I didn’t know what to do. I am living my dream, have amazing friends who make me laugh until I snort, the kind I want to grow old with. I treasure my family. I have everything I’ve ever wanted. But sometimes, I get profoundly sad. It usually never lasts for longer than 2 or 3 days, but it’s definitely there. I think I’m just built this way. My father tells me it’s genetic, that my grandmother was the same way. Nothing is wrong in my life, and I feel completely satisfied, yet I become restless and sad and don’t know why. I think it’s biological (and has nothing to do with PMS), but I refuse to take medication, as I’m not depressed, just prone to bouts of it every few months. And 3 days in a few months isn’t a medication move. So today, I figured out how to improve my mood.
I cried on the elliptical machine. Cried with my eyes closed. Finished working out, laid on a mat and watched the second hand of a clock, thought about gym class and growing up beneath orange gymnasium lights, the squeak of sneakers during dodge ball, climbing rope, locker rooms. I felt more normal remembering how long I’ve been alive, that I’ve had a past that was just me, with gym class, math homework, and swimming lessons. Chorus rehearsal. I played the trombone. I have a rich life. It made me feel better knowing what I’ve accomplished on my own. Even if they were small accomplishments. The lead in the school play, a soccer goal, a massive sticker collection.
I walked 60 blocks listening to chick rock, realizing I needed to feel empowered and strong, and the only way I could do it was on my own. I think it’s why I used to say I couldn’t be in a relationship. I was scared of becoming co-dependent. I turned into a caged animal because I allowed my esteem to come from exterior sources, because I could. There was always a guy sitting there, telling me how pretty I was, how wonderful, smart. Blah. Blah. All the stuff you hear when you’re in a loving relationship. The problem was, I became reliant on what he gave and stopped giving to myself. And that’s when I became a woman I wanted no part of. This small little girl who began to worry if I was wearing the right things, or doing enough. Man, it’s such bullshit. I turned into someone else because I let myself. I relied. I weighed. I felt empty and alone, worried I’d be left, worried if I did things the wrong way, I’d ruin things. Fcuk that. I am worth. A lot. As I am, no make up, frizz, stank, whatever.
In relationships, I was allowing myself to rely on someone other than myself for esteem. Man, that’s just bad news. So to build it up, I let myself cry, realizing the sadness would be temporary. I gave myself permission to be miserable. But I put a limit on it… didn’t allow myself to stew in it for days. “Enough.” Then I played my music LOUD. I gave me what I give good. Love.
I had to get back to loving me, knowing what I have is amazing because I’m the only one who can love the way I do. I’m the only me. I can stand on my own, don’t need anyone to fix me. Can nurture, protect, and love. Me. Alone. I give that good. I don’t need to hear it to know it. I don’t need confirmation or praise. I don’t need.
After twenty blocks, I fcuking sang out loud. Top of my lungs loud. I’ve done it in the mountains of Italy, and dammit, in Times Square. Let them look. I don’t give a shit. That’s my voice. The one God gave me, and that is the one that matters most. I’m precious because I’m alive. Yes, I get sad; it’s part of me. I don’t need any guy to walk around with a tool belt trying to fix me. I have my own Dewalt drill, and I’ll figure it out because I was put on this earth with the skills to take care of me. And I’m not giving up my tool belt. Because I believe in me. In my ability to stand tall, shoulders back, and sing with my eyes closed. I have my own strength; I know who I am, and everything I need in this life is packed in these walls, in this skin. Proud. Strong. Tall. All in here. And knowing that, let’s me be in a relationship, alongside someone who won’t try to fix me or tell me who I should be. Me is good enough.