Public Announcement: I am miserable right now. I have a hard time admitting that because it makes me feel like a complete failure. It is what it is people.
Here's the problem: I have always, always, always expected life to be one big happy surprise. Like how you could count on candy after school on Tuesdays or Steak N Shake on Fridays or presents in December for your parents' anniversary. Or surprise day trips to St. Louis or Chicago. Fall Drives. Grandma's House. Slumber parties. Playing with our cousins on the farm. Awesome vacations every summer. New Puppy. New Kitten. Getting read a book every night before bed. My point is on ANY given day, you could wake up and greet a day that held something awesome or fun or generous or loving or.....just good. Somedays it was insignificant: Home Made Waffles! Somedays it was significant: A trip to Grant's Farm! But I don't think I am deluding myself when I say it was wonderful. My childhood was wonderful.
And then I grew up.
Somewhere along the line I should have stopped expecting kittens and waffles. I should have learned that things fall apart. To not expect happiness, to enjoy it in its brevity when it appears, and to not look for it again. To just let it happen and let it go. And by happiness, I don't mean life long inner peace and contentment because I know and understand the big picture of life. My spirituality takes care of that. It's the day to day that kills me.
Here is a perfect example: The mail. Almost everyday, I go to my mailbox. The closer I get to it, my excitement mounts. What will be in my PO Box today? A card? A letter? Money? Pictures? Presents? It could be anything! Yay! Sunshine! Birds chirping! Rainbows! Ponies! And I put the key into my PO Box and my breath catches as I turn the key to reveal....................a postcard from Bank of America that says (and I paraphrase): "You IDIOT! Why you always think you have money in your account when you DO NOT is beyond us. And now we will charge you a fee. You suck at life. Love, Bank of America." AND a statement from my dentist that says: Dear Meghaun, last month you owed us your firstborn but since you have made your monthly payment we now only require your arm and leg. Sincerely, Dr. Dentist. PS Don't forget that you still need at least 4 more root canals." Or maybe I get a catalog from Pottery Barn WITH A TURKEY ON THE COVER! All that is missing is a note that says: "Dear Meghaun, we wish you were dead SO much that we thought we would try to kill you by sending you the thing you fear most through the mail. Yours Truly, the UNIVERSE."
Logic, common sense, and probability have already told you what I am about to: the mail seldom lives up to my expectations. Logic, common sense, and probability should also therefore dictate that I adjust my thinking and stop expecting such greatness from the mail. This would end the almost daily hate spirals I find myself swirling in. LOGIC HAS NO PLACE HERE.
Another example: People I am close to emotionally or maybe just people in general. I am always expecting people to surprise me with something wonderful. "Surprise: I came home just to see you because I love you and miss you!!" "Surprise, I think you are awesome and I just wanted to tell you so." "Surprise! I couldn't help but notice you are becoming a lunatic recluse and so I thought I would stop by just to say hi!" "Surprise! I heard you have a blog where you talk to yourself and I thought I would bring you this basket of cookies, prozac, and vicodin." "Surprise! I know that you have zero self esteem and are beyond insecure and I just wanted to tell you-you are worth it. You have value. And I see it even when no one else does." "Surprise, we don't care if you surf the internet and text all day! We want to give you a $25 dollar an hour raise." "Surprise! I want you to marry me and have my adorable babies and we will get through this completely crappy world together and work really hard to make sure it doesn't all fall apart."
Those are just a few examples. Off the top of my head.
And I used to be able to see the humor in it more. The "Murphy's Law" of it all. I could find the funny. Maybe it was dark funny, but funny. And I would laugh and let everyone laugh with me. And I am finding that to be less and less so. I may find the funny for others. To let them laugh. To allow them to be comfortable. But myself, I don't find it funny. I am no longer amused. Here is an example: Almost two years ago, when I first moved out here, I somehow got shingles. When I am stressed out and at the end of my rope, I always manage to contract some bizarre illness that generally strikes people twice my age. And shingles was the most hilarious example of that ever. I was in miserable pain, but I definitely saw the humor in the whole situation. Fast forward to almost two months ago: Vertigo. Same kind of situation. Lots of stress. Bizarre health ailment that 10 different people will immediately tell you someone they know got-and that person was well over 60! But this time, it just wasn't funny to me. I told it funny for other people, but on the inside I found no humor in it. At all.
(Update 11/1/2010: I recently retold that story and I actually did find it quite funny. I wrote this on a bad day. Hey! We all have them.)
It scared the living daylights out of me. I truly thought I was dying. I didn't know what was wrong with me. And while I like the person I had to rely on (my roommate), what I was thinking was: This is not who I want to be there for me if something is truly wrong. This is not who I want sitting next to my hospital bed. And the people I want most are far away. Or are my best friend, whom I protect so vigilantly, I couldn't tell her because I was worried the stress would be too much for her.
When you are a person who expects everyday to bring some glorious surprise, a just average day with no glorious surprise is bad enough. But when the day actually brings something undesirable or distressing or just plain bad? Those are the days where I get in bed and hide under the covers and start to contemplate how I can keep from ever, ever coming out.
Oh but wait! Maybe tomorrow I will get some really great mail! Kittens! Money! Love Letters!
Thus it begins. All over again. And at the least, maybe tomorrow I will open my mailbox, see that it contains a very, very depressing missive from US Department of Education in regards to my student loans, and I will laugh. Because this is my life.