Gibby brought up a few days ago that I’m not doing as well as I’m telling people I am. Gibby probably is one of the only people on the planet who knows me better than I do. Gibby was my roommate for a year and she was there through the hardest month of my life and she is the only person I can watch Lord of the Rings with because she’s the only one who gets it in the same way as I do and Gibby is one of the rarest humans. I feel genuinely sad for people who spend time around her without knowing her because they will likely never encounter anyone like her again. I can’t lie to Gibby because she knows when I’m lying and she cares enough to call it out. There’s no point in lying to Gibby, anyways, because she has never judged me and nothing I’ve told her (which is a lot of exile-worthy things) has ever changed how much she loves me or how she treats me. Gibby was one of the only reasons I would’ve stayed in Dallas because a friendship with her is worth a lifetime and she was one of the only people who told me to go because she knew I would never stop wondering if I didn’t. Gibby will always put your needs before hers when she loves you. She never has ulterior motives when she tells you something about yourself. She just wants you to be okay. Hurting myself hurts her and hurting her makes me reflect on what I’ve been doing because she cares about my life probably more than I do – no, definitely more than I do. Needless to say, Gibby is right.
I want everyone to think that I’m on cloud nine out here and striving towards success, and that’s partly true. But if I’m being completely honest, it’s really often that I don’t see a purpose to my life. I possess a lot of good qualities. I am passionate and driven, I communicate well and I can accomplish anything I try to do. School wasn’t hard for me. People have never been a challenge. When I set my mind to something, it happens. I’m determined and competitive and I see a future for myself but from the time I was a kid all I wanted to know was why. That’s my kryptonite. That’s what I’m looking for.
When I was six years old, my parents got me a book called “My Big Book of Questions and Answers”. I had it all the way until college. They got it for me because I had one million questions for anything they told me to do and one million and one for anything they told me was true in the world. In first grade I remember my teacher yelling at my class because someone told her that you could correct coloring pages and she said, “YOU CANNOT ERASE CRAYON”. Directly following her statement, I put up my cover folder, marked my worksheet with red crayola, and erased it with my pencil until the residue was completely gone. I smiled. I knew you could. It’s not what erasers are meant for, but it didn’t mean it wasn’t possible. I had a somewhat dangerous need to find out things for myself. Rules were always suggestions to me. Saying you couldn’t do something didn’t mean you couldn’t, it just meant there might be consequences if you did.
The problem with this seeking my own answers, though, is that as you get older, the questions get more complicated and the answers become dead ends. It’s incredibly hard for someone who thinks like me to fathom, and harder to accept. It makes my life, which has been based around learning and finding answers, feel like a dead end. When I lost the people I lost, the world felt like a dead end. I do believe in God and heaven, but it doesn’t always bring comfort. More than anything I think it just confuses and hurts me. I don’t understand how someone who is all knowing, and sees how this ends, can just let us sit around earth building things and relationships that we love to watch them all just disappear.I don’t understand why heaven is something to live for or what the point is of spending eternity anywhere. Sometimes I genuinely believe it would be better if there was just nothing.
I am not afraid of failure. If I were afraid of failure, I wouldn’t have done the things I have. I am, however, afraid to succeed. I’m afraid because I know I can. I’m afraid because I’m worried about the other side of success. Ever since that month in 2016, I have been pulling the rug out from under myself so that I’ll at least know when I’m going to hit the ground. I’ve sabotaged relationships and opportunities just to make sure that I don’t have to feel that shock and pain ever again. It works against my success. I slow myself down and work against myself because I’m afraid to succeed and have good relationships. I’m scared to have everything and still not see a point. If there wasn’t chances for me to take and relationships to foster, I wouldn’t want to keep going. I’m afraid to have everything I’ve ever wanted and there still be nothing. It’s paralyzing.
I’m not really okay. I am passionate, and working hard to move myself forward. There are days, though, when I can’t move. It’s the days when beauty seems trivial and winning seems pointless and being driven feels like I’m driving at full speed into nothing. People are so, so important to me. It’s talking to people that I love that gets me back up when I sink to these places. But that’s one of the hardest parts. One day, and I don’t know when, I won’t have those people anymore. If I help someone, if I fall in love with someone, if I build an enchanting relationship with someone that only the two of us understand… they, too, will just be gone one day. I have to keep myself up. I have to stay busy and stay talking to people I love and keep myself listening to music that impacts me. If I let myself down at all, I can’t stop the fall, and I wish that wasn’t true.
I want to be clear: I am NOT suicidal. I just have a lot of unanswered questions that make living more full of struggle than is ideal. It’s why my late grandmother is so important to me. When I came home that fall, I was done. Not that I was quitting on life, just that there was nothing. No emotions, no goal, no end in sight. But then I spent time with my grandmother. I cared for someone who got up everyday unable to help herself anymore, someone who had lost the man she gave her life to, someone who had to be taken from her home and most days didn’t know what day of the week it was because it didn’t matter. I sometimes had to leave the room because I felt so much pain for the emptiness she must be feeling, but she would look at the sky everyday at breakfast and say, “The sky is so blue today. So clear, beautiful”. She would sing worship songs loudly from her bed before she went to sleep and I would sit outside her door on the hardwood floor crying into my palms. She would ask for cookies instead of dinner and I gave them to her because she had lived ninety-three years, bore six children, and was still giving to the people around her with the strength and dignity of an army. She lived cup of coffee to cup of coffee and let it sooth her. It was such a small thing, but gave her something to look forward to. Sometimes I brew coffee in my room just to smell it. I drink it three and four times a day now because it calms my heart. She told me that she saw my grandfather sometimes in her sleep and she would wake to find him gone, and she got up anyways. This woman told my mother that she felt useless because she couldn’t cook or clean or help around the house, and she didn’t know why God still had her on Earth but that she trusted him enough to know there had to be a reason. She had no idea she was saving my life.
My grandmother saw something in life that I have yet to see. But at the end of the day, I know that if I’m related to her… if I have that fight in me… the determination to see beauty outside of myself when I’m empty… if I share that blood, I’m going to be okay. That’s something I need to stop forgetting. Thank you, Gibby.