drying out

Lately I’m reevaluating.  I’m trying to do the right thing.  I even squeeze my toothpaste from the bottom of the tube.cold

The end of the year is coming up, and two years ago I began doing Guillebeau’s year-end-review.  (Er, I did it two years ago and meant to last year, but things got weird.)

2013 has been an absolute clusterfuck of a year.  I’m not gonna write it a letter and I’m not going to pretend I’m cool with all the things that went on.  I do, however, want to pen this kind of open letter to my drinking buddies.

Not even my drinking buddies really, but my lifestyle this last little bit.

See, in the last month or so I’ve been doing this thing where I try to go out like normal with my friends, and mid-way through the night I get all claustrophobic and detached.  I start feeling hopeless, trapped, and isolated from my peers inches away from me.  This happens and I call a cab and go home.

This habit of “yeah lets go out!” and then “psyche! I’ma go home” is getting pricey and I’m sure all my friends are tired of my flakiness.  I want to explain.  It’s not you, drinking buddies, it’s me.

I’ve been half-assing two lifestyles for a while now, and it’s getting exhausting.  I’ve halfway done church and I’ve sort’ve done night life.  I’ve played with spirituality the way I’ve played with alcoholism.  I smoke cigarettes like I hear scripture; I don’t take it all in.  I don’t totally inhale every time.

I’m just tired and bored with it all lately.  I can’t handle the dissonance. I’m anxious and unhappy.

Last night at Lost Leaf I was with a friend of mine and two guys we’re buds with.  The boys were talking, doing their own thing, and my friend and I talked about how we’re over this lifestyle.  How its not healthy, how its opposed to who we want to be and what we want to do (she wants to go drive around the country, slack-line everywhere, etc. and I want to travel, invest in community, grow food, etc.).  She, like me, wants something other, and we admitted that first we want to wallow.  We just looked at each other, knowing the way we were doing things was self-destructive and not worth it.


I wish I could articulate what it’s like to want self-destruction.  I don’t know if it’s because we want to be rescued, or if it’s just because we don’t like ourselves, or we’re scared of moving forward.  It’s probably all of the above.  We hate the way we’re living but change is terrifying.  We know it’ll be worth it to get better, but do we even want to get better?  We’ll lose friends if we get better.


I don’t read the bible anymore, but I remember hearing a pastor talk about that time Jesus sees the man at the well who’d been ill his entire life.  Jesus sees this guy lying there and asks him, “Do you want to get well?”  Which seems like a dick question at first because no shit, Jesus, of course sick people want to get better.  The pastor though, emphasized that the man had been ill forever, had gotten used to it and probably wasn’t expecting much else.  And isn’t that so how you and I live sometimes?  We’re just used to being unwell, of being less than what we could be, and when presented with the opportunity to get well we’re like deer in the headlights.  “Wait…now?  You want me to get well now?  Can I sleep on it?”

That always stuck with me and I think about it whenever friends talk about hating their lifestyles and wanting to be mentally “healthy” again.  Do you really want that?  Do you really want to get well?

For me the hardest part of “getting healthy” is that I never want anyone to think I’m rejecting them. I would hate to seem exclusive.  I’m no better than anyone; I don’t deserve better.  And it’s not even necessarily “better” that I want; it’s just something different.  I can see their scoffing at this, as if I’m a sell-out.  As if I chickened out of this vampire lifestyle.

I guess I am chickening out.  Maybe I was bluffing the whole time.

I’m just so uncomfortable in my own skin.  Half-assing two lifestyles means you’re not in any group.  You don’t belong with any sub-culture and you’re just watching them, lonely.  I keep calling Lyft and leaving my drink with a friend after looking around me and realizing I don’t want this anymore.

You don’t understand, do you, that this is actually very hard for me. It’s actually heart-wrenching, because I’ve had some good times.  There has been camaraderie and support and affection.  I’ve learned some great things and loved some lovely people.  And checking out of this lifestyle really just feels like losing a friend.

I don’t handle loss well.

But I just can’t keep doing this.  It isn’t what I really want.  I don’t want the grime anymore.  There was a time I did, but I’m over it.  I can’t keep seeking their jaded approval; I can’t keep trying to show that I’m not that reprehensible clean middle class.

I wanna be ok in my skin again.  I wanna have friends who love me.  I can’t live up to my own reputation anymore.  I can’t be funny or pretty or fucked up or whatever I was trying to be before.  There is nothing romantic about living a life you’ve gotta settle for.  I don’t want to hook up with that hot guy over there; I want to be in love.  I don’t want to buy another pack of cigarettes; I want to buy a plane ticket to Peru.  I don’t want to be sad anymore.sunflower-at-hope-house

I’m so over 2013.

6 Comments on drying out

  1. I love you so much. It is all in front of you. You are allowed to do anything you want. Make any life you want. It is YOURS. You can do whatever you want with it.

    Also, there doesn’t need to be an “All or nothing” mentality (I mean, unless there DOES have to be…). So much of it is over-coming fear, facing imperfection, changing habits. There will be new, good ‘habits’ (read: experiences, people) to replace the old bad ones, but it takes a first step in a different direction, and, yeah, that one is HARD.

    But, oh my younger self: If you feel in your heart you know what you want and it is different from what you are doing… Don’t be me and keep doing the old thing out of fear, dependency, laziness, fear (oh, did I already say that?). Because time is going to pass ANYWAY. Might as well make changes and see what THAT feels like. Nothing is in stone. You can always go back, start over.

    I love you so much (oh, did I already say that?) and you are WORTHY. Thank you, Sweet Girl.

  2. Hi Jess. I followed you hear from AONC. I enjoyed reading about your thoughts and feelings as the year is coming to a close.

    I’m reading a really good book right now, which I think you may enjoy. It’s called “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible.” It’s by Charles Eisenstein. It’s available on his website for free. Here’s a link to a TEDx Talk he gave, which gives a good intro to the book, if you’re interested.

    All the best in the new year!

  3. You have perfectly put into words everything that I’ve been feeling but was unable to properly explain. Even to myself. I know just how you’re feeling. It sucks ass. Thank you for this. You’re not alone.

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