Friends

I think I have a knack for unhappiness, like how people have a knack for drowning unless they swim, float or tread water. For me to be happy, I must constantly tread the sea of “new” and “positive” experiences–if I stop for a second, or if the tide breaks, or if one tiny thing happens that interrupts this flow of outer-stimulated “happiness,” I begin to drown.

This past year has been different than the last. Last year I had a school that I hated (in some areas) with a boss who was mean to me. But I had a lot of friends, a huge apartment, enough money, and eventually a boyfriend (whom I still have at least. So one outta 4 ain’t bad I guess).

This year is different. I don’t hate my job (who could hate working part time?), but I have a small apartment and, I’m starting to realize, very few actual “friends” (at least in Korea).

I don’t know if spending so much time alone has made me too rigid, or if working in an office with constant gossiping and social politics has made me too self-conscious (I suspect both), but one thing I have felt, over and over this year, is that I mean very little to most of the “friends” I had last year.

In any case, this year is much different than last year, and I find myself spending much more time in my own company than in anyone else’s. This ought to be great–it’s kind of what I wanted, more time alone, more time to write. But I guess I wasn’t prepared to get it on the price of feeling rejected and blown off, and I mostly dread my own company and hate being alone.

Or maybe it’s all in my head. I’m about six months into my new year-long contract, and without constant new experiences as distractions–and I do mean constant, did I mention that I just came back from Bali Monday?–and a constant barrage of people telling me I’m wanted, I’m a good person, I’m loved and needed–and I do mean constant–the six-month blues is at hand, letting me know that I have to spend another half-year on the other side of the world from everything that’s comfortable.

I watched Eat Pray Love last night (because Bali) and there was a quote that was something to the effect of she believes that if a person is willing to leave their comfort zone, seek answers, and believe that everything along the way is working toward their good, they will be rewarded for it.

I guess the first time I watched that movie, I accepted that sentiment as gospel. This time, however, I just thought it was awfully “neat” that she left her hubs with no warning, took off, and got True Love and Enlightenment in a year flat.

My life has been much more messy than that, and I suppose it will continue to be. I suspect the lives of others are messier than that too, and I am increasingly upset by how dishonest things related to the universal human experience (things like heartbreak, loneliness, pain, joy, travel, budgeting, etc.) are portrayed in entertainment. Everything is too neat on TV, and even when it’s messy, it’s still too neat.

I mean, I get it in part. It hurts to read or watch something that portrays heartbreak honestly. Something that doesn’t glaze over it and make it syrupy and cute and funny. But that’s no excuse. Because heartbreak hurts, and it hurts for longer than two episodes. When you really love someone, or when you think you really love someone, does it ever go away?

How about when your friends find other friends and leave you behind? How does that feel? Is it ever even shown? And is your heart not allowed to break for the loss of these people whom you did love and did not think would reject you? And how about in your country, incidences of mass violence, or the economy, or feeling like you are a target, that you will never be allowed to have a good life? When does that stop hurting? In two episodes? Three? How much time before we move on because it’s boring and we need something slapstick to cover it?

This life is not easy and it’s not neat, but who will write this story now, in these days? I don’t think I can–it’ll take too long, and I’m too impatient, sadly. And I can’t get away from writing characters who are autobiographical, or essays, which are too direct, too unimaginative, and too damn boring.

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2 responses to “Friends

  1. “Keep your expectations low and you’ll never be disappointed.” I had a plaque ngraved with just that on my newspaper editor’s desk. You find some comfort in it at first. Even wisdom. But read it again and it’s terribly depressing. Hugs.

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