Life is exhausting. I know I’m the first person to notice that, so you’re welcome for mentioning it.
On a happier note, I stood up for myself at work and it went well. I didn’t trip or pee myself or run into a wall. I didn’t stumble (too badly) over my words. I didn’t break down hysterically crying. I DID mention how uncomfortable I was, but that’s pretty much as good/bad as it got. My boss is awesome.
Anyway, that went well and then I got chicken for dinner and fell asleep on the couch so in case you were wondering, I’m a depressed, divorced, 50 year old man who’s about to have his reawakening in a mediocre rom-com.
I hope life is a movie.
Day 122 – Rom com hopes
I avoided mentioning it for a few days so I could process everything…
The benefits of being single are: doing whatever you want all the time, not having to answer to anyone for any reason, not having anyone to judge you or criticize you or yell at you.
The benefits of being in a relationship are: companionship, someone to be there for you, someone who loves you no matter how annoying/weird/frustrating you are, someone to make you laugh, someone to lean on, someone who understands you, someone to share your life with, someone to love and be loved by.
Sometimes I think the grief is too real and has changed me too much. Sometimes I think it has rendered me incapable of seeing what I should be doing vs what I want to do in the moment vs what’s good for me in the long run.
Love feels more practical and comfortable and common than what any source of media would ever lead me to believe. Movies, books, songs, poems, television shows, and my own hormones circa high school made me think that love would feel epic. And then I notice all the people who had that undeniable flare up – that all-consuming fire of passion – fizzle out. They have nothing leftover once it’s gone. So despite the “normalness” that is my love, it endures.
I choose the relationship every single day. It’s not even a question. But I wonder what effect grief has on me…
Day 87 – Choices
Good news, I guess. Again, not about the thing I really care about, but about something else. Work.
I make pro/con lists. That’s what I do. I make them about everything except: should I spend an obscene amount of money I don’t have online shopping for clothes, and then leave town so it’s a Russian Roulette of whether the stuff will get stolen off my front porch or still be there when I return? It’s a fun game.
If I take the proffered job, I make money and I get a good credit from a good network and have stable work for about 6 months. If I don’t take the job, I can go to film festivals and be available for work that is MUCH closer to what I want to do and go home to see my parents and grieve together and also help them.
I was hoping making that list would help. It didn’t. This is all I thought about today. When I wasn’t buying clothes online.
Day 79 – To Work or Not To Work?
Nothing like completely blowing a good opportunity to remind you that you suck and you’re not moving forward in your career.
I have to say, it did feel GOOD. Even though I stunk up the place, I really, really loved getting to do that. Wasn’t as fun for the audience, that’s for sure, but it was glorious for me. Nervous and poor performance and all. Even bombing felt good.
But it really reminded me of how much work I should be putting in if I’m going to justify being away from the people that I love and not being present in my grief. I ignore it. I distract myself. I deny it. Every once in a while, because I can’t think past it, I live in it, but for the most part, I try to get as far away from it as one can get from their own skin and bones. Which can’t be easily justified or rectified if I’m busy failing at other things. All it really does is remind me. You just set up shop, didn’t you? You think you fucking live here, don’t you? I can’t deny everything that happened. I can’t pretend this isn’t my life. But I can NOT talk about it. Which is what I’m doing. Which is why, when I come home from absolutely destroying opportunities to advance my career, I sit down to a silent reminder from my (traitorous) brain telling me, “you don’t deserve this anyway. You should be somewhere else. You should be helping. You should be sad.”
My brain needs a vacation. Or a chill pill. Or alcohol.
Day 71 – Blowing Opportunities
Here’s the thing… The thing is… I can’t articulate the thing. I spent the evening at a work-related workshop I got invited to, and I can’t quite capture my feelings. On the one hand, it felt good to be in a space working on my craft. On the other hand, I don’t think I had a lot to contribute tonight. Maybe I was off my game. Maybe the material wasn’t accessible to me. Maybe the writing worked well enough that it was easy to ignore the flaws but not so well that it blew me away. Mediocrity, or something just north of there, is easy to gloss over because it’s hard to correct.
So, instead, I ate chips and thought about whether or not my stuff would land. Would I be mediocre without a solution? I had no notes for the first person, but I honestly thought it was okay. It felt like a scene I’d seen before (do NOT pardon the pun), so it must work because someone has put money behind that at one time or another and it probably met with some level of success. So who am I to say it doesn’t work? It DOES work, it just isn’t exactly what I would want it to be. But who am I?
Should I tell her that if I wrote it, I’d want it to show more push and pull, more fighting, more struggle, more frustration, more lightness, more everything? Or should I smile and nod while eating a seemingly endless bag of chips, which is what I actually did?!
And then there’s that very real moment where I had to wonder – really, really wonder – if what I would bring in is actually better. Or worse. Or the same. Or neither. I listened and I watched and I felt like I was truly being faced with things that needed a lot of work. Great. Let’s work them. But why these are all working writers and directors? What are they doing differently than I am? Maybe they’re not bitching about it online… Hard to know for sure. I don’t know anything anymore.
But then I left my confused state behind in that theatre momentarily when I got a text from my parents bringing me back down to the reality of my life. I hate those texts. I hate that I look at my phone afraid I’ll have one. I hate that I hate hearing from them and I hate that I hate the way even a confused moment can seem “good” in comparison. I just wanted a normal moment where I thought about my career and not about the pain and the struggle and the fears and the deep down awfulness of the rest of everything. Thank goodness for modern technology reminding me that that’s not possible.
Day 64 – I Don’t Know Anything Anymore
Oh my lord. I just saw “Eighth Grade” and I swear I’ve never had so many feels. All the feels. The actress and storyline are so essentially relatable and loveable and cringy and cute. I laughed, I cried, I remembered all the times kids were mean to me…
Growing up is never easy. Life isn’t fair. Someone said those things to me on repeat as a kid, usually my mom probably, but nothing reminds you so obviously of that fact until you see a cinematic throwback to experiences that mirrored your own to make you sit up and hate/love the person in front of you as you beg her not to make a bad decision.
I don’t think we ever stop growing up. When I look back on me and my decisions a year ago, a week ago, yesterday, I immediately cringe and try to find a hole to go crawl into. I stay up and night and wonder WHY IN THE NAME OF GOD DID I SAY THAT? THAT’S SO EMBARRASSING. And then I think of something I DID that was actually worse than what I said and all I can think is, AND THAT, TOO? CAN YOU JUST BE NORMAL FOR ONCE?
No, no I cannot be. I must be weird, it’s my only option, it seems. I must draw awkward and embarrassing attention to myself. I must relive those moments when I’m trying to sleep and get jolted awake again from the horrible memories. I must push people away with my awkwardness and then wonder why I don’t have any friends. Some people have to keep up their perfect Instagram stories. This is just my cross to bear…
Day 54 – Eighth Grade and Growing Up