Tuesday, June 05, 2007

"When my best friend died suddenly early this year, I felt the kind of sadness that I never knew existed. That’s a bit of a statement since sadness was nothing new to me. Yet when I saw him in his coffin, I cried because I couldn’t feel anything. The overwhelming power of grief took over my emotions like a wet rag on a live wire. I sort of short-circuited.

"I was always a sad girl. Although my exterior belies the truth, it’s a thing I do to cope. Who wants to deal with some sad mope? I’m very ambitious and if a charade was necessary for me to get what I wanted, then so be it. Sometimes I believe my act so much it becomes the truth even for just a little while."

So starts Celine Lopez's column from last Sunday's paper. Although her column is one of two best columns I look forward to reading because of the candid and entertaining way she writes about her experiences I glossed over it in favor of the comic pages. I didn't return to reading it till this morning while I was eating breakfast. I knew what she was talking about in the first paragraph having read about it in her previous column published last February, what she said in the second paragraph got me hooked. I'm no stranger to the inability to feel sadness. Oh sure, I did feel its heaviness during times of great stress and pain but what I did was to refuse to play being seen as a weakling unable to deal with the blows that life dealt me. I thought it funny how some friends and/or acquaintances asking me before why I looked so sad even though I was just being indifferent, or what's most weird, feeling happy at the time. I pushed it down to the deeper recesses of my brain till She then relates that the death of her friend only enabled her to recognize she was going through something other than an extended period of mourning. "It was also something I was all too familiar with. The cycle had started to begin. I just dreaded going through it all over again," she wrote. Her case started in college while mine started in high school. It's a lot easier to diagnose once you're years removed from the incident. The term "emo" wasn't coined yet and wearing an all black ensemble back then either meant someone like a member of the family or a close relative died or you're channeling Robert Smith of The Cure or Andrew Eldritch and the guys of The Sisters of Mercy or even Identity Crisis, on the local front: you reveled in being a member of the Goth movement. Of course, poseurs would go dress up like them in order to get the attention but there were those like me who felt crummy on the inside but still looked normal on the outside because I never wanted to entertain any questions about what I was going through. As far as escapism goes like any other teen embroiled in chaos at the time I dove right into the popular music of those day. Nothing different from today or from those generations belonging before us you say? The difference lies in the fact that the lyrics from those generations before and today had it so easy to speak of love and love lost, of anger and lust, and other things that are clear cut and are easy to see. The lyrics to the music I was listening to back then weren't so clear cut as the movement characterizing that decade chose to be more poetic and abstract in their singing. Most of the time though the collection of music was spurred by the burgeoning electronic music and mind-blowing graphic design gracing the album covers that mostly hid the faces of the artists so unlike those of today. Even then, in looking back now the fact that I was attracted to people who hid their faces behind the art says something a lot about myself.
"The reason why I am writing about this now is that over the years people have come up to me and asked me what the eff is wrong with them. I guess with this condition, we’re all like dogs: we all smell it on each other."
In my case I was the one who sought them out. Call it a survival instinct but back then I felt like I was drowning and since I didn't know who to talk to that would understand where I was coming from it became natural for me to seek out those who were in the same boat as me. You can imagine how jealous I am of a lot of people who eventually get out of this phase and lead a normal happy life. Me? I don't think I ever got out of it. One of the good things I got from it is the ability to be introspective. Being my own worst critic, the mindset of being harder on oneself and seeing those faults first before anybody else does, does that to you. That way I labor more on minute details where others see the one big picture. Being in state also means humor and the laughter that follows it is the equivalent of an oasis in the desert. I craved it more than others. I lapped it up, savoring each delivery and timing and studying it in case the next one takes a long time coming. In wanting to learn what's up with myself I delved into reading behavioral studies and a bit of psychology, watching people, developing an ability to read between the lines, generally studying everything I can put my hands on to understand human nature and applying everything that works both in real life and my art.

These days I'm coping with this burden, truthfully I wouldn't be able to survive and face each day without the grace of God. The said grace is apparent during times when I feel unexplainably vulnerable and can't help but put up walls while I curl up by the corner of my mind. It's during these times that He would stoop down, lift my head up with His hand and repeat an assurance He promised so long ago while looking me straight in the eye to show He really means what He says:
"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)
I'll just have to face up to the fact that I need to be really patient and more forgiving with all the others, with me especially, and remember that these things take time. But more importantly to just believe that I will live through this unscathed and a lot better than I could ever imagine, just as He promised. Still I do apologize to everyone I've offended in one way or another by my being standoffish or antisocial, or even those times where I pretended not to see you at one time or another somewhere. There's still this lingering fear of being embarrassed that you wouldn't acknowledge me or just the mere fact that I wouldn't know what to say at the moment so I took the easier route of not looking or walking away. I won't be doing it again but if indeed I lose myself and repeat it then do be the better friend than I am and wave your hand so I wouldn't have any excuse.

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