Tag Archives: change

Holidays.

Things change as you get older. For me, the holidays used to be filled with… magic. A lightness, an excitement – enthusiasm. There were stories of baby Jesus and Santa, whispers of presents, and tours through neighborhoods of brightly lit houses. For days and weeks there was a wonderful anticipation and, from that perspective, everyone felt it and longed for what was coming. All of it culminated in a day or two of sheer bliss, wrapping paper strewn everywhere, time to play with cousins, treats always at hand, and ending the day exhausted but falling asleep with a smile on my face.

I’m incredibly grateful for that experience. I know that’s not how everyone grew up. I  wish it was because everyone deserves to share in that goodness.

It’s different now. There isn’t really a ‘holiday season’ anymore. I’m sure others would disagree but that’s how it feels to me. The only thing prior to Christmas is trying to figure out what to buy for others (and then actually remember and find the time to buy the gifts). Then I leave home to return to a place I used to call home. Then that day or two that used to be bliss is still filled with family, but it’s not the same.  The love is still very much real and treats are still always at hand, but I tire quickly of being surrounded by people and dread the drive back. Now, I can see the cynicism on people’s faces and feel the underlying tension. The cousin I used to look up to now actually doesn’t like me, so we avoid each other. Now, instead of playing with toys, we sit and chat or play a game of cards, trying to ignore the questions about if I’m with anyone yet or not. Now, some cousins aren’t even there to celebrate because they live far away or are with their partner’s families.

It’s not that the holidays are bad now. Like I said, the love is still there, which is all that matters. I guess the point is that… the love isn’t perfect. Most of it is well intended of course, but it’s no where near perfect. And the day isn’t perfect. And the weather is never perfect. The presents aren’t perfect. The meals aren’t perfect (though the desserts usually are, I’ll be honest). And the people. Yes, the people definitely aren’t perfect.

What’s fascinating to me is the concept of family. You’re not supposed to get annoyed by them. When you only see your aunt a couple times a year, you’re not supposed to get tired of her. When you have this amazing, huge group of people who love you endlessly, you’re not supposed to miss the quiet of your one person apartment. And yet, so many of us feel all the things I don’t think we’re supposed to feel during the holidays. I mean, no one wants to feel anxiety or depression hitting them square in the chest during the ‘most wonderful time of the year.’ But we do. And going back to the place we grew up to visit all of our cousins and uncles and grandparents and aunts is more difficult than we ever knew it would be when we were kids.

The magic and the children who felt it during the holidays is gone. And you know? I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It’s just a grown up thing. I can accept that.

It’s not that the holidays are bad now. Like I said, the love is still there. And that is all that matters.

-Melissa

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Changed.

We were talking and joking and I said something that made you both laugh. My comment made you both agree that nothing has changed. That I haven’t changed.

This was a little concerning to me. My mind spun for a moment before I drew myself back.

I haven’t changed? In over a year since you haven’t seen me, nothing has changed? I’m worried by that sentiment because I know where I was a year ago. I’m coming to one of three conclusions:

1.) I hid it a lot better than I thought I did while I knew you. I must have isolated myself to the point where you really don’t see a change in me since then. Maybe I put on some sort of mask when I was with you and didn’t let anything I was feeling leak from me. The anxiousness and irritability and sadness and utter emptiness… Maybe I kept them all and more from you undetected.

2.) Maybe you saw all those things and still see them now. And that’s concerning because I don’t feel them now. At least not as consistently and constantly. I didn’t feel them sitting there with you two days ago. So if you continue to see those things in me, I’m confused as to how.

3.) You ignored everything I’d said to you in the past. You ignored the pain in my eyes and wrote me off. Even when I told you it was there, you still chose to see only the good things I presented. So of course now I look no different. Of course now I sound the same. Because you aren’t listening. You’re choosing what to hear. You wrote off my depression as just me whining or complaining or being pessimistic. A year ago, you were ignoring… me.

You know, the third point is the one I’m afraid is correct. And that sucks. When I was severely depressed, there were a few people around me who … hurt me. Not intentionally. Not maliciously. I would highly doubt they even know.

I had someone reproach me for not getting enough sleep at a time I was afraid to go to sleep because I’d have bad dreams and it would end in me waking up and having to face yet another day. I had someone tell me how much they cared about me only to never make time for me again. I had people talk down to me, belittle me, and offer a lot of challenge and little to no support. When I told someone I’d been hurt by others during that time because of all of this, she replied, “Well, what do you want them to do?” or “What do you expect them to do?” in a condescending tone. I even had someone, after I told him people never cared enough to follow up with me, promise me he would follow up.

He never did.

Now, I don’t know exactly what I needed or wanted from these people. I guess I wanted to know I was cared for. Because they would tell me they did care for me but then there was never any evidence to support that.

