You've beens sitting in the same place for days. Sometimes with headphones on, but usually in complete and total silence. Since it happened, you've seemed to lose track on the hours and days that have gone by. You're not positive what day it is, but it feels like a Friday. It feels like that day of the week where most people are putting work behind them for a bit and are planning a weekend full of fun with friends/boyfriends/husbands/wives/family/fill-in-the-blank. Or maybe, just a much needed peaceful weekend of relaxation is in order. Everyone needs it from time to time, after all. But not you. For you it almost seems like the exact opposite. While you find yourself unable to interact with hardly anyone (as if, at this point, you'd even want to), some part of you wishes that someone would come along and make you feel alive again. Give you the kick in the ass that you need to go out there and face the world that you've been neglecting for hours..days..weeks..who knows.
Every couple days, someone reminds you to eat. Not because you're intentionally starving yourself, or anything, but because it's the furthest thing on your mind right now. Besides, nothing has tasted the same since that day. Nothing has tasted like anything at all, really. Regardless, you eat enough in front of your friend/family to give them a bit of peace. The last thing you need to do is get put in the hospital for something stupid at a time like this. There are so many other people more deserving of that kind of attention right now. Like the family of your friend who passed away. Their mother, father, brothers and sisters who you've wanted nothing more than to get a hold of, but you can't. You're just so far gone right now in your heart and mind. You write them a letter and hope they understand.
After an unaccounted for amount of time passes, the same person who has been reminding you to eat is back again. This time requesting you to just please, please go outside today. Go somewhere, anywhere, nowhere, just not here today. You want to go outside and get some air, do all the things you did before it happened. But where do you go? To the store to buy groceries? If there's anything worse than grocery shopping when you're hungry, it has to be grocery shopping when you're grieving and food has been a non-issue. Maybe you could go see a movie? But you'd be looking at something without ever processing any of it since your mind is somewhere else completely. Regardless of all of this racing through your brain, you throw on your jacket and head for a nearby park. You walk around without purpose or direction. It's almost spring, but it's a cold enough day excuse the fact that no one else is in this park right now. Perhaps it's a good thing. With the way you're walking and staring at trees that hold more life than you feel in yourself right now, you'd probably look like one of those people you see other's whispering about. Crazy people. The thought leaves you even more cold.
Many days..weeks..months go by like this. You slowly fall back into your "normal" routine before that day. More so because you have to, though you wish it was more because you want to. You feel like you're re-learning everything. How to eat normally, how to do deal with people on a daily basis, how to put on clothes and at least look like you're fucking trying to be pretty. You prepared for much in your head, but you never gave much thought about what it would be like to confront people again. From old co-workers to customers, those are far different than friends. Friends understand where you've been and what you've been dealing with. They understand the suffering and the healing. Customers that usually saw you five days a week haven't seen you in a long time. You go to work thinking that you won't have to mention anything to anyone. You wish there was a way complete strangers could just look at you and know what happened. "Where have you been?! Did you go on vacation somewhere?!" Jesus. Christ. You don't want to know where I've been, lady. I've been to what I believe hell should be if I believed in such a thing as heaven or hell at all. Hell should be the worst day of your life on repeat like the worst pop song of the summer on the radio*. "Vacation.." you chuckle "..yeah". Suddenly that emotion you spent weeks trying to control reappears and you want nothing more than to scream or cry or just have someone there to be frank with you and tell you to stop acting like such a weird idiot. You're scaring the customers.
Two weeks later, the manager sets you aside and tells you just that. "People care about you and are concerned about the way you're acting. You're unusually quiet and awkward to work with. Everyone's worried that you might..well..you know..hurt yourself." Well, shit. You would have much preferred being fired. You've always been one to look out for others more than yourself. So much so, that many times you forgot about you're own well-being completely. Now you're faced with this new realization that you've become cause for concern to everyone around you. You haven't thought about that part and how you'd begin to deal with it. Suddenly your focus has warped entirely. You need to get better as soon as possible. You need to put this behind you faster than you feel you can because you can't bear the thought of putting loved ones through the pain that you've just been through. You need to learn to be strong again. People you love are going to experience pain in life in many forms (because that's just how life is), but you'll be damned if any of it is going to be because of you.
