Usually, I type up a reflection around my birthday, which I’ve been doing for the past three or four years. This year, however, I completely missed an opportunity because I decided to take on five classes (three being the regular load), and thus, I sat behind my computer, complaining about things, wishing things were easier…
But lo and behold, I finally have a moment to perform my two favorite pastimes: to collect and to dump. (I’d advise you to also get some coffee if you intend to read through all this rubbish.)
Normally, I’d remark on some pitfalls and then offer up my learnings from them, spin it with some Christian-faith-life-makes-everything-go-round; but this time, I don’t have much to say in terms of my growth. I don’t understand why, since my inner mind is a bit more systematic and theological, yet I’m drawing hardly anything out of my recollections. Perhaps I’ve become delusional because of all the writing I’ve done, but I think it’s simply:
This year was tough. Very tough. (Not to the level of Andy Dufresne, but metaphorically speaking.) In a rough outline:
- I got rejected by women,
- I watched my church get torn apart by stuff I still can’t comprehend,
- I had to move away from friends and community I had grown with for nine years,
- I took on a mountain of debt to study for a job field that will probably keep me in debt for a very long time,
- I burned a few bridges along the way,
- and I burned myself out.
In a regular in-person prompt, I wouldn’t say all this. It’d be like hanging a dark cloud that gives a torrential monsoon that nobody likes.
Again, at the end of it all, I’m tired. Maybe aside from the first point, everything else was pretty heavy – relatively speaking. Collectively, though, and now that I can see these events sprawled out in front of me, I realize that I am alone.
Yes, I have friends in film school, and I have friends at my local church. I still have some friends back home, and I have friends from home that are conveniently nearby. I would consider my roommates my friends. (Hopefully, they return the same sentiment…) But at the end of the day, I’m alone – with my thoughts, and with whatever dual personalities I’m currently embodying for screenwriting purposes.
At this point, I’d imagine some of my friends would recount a Michael Jackson tune, which would probably boost my spirits. I’d take anything, really – as long as it’s not drugs or alcohol or medication or really weird metaphysical treatment.
Analyzing myself (as I often do on the page), I realize that I crave intimacy. Just to have that immediacy of talking to someone heart-to-heart, relinquishing problems and finding solutions, recounting the good days and looking forward to those not yet come to pass – and not get criticized for sounding cliché. (Honestly, some people just need to lighten the hell up – a little cliché never hurt anybody.)
“Oh, don’t worry. You’ll find somebody.”
I call bullshit. Really, I do. If God had wanted me to partner with a woman for the rest of my life, it would’ve happened by now or would be on the way to that. Maybe I’m not trying hard enough, or maybe my standards / tastes / preferences are too high / specified / whatever. Yet, for this last year (plus change), I’ve been realizing that maybe I’m just not going to find that one person. Sure, I can get married at 40 or 50 or settle for just anybody, but if you are thinking that, please, just shut up and listen to me.
Is it really so hard to listen? To just shut down that part of your brain that wants to hurry up and fix things, instead of realizing that this is a human in front of me with something rooting much deeper than a cut knee or a sprained ankle or a TFCC injury… Have we come to that age where people just want to move to the next thing, and leave those with anchors behind?
And here’s part of why I’m so pragmatic. People keep offering me solutions, but don’t really want to empathize. They just want to seal the crack with some duct tape instead of actually learning how to properly amend the breakage. They want to slap an applicable label on me and process accordingly. (At this point, it should be clear that I’m an INFT – for all you Myers-Briggs whores.) As a result, in my rashness, I end up doing the same out of perpetual influence.
Never once has someone just said, “Hey, let’s go for a walk.” (And to not have the pretense of catching Pokémon.) To just hear me out, not say a word, and then sit there with me in the silence – for as long as needed, maybe more. (Maybe at a park underneath stars with perfect lighting and impeccable background, but has nothing to do with the story being told…)
I think I really have lost sight of what I’m reaching. I can ingest scripture and sermon until my eyes and ears are sore, but I’m in a trench with tools that only do so much. I carry on with routine, and if the day is empty, I have to find something to do – or I feel completely useless, like I’m on the verge of being thrown away. (Maybe not that dramatic, but you get the idea.)
In philosophy, the smartest thing stated was “I don’t know.” A paradox, though, since the pretense is that Socrates did know how to solve the problem. Nonetheless, I do not know. I don’t feel any smarter by stating that. I don’t know why I feel this way – perhaps I need more Jesus in my life. I don’t know if there’ll be a Shawshank-like redemption for me at the end of wherever the tunnel ends.
All I know is the trudging plateau of hot California weather mixed with a gauntlet of never-ending, caught-in-the-middle-of-whirlwind-situations lifestyle, topped by having to drive across dried land for everything.
So yeah. That’s been my year. Hope you enjoyed your coffee.
Happy Bastille Day to all my French brethren.