January wasn’t the best month for me last year. Going to the funeral of your best friend’s mom will do that. But after the series of events which unfolded in January 2018, I’ve begun to resign myself to the idea that January may be the worst month of the year.
At least that seems to be the way things are going for me, as of late.
Admittedly, the first half of the month wasn’t so bad. If anything, there were a few consecutive days where I had an absolute hoot of a time. I went home to Philadelphia for a day to see my grandparents—who are in poor health—on my way to New York for a wedding. I spent a day in Manhattan with many of my good friends, seeing Times Square, the Nintendo World Store, eating a wonderful meal at Carmine’s Italian restaurant, visiting the 9/11 Memorial, making new friends at the Blarney Stone by Penn Station, and figuring out how the subway system worked when a friend and I frantically raced back to the Nintendo store to buy sleeping Eeveelution plushies. He got Flareon; I got Leafeon. Then the wedding the next day brought me to tears when the bride danced with her father at the reception. We danced, we ate, we drank, we made merry.
Then when I returned home on the night of January 15, my father gave me the first piece of bad news in a series of bad news that would build for the rest of the month (and bleed into the beginning of February): my cat, Kefka, who was barely three years old, suddenly passed away when I was halfway through my flight home. He had complications breathing out of the blue and was unable to be resuscitated.
The next day, I checked my university email to find that I was being hit with an excess credit hour surcharge. The fee was covered, but just barely, and I was left with a $37 refund. After my trip to New York, my savings had dwindled greatly. I could afford my books and my car payment that month, but because I hardly get any hours at work and the money’s not the best, my financial stability would be uncertain as soon as…well, February. Sure, I could pick up shifts, but then I lose what little time I have to take care of assignments for class.
There is only one textbook I actually need this semester, and that’s for my Spanish class so I can access MySpanishLab, which accounts for 30% of my final grade. Unfortunately, I also missed the first quiz of the semester that was posted on Webcourses because I was working. That cemented it: I was literally too poor to pass the class. I told my professor this yesterday, and her reaction was a nonchalant “Oh, alright,” and she sauntered off, unfazed.
And of course, there’s the coup de grâce that was the sudden ending of things with this girl I was seeing for a bit. Out of respect for her privacy, I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say there was nobody at fault for what happened or how we felt about the situation, but there was an air of “It’s not you, it’s me” coming from her, at least from my perspective. I didn’t want things to end, but I told her I understood if she wanted to go in that direction, and that I wouldn’t hold anything against her. Since this would possibly be my last chance, I told her how I felt about her and opened up a bit about my past experiences, and ultimately told her that she is an incredible person, she is her, and nobody can take that away from her.
No response. Unfortunate, but not unexpected.
So I sulked. I thought back on all of my past relationships, and how they all ended with something along the lines of “It’s not you, it’s me” coming from the other person. Mind you, this person I had been seeing recently wasn’t my significant other or anything; we were just seeing each other. Sort of. I just want what will make her happy; not what will make me happy.
Then I thought about two close friends of mine who happen to be female, one of whom I had been involved with when we were teens and the other I had a bit of a crush on when we went to college together. Feelings for both of them have long passed, but I still had a thought: if I still lived in North Florida and either of them were single, things probably could work between myself and either of them in the romantic sense. Is it something I’d pursue? No, not at all. I don’t see either of them in that way anymore, and they’re basically like my bros. And bros don’t sleep with bros, lest they risk their friendship.
I was perusing r/AskReddit when I happened upon the age-old advice that you can’t love others until you love yourself. I had heard this bit of wisdom time and again in my life, but before yesterday I had not actually sat down to really think about how I view myself independently from events and people surrounding me.
Almost two years ago, I was formally diagnosed with clinical depression. Since then, I have been in counseling, and it has done me well. I began to recognize when the dark thoughts began to creep forward and how to put a stop to it, and to recognize the positive aspects of my life more easily. I still struggle, but I’m getting better.
For years, I saw myself as a pathetic outcast. A pariah. Someone who was so absorbed with the idea of standing out from the crowd that it was to my detriment. I saw myself as a broken, depressed mess who people didn’t want to deal with or be around based on my experience with people leaving when I opened up about my fears and insecurities, but not admitting to such. I hated myself, and I truly did believe that I was unlikable to a majority of people.
But when I started truly examining who I was—my actions, my disposition, my demeanor, my personality, my passions—I realized that I really don’t hate myself at all. In fact, I would go as far as to say that I like who I am, warts and all. The peace maker. The loyal friend. The one who listens. The one who is rarely angry. The one who does not belittle. I know that it seems like I’m just talking myself up, but when I look at who I am, isolated from my current situational woes, I like me.
“The loneliest people are the kindest,
The saddest people smile the brightest.
The most damaged people are the wisest.
All because they do not wish to see anyone else suffer the way they do.” -Unknown
Yesterday, I vented about my situation on Facebook. Two hours later, one of my best friends texts me, adamant that he pay the $200+ I need for my Spanish book. After a bit of rumination, I relented.
Later last night, I talked to another close friend of mine, who insisted that he pay half the cost of the book.
With friends like them and so many more, I have all the proof I need that my life could be so much worse than it actually is. That I’m not pathetic, or unwanted. So what if I’m financially crippled at the moment, and my living situation is less than ideal? Maybe I am a bit broken emotionally, my romantic history is disconcerting, and I don’t remember what happiness feels like.
But honestly? I’m hopeful that things will get better eventually.