Today is my 37th birthday. Not too young. Not too old. But it’s gone so fast. Actually, the first twenty years or so went super slowly. Then it took off. I don’t even remember the last ten years of my life. They were mostly filled with dirty diapers, grades, too much to do, spousal spats and reconciliations, gaining and losing friends, and kids growing up at the speed of light.
I’ve been down this week. And I think it’s because I’m not doing what I expected to do with my life. Plus, I started cleaning out my closets yesterday and stumbled upon pictures from college and when the kids were little. Nostalgia always makes me feel down. Not regret. But a sense of loss to a certain extent. I attach myself easily to people, and I feel such a sadness when they are no longer in my life.
But depression is a liar as someone told me yesterday. Depression tries to tell me I’m worthless. It tries to tell me I can’t and won’t achieve my goals. Well that’s total bullshit. And I know it. Deep down on the inside, I know I have it within me to write and to lead the life I want. Happiness is not elusive. It’s a decision.
I’ve told you before, but I HAVE to write. I have to write to get all the bad feelings out. I go through life smiling, because mostly I am happy. And I can find the positive in my life every day. But sometimes I feel so down. And this just happens to be one of those weeks.
The one thing about feeling down is it energizes my writing. I can type and hurt my characters. I can twist their souls with angst, guilt, anger, sadness. All of the above. All of the things I can’t seem to express that feel stuck inside. You see, I’m a better writer than a communicator. And it hurts me when it comes to real life relationships. People have always thought I was so cool because I didn’t give a damn what people thought of me. And perhaps this is why I tend to have more close male friends than female friends. Girls seem to get caught up in the small bits without looking at the bigger picture. And I’ve always been a bigger picture type person. I love and care about my male friends. But I need and want female friendships. I’m just not sure how to go about making them and keeping them.
I think I’m open and caring, but I feel like I can’t express my deepest wants and desires to others. In the past, I let the fear of intimacy rule my life. I didn’t tell certain people I loved them when I did. I didn’t tell them my wants and desires. I expected them to read my mind. And I became sullen and angry when they didn’t. Instead of expressing those emotions to them, I let them walk out of my life. Eventually I learned how to express all of that in my writing and it became an outlet for conversations never had, wants and needs never lived. Fear stifled my creativity and became a thief of happiness in my life.
But I’ve reached the point where pretending to make other people happy isn’t worth it anymore. I’m tired of living in a pretend world. I want the important people in my life to know what I think. I want them to know when I feel disappointment, sadness, love, excitement. I’m tired of being stuck in a box of despair, at the whim of my moods and emotions. And so, I’m trying to make a change. Once again. And feeling a little stuck in the muck.
It’s hard to change a behavior and a way of life I’ve been living for years. It’s hard to stop hiding when things get tough. It’s hard to stop shutting people out when all I really want is to let people in. As I work through these heavy emotions and feelings, I’ll be writing more for sure. But I also plan to be listening more, engaging more, and cleaning out my closet of all the emotional clutter that only serves as an impediment to my happiness.
Follow Lauren Greene: