I have proven to be a very slow learner. One of the fools.
I have faith in the reactions of others.
There is a stubborn tendency in us to reach out for comfort, for solace. As children, we want to be held and nurtured by our parents. We want to feel the safety and comfort of arms around us and soothing voices hushing away our distress. However, as I’ve discovered through the years, with the help of persons who have kindly let me know they don’t give a fuck about my ache, the best and sometimes only comfort to myself is me.
There will a come a day when everyone will get tired of your problems, bored of your complaints. “What do you mean you miss your grandfather, didn’t he die over 15 years ago?” “That is not depression, you are just lazy and self-centered and if you went outside and mowed the lawn now and then, you wouldn’t whine all the time.” “Some people have no egg rolls for dinner and you don’t hear them bitching about life choices.”
And here is my response. Trying to find my way in life and questioning my choices at regular intervals isn’t a folly. I am not a whining, spoiled child of Western culture because I sometimes cry myself to sleep at night, wondering where I took a wrong turn and everything in my life turned to rhinoceros shit. Even as adults, we still seek comfort. We still want to be held and told everything will turn out fine in the end.
Except, not everyone is patient. There will be the rare few and enormous souls who will hold your hand at 4am and listen to you and watch you sob and not throw up at your feet from the sight of bleeding, emotional carnage. There will be the jerks who pity you. Some will act as though pain is self-made and therefore inexcusable.
To me, worse of all are the apathetic. The persons who don’t care to know, and furthermore can’t believe you still haven’t gotten over it. My profound mistake has been having repeated faith in other people. I have thought that if I gave of myself, if I exposed and demonstrated, I would gather the same soothing comfort from my peers as I did from my parents as a child. This is why a shrug and an indifferent grunt have left me distressed. Or why I was shocked when I confided in who I thought was a caring friend and heard, “You already talked about this last year. It’s boring.”
The lesson I’ve learned from these assholes, and several others like them, is to keep a very practiced mask on my face. Everything is fine, and will always be fine. I’ve learned that if I want a mother’s love I should call my mother. I have discovered I am a fantastic source of inner strength and thus should not seek solace from someone who plays with her phone in the restaurant during our entire meal rather than interact with the person across the booth.
Being your own strength is fine and easy for some and a few of us can even fool ourselves into thinking we’ve now a good bead on things. The problems for all of us begin when we find it impossible to keep the facade tidy. Or when we begin to feel like we’re absolute and alone in a planet that’s said to be overwhelmed with swarming bodies. Not everyone has the capacity to rely on their own instincts, or to continue doing so for long. Perhaps this is why our uncles drink with the lights off. The crushing sensation that no one cares about us is inevitably unbearable. Maybe this is why women come home on a Sunday afternoon and find their sons hanging from a beam in the ceiling, looking handsome and still feeling rather warm to the touch.
Wouldn’t you want someone by your side? Look, I’m the last person in the world to advocate hugging. Go watch Full House if you want bullshit tenderness and life lessons learned in 5 minutes. What I do ask is for you to look up from your book, Cobb salad, newspaper, electronic device or even crotch and just listen. Listen to the person in front of you. You don’t have to provide a solution. You don’t even have to kiss this blathering idiot who can’t decide what career he wants or what she needs out of living. Only listen.