Thursday, March 6, 2014

Letter to a Friend

It's been nearly a month since my last blog post, and I figured I'd post a general update. A recent letter to a correspondent of mine covers all the points nicely.

February 21, 2014


I’ll have to begin with an apology for my lack of correspondence; looking back, I realize my last letter to you was from July 2013. In my defense, a lot happened in the interim, and I suppose in retrospect surviving a suicide attempt created a bit more of an emotional health to-do than I anticipated.

It’s been a rough few months, a period in which I’ve slid from one pit to another and remained in a seemingly inalterable state of flux. I jump in my mind from possibility to possibility and nothing, it feels, ever really happens.

It’s a funny thing, what disaster can do to a person. You sort of find that your core qualities, those things that made you you, begin to slip, and then one day you turn around to see the roof in shambles and the pillars that once held it up—for me temperance, studiousness, religious faith, and optimism—dissolved.

Up until 2012 I was a genuinely sunny person, despite what I can—not immodestly—say were a number of difficult challenges: childhood abuse and illness, financial distress in college, and other things. You’ve had your share of knocks as well, so I’m sure you know how it is.

But what should have been an inevitable time bomb never went off; I graduated high school, entered university, and got through school a happy and well-adjusted person in spite of the chaos around me. It was only after graduation that the things comprising my identity started to erode. Persistent unemployment in the face of tremendous effort left me apathetic, and in time rendered me immoderate where before I had been controlled (in eating, in drinking, in leisure, in everything), uncaring where before I had been attentive, plagued with doubt where before I had been devout, and cynical where before I had seen possibility. Two years of this finally culminated in the suicide attempt last October, and led to a sort of lethargy that prevailed after that for several months up until very recently.

I’ve determined, after seeing in myself someone I neither liked nor recognized, to attempt a recovery of those qualities that once made for so salutary an existence. In that vein, I am resolved to drink and eat less, exercise more, and, in what you will likely find the most worthy of mockery, return to the faith that bolstered me through my adolescence and early adulthood.

People who know me have often found my Christianity to be the most incongruous thing about my character, seeing as how I’m both a flaming liberal and a flaming, well, flamer, but I’ve never really been able to conceive of a universe without a creator, and have always been drawn inextricably to Christ despite coming from a mostly irreligious family. I’m not sure how to explain it. It’s just what makes the most sense to me, and somewhere in my heart of hearts it’s what I’ve always known to be true. Given your level of wit, I fully expect some amount of lampooning when you manage to write me back. If you fail at this I will be very disappointed in you.

You’ll notice that we’ve moved, actually to a really splendid house that you’ll almost certainly be unable to visit—my parents are going away in April but have expressed a reluctance to let me have anyone over. Even if you come, you’ll have to be content knowing that the most spirited thing you’ll have will be the pleasure of my company; my mother has forbidden us to consume any alcohol while here because of the whole suicide-by-wine thing. I think they have it in their heads that if I get drunk enough I’ll try again. That betrays something of a lack of understanding as to what actually caused the situation, but as their hearts are for once in the right place I’m happy to abide by it.

You’ll be glad to know that our relationship is substantially better. Who would’ve thought that the experience of my nearly dying would prove unnerving? In any event, it did, and they’ve been much less dickish since they came close to losing me.

My rent, for instance, is kept at a much-lower $250 a month, and in general they’ve just been more concerned about me and solicitous as to my welfare. To be honest, I really needed it; when I first came back I was something of a wreck, and in that state I just wasn’t fit to do much of anything. I think I needed a time to mourn and self-pity and mope. I’m only now, with renewed faith and a renewed spiritual structure, beginning to pull out of that. Time really can be a lovely thing every now and again.

As far as professional pursuits go, I’ve jettisoned the internship in Marble City in favor of a public relations class at Mountain University. I was very afraid when I first made this decision that I’d done the wrong thing, but I’ve now come to the conclusion it was absolutely right; I am done working for free on vague promises of jobs that never materialize. I went to college. I paid my dues. I acquired a skill-set. And damn it, I am worth a fucking salary.

I have recently done a little poking around on that front, at least where public relations is concerned, but don’t want to write you about it until something materializes. At the moment I’m writing for the newspaper and editing manuscripts with plans to enter a teacher-certification program this summer if nothing comes up before then. And I really hope something comes up before then, because the course is two years long and would almost certainly require me to continue living at home while working and taking a full class load. I’m so ready to be done with this nonsense.

So how goes everything on your end? You’ve been in your new job for a bit now and have a place of your own, right? You’ll have to tell me everything—give me a book! And I won’t drop off the face of the earth this time, I promise. Let’s see about another in-person meet-up in the spring?

Hoping to hear from you soon.                                                                         



Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update, BB. I was wondering what happened to the internship. Perhaps you're right, vague promises that never materialize are probably not worth hanging with. It drives me crazy that companies expect you to prostate yourself to their every whim for no pay, usually with tasks that bear little resemblance to what you are supposed to be learning, and then cut you loose.

I'm thrilled to hear you are improving so much mentally. And embracing your faith is a thing that can only strengthen you.

A toast to your wonderful post!

Peace <3

naturgesetz said...

Faith is an interesting thing. It seems that some people think you can choose what you believe. My personal experience is different. I haven't decided what I will believe (unless it was back before I was conscious of any element of choice in the matter). I believe in God because I cannot disbelieve in him, regardless of all the objections — some very powerful — some people raise. I believe in Jesus because I cannot believe that he is other than the Redeemer. I'm a Catholic because I believe that this Church is the one Jesus spoke of establishing. I don't believe any of this because I've decided to believe it. I just believe it, and I think this is the gift, the grace, of faith; and in saying I believe it, I'm just being honest with myself.

God bless you as you continue along your path, which, like most people's, is unforeseeable.

jo(e) said...

Just popping in to say hello.

cheryoncake said...

This was really quite shocking to read but I recognised the elements of depression in your letter. I too understand what it is to be in those pits of despair. I am not now and that is my message of hope to you. Your faith and your previously sunny disposition will help you get through this next phase of your life. Be good to yourself and don't rely on things to always go to plan. Just be ready to accept what life, what God, has planned for you. Take good care and thanks for being brave enough to share this