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When Emmy and I first met in person in 2008, after almost 3 years of being friends online, the first thing she did was come up to me, take my arm, put it around her, and take a picture of us. That was the kind of person she was.
I arrived in Chicago shortly after midnight on May 9, rented my car, and drove for three and a half hours north into Wisconsin. Two of my long-time friends who were also going to Emmy’s funeral were at a hotel close to where she lived just north of Madison. The roads were so quiet and peaceful, like time stood still; only the occasional gas station sign and oncoming truck. I had never been to this state before. My first impression was one of serenity.
I finally arrived at the hotel at close to 4:00 in the morning and knocked on the door of the room Schan and Jason were waiting for me in. I immediately hugged Schan. He was Emmy’s boyfriend of almost 9 years. That was how long we all knew each other. We all met on a South Park message board. Even though we talked regularly and had met several times before, it had been too long since we met last.
Jason was in one of the beds, tired but awake, after flying into Wisconsin from his home in Alabama. I greeted him and we did our best to make amends with each other. For the last several years, there was hostility between us. I moved from California to Illinois to be with my girlfriend, who was also part of our group of friends. But shortly after, she left me for him. I hated him for it. But I was wrong to. Suddenly, the past didn’t matter anymore. We knew why we were here in Wisconsin, and any bitterness between us quickly died. I would learn just how quickly in the next 24 hours.
When 8:30 came around, we went downstairs and had breakfast before driving to Emmy’s house. Schan and his mom were in front of us, and I was driving with Jason next to me. We talked about life. Suddenly I knew we were close. Schan’s car turned onto a street and I immediately saw the name of it. Instantaneously, I remembered Emmy first giving me her address so we could send each other Christmas cards back in 2006. That was the name of the street. I felt a shiver down my back.
Her house was at the end of this very quiet little road, overlooking scenic fields and farms. I had never been here before. Never met her family. We got out and walked up the house, opening the door to the lower level. I remember taking a look around inside, taking in the scent of the room, and the sight of the wooden panels and furniture, thinking right then and there that this was what Emmy saw and experienced every day. We had been friends for almost a decade, but only now was I was suddenly seeing her life for the first time, while also knowing she wasn’t alive anymore. I almost broke down.
A dark golden retriever and a beige wolf-like dog greeted us as we walked upstairs to the upper level, where all the bedrooms, kitchen, living room, and bathroom were. Her mom, dad, stepdad, sister, and uncle greeted us right away with big hugs. They seemed overjoyed when they heard I flew in from California and Jason came from Alabama. They were such wonderful people. I sat down on the aged couch as some of them started talking. A small tortoiseshell cat named Punky approached me. Being the cat lover I am, I bent over and tried to kiss her head. I was expecting her to stay still or to try and sniff my face, but she rubbed her head into my face. Hard. And she kept doing it, over and over, brushing her skull against my nose and cheeks, briefly licking my face. I had never in my life met a cat so friendly. I had seen photos of Emmy with this kitty before. I felt like I was stuck in between a dream and a nightmare.
Emmy’s mom asked us if we wanted to see Emmy’s room and art room. She always did her art on a drawing table in a small room across the hallway from her bedroom. It was stocked with art supplies all over. I wasn’t surprised. I had seen a picture of this same room before on her DeviantArt account not long ago. I remember thinking how empty it felt with her not being there. But I imagined this feeling would be amplified when I saw her bedroom. And it was. I walked inside knowing this was where she spent so much time and where she slept every night.
Her room was organized and clean. Her bed and closet were full of stuffed animals she bought and received over the years. In the closet, I briefly saw the Goomba plush I gave to her when we met in 2008. She loved Goombas. My memory was fuzzy, but my other friends told me that when I gave it to her, she kissed me. I suddenly remembered again. I looked back at the bed.
