Posted: Tuesday, September 04, 2012 3:53:27 AM
Dreams seemed so much bigger when I was a kid. When I was growing up, I wanted to be an ice skater, a singer, and then, perhaps more realistically, a vet. But I remember my dad telling me that people-doctors made more money so I should probably do that instead.
In elementary and middle school, I realized that most all of my talents were in writing. Most people have a variety of hobbies and interests and talents that they pursue, but writing is truly the only thing that I have stuck with since I could remember. I’ve tried other hobbies, but I lose patience easily (especially when I’m not perfect at something right away—character defect?).
It’s weird how dreams shift with age. In my eighth grade yearbook, I’m quoted as saying that my dream is to become a comedienne. I really have no idea why.
High school brought the need for intangible dreams to be realized along with serious bouts of depression. I know depression is something most teens encounter (maybe just for the label more so than the actual debilitating disorder) but my depression felt like so much more than normal teen angst and I never knew how to communicate with my friends. I called it “pulling an [name omitted]” for the sake of being an asshole when really I needed to own up to what I was feeling. I remember one particular moment during sophomore year of high school when I completely broke down and took my insecurities out of my best friend—still my best friend to this day, bless her heart—and she told a mutual friend about it. Mutual friend told more people, and began a cruel campaign of ignoring me, like that outburst was me being a brat for attention. Another friend told me, “I’m so frustrated with you, Mich.” Like it was just something I was playing around with. I wish I would have stood up for myself more in high school.
I dreamed to be normal, to be liked, to be loved, to be desired the same way my friends were in high school. My friendships seemed sterile compared to the relationships my friends had with each other. I was never terribly interesting, so I kept to myself. My first boyfriend happened out of peer pressure and lasted three months. I thought it would help my self-esteem. When he wasn’t the “perfect” boyfriend I had dreamed of, I broke it off. While I was happy to be single, I wasn’t happy to be alone.
It’s weird how that distinction makes a huge difference in how I felt.
As high school went on I dreamed of starting over and finding myself. I have—and had—a bad habit of making myself into someone I think other people wanted to see. Sussex County was conservative Christian heaven and I didn’t have a backbone so I became just that and thought I was a real person. I was actually a huge asshole and temporarily ended two friendships because I thought I was right about everything and politics mattered. Yeah, right.
I flawlessly realized my dream of moving out of Sussex County after school. Then my dream became graduating college. Missing my boyfriend of a year almost became too much and I seriously considered dropping out and going to county to be closer to him. When that didn’t happen, I cheated on him without cheating on him. I’m not proud of a lot from that year.
I grew up a lot in college. My parents told me that would happen, and of course I didn’t believe them, but it really was true. I made a lot of great friends, solidified what I thought was going to be a temporary for fun relationship with Justin, and really found myself. I wish it had happened earlier, but maybe there was a reason for my late blooming.
After college, my dreams became more realistic and adult. I dreamed of finding a job after graduation. Done. I dreamed of having my own place. Soon to be done.
As far as the future’s concerned, my only dreams right now are to survive living on my own until Justin joins me in February, and maybe, one day, overcome this depression. It feels like it’s wearing a heavy coat on my lungs and all I want to do is sleep.
I know that I should advocate for myself more and try to get help, but every time I’ve approached my mother about it, she’s always told me I’m overreacting and I’m not really depressed.
I have a lot of regrets—especially from high school—but I try not to dwell on it.
I dream that one day I’ll be genuinely happy, without depression lurking in the shadows like a scary closet monster.
For now, I’m trying. I’m dreaming. I’m doing the best that I can.