I graduated High School in 2007 so next year marks some sort of sacred experience. That slow, crumbling moment when you realize that people never actually grow up. Your doctors are jocks. Your banker twirls her hair. The girl who just made your sandwich yells out your order the same way she used to steal your thunder in math class. Okay, maybe some people change. They come hoisting babies on their hips and dragging rings down the cafeteria floor, weak wristed, diamond heavy. They talk about how enlightened they are and how much they’ve changed. Are those the same Etnies shoes you wore to the homecoming game? Wait, nevermind, I don’t want to know. People approach me and say my name gleefully as though they’ve been waiting the last ten years to talk to me but simply didn’t have an excuse. I’ve forgotten their name. Everyone I approach has forgotten mine. A small hive gathers in the corner and talks about so-and-so and can-you-believe-it.
I’m a cynic, maybe this isn’t true. Maybe I’ve crafted this imaginary world in my head. Maybe there were never any boundaries and I made them up. Insecure, too unwilling to reach out and say hello. I didn’t have a clique, I really did like everyone, and I think they liked me okay. Still, I can’t help but imagine. We’re all the same, we’re always all the same. We’ve changed but on the inside we still have those same fears we had ten years ago. Like me, like me, like me, like me, like me.
I’ve gotten better about being liked. When someone doesn’t like me my first reaction is no longer indignation. I don’t crumble to the floor, wondering what I’ve done wrong, trying to fix it. To fix it – to make everyone like you – you cannot be yourself. You have to be so many different version of yourself. A different version to suit every different asshole.
I’ve realized that how someone else feels about you is none of your business. It’s not your business at all.
What is your business is how you feel about other people and how clearly you articulate those feelings. Do they know, do they know, oh could they repeat it back to you? Shouting over your grave “you might be gone but at least I knew you loved me!” Grave digger, when you dig my grave, could you make it shallow, so that I can feel the rain? This is my resolution. One must always know precisely how I feel about them. To value and cherish and other such ugh words that remind you of what’s really important. And yeah I want to get money and grow my career and grow my relationship and la de da try new things and remember to work out in some such regular interval that I don’t hate myself for being such a sorry son of a bitch. But people. The people. Ringa linga ding dong.
This is what matters to me now.
I don’t really know how to do this. I think in your late 20s, early 30s, you have to re-learn how to do this. Maybe you’re figuring it out for the first time. I am like a friend robot just learning how to love. Hallo. Boop boop. I am friend. Deep doop. Like me. Insert happiness emoji. Positive interaction. Ring ring. Hello. I like your hair. Your face is well proportioned. You have a good skill. Good job on your skill. I appreciate your listening to me derp de derp. Is this working. Do you know. Can you feel me here aglow. I don’t know what I’m doing, but.
It gets a little easier every year.