I don’t know what my point is. I guess if someone tells you they are depressed or severely depressed, know they chose those words carefully and they know what they mean. Know that talking down to someone is hurtful and makes them feel like you think they’re worthless. Know that when someone tells you something incredibly painful, you should probably follow up, not act like it never happened.

Know that I have changed. In the year since you’ve seen me, I’m not the same person anymore. The depression is mild and the more severe bouts come in waves that are far apart from one another. I’m not drowning anymore. Breathing comes easily a good, fair amount of the time now. I’m not suffocating anymore. There are still incredibly hard days and some of those days turn into weeks. But now the good days outnumber the bad and, when you last were with me, the good days were so few and far between that I couldn’t remember what they tasted like.

I’m afraid that the fact that you don’t see that change means you were never really looking to begin with.

-Melissa

Professor.

The sky is turning black and the page is blank.

My eyes locked on the darkening window as soft voices drifted in from the open door.

Can you accept something and still be sad?

Ah, yes. Wow, that just connected to far too many parts of my life.

You see, professor, I can’t finish my paper. I can barely lift my hands, let alone a pencil. You see, professor, my head leans against the back of the couch and it’s hard to lift it again. You see, professor, I’m finding it hard to concentrate.

No, professor, I am not tired. Yes, I’ve been getting enough sleep. Yes, I’ve been paying attention (when I can) in class. Yes, you will get your paper on time. No, professor, it will not be my best work. And you see, professor, I can’t care.

You see, professor, this classroom becomes too small. I feel suffocated by the lack of…I don’t know– life? in this classroom. You see, professor, my classmates keep talking about how challenge needs to be paired with support. But you see, professor, they’ve forgotten to pair support with challenge. Professor, their challenges weigh down on me and I fight to not grow bitter against them. Because, you see, professor, they don’t see into my life. They don’t see my loneliness or these days (and days) when I’m unbearably sad. You see, professor, I’m not really close to them. They forget about me. They don’t ask me how I am. And you see, professor, that makes the loneliness so much stronger.

But professor, you don’t see.

And I’ve accepted that this is the way it is for a while. For a while, I will struggle to breathe. I will passively drown. But I wonder if I’ll ever swim again.

I used to be so good at swimming.

Don’t worry, professor. I’ll finish your paper. I’ll make something up. You’ll get it in time.

-Melissa

Parallel.

I don’t think I believe in coincidences.

I mean, to a certain extent, I do. But, mainly, I think everything happens for a reason.

Today, I got distracted by the facebook page of a friend that I haven’t talked to in years. It’s not that there was any sort of painful break that caused us to part ways. Actually, she moved away and we just drifted. At first, we tried to keep in contact. But our lives kind of swept us away and we just… faded out.

We were supposed to become roommates my sophomore year of college but she called me two weeks before and told me she couldn’t come back to school. I haven’t seen her since.

She was, I mean, probably still is, one of the good ones. You know what I’m talking about? She’s one of those people that… I don’t know. Made me better somehow. Just by being around her. I think I was always a little intimidated by that– by her goodness. I think, maybe not in a bad way, but that it kind of held me back. Maybe actually in a good way.

It’s just interesting to think of what my life would have been like if she had come back to school and we had been roommates. I don’t think I’d be the same person I am now. But, maybe I’m wrong. But, being her roommate might have impacted me more than I can imagine. For that semester, I ended up rooming alone, which was during an incredibly painful time in my life. That space might have helped me heal in some ways, but it might have just enabled my isolation. And if she had been there, would I have gotten to know who is now my best friend who lived right down the hall? Or would she have become my best friend and would I have spent most of my time with her?

I don’t know. I’ll never know. I think that’s what’s fascinating to me about the concept of the parallel universe. One simple change and the course of my life, your life, our lives could be completely different. Maybe that’s not something to waste time thinking about.

I just think it’s fascinating.

-Melissa

Missing you.

So… I still miss you.

That shouldn’t surprise me anymore. But it’s been a long time since I’ve had a conversation with you. It’s been a long time since you’ve looked me in the eye… Even longer since it wasn’t followed by quickly looking away when you realized I was looking back. Goodness, it’s been years since I’ve heard your laugh. Years. But I still miss you.

I never want to stop. So maybe that’s why I haven’t. But I never expected that it would still be this strong. That the pain would still be so real.

Then again, I never expected that, by now, we wouldn’t have become friends again. I never thought your silence would last this long. I always thought our reunion was just around the corner.

Now, part of me wonders if I was delusional.

But, when I was at my worst, those delusions gave me hope. And God used that horrible experience to teach me what hope was. And I’m forever grateful for that.

