I’ve been seeing a psychiatrist since I got into my Masters, so by the end of this two-year program, we’ve developed a pretty good relationship. I don’t think this is a factor into why we get along, but I realized the other day that I like talking to him because it reminds me of pep talks with my dad. I would tell my dad things in small amounts but somewhat frequently, as opposed to 45-minute chats every three weeks, but it still comes down to “How are you doing?/What do you want to tell me about?”, them doing most of the listening with some clarification questions, and most of their input was, “it doesn’t have to be that bad, y’know”. My dad would always throw in “Take it easy”, “Your mom and I are here for you, so take your time and don’t worry about things that we can take care of”, and “Do you need some money?” Sometimes I wish my psychiatrist would ask that last question, but I’ll take what I can get for now. I’ve been getting really tired of my dad being dead and I really need his pep talks at this tumultuous point in my life, but I’m relying on my family, friends, and doctor, which I guess isn’t such a bad substitution.
I’ve really only applied to a handful of jobs (hardly a handful) and they’ve been to Texas or NYC. I didn’t really want to end up back in Mississauga/Toronto, but it’s looking that way. I’ve been dealing with this issue for many months, trying not to be miserable in the fact that if I end up back in Mississauga, it’s because I’ve failed to get a job that I actually wanted somewhere else. My psychiatrist really tries to remind me that it doesn’t have to be forever and that I can still move away for a good job, that lots of people are unemployed for months after graduating, that maybe I won’t hate being back in the area. But I’m so afraid of getting stuck, of never moving away and pursuing what I want because of a good job or someone I love or any other reason that makes me complacent and tied to somewhere I never wanted to stay.
And what is my love life? Is it dismal or non-existent? If it’s non-existent, is that good or bad? Most of me says Good, but the soft human parts of me that crave attention and affection wish I wasn’t so disappointed in every boy that I come across. In the past couple of weeks I’ve had two crushes, which is strange for me because boys rarely pique my interest, and I had some issues coming to terms that these strangers are not interested in me. It’s always a struggle to not take it to heart and to not let it affect my self-esteem, which is teetering increasingly off a precipice as “bikini bods” begin to populate social media the world more. It’s difficult to not get swept up when I live in my head and forget that people don’t fall in love as quickly as I wish and that we don’t live in a fairy tale world.
The soft part of me is so sheltered and hidden away that it really can’t handle the realities of the world. Mostly I hide it away under the callous armor I live in that allows things to roll off my shoulders. This is the dead side that I feel safer with, as it reacts to bad things happening with, “Why would anything good happen?” It is the most pessimistic and safest armor, and I’m sure that the optimists with full hearts are horrified that somebody feels like this most of the time, but when you’re on the verge of heartbreak at any given moment, you learn to deal with every day and every event having the potential to making your hard sides harder and your soft bits softer.
“You think Okay, I get it, I’m prepared for the worst, but you hold out that small hope, see, and that’s what fucks you up. That’s what kills you.”
― Stephen King, Joyland
I am struggling. But I am also okay.
Things are horrible and life is the worst thing to happen to me, but there’s also so much love in my life and the possibility of good.
What’s changing my mind most of all is that this past Friday, my psychiatrist told me to, “be more receptive to life”.
It’s the whole “roll with the punches” and “take life one step at a time” or any of those sayings, but this one resonates with me. I’m always down for adventures and trying new things, but on a small scale, like spontaneous parties or vacations. On a large scale, I want to know what I’m doing. I know that (hopefully) I’ll end up with a job in a city that I don’t mind and that things will be “okay”, but I can’t stand not knowing when or where it’ll be or when I’ll know or what the rest of this unstructured year will hold for me. I don’t know how I’m going to navigate not being in school for the first time in my life or if I should embrace being a 200% cat lady now and forget about boys more than I’ve tried to. But there’s something in the idea of being receptive to what life has to offer that makes me see this treacherous unknown a little differently. As if someone is offering me an adventure that, for once, I’m not immediately down for, but give it a little consideration and maybe it won’t end in the worst thing ever.
He also compared it to a movie, that to know the genre and perhaps a little bit of the plotline is good, but you don’t necessarily want an entire synopsis before you watch the movie. I’d like to say I’ve never been so afraid of the unknown, but truthfully, things have never been that unknown. I always knew that I would end up at one of the few schools that I applied to, and I would either be in the city where I was studying or I would be at home for a few months at a time. My heart hasn’t pulsed for anybody in years and even when it has, it hasn’t felt that it was going to be with that other heart forever. Even with my father being dead, it’s not an unknown that I’m always going to be at least a little bit sad and hate this point in my life.
But I’m going to try to be an optimist and hope that these unknowns turn into good things and that if I’m a little more receptive to what life has to offer, it might work out okay and I need not worry.
(But if it does go to shit then, really, why would anything good happen?)