My early twenties are a maze, and every step is a wrong turn leading me face-first into shrubbery. I feel like there’s no way out. I intentionally use “feel” and not “there’s no way out” because I know this isn’t forever. Some tiny, piece of me is screaming to hold on. She has hooks that she’s using to climb up my stomach and into my brain. The other 90% of me isn’t so tenacious. Walking by on coming traffic, I think about hurling myself onto the metal and rubber.
That 10 lovely percent of myself responds to these fantasies. My head churns with stories of people who survived jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge. How (at least in the articles I’ve read) they realized mid-fall that almost everything that weighed them down was temporary. Of course, my fear of most attempts is potential failure. What if I become crippled from attempting to take my life and now (in addition to my student loans) am drowning in medical bills? What if I become brain dead from a pill overdose?
Then I recoil to blame myself. My self-esteem is all but gone, so flattened by rejections and moves and my job that my confidence is concave. I’ve been an extrovert my whole life. Now, I am anxious, hesitant, my identity swallowed by the past year. Perhaps this is a rebirth. Perhaps this is intended to keep me humble, but its side effects exacerbate an already poor situation. Mondays-Fridays devalue me. This city, this job, there is no task, place, or person that feeds me, that values me. Reciprocity doesn’t exist here. I’m so alone and exhausted from feeling like an excess part. Here, I am awkward, nervous to share humor. I’m in a perpetual state of discomfort. There’s nowhere to unlock the barriers and let it come tumbling down. I want to let go and be myself. I would do anything to feel like myself again. Now, I navigate some stranger’s body cursed with gloomy emotions, and I wonder where the hell I went.
Face full of shrubs and eyes on the cold light of a computer screen, I’m trying to write my way back to myself. I hope you return, former self. I hope I keep these doors open for you, and I hope one day I’ll shrug this off as a gray period in a colorful life.