But that was years ago too. It’s been so long. And there’s a very large part of me that thinks if you and I tried to be friends again today, it wouldn’t even work. Because too much time has past. There’s been too much space, and my pain has completely filled it. And your walls have successfully kept me out. And, though I’m sure you’ve changed, I’m not sure you could even remove a single stone from one of the walls.

And that’s the other thing. Missing you is mixed with worry for you. Because I worry you’ve kept everyone else out. I worry you’re alone and lonely. I worry you’re in pain and too afraid to let anyone see the utter goodness you hold inside of you. I just… I worry.

And you would tell me to stop. And you would say you were fine. And you would say that you like living just the way you are.

And I would be able to see through your lies just as clearly as you saw through mine.

I don’t know why you did what you did. It doesn’t make sense, Tyler. You and I had a friendship that most will never understand. Didn’t you realize that? Didn’t you see how well we understood each other? Didn’t you feel the comfort that came from our friendship? Didn’t you know that I would love you, literally no matter what you did? Didn’t I tell you that on more than one occasion? Didn’t you promise you’d never leave?

And was all of that what scared you and sent you running?

We’re less than two months away from it being four years. This is why I’m convinced that, though there may be stages of grief, grief never actually ends. Because, if it did, would there still be tears in my eyes? If it did, would my heart still ache at the thought of you?

I love you, best friend. Haven’t I proven you can’t change that?

Missing you.

-Melissa

Communication.

It’s not the same.

Goodness. I knew it wouldn’t be.

There’s a difference between seeing someone daily and then not seeing them at all. There’s a difference from being face to face and then only communicating through a phone or computer screen. You’d think it’d be okay. They say that, with all the technology we have, it’s easy to keep in touch with people. But that’s just not true. There are time differences and busy schedules and computer glitches. And it’s not the same.

And I miss you.

And it’s also different because you and I aren’t really dealing with the same parts of life any more. You have someone to be with. And I don’t. And that makes a difference. Usually I have no problem with that and you love him and I do too. But there’s a difference between talking just to you, and talking to you with him in the next room. I’m fine with it and I’m really happy for you, but… It’s just different. It’s not bad. Or good. Just different.

And I’ve never been good at change.

I know people grow up and move their separate ways. I know that’s just a part of life. I know it won’t be the last time it happens. I know. That doesn’t mean it isn’t hard though, you know?

I just miss you. It’s hard living life with someone and then just… not doing that.

I’m fine with it. It’s just kind of… sad.

-Melissa

Furniture.

People keep moving furniture.

It’s making me crazy.

If I would have written this post this morning, it would have been more contemplative and sad. Right now, I’m just annoyed.

The contemplative part of me is too sentimental. In the first place, rearranging furniture pulls something inside of me, as if corners of my heart were attached to it. And bringing in new furniture and rearranging everything else to make it fit… it’s odd. And I’ve never been good at change. I used to fight it. Now… Now I just sort of accept it with some sort of disbelief, knowing that all I can do is watch it get dragged across the room, unable to stop it’s movement. Knowing it’s not my place any longer to have a say. There’s even guilt when I like the new furniture, as if it takes away love or loyalty that I had to the older furniture. I know it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. But I do like the new stuff and it was needed and the whole room is better for it. But it’s different. And now I couldn’t walk through the room blindfolded without stubbing my toes.

If only the first place was really about furniture.

The annoyed part of me?

In the second place, no one asked if they could move the furniture! No one even told me it was happening. And they don’t even take care of the house. It’s a pigs sty. The more I think about it, the more I get pissed off. They aren’t the only ones who live here. I have to wade through their filth daily and I’m so freaking sick of it. It’s so pathetic. Honest to goodness, I don’t understand how people could live like this and not give a crap about how their home is. Worse yet, not give a crap for the other people living with them. It’s disrespectful and rude. And I don’t know what to do about that. I don’t know how to fix it. But I’m honestly so mad. This is one of those times I REALLY wish I didn’t have a filter so I could tell them off. Maybe I should get drunk. That could help. But I’ve never been drunk so maybe I would just get quiet and sulky. I don’t know how that would be any different than now so I guess it couldn’t hurt to try it.

That part is really about furniture. I can handle messy roommates, but I can’t handle filthy roommates. And they moved the freaking furniture while I wasn’t home and I’m trying to deal with coping the movement of the metaphorical furniture so, honestly, not a good day to change things. Freaking imbeciles. I just want to punch their parents in the face for spoiling them rotten and never teaching them what the word “clean” means. Then I want to punch them in the face for not learning how to take care of themselves because they are old enough to know better by now.

I need to live by myself. I don’t know whether to scream at them or get so painfully passive aggressive that they begin to hate me. Either would be good at this point.

If everyone could just stop moving things, that’d be great.

-Melissa