A couple days earlier, another friend of ours, Rae, who was one of Emmy’s best friends, told me that the last text she got from Emmy before she passed away was “love the Kyle doll.” Rae wasn’t able to make it to the funeral, but she wanted to be there more than anything. Emmy was a huge fan of Stan, but she gave her beloved Stan doll to Rae not long before she passed away so Rae could take care of it. Rae gave Emmy her Kyle doll in exchange. She held onto it until she died. The doll was sitting there on the bed, in front of the stuffed animals. I cannot remember the last time I felt my guts sink to the ground so hard. Seeing it there, knowing she was gone, was the worst thing I’ve had to experience so far. Like seeing Kenny’s teddy bear still on his hospital bed after he died in the “Kenny Dies” episode. That feeling of utter hopelessness accompanying the death of somebody so young. She was only 24.
More than anything else in the world, I wanted to take the doll to give to Rae when I saw her next, whenever that may be. But out of respect, I left it there, taking a picture instead.
Before we knew it, we were headed to the funeral home. Schan, his mom, Jason, and I all piled into one car as we followed two other cars carrying Emmy’s parents, stepparents, and sister. I looked at the cars ahead of me, wondering how they were able to deal with this tragedy like they were. They were very strong.
When we arrived and walked inside, we realized we were among the first to get there. Emmy’s aunt was sobbing heavily. I hadn’t been to a funeral before, but I knew I was about to see a lot of sadness and mourning. I had to prepare myself for it, because I was as sad as they were. Everyone introduced themselves. I remember her aunt being so amazed and thankful that I would travel so far to be here. I’d hear that a lot for the rest of the day. I told her what I told everyone else who expressed gratitude: “I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.” I eventually introduced myself to more people than I could count, each one as friendly and kind as the last. To be loved, hugged, welcomed, and comforted so strongly by somebody you literally just met seemed so unreal.
We walked into the next room and hovered around a table with much of the art Emmy made. I knew she was artistic, but I was thoroughly amazed. Drawings, sketches, paintings, jewelry……she made everything, and she made everything well. She was so talented. We saw a scrapbook on the table and began flipping through the pages. There were photos of her with her friends and family. I’d known Emmy for a long time and met her before, but I always thought the physical distance between us made me somewhat less of a friend. Then I turned to the next page and found several photos of her and me. I stared at them forever. I had to quickly turn my head away because I didn’t want the tears running down my face to stain the pages.
Schan was already sobbing. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what he was going through. He’s been nothing but the best friend to me. He always helped me in my times of need. But I felt helpless. What do you say to someone when they lose their girlfriend to cancer to make them feel better? He kept saying how he should have been a better boyfriend. He was always hard on himself. I told him that he was the best boyfriend Emmy could ask for. I knew he was, and Emmy knew it too. I said, “If she didn’t think you were the best boyfriend out there, she wouldn’t have stayed with you. She was very independent and did what she wanted, but she wanted to be with you. She loved you and always talked about you.” I picked up the scrapbook and flipped to the last page. It was a picture of Emmy and Schan, on pink construction paper with a bunch of hearts and the word “love” scrawled in big letters above. The next several minutes were little more than the three of us passing each other tissues, wiping each other’s faces, and hugging.
The funeral director informed us we could now go see the casket. I had to brace myself. We walked in and saw her body. She was wearing a beautiful handmade beanie made of red yarn. Something told me she made it herself, but I never found out. She was dressed casually, but classy, with a golden watch around her wrist. I tried to keep myself composed as I looked at her face. Her lips were thin, and her eyes were closed gently. Her glasses weren’t on. Her skin was pale and discolored from having no more blood. The cancer had always made her skin look a little different, too. But she was so beautiful. She always was. With or without makeup, she was just stunning. I was jealous of Schan. But he was next to me, crying harder than I thought anyone could, though not making a sound. I did my best to comfort him as well as I could with three other people trying to do the same thing. But he had to let it out somehow. Jason was visibly upset, too. We passed each other more tissues, but my eyes were always watery. I had seen bodies of deceased people before, but never one of a friend. A friend who was younger than me. A friend I hadn’t seen in a long time, but whose face made it seem like yesterday.
Schan looked at her body and told me that he was going to marry her. I knew he loved her to death and she loved him just the same, but that was news to me. I thought I felt hopeless before, but this took it to a whole new level. I don’t even remember how I responded. Nothing I could have said would have made him feel better. I wanted more than anything to comfort him, but I didn’t know how. Those words hit my head like a brick.
