I can’t decide if I want to start this passage with a quote from a 14-year-old that is, “I’d like to do as little as possible without being legally dead,” or one from J.R.R. Tolkien, “Not all those who wander are lost.” I don’t know what that says about me, but I believe both of them are accurate and incredibly insightful. Actually, I’m not too sure about Tolkien; I wander quite often and would consider myself very lost.
It took me 26 years to find what I am passionate about and even then, I still want to buy a one-way ticket to Costa Rica and sell snow cones to tourists for the rest of my life. I often pretend that my life could end up like that one movie with Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson where they live on an island and dive for treasure.
My aunt told me the other day that every night when she goes to sleep, she likes to pretend that she’s not going to wake up in the morning and that helps all of her worries melt away. I’m considering implementing this strategy.
Depression is not funny, but it kind of is. You walk around in a fog, acting like yourself, laughing like yourself, being completely inappropriate like yourself, but you’re really just dead inside. You’re not sad or angry or happy or irritated, just numb. You don’t look forward to anything or care about anything. I’m sorry, I suddenly forgot why I thought there is anything funny about this.
Let’s go back to the 14-year-old. At 26 I said, “I’m just going to lay here until my dad tells me he will no longer support me laying here and then I’m just going to lay on the street until it’s all over.” I think the 14-year-old summed it up better. That’s how we feel, like simply existing until our bodies decide we don’t need to exist anymore, rather than our minds. Essentially we want to be comatose. They say time heals all wounds. I wonder if I were to slip into a coma for like a year or two if I would wake up and be emotionally healed, aside from the potential damage that being unconscious for a year of your life might cause. Probably not. It’s probably like when you go to sleep and wake up and then get that horrible, tight, anxious feeling in your chest because you’ve had to remind yourself of the current state of your life.
I read that one of the possible side effects of Zoloft is weight gain. I can’t imagine that anyone who packs on 25 lbs manages to become any less depressed. Maybe I’m shallow and vain. I think I have a lot of good qualities. I think I’m attractive and I’m in shape. I make people laugh often. I think I’m considerate and thoughtful and polite. I’m passionate and a hard worker. I would say that in general, I am quite fond of myself, which I feel like is maybe not common for depressed people. Maybe that’s why I am depressed—because the rest of the world can’t see how great I am. It’s like when exceptionally smart people get depressed because they are too aware of how disjointed and damning the world we live in really is. I’m just kidding. I’m not depressed because the world is incapable of seeing how impressive of a human I really am. Or maybe I am. Who knows?
I’m on an airplane right now. I like airplanes because they take you places and I am exceptionally great at running away from things. Of course, during my 26 years on earth I have come to terms with the fact that I can’t actually run away from my problems. I can, however, run to new places and create new problems for myself and for some reason that is an oddly comforting thought. I’m not running away right now though. I’m going home, whatever that means. It’s where the heart is they say, but I believe mine is scattered in various places throughout the world. I guess I’m just generous like that.
Running away is when I do things like pack all of my crap and move to New York without telling anyone or when I take a backpack and ride a Greyhound bus around the South with no itinerary or general direction or reason to explain my wandering. That’s what I do. I wander to places and very rarely can give a socially adequate reason for why I do the things that I do or go the places I go. I like to collect experiences. That’s the reality of it. I live for the story. Maybe I’m dramatic in that sense, but I know that at the end of my life—whenever that may be—I may have nothing, but I will hundreds of stories. I do not know how I will die, but I do know one thing, and that is that I will die interesting—even if only to myself.
I like talking to strangers. I always have. Some people collect spoons or shot glasses or rocks, but I collect nameless humans. One of my favorite past times is going to a bar in a strange place and striking up a conversation with someone from a completely different walk of life than myself. I think it’s the most beautiful thing in the world. You chat and share stories and insight and know that you’ll never see each other again. Some of my favorite people are the ones who I know virtually nothing about, not even their names because you get to preserve them in that moment where you were just two strangers at a bar, being exactly the person the other needed at the time without even trying.
Depression is funny. Let’s go back to that. It’s funny because you feel like literally no one else in the world has ever felt your pain or could possibly understand and then you’re like, “shut the fuck up Alycia, literally millions of people have felt this or worse.” Then you start thinking about the starving children in Africa and the blind and homeless and disabled and remember how ungrateful you are and you feel like you should go for a jog or look at a mountain because you can. Of course, you don’t do those things because that doesn’t really work. Reminding yourself how much worse it could be doesn’t really work. Like when you hear a story on the radio about how an engaged woman found out she was no longer engaged when she saw her fiancé in the engagement section of the newspaper with another woman, you don’t feel better. You basically just applaud her for not phoning in from prison and then ruminate in the fact that people are unimaginably fucked up.
I had a job interview a few weeks ago and they asked how people would describe me. Of course, I gave answers like, “dedicated, passionate, a modern day Mother Theresa.” If I was being honest, I might have said, “sarcastic, troubled, confusing, a great story.” Maybe that’s what I am for others—a great story. The person you tell people about because they are interesting, but too disjointed to actually keep around in your life. That makes it sound like I have no friends. I have lots of friends. I am many things, but a loner is not one. In fact, I have too many friends because I find humans painfully interesting. I am positive that 75% of them probably don’t even consider me a friend, but rather someone they met once or knew briefly. I, however, perhaps have an unorthodox definition of friendship. A friend to me is just a human I found interesting and would grab a drink with at any point in my life, even if we just met one time.
I’m trying to sleep on the plane and all I can think about is how the next tattoo I get in a semi-inebriated state must be on my ass. If I do nothing else in this life of mine, I will get an ass tattoo. Do not ask me why, just know that it is going to happen and I don’t know what it will be, but it will be perfect because there is no such thing as an imperfect ass tattoo. It may be deep, meaningful and poetic or it may have no meaning at all. It doesn’t really matter because it will be on my ass, which automatically negates the possibility of anyone taking it seriously.