You start working more. You've always worked alot because you had to, but you need to do it more now. It's the only thing that makes you happy, it seems. You feel accomplished, somehow. Feel like you're contributing to something. You challenge yourself and your body to how much you can work on less and less sleep. You haven't been able to sleep well since you were a kid, anyways. Sometimes at night, you set out to accomplish one of a million silly projects you have lying around. Half-written, potentially good stories. Half-drawn drawings, paintings, journal entries, songs, stupid fucking art that used to be like therapy for you. Except it was therapy you loved. You try to pick up where you left off, but there is no creativity. There is no drive. You never worried about running out of creativity or ideas. It never seemed possible, But that's precisely what has happened. You use to think that nothing was more painful for you (in terms of hobbies) than loving music so much, but having zero musical talent. But now you learn that this is by far the worst. The artist in you. The thing your mother disliked the most, but complete strangers seemed to gravitate to you more because of..is dead. You are angry at yourself. You don't know how this could've happened. But, whatever. You have to be at work in a few hours. Maybe you should take a nap.
The people that you considered your closest friends have stopped calling. Maybe they understand that you need some time to yourself. Maybe they just have more important things to do than have conversations with you in which you barely put any effort in avoiding the awkward silences your "conversations" seem to consist of lately. Or maybe you were too focused on work for so many years, that you didn't take time to help them through awful situations life dealt them throughout the years. And now. Well, now I guess it's payback time or something. You get to confront all of that now. All the pain, happiness, good, bad, awful, and goddamn heart-breaking that you've suppressed by working like crazy for years is catching up to you. Your friends haven't given up on you, kid. Nobody has. They just didn't know what the fuck to do anymore. They didn't know how to reach you. And you can't blame them. Because honestly, you're not even sure if you has reached you.
Your friends probably value your ability to listen the most. Maybe you don't always have the right things to say for any given situation, but you can sit there silently and listen for as long as anyone will have you. And that's good. Especially because some people (mostly women) fucking LOVE talking. Funny, the older you get, the less you tend to talk about the things that really matter to the people closest to you who would be the last to judge you for your emotional, financial, family woes. We all need to get better as humans on laying it all on the line. "Keeping up with the Jones" is such a bullshit mentality that worked great in the 50's, but let's face it. It's 2012 and we're all fucked in our own little ways. Embrace it, accept it, and correct it. If everyone talked about the bad stuff a little more, I think we'd learn more about how to deal with our own problems, which who knows, might be the same. Sorry, off subject there.
The moral of this whole thing (because I haven't typed personal things like this in quite some time and I never intended for it to be this long) is that..well..I guess life can be a real sonofabitch sometimes. There are many horrific blows that you're going to be hit with, but the way you cope with them is what makes all the difference. One thing handled the wrong way can haunt you for years, hell, even your whole life if you're not careful. Do what you need to do, but take a step back every now and then and "check-in" with yourself, so to speak. You can spend years avoiding pain and people that could help you. It gets you absolutely nowhere. You can gain so much "strength" and lose yourself at the same time without giving it much thought, but it will catch up to you. And when it does, you have to learn from in and fix the situation. When it catches up to you it's actually a good thing. Like waking up from a nightmare and getting another chance to dream. Not "cathcing up" to you would equal not really living.
I'm sorry if I ever pushed anyone reading this away. I've destroyed many relationships in my life by ignoring people and realtionship with them and numbing myself by always being busy. I'm pretty sure I lost my best friend because of it. For what it's worth, I'm experiencing the same thing now. I used to think I had so many friends, but I don't know anymore, and I honestly can't say I blame any of them. I stopped being available. I stopped being fun. The phone stopped ringing. It make perfect sense to me. I'm not mad or hurt. I'm just sorry. All those years of work amounted to nothing. I have nothing to show for where I am today except that there is still a roof over my mother's head. I thought I needed to write because, as I mentioned before, it's always been my best form of communicating and kind of therapy too. But, while I keep many writings private, this one is important to be made public. I've never been one to be easy on myself. I wasn't raised like that. I'm well aware of my many fuck-ups and coming clean is important in moving ahead. Which is what I'm trying to do. I'm getting a little to old for fuck-ups. After all, it's been weeks...months...years.
*upon further pondering, I think "hell" would be best if it were modified for each individual. A complete sociopath, for example, wouldn't be phased in the least by the "hell" I described. Shit. Now I want to write a funny story about a group of people that go to "hell" and what it looks like.