We took a seat in the viewing room and before we knew it, there were about over a hundred people around us sitting down and waiting for the service to begin. Schan sat in the front-most pew next to Emmy’s family while Jason and I sat on a couch off to the side. I remember telling Jason how much I felt like shit, because Emmy had so, so many people who loved and cared about her, who all made it to her funeral, and that I felt envious, knowing that when I die, I will hardly have anyone. That if I died tomorrow, my friends online wouldn’t know, because my family isn’t in touch with them. Even my family and local friends would take a while to find out, because I don’t have 100% daily communication with anyone. The only people who I ever talked to every single day of my life when I knew them were my girlfriends.
I felt selfish. It was her fucking funeral. But I knew that she had so many people because she deserved it. She loved everyone, and everyone loved her. I definitely can’t say the same about myself. I was already destroyed from losing my friend and seeing her body, and now I was helplessly turning the situation into a bout with self-pity, wishing I were dead instead.
The casket was now closed. One of Emmy’s uncles delivered the eulogy in front of everyone. He led a few prayers. I didn’t know whether or not I was the only atheist in the room, but I didn’t care. I lowered my head out of respect. He went on to explain that God works in mysterious ways, that life is a gift, and as such, it can be justifiably taken at any time, because people are natural-born sinners. I remember hearing these words and shaking violently with rage. For someone…anyone…especially a loved one, to say that Emmy’s death was in any way acceptable literally made me sick. How could she have deserved this? She never, ever in her life hurt a single person. Jason sensed my shaking and put his hand on my shoulder trying to calm me down. He did. I knew for a fact that most of Emmy’s family was not very religious. Emmy was a Christian, but she was never devoutly religious herself. I didn’t care what she was. I don’t like to judge. I loved her just the same. Maybe it’s because I don’t understand the concept of sin. Maybe that’s why it upset me so much. I don’t believe in “natural sin.” I believe in right and wrong. There’s a difference. And Emmy never did anything wrong. I don’t have to be a Christian to see that. I feel people don’t understand me because of it.
Her uncle had frightened me. But I know he had good intentions. He’s a pastor, after all. Shortly after, Emmy’s mom came to the podium and told us a little about Emmy’s life. She mentioned one time when Emmy was 12, around the time or right after she was first diagnosed with leukemia, the family went to Six Flags Great America, a theme park in Chicago. There, Emmy decided to go into the park’s recording studio so she could sing one of her favorite songs. It was “Cowboy Take Me Away” by the Dixie Chicks. Her mom said, tearfully, that Emmy came out of the recording studio upset, thinking she didn’t do a good job singing. Then the song played. We were hearing her singing when she was twelve years old. Suddenly, I was in a room with over 100 people crying as hard as I was. I kept looking at her mom and dad, and Schan sitting next to them. I didn’t think I would ever see something this emotional. I remember seeing Jason almost unable to control himself next to me. I put my hand on his back as my face started to leak.
Her singing was flawless. I did not hear any mistakes, stuttering, or any off-key notes. She was so talented.
The director instructed everyone in the room to proceed to their vehicles to follow the hearse to the cemetery, and to turn on their headlights and hazard flashers, which is customary for funeral vehicle processions. Jason, Schan, myself, Emmy’s parents, and some of Emmy’s closest relatives stayed in the viewing room. Her mom then asked Jason and I if we wanted to be pallbearers. I can’t even begin to say how amazingly honored I was. Out of more than a hundred people, many of whom she was extremely close to, I would be one of only six people to carry her casket to the hearse and to her grave.
The casket was wheeled out into the room on a cart, where the six of us kept one hand each on top of it as it was rolled out toward the hearse. I was in the very front on the left side. I know some people took photos during that time, but I don’t have any of them. More than anything, I wish I did. So badly.
When we got to the hearse, we grabbed the casket by the handle rods on the sides and lifted it into the back. It was so heavy. Reality still hadn’t settled in. The journey to the cemetery seemed like an eternity.
