I haven’t written a word lately.
I’ve been trying this new thing. It’s called privacy. Pretty amazing.
My whole life has been on this blog for the past three years, and whenever I go on a date, undoubtedly the date knows way more about me than he ever should.
Me: So, do you have any brothers or sisters (why is that even a common question?)?
Guy: I know you don’t. Ok, I Googled you. (blushing) I also know you are from Chicago, you don’t like it when people sit on your bed in street clothes, you recently went to Europe with your mom, and you have a white patch of pubic hair.
The thing is, I don’t even have a white patch of pubic hair anymore. That’s what I’ve spent the last two years in psychology school learning: We are not our stories. I am not what you read here. I am who I am in one moment, and that moment is but a flash of time in my life. I am no longer sad about my mom selling my childhood home. I am no longer going through an existential crisis. I am no longer really into Renaissance fairs (okay, never was). I’m just whatever I am rightnow and that is already gone. To quote Mitch Hedberg: We’re younger in every picture. (his response when people say ‘This is a picture of me when I was younger.’)
My psychology program ended in August, and I’m still feeling the echo from its core. Nobody really tells you what you’re getting into when you start any type of psychological study. You think you’re going to learn how to help other people or figure out how to manipulate family members. But once you realize how the human brain works, you become aware of all the lies you’ve ever told yourself: I’m not good enough to ask for more money. I have to be prettier in order to have a boyfriend. People who invite me to events on Facebook don’t really mean to invite me.
Stupid shit that makes you feel like a stupid shit.
This is a huge awareness. You have to re-evaluate every thought you’ve ever had. You have to start everything over. You have to look at every single relationship/challenge/tragedy/goal in your life and ask if it’s really for-real-real. Was that really a big deal or did I make it out to be one in my head? Was that a real relationship or was I just feeling unworthy of a partner so I got married and played along? Is the relationship with my parents really that bad or am I holding them to unreasonable standards? Am I really insulted by someone’s political views, or is my ego just telling me I am? I MEAN EVERYTHING. Every. Damn. Thing. Becomes. A. Question.
I even took a step back from writing and asked myself if I’m writing this blog because I want to or because it was the easiest way to make me feel like a ‘real’ writer? Or is it because here I can say weird things about myself, meet others who relate, and then not feel so weird? Or, is it just for the validation I get when people say I’m funny, (quick! I need a joke right here SO PEOPLE WILL SAY I’M FUNNY!!)?
Do you know how torturous this questioning can be? It is blood curdling hard. Tears on the living room floor and while driving and while showering hard. It requires some super ‘roided out raging strength to sit down and be honest when there are millions of other things to do with your day. “No, I would not like to go to that movie with you. I think I’m just going to stay home and ponder my childhood instead.”
If I were to talk to my 2010 self, she would tell me that 2012 looks pretty pathetic. She would say that I don’t yet own a home or have a relationship or kids. She would say that I’m a failure (Uff, and the 1993 self would be devastated to know I don’t have six kids by now—- all with names that begin with N). But when I sat down on New Year’s Eve to make a list of everything I did in 2012, I filled up twelve whole sheets of paper (big ones). This year taught me that my biggest life accomplishments are invisible. And they all happened this year (So take that, 2010 Laurenne. And stop dating that DJ.).
I hardly made any money this year. I didn’t publish the book I wrote. I spent hours screaming in my car. But I let go of so much fear. I completely abolished so many misunderstandings I had about myself and the world. When school was all over, I sat down to tell myself the good things about me, and that conversation lasted an hour. Two years ago, it would have been less than a minute. I’m no longer hard on myself. I’m no longer trying to prove my self-worth to my parents, the world, or God. I felt every single emotion that exists at some point this year, and they all led to now. Now I’m feeling calm. Now I am truly just here. No story. Just here. And I’m cool with that. I have no idea where to go from here. I have no idea what I want. Yet, I’m still calmer and more optimistic than I’ve ever been.
This year was something that goes up and down (something less cliche than a roller coaster or tidal wave. I’M SO LAZY AND IM OKAY WITH THAT). I was selfless and really fucking selfish too. I was encouraging one minute and then missing the next. I was the most scared I’ve ever been and the bravest. I cried harder than when I was born, and I laughed more from my gut. I was the ugliest and the most beautiful. I felt confused one day and enlightened the other. I made horrible jokes. I asked impossible questions. I probably insulted you.
It was hard to be my friend during these past two years. And probably harder to be my family. So, I really and truly deeply thank you for being there. For talking with me. For pondering. For calling. For making me laugh. For taking me in. For making me get dressed and go out. For listening. For seeing me. For just showing up to life the way you do.
Thank you to everyone for existing and being part of my 2012 and my life. Here’s to doing crazy shit in 2013 and analyzing it later.
I love you.