Sometimes, I have a great day and wonder what I did to deserve it; was I exceptionally kind to a person in need? Did I make someone else’s day a little better? Is life giving me a break from the stress and worry that plagues me? The only thoughts I have involve the joy of living and the beauty that surrounds me, be it the gentle, comforting growth of spring or the cool, blanketing rains of late September, and I revel in the magic of living.
Today is not one of those days.
Today, I have been attempting the reconciliation of my main philosophies on life: “It’s going to be okay” and “You can’t count on anyone”.
My general approach to life is to take what I’m given and roll with it; I can’t have the things I want, so I might as well want the things that are thrust upon me. It doesn’t really bother me that I don’t have money to spoil myself with, like buying some new music for my MP3 player, or investing in a nice pair of shoes, or buying one of the glorious cookbooks that I saw at Barnes & Noble last weekend. I’m pretty much certain that I can live without those things. Heck, I have days where I’m thankful that I simply have the opportunity sleep in a moderately comfortable bed instead of curling up on a warped wooden park bench just after midnight and waiting for the police to drag me off in the morning and haul my ass to the nearest station. I wake up early most weekends because I love watching the sun crawl across the trees outside my window. I crawl out of my warm bed to go to church on Sunday mornings because I want to feel close to God and wrap myself in His love, to be inspired by the silence of three hundred heads bowed in prayer for a better world and know that things are going to be okay.
But, on most of those mornings, I feel nothing: none of the warmth or safety or comfort that my grandfather spoke about before he died, or the fiery passion and surety that inspired millions to live and die in the name of a Hebrew carpenter, or even the childish comfort that Jesus loves, this I know because the Bible told me so. I don’t feel compassion or sympathy radiating from the people surrounding me, and in return I remain neutral in the face of their existences. I know that, if I stop coming to mass, few (if any) of my “brothers and sisters in Christ” will care that I’m gone. My life will mean nothing to them until it disappears; then they’ll regurgitate a couple of prayers for my “eternal soul”, mumble apologies to my parents and promptly forget the very little they knew of me.
I do not ask my friends or family for any of these things—comfort, patience, a listening ear, consolation—because I know that they won’t be able to help me in the way that I need. My mother’s solution to problems is to “date around” and find a new man. My father shrugs, looks awkward, and starts mumbling something about the weather or the condition of the fireplace. My siblings are too busy growing up and learning about their own wants and needs to deal with mine. The few friends that I have are my study buddies from classes, people to work with on the latest Physics assignment or discuss what the Chemistry professor meant when he asked us to get ready for our “creeker kwees”.
I certainly don’t blame my loved ones for these things; my parents grew up in a different world, where “going steady” was the biggest accomplishment of a girl’s high school career, and my siblings shouldn’t have to shoulder my burden just because ‘we’re family’. I have instead learned to rely on very little beside myself, even though I want someone to count on more than many other things in this world.
There is no stability in life, and for me this is a major problem. I like stability. It makes me very happy to have some level of consistency, instead of constantly worrying how I’ll pay for my next consolidated university bill and whether or not I’ll be able to pass my classes.
I am also, despite all appearances and indications otherwise, a very romantic person. I want to write love letters a man who would save them and read them and know just how deeply I care. It completely makes my day when a guy stops and opens a door for me, regardless of our level of acquaintance. I hope to wake up to a phone call from someone who just wants to tell me that he loves me and hopes that I have a good day. I smile when I see two birds flirting as they hop from one branch to the next, standing close to each other and looking perfectly content. I cry a little when I see elderly couples holding hands and sitting on park benches, sitting in silence and simply enjoying the presence of their love. It hurts so much when I make a logical list of my wants and needs, and discover, yet again, that the probability of my finding true love, or even warm regard, is practically zero. I will most likely not have the opportunity to marry a sweet, funny, thoughtful man who would enjoy waking up with me and having toast and eggs for breakfast, buying a house and raising a family with me, loving each other and believing that God is there for us, growing old and holding hands as we walk through our garden in the springtime, remembering our first date and our first kiss and our first “I love you” and knowing that we fit together perfectly.
It is statistically improbable that I will find a “happily ever after”, yet I foolishly continue to hope for one, to fall in love and find my best friend, only to find out, after a year, that he doesn’t want me any more. I am tired of being crushed. Many days, I wish that I could simply stop loving because the investment is not offset by the gains.
Perhaps this is simply a phase that I will recover from, and feel slightly ashamed of; perhaps these feelings are part of a cycle that will continue to haunt me long after I think I should be happy. Regardless of the situation, I am inclined to think that, in spite of the ever-growing population of this world, we are all very much alone.