When we arrived, we removed the casket from the back of the hearse. For some reason, it felt so much heavier this time. We carried it to the makeshift tent where there were chairs set up for the immediate family and set it down onto the rolling platform. The funeral director took several roses from the flower displays set up near the casket and began handing them out to people to place on top for a final good-bye. Once Emmy’s immediate family had done so, Schan, Jason and I were each given a rose and followed suit. They were sobbing pretty hard, but so was I. I placed the rose on top of the casket and touched the top with my hand, and I remember saying quietly “Goodbye, Emmy. You were the most amazing friend. I love you.” It took me a while to find the energy to take my hand off the casket, knowing it would be the last time I had any sort of contact with her. I walked away from the casket slowly until only one finger was on it. I kept it there for just a few more seconds before letting go. I’d have kept it there longer, but Schan and Jason were waiting for me.
We went into the church to eat. The food was very good, and the cake was really beautiful. I stared at it for a while. I couldn’t bring myself to consume it. The symbolism behind it was too much for me.
I people-watched as I ate, trying to take in the moment. I cleared my plate and tossed it in the trash before returning to the table to talk to her family and friends some more. After a while, something hit me. I don’t know what it was, but its biggest enemy was reality.
I stood up and walked outside, heading toward the grave. The tent, chairs, and platform were gone. All that was left was a big mound of dirt, where the casket was now buried, and the flower displays. Nobody else was outside. I kept walking, trying to think about what I was going to do when I got up to it. Suddenly I heard footsteps behind me. I knew it was Schan and Jason following me, but I never looked behind me. I reached Emmy’s grave and sat down next to it, just staring, trying to make sense of everything. It felt like forever. I remember clenching my fists so hard, my fingernails dug into my skin. I got up and looked around for a flower…one that wasn’t on someone else’s grave. All I could find was a small yellow dandelion flower. I picked it up and put it on top of her grave, along with a red carnation that had fallen from the display. I took a photo with my phone, knowing I would never want this moment to fade.
I turned around and hugged my two friends. Nothing before seemed so unreal. We began walking back to the church, but I lagged behind. They kept walking, but I turned around. I didn’t feel like I was done yet. And I guess I really, really wasn’t. I remember collapsing next to the grave and crying harder than I ever have in my life. Ever. More than I did when my grandma died. More than I did when I went through my first and second break-up. More than ever. So fuckin’ hard that I lost my breath. I swore I felt my heart stop, and it seemed like forever until I could feel it beat again. I’m always quiet when I cry. But I wasn’t this time. I was very, very loud. I probably sounded like an animal. I didn’t see Schan or Jason near me. I felt somewhat relieved. I didn’t want anyone to see or hear me like that.
But as I got up and stumbled back toward the church, they were walking toward me and helped me stand up. I don’t think I ever needed anyone more than I needed someone then. And they were there. I took my insulin out of my pocket and threw it onto the lawn. I didn’t give a fuck anymore. It should have been me underground. Emmy did nothing to deserve this. I would have died 7 years ago if it weren’t for a brief stroke of luck. If it’s even considered “luck” at this point.
Hours later, we’re back at Emmy’s house, with her family and pets surrounding the living room. Emmy’s mom grabs some beers for everyone and makes some drinks and food. I needed it at that point. We all talked. For a very long time. Word gets out that I can do a good Russian accent, so they ask me to do it. I do my best Russian accent and make everyone laugh pretty hard. It made me feel much better, that I could bring laughter to her family in a time like this. Punky was sitting on my lap, alternating between me, Schan, and Jason. Emmy’s mom tells me that cat really loves men for some reason. But it stayed with Schan the most. I already knew, almost for a fact, that cats can tell when somebody is feeling depressed. This was all the proof I needed.
The time came for me to leave. I had a flight at 5:00 in the morning and needed several hours to drive back to Chicago, drop off my rental car, catch the shuttle to the terminal, and proceed through the security checkpoints. Everyone there gave me hugs, telling me how grateful they were that I could make it and that I traveled so far. I told them I was equally, if not more grateful for their hospitality and generosity, and especially for their allowing, wanting, and trusting me to carry Emmy’s casket. Because before that day, they had never even met me.
Some of them have since added me on Facebook. They want me to come back and visit some day. I know I will. I really want to. It’s an honor. They turned my first visit to Wisconsin into the most unforgettable event of my life thus far.
