An excerpt from 18-year-old Sylvia Plath’s journal: “With me, the present is forever, and forever is always shifting, flowing, melting. This second is life. And when it is gone it is dead. But you can’t start over with each new second. You have to judge by what is dead. It’s like quicksand… hopeless from the start. A story, a picture, can renew sensation a little, but not enough, not enough. Nothing is real except the present, and already, I feel the weight of centuries smothering me. Some girl a hundred years ago once lived as I do. And she is dead. I am the present, but I know I, too, will pass. The high moment, the burning flash, come and are gone, continuous quicksand. And I don’t want to die.”
An excerpt from 17-year-old Sami’s blog: “Irony: I dropped my napkin and while trying to catch it, spilled my soda on the wall of the airplane. My bad.”
Basically, that’s my life.
Okay, that’s a little bit dramatic. Sorry. Sometimes, I like being dramatic because my life is just so not. I know this is selfish and stupid, but sometimes I resent that. That’s the kind of thing that I would take back in a heartbeat once something dramatic happened, but for now: there, I said it.
Sometimes, it kinda makes me wonder why. You hear all of these absolutely heartbreaking stories, and they’re supposed to make you feel like you’re not alone and like everyone has pain, no matter how well they disguise it and it’s supposed to make you feel free to open up about all of the terrible things that have happened to you.
To be honest though, it kinda makes me feel more alone. Not in a bad, “I hate my life and I have no friends” kind of way, but in a “I have no idea which personal story defines my life” kind of way. In a “how on Earth did I dodge all of these bullets” kind of way.
I’ve talked about this before, I know I have. But we’re doing these monologues in English, and everyone’s is just straight up amazing, and I love everyone for sharing their stories, even the people that I didn’t even know or like before. But I’m sitting there and I’m wondering why I couldn’t come up with anything that personal.
Like, am I just not brave enough to admit a real personal struggle, or do I legitimately not have any?
That wasn’t a rhetorical question. That wasn’t a transition into some big realization that I’m gonna write about. I literally want to know the answer to that question. Like, not figuratively. Literally.
One of the craziest things about life is that you can talk and listen and read literature and watch films and analyze the crap out of people, but you’re really only ever going to know how it feels to be you. I generally don’t wish I were anyone else, but sometimes I would certainly like to know how it feels to be them, just for a day. Because people are weird. People have lives that are so different from each other, even if they’re super similar in about a million ways. People have different families, different daily routines, different routes when they walk home from school, different ways of picturing the same description, different voices in their heads that repeat the same familiar phrases to them, for better or for worse.
And all of those things would be so foreign to us if we were to just live in that person’s body for a day. I’m pretty sure that even if that person were your best friend, those things would still be foreign.
And then there are the things that we share. The weird connections and relationships and habits that we share with other people, whether it’s one other person or twenty. I swear it’s like coevolution. It’s like how I always talk about how we pick up phrases from the people we hang out with, or develop certain habits with each other that become a part of who we are.
And I’m going to be a romanticist and make the conclusion that everything we are is just all of these little pieces combined into one person. Nothing ever really develops just by being one person. I am the sum of a billion coevolutions with a billion different people, even people who I wouldn’t recognize if I saw them on the street.
The reason why being someone else would feel so foreign is that everyone’s billion coevolutions are different, even if they’re with a lot of the same people.
People are weird.
My point is, I still don’t know why I don’t have a big, emotional story to share. I don’t know how it feels to have one any more than the people who do know how it feels to sit around and wonder why they don’t. That was a terrible sentence. But you know what I mean.
Maybe I’m too scared to admit that I have a personal story, or maybe I’m too scared to admit that I don’t.