happy or even want to keep living is so overwhelming and defeating. I can’t change it, I have tried. I don’t want to keep living like this, wishing I was dead. I can never escape it and it’s getting harder and harder to try to push myself though, just cause. It is getting decidedly more painful and pointless for me to keep going. I am wasting my life by wanting it to be over, but I have run out of things to try. I’ve always been told that I have great instincts when it comes to making decisions, and yet this is the one instinct I’ve been ignoring for the past 17 years. Maybe it is finally time to listen one last time to what my mind and body is trying to tell me. Because clearly I am doing something terribly wrong…and I hate doing things incorrectly.
I always thought it would be so terrible to be one of those kids who found out their parents still smoked pot way into their adult hood. Not that I personally have a problem with weed smoking, I’m pretty indifferent at this point. But I just always felt that would be such a blow to the mind and heart to know that there was a secret that large that had been looming over the family for all that time.
Luckily, for me, my parents never dropped that bomb. Although a lot of people do think my Mom must be on drugs to be that positive I know for a fact that they do not have that particular secret to share. For this I always felt very grateful. I perceived my parents very differently when I was young and it took time and distance for me to realize that they are just human and flawed like us all. Having children does not automatically make you the worlds best person, as everyone knows. However I took solice in the fact that although my view of them changed, they never misrepresented who they were or are now. Or at least that was the impression I was under until my last visit with them.
My visits back to Vermont are never fun to begin with. I reached the lowest point in my life in that gray, cold and cloudy, frozen hell hole. Every once in a while I work through it to go see my parents, this last time it had taken me 4 years to work through it before I was able to go back. But I did, and true to the Vermont I despise, the sun did not come out once in the four days I was there and the levels of gray were incomprehensible, and yet the weather was not the darkest part of my trip.
I have been struggling with sever depression since I was 15, one of my brothers has attempted suicide a few time and the other brother has sever social anxiety disorder. It is no surprise that our family has some serious issues. My father has always been a glass completely empty kind of a guy, he not only rains on your parade but tells you it will rain on every parade from here on out. We have all always known he is not the happiest man, but clearly he loves his family and in his own strange way has done everything he can to help us find a good life for ourselves. I know as he gets older it’s hard to him not to feel guilty about how fucked up his kids are and that’s hard to see. But nothing could have prepared me for how hard it would be to hear that he also has struggled with suicidal tenancies and thoughts for his whole adult life, and that he is still struggling now. He is 55.
I have always known what it feels like to love someone who wants to kill themselves, because I grew up very close to my brother. It was terribly painful and heartbreaking. I never forgot how it felt when I started to go down the same path. I tried to keep my feelings berried very deep down inside, so as not to affect others the way my brother affect me. Now that I have been investing a lot of time and effort into trying to overcome this disease I have started to be more open and honest with my family. But when my father told me that he has been living with this same feelings for so long, it killed me. The guilt he feels can be seem on his pained face, the sadness for still having to deal with it and the realization if he still feels this way at 55, there is probably no hope for his children. At that point I would have given anything for him to have told me he still smokes weed. Instead I have an extra layer of sadness, not just for my father, but for what my future will most likely hold…a little parental drug use looks like a piece of cake to me now.
Human nature is real rough sometimes.
I look at her and I wonder what it is,
What it was that draw you to her, not me.
What do I lack that she possesses?
I loved you, in different times and in different facets,
I loved you whole heartedly without ever expecting anything.
I always knew that we would never be,
But I always knew that I would have you.
But then I saw her.
After three years of near love,
You thought of loving another.
I always told myself you could not love,
Not that you could just not love me.
But I thank you,
Because I know that we have something,
Something that you can’t have with any other.
Because I am me, and no one can have it.
No one can have what we had.
And that is why I do always love you,
Even when you try to love another.
We will never be…
But we will never not be.