I am happy when I eat fresh fruit, when I burst out laughing, when I discover a new song, when I finish a good book, when I wake up and feel relaxed. I’m glad to have friends, family, a home, food when I’m hungry, hot water when I shower. I love being able to live and see the seasons change, to have gifts at Christmas and at my birthday, to travel sometimes, to have a good education and a great access to culture. I’m flattered when people compliment me, when peole smile at me, when people are polite to me. There are so many things that make life so simple and easy and I will always think about them more than all the bad things that will happen to me. I do not have time to be sad every day and ungrateful; I have every reason in the world to be happy.
I am grade 12 student who has just recently graduated. You might call me accomplished, and in a way, I am, but not in the way you’d think. 12 years of pouring over text books and being lined up to be judged in front of my peers has not made me any more intelligent. I can tell you the first 45 digits of Pi and I can explain to you the difference between an acid and a base, I can recite the Pythagorean Theorem in my sleep, I will recite lines out of a textbook like they are a religion. But I cannot tell you the value of security, or of kindness. The distinct contrast between personal health and personal gain. I can tell you in grade 10 four of my classmates attempted to take their own lives before finals. I can tell you our counsellors office is always booked. I can tell you how when I didn’t understand something in AP Chemistry my teacher asked me to leave if I could not participate in his class. I merely asked him to explain a question. Instead of doing his job and teaching, he told me to leave. Told me I was not good enough to be there. Mistakes are viewed as failure in these hallways. A wrong answer is a sin you must atone to, not a human error, but a flaw so grand it defines your entire life course. There is no “average” here. We all must exceed expectations. Do your parents know that a grade that is considered average is a “C”? When I got a C in fourth grade my parents grounded me for a month. They said I was lazy and stupid and incompetent and that I’d better smarten up and stop fooling around. I never fooled around. I am driven by a deep need to impress others. I never fool around. I worked and worked and worked, with a deep hollow of anxiety in my chest. I have never been good at History, but I worked and worked and I attained at best a low B. It was not good enough. It is not said but we are expected to put our education before our personal health. It is not asked of us, but it is what we must do to achieve what we are asked to achieve. Our teachers will tell you, “Oh, I only give them one hour of homework each night.” Which is essentially true, each of my five teachers only gives me one to two hours of homework each night. Hmm, that adds up to 5-10 hours of homework, and overdue classwork, and projects. Say goodbye to sleep, say goodbye to feeling calm. I’ve developed a deep rooted anxiety disorder due to school and perfectionistic tendencies. Even when you get 100 percent on an assignment they still criticise you, it is never good enough. One slip, and you are in deep deep trouble. I can tell you that 90 percent of us try our hardest, and our teachers and parents stand in the sidelines, screaming, “You can do better than that!”
You will fall in love with someone who annoys you, whose orgasm face looks and feels pathetic. Despite all of this, there’s something keeping you drawn to them, something that makes you want to protect them from the harsh world. What you fail to realize, however, is that you are the harsh world. You aren’t their noble protector — you are someone to be protected from but it takes a lot of dates, a lot of nights where you question whether or not you are actually a good person, for this to ever resonate with you. When it’s over and whatever love is left is put back in the fridge like a sad plate of leftovers, you will finally understand that you have the power to hurt someone. You can either hurt them or love them and it’s up to you to decide what kind of role you would like to take on in future relationships. What feels more comfortable — being the one who loves more or being the one who’s loved less?
You will fall in love with someone who’s cold and always seemingly pushing you away. When all is said and done, they will be forever known as the one person you couldn’t get to love you. Unfortunately, it will hurt and sting worse than the good ones, the ones that chopped up your meat for you and picked out an eyelash from your eye and were nice to your mother, because love often feels like a game we need to win. And when we lose, when we realize we couldn’t get what we ultimately desired from a person, it makes us feel like a failure and erases all the memories of those who loved us in the past. It’s a permanent smudge on your love resume.You will fall in love with someone for one night and one night only. They’ll come to you when you need them and be gone in the morning when you don’t. At first, this will make you feel empty and you’ll try to convince yourself that you could’ve loved this person for longer than a night, but you can’t. Some people are just meant to make cameo appearances, some are destined to be a pithy footnote. That’s okay though. Not every person we love has to stick around. Sometimes it’s better to leave while you’re still ahead. Sometimes it’s better to leave before you get unloved.
You will fall in love with the old couple down the street because to you they represent the impossible: a stable, long-lasting love. You’re trying to get someone to like you for more than ten minutes. A monogamous “never get sick of ya” love seems unfathomable. “What’s your secret, sir? Do you just say yes a lot?”You will fall in love with smells, the good and the bad kind. You will want to wear your lovers shirt because it makes you feel close to them and you’re okay with being that PSYCHO who is legitimately sniffing their shirt in public. You will fall in love with sweat, certain perfumes, the smell of the season in which you fell in love. This particular love smells like fall. It smells like Halloween and a roaring fire and leaves and fog and mist and candy and food and family and whiskey and sex and the lint that collects on sweaters. When it ends, if it ends, you will never experience another fall without thinking of him, her, it. The memories will stick to the ground like a mound of leaves and will only dissipate when the weather drops.
You will fall in love with your friends. Deep, passionate love. You will create a second family with them, a kind of tribe that makes you feel less vulnerable. Sometimes our families can’t love us all the time. Sometimes we’re born into families who don’t know how to love us properly. They do as much as they can but the rest is up to our friends. They can love you all the time, without judgement. At least the good ones can.This is where I’m supposed to tell you that you will fall in love with The One, a person who isn’t too cold or too nice. Their “O” face is perfectly fine and they’re not afraid to show how much they love you. This person is supposed to wait for us at the end of the twentysomething road as some kind of reward for all the heartache and loneliness. We deserve them. We’ve earned this kind of love.
So fine. You’re going to fall in love with The One. You’re going to fall in love with someone who will make sense beyond college or a job or a particular season. They’ll make sense forever and won’t ever want to leave you behind. I’m telling you this not because it’s true but because it NEEDS to be true. Everyone is entitled to this kind of love, so why not? Have it. It’s yours. Blow out the candles on your 30th birthday, holding their hand, and let out an exhale that’s been waiting for ten years. Do it. Now
I’d relog this a million times if I could
The head of a company survived 9/11 because
His son started kindergarten.
Another fellow was alive because it was
His turn to bring donuts.
One woman was late because her
Alarm clock didn’t go off in time.
One was late because of being stuck on the NJ Turnpike
Because of an auto accident.
One of them
Missed his bus.
One spilled food on her clothes and had to take
Time to change.
Car wouldn’t start.
Get a taxi.
The one that struck me was the man
Who put on a new pair of shoes that morning,
Took the various means to get to work but before.
He got there, he developed a blister on his foot.
He stopped at a drugstore to buy a Band-Aid.
That is why he is alive today..
Now when I am
Stuck in traffic,
Miss an elevator,
Turn back to answer a ringing telephone…
All the little things that annoy me,
I think to myself,
This is exactly where
I’m meant to be
At this very moment