I have grown to love secrecy. It seems to be the one thing that can make modern life mysterious or marvelous to us. The commonest thing is delightful if one only hides it. When I leave town now I never tell my people where I am going. If I did, I would lose all my pleasure. It is a silly habit, I dare say, but somehow it seems to bring a great deal of romance into one’s life.
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
It’s taboo to admit that you’re lonely. You can make jokes about it, of course. You can tell people that you spend most of your time with Netflix or that you haven’t left the house today and you might not even go outside tomorrow. Ha ha, funny. But rarely do you ever tell people about the true depths of your loneliness, about how you feel more and more alienated from your friends each passing day and you’re not sure how to fix it. It seems like everyone is just better at living than you are.
A part of you knew this was going to happen. Growing up, you just had this feeling that you wouldn’t transition well to adult life, that you’d fall right through the cracks. And look at you now. La di da, it’s happening.
Your mother, your father, your grandparents: they all look at you like you’re some prized jewel and they tell you over and over again just how lucky you are to be young and have your whole life ahead of you. “Getting old ain’t for sissies,” your father tells you wearily.
You wish they’d stop saying these things to you because all it does is fill you with guilt and panic. All it does is remind you of how much you’re not taking advantage of your youth.
You want to kiss all kinds of different people, you want to wake up in a stranger’s bed maybe once or twice just to see if it feels good to feel nothing, you want to have a group of friends that feels like a tribe, a bonafide family. You want to go from one place to the next constantly and have your weekends feel like one long epic day. You want to dance to stupid music in your stupid room and have a nice job that doesn’t get in the way of living your life too much. You want to be less scared, less anxious, and more willing. Because if you’re closed off now, you can only imagine what you’ll be like later.
Every day you vow to change some aspect of your life and every day you fail. At this point, you’re starting to question your own power as a human being. As of right now, your fears have you beat. They’re the ones that are holding your twenties hostage.
Stop thinking that everyone is having more sex than you, that everyone has more friends than you, that everyone out is having more fun than you. Not because it’s not true (it might be!) but because that kind of thinking leaves you frozen. You’ve already spent enough time feeling like you’re stuck, like you’re watching your life fall through you like a fast dissolve and you’re unable to hold on to anything.
I don’t know if you ever get better. I don’t know if a person can just wake up one day and decide to be an active participant in their life. I’d like to think so. I’d like to think that people get better each and every day but that’s not really true. People get worse and it’s their stories that end up getting forgotten because we can’t stand an unhappy ending. The sick have to get better. Our normalcy depends upon it.
You have to value yourself. You have to want great things for your life. This sort of shit doesn’t happen overnight but it can and will happen if you want it.
Do you want it bad enough? Does the fear of being filled with regret in your thirties trump your fear of living today?
We shall see.
She’s going to die.
That’s what’s going to happen.
She’ll kill herself.
She’ll kill herself over something which doesn’t seem to matter.
Virginia Woolf, The Hours
I can imagine my obituary. The truth of my existence will be removed and replaced with imagined good. The reality of how I lived will be avoided and changed and phrases will be dropped in like Beloved Son, Loving Brother, Reliable Friend, Hardworking Student. People will change their view of me, from reckless Fuck-Up to helpless Martyr, from dangerous Fool to sad Victim, from addicted Asshole to unfortunate Child. They will say things like my God, what a waste. Oh, what he could have been. He had so much going for him, what happened? And it will be fucking false, every single word of it will be false.
I know who I am and I know what I’ve done and I know why I am about to die. I have faced the reality and the reality is simple. I am an Alcoholic and I am a drug Addict and I am a Criminal. That is what I am and who I am and that is how I should be remembered. No happy lies, no invented memories, no fake sentimentality, no tears. I do not deserve tears. I deserved to be portrayed honestly and I deserve nothing more and I start to write an honest obituary in my own mind. I write the obituary that should appear, but never will. I start at the beginning and I stick to the facts and I move to what I know will be my end.
James Frey, A Million Little Pieces