The future scares the shit out of me. In fact, right now, this very second scares the shit out of me. There. A Valentine’s Day post that starts with something straight from the heart. Here’s my love story.
I can’t remember who said it, but a few months ago a friend of mine made a comment on a picture that I posted on Facebook that said something like, “One day, when I grow up, I hope my life is as exciting as yours.” Hold the phone. Cue the music. My real life doesn’t look anything like my Facebook timeline.
I hope that this is no surprise and that most of you feel the way that I do about social media. It’s a perfect distraction from feeling anything too deep. It keeps our heads on straight, filter-perfect. When I’m scrolling through all of my friends’ posts, I don’t have to think about much. It’s just a stream of non-thinking amusement, sometimes horror, sometimes sadness. Mostly though it’s just a dead-pan, zoning out thing I do to keep myself from thinking and actually doing anything productive.
It can be great.
And then there’s the posts and status updates. My BA and my MA are both in English, so I can generally use words to get a certain feeling out of people that I want. Now that I think of it, it’s sort of manipulative in a way. Adrienne, one of my best friends and bandmates, once said that I could post about poo and would get 100 likes on Facebook. If I could, it would only mean that I wrote about poo in a way that others found somewhat captivating. While they were doing their version of a zombie-Facebook-dance, I cut in and dipped them back. That’s how this shit works. Pun intended.
Also, I know I’ve met many of you in various bands that I’ve been in. Whether it was a solo project or singing with Mad Maude and the Hatters, some of you only know me through music endeavors. My actual day job, however, is as a Marketing and Communications Coordinator. I spend eight hours each day perfecting how to most effectively craft and sell a message, a mission. At this point, I’ve raised over half a million dollars for a nonprofit that I love, so I guess I’m okay at it. So keep that in mind if I ever write a poo post that gets 100 likes.
And let’s not forget about vanity. My grandmother and my grandmother’s sister died of lung cancer, my great-grandmother died of throat cancer, and my mother is a respiratory therapist. You know why I quit smoking? Because I don’t want wrinkles. So, if you see a cute photo I posted. I probably took twenty. I probably made my friend take twenty and then put a filter on it.
So, why do we play pretend? Well, because life isn’t so pretty. Take this photo for example:
If we would have taken this photo an hour before, you’d have seen my head in Hattie’s lap, screaming and convulsing. This was the day that I had watched my brother fall back into the hands of addiction. For eight months he tried like hell to stay clean, but addiction is a daily, irrational beast to battle, and sometimes the problem feels like the solution. If you would have taken the photo at 2 a.m., you’d have seen me in a t-shirt, choking on tears and rain in the middle of the street, calling out for my brother. At 3 a.m., it would have been a calmer scene. Perhaps a black and white of the two of us, my brother and I huddled together on the porch, crying, wishing we could both fix each other. Loving each other at our worst.
That’s real life. Real life, real love isn’t always pretty. These raw images aren’t the kinds we’d want others to “like.” We all have them, tucked right beneath the surface. The worries. The doubts.
As I mentioned earlier, my fear of the future is debilitating. I’ve always tried to find a way to control it. I buy those Dollar Store planners and try to fill in every box, every day with an event, a future dinner, a coffee date, a talk with a good friend, a Rockets game. Worse than not having a plan, you see, is not having a plan and being alone. Filling in the spaces makes me feel complete. This process helps to curb the anxiety, the uncertainty of the future.
In terms of relationships, I’ve spent the last nine years of my life with three men who I tried to box into a plan. If they didn’t quite fit the part, fulfill every single need that I’d dreamt up, I left. At times I thought that it was a wedding ring, a kid that looked like me, or a move across the country that would have made the plan work.
During this search for the perfect future-version of my life, however, I forgot to see that the plan, that greater “future” that I had no control over was working.
I found out that I was about to turn 30. That I had built a world of relationships with people, co-workers, family, strangers, best friends, crushes, ex boyfriends (even ex boyfriend’s wives) and new semi-boyfriends that made me appreciate the hell out of Valentine’s Day. So, here’s to real life and real love.
I’m going to end this post with a few PARTY TIPS from Andrew W.K.
1. Doing what you love = partying
2. If you need someone to be your Valentine tomorrow, you can count on me.