Saturday, April 13, 2013

Dear friend

There are certain times when things seem bleakly hopeless. Not even completely doomed, which would at least be interesting. These are times when every single god-damned thing works against you; times when the gas light goes on as you drive home from work late at night after going in to fix someone else's mistake even though no one else will notice, and a friend's death haunts your thoughts as you try to fall asleep. Time when you try and try your hardest but your achievements rest on quicksand and only sink out of sight faster as they mount. People call you a pessimist as you watch your own back, and you can't think of a single soul to turn to, and can't believe that you can save anyone who tries to turn to you.

Sometimes I have those times.

Everyone has those times sometimes, but "I know there are people who say all these things don't happen. And there are people who forget what it's like to be sixteen when they turn seventeen."

And then sometimes, somehow, the world comes to your rescue. Not in a party-fun kind of way, but a quiet serious, sturdy kind of way. Like when a magic, perfect song comes on the radio and makes you feel ...infinite. Or a memory of dancing barefoot with your friends that has no context, because sometimes things really are so good that magic happens every day, and you don't even notice. Or a movie or a book that reminds you that someone, somewhere out there, understands.

It's almost impossible to explain how a book and its imaginary characters can make you believe, more than anything, that the world has hope. And I'm not sure that it makes sense either, to remember a time in your life when you knew you were loved from all different sides, even if you didn't think about it, and know that since that place existed at some point, you're going to be all right. But that's how it is for me.

Moving into the last year of my higher education, a million things seem without solution. My project. My career. My finances, my baggage, my love life. Countless people stand at the sidelines, staring, watching to see if I can stand under the weight or if I will collapse. It sounds callous, and it is. Maybe all or many careers are like this; sink or swim, move up or out. It doesn't matter. The things that matter are the things that are real. And these things are the ones that some consider the least real. But the one thing today that made know that I can do this was listening to the song "You can call me Al." Why?? Because my friends and I, and my college boyfriend, danced to it and we were happy. And they loved me. I don't even know why they liked the song- it was special to them before they knew me- but that didn't matter. The physical and emotional joy we found is a concrete place of comfort.

I felt the same way when I finally saw the film version of one of my favorite books, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The film is perfectly loyal to the book, a simple telling of complex feelings and experiences. The author, and director, Stephen Chbosky, says exactly at the end what people are too afraid to believe; "we are who we are for alot of reasons. And maybe we'll never know most of them. But even if we don't have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them." And that seems so important to me. To me, sometimes failure seems like a possibility when I compare myself with others. I can't change where I am, the fact that I'm alone or all the disappointments and hurts beyond my control. Sometimes I feel wrecked. I feel wobbly... heartbroken... hopeless. It makes me feel behind, like everyone else is piling up good times and happiness. But in his commentary, Stephen Chbosky says, "...Because to me, no matter what you've been through, you can heal it." And when I listen to his story, I know that he's been through hardship and despair, and he's made it through.
The oscillations of sadness can end on a high note instead of in pain. And I'll continue to believe that, for both our sake, Mike.

sending you love and memories of kent xxo Mike Barry

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