What? Are you telling me you aren’t in your mid-to-late twenties reading this at some hour that is unacceptable for the rest of the world?
Are you telling me that you are happy, healthy, and all the things Olivia Rodrigo has put in her latest song?
If you’re that wholesome, you are probably deep asleep right now with your husband beside you. Possibly a child in the room with you. If they’re old enough they’ll be in the nursery across the hall.
And you, the person who is reading this, know that’s right. Not because you have those kids. But because you’ve got a special someone in your life: a best friend, or a sister, who has those kids. You get to engage with them just enough to know them, but not enough to know how it feels to raise them.
I’m not the Adrian Bliss of short writing, but I come pretty damn close. You know I’m doing that sideways glance at you as I write this out.
We spent so many years being the weird fan-fiction kids, then far more years being the social clairvoyants of our friend groups — the ones who always knew how people felt. We have spent too many years worrying about what everyone else thinks about us. Because we know. We always know what they’re thinking about us.
That knowledge, that worry – that perfectly damned compulsion – has led us to find cures in places that we never should. Some of us found it in alcohol. Some of us found it in drugs. Some of us found it in taking the perfect selfies – showing the whole world a side of us that actually doesn’t exist. Some of us found it in plastic surgery. Some of us found it in non-existence — withdrawing into a tight ball and hoping that the rest of the world will never notice us.
However you have found your way to cure you, just know it is probably not the best way. I say this with all of the authority of someone who has never followed her own advice and has no psychological training.
You should know that there are people in life who would complain about the brightness of a sunrise. There are people in life who would look at a perfect dusk and complain that it’s not bright enough for them to read their book. There are people in life who would listen to birds chirping happily in the trees and find fault in their tone. There are people in life who would look at a cat stretching in the sunshine and think that she shouldn’t be there. There are people who genuinely find no joy in living.
You are not one of those people. You don’t need your cure. Life deserves you more than you know. You’re not alone in feeling this way. There are hundreds, thousands, possibly millions of us who identify with this.
Who knows how it feels to feel empty and forgotten in a fast-paced world. Who knows how it feels to constantly feel like they’re just not good enough because there is that one person who constantly kicks us down.
Your cure isn’t the answer. Put down the bottle. Flush the pills. Close your camera. Unschedule the surgery. Just go be you. And know that there are so many of us behind you. In front of you. With you.