Full Circle

Every so often, life makes you painfully aware of how far you have come. Life chose to do this as I drove up to a new location to meet my therapist during one of the lowest weeks I’ve had with depression to date. I thought everything looked too familiar…

I’m sitting with my therapist telling her about how I’m ready for all this suffering to be over when I remembered why it looked familiar. I could see the place through the tiny window in the room – the place I first went to therapy eight years earlier. I couldn’t help to think about how far I have come, rather how far I haven’t come. I still don’t have friends, I am still suffering with my weight and self-esteem, I am still going through crippling depression. Life had come full circle and I couldn’t help but cry.

Had I known I would be sitting across the street eight years later, balling my eyes out about suicide and self harm, about my weight and lack of friendships, I would have killed myself at 15. If only I could go back in time and tell 15 year old me that I was right, it isn’t worth it to live in this world. I couldn’t help but wonder if in eight years I’ll be having the same revelation.

At the same time, I was thinking about all the experiences I have had in the last eight years. Both the good AND the bad. Life isn’t about weighing the good and the bad; it’s about enjoying the good. It’s such a damn shame that depression makes this difficult. I’ve been so focused on my mental health that I’ve let life pass me by. Eight years has gone by and I haven’t let anything change. I’m in my own way, standing between myself and my happiness. In eight more years, after I’ve done everything in the world to change my reality, I can revisit whether or not life is worth it. But for now I need to keep on trucking along.

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Some Salinger Inspiration

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So, here is a quick post that I have wanted to make since I started this. Since I’ve been so busy, this is a post I can get finished! So I LOVE to read and one of my favorite books (other than East of Eden by Steinbeck, Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, among MANY others) is Franny and Zooey by Salinger. I find it incredibly relatable and it is a relatively short read as two combined short stories. I am Franny, essentially it is the story of her mental breakdown because of her disenfranchisement with the rest of the world. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the novella via goodreads:

“I’m sick of just liking people. I wish to God I could meet somebody I could respect.”

“I’m just sick of ego, ego, ego. My own and everybody else’s. I’m sick of everybody that wants to get somewhere, do something distinguished and all, be somebody interesting. It’s disgusting.”

“It’s everybody, I mean. Everything everybody does is so — I don’t know — not wrong, or even mean, or even stupid necessarily. But just so tiny and meaningless and — sad-making. And the worst part is, if you go bohemian or something crazy like that, you’re conforming just as much only in a different way.”

“I don’t know what good it is to know so much and be smart as whips and all if it doesn’t make you happy.”

“She was not one for emptying her face of expression. ”

“You’re lucky if you get time to sneeze in this goddam phenomenal world.”

“I’m not afraid to compete. It’s just the opposite. Don’t you see that? I’m afraid I will compete — that’s what scares me. That’s why I quit the Theatre Department. Just because I’m so horribly conditioned to accept everybody else’s values, and just because I like applause and people to rave about me, doesn’t make it right. I’m ashamed of it. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobody. I’m sick of myself and everybody else that wants to make some kind of a splash.”

“Sometimes I see me dead in the rain.”

“I don’t think it would have all got me quite so down if just once in a while—just once in a while—there was at least some polite little perfunctory implication that knowledge should lead to wisdom, and that if it doesn’t, it’s just a disgusting waste of time! But there never is! You never even hear any hints dropped on a campus that wisdom is supposed to be the goal of knowledge. You hardly ever even hear the word ‘wisdom’ mentioned!”

“Your heart, Bessie, is an autumn garage.”

“Listen, don’t hate me because I can’t remember some person immediately. Especially when they look like everybody else, and talk and dress and act like everybody else….I don’t mean there’s anything horrible about him or anything like that. It’s just that for four solid years I’ve kept seeing Wally Campbells wherever I go. I know when they’re going to be charming, I know when they’re going to start telling you some really nasty gossip about some girl that lives in your dorm, I know when they’re going to ask me what I did over the summer, I know when they’re going to pull up a chair and straddle it backward and start bragging in a terribly, terribly quiet voice–or name-dropping in a terribly quiet, casual voice. There’s an unwritten law that people in a certain social or financial bracket can name-drop as much as they like just as long as they say something terribly disparaging about the person as soon as they’ve dropped his name—that he’s a bastard or a nymphomaniac or takes dope all the time, or something horrible.”

“I just never felt so fantastically rocky in my entire life.”

“Listen, I don’t care what you say about my race, creed, or religion, Fatty, but don’t tell me I’m not sensitive to beauty. That’s my Achilles’ heel, and don’t you forget it. To me, everything is beautiful. Show me a pink sunset, and I’m limp, by God. Anything. Peter Pan. Even before the curtain goes up at Peter Pan I’m a goddamn puddle of tears.”

“In the first place, you’re way off when you start railing at things and people instead of at yourself. ”

“My god, there’s absolutely nothing tenth-rate about you, and yet you’re up to your neck at this minute in tenth-rate thinking.”

AND finally, my absolute favorites by Franny:

“I’m sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobody.”

“And I can’t be running back and fourth forever between grief and high delight.”

Thank you J.D. Salinger for the gem of this book and for the comfort and joy it brings me every time I crack it open and read it time and time again.