Emmy, you were an amazing friend, a caring soul, and an all-around wonderful person. Never once bothered by your misfortunes, and always lifting people up. I miss you. I love you. And more than anything, I just want you to be back here with us.
This is for you guys.
So I also want to take this opportunity to explain to you all that I, personally, am loyal to a fault. This has led me in the past, and will lead me in the future, to be highly outspoken and even controversial toward those who fuck around with people I’m close to, whether online or offline.So, having put all that out there, I’d like to personally take this moment to publicly ridicule this guy:
Go fuck yourself, Teddy-boy.
I have icons that show if requests, trades, or commissions are open and/or whether or not I do them in the first place. Lots of people do. They don’t change often, but sometimes they do. If someone doesn’t take half a minute to read my profile and look at these icons or read my very brief sentences, then I’m not going to take half a minute to respond to them. It’s disrespectful. In addition, I’m a little irked at how people are under the impression that making a request for them is no big deal. I don’t think people understand how long it takes and how much work it is to make a picture for someone, even with backgrounds and characters I’ve already used before. I’m not at all keen on the idea of spending hours in front of my computer making something for someone when they don’t give me anything back. This is why I don’t do requests, so please stop being upset over it if you are.
There’s also a damn good reason I only do trades with friends. Friends are not the same thing as watchers. Friends are people I know well enough on here; people who have conversed with me at least once or made something for me or leave comments on and favorite my work here and there, especially those who have helped me these past few months. A friend is not someone off the streets of DeviantArt who clicks the “watch” button and gives me a compliment. I do trades with friends only because I want to do this kind of work for people who I feel deserve it. So far, my problem is that I have done trades in the past for people who meet any one of two criteria:
1) I spend hours making my part of the trade, and they make something for me that looks like it took about 5 minutes
2) They have me make something for them and they never make anything back for me in return. (For example, . [And if you’re reading this, please don’t bother with your end of the trade. It would be half a year overdue now and it ain’t worth waiting for. No offense. And by the way, when you added the picture I made for you to your profile, not only did you never make anything back, but you never even credited me. That’s why I removed it from my gallery.])
I’m aware some people here are quite literally HALF my age, but I still knew better when I was that young.Now, to address my first point, I know not everyone makes the same kind of art or has as much experience working with their medium of choice, but I can tell when you put effort into something. Addressing my second point, I also know that my friends on here, or at least the people whose usernames I can memorize, won’t give me the shaft and not complete their part of the trade. I’m not asking you to spend a couple hours making something like I did, but at least give it an effort.
Now, my last point, and kudos to you if you’re still reading this. I do not do gifts, unless you’re a very good friend on here. I hate to sound rude, but I don’t care when your birthday is. Happy birthday. I have almost 500 watchers. That means at least one watcher could have a birthday every day of the year (if some people didn’t have like five fuckin’ accounts. Seriously). I don’t ask people to make me things for my birthday, especially if I hardly know who they are. And if I’m honest, I try to discourage people from making gifts for me in the first place, because my birthday does not make me happy like it does for most people. For me, it’s just another day without celebration, another day closer to my death.I try to be a nice person, but people have their limits. I know when I’m being taken advantage of, whether the perpetrator does or not, and with a lot of other shit going on in life, I really don’t need it. There’s plenty going on I haven’t told anyone here, you know. I just feel I’ve done more than my fair share of ranting. I'm not telling everyone this to be rude. I'm trying to point out when other people are being rude because they apparently don't even know it.
The people who made me feel this way were never my family, my friends, or my teachers. They were always very supportive (except my high school algebra teacher. Fuckin’ bitch). It was the people I went to school with, up until my last year of high school. I was always “different” than them. And while it upset me, for the most part, I never really ever thought about it or gave it much consideration. Because there were plenty of times where I felt I was smarter or somehow better than they were. In third grade, the teacher liked my handwriting on one of my worksheets so much, she made copies of it for everyone, handed them out, and told all my classmates to copy the paper and start writing exactly like I did. She told me my writing looked like a machine did it. In fifth grade, our teacher said he’d throw a pizza party if one of us could name one country that begins with each letter of the alphabet (except for ‘X’, of course). I was the only one who could do it, without even looking at a map, no less. My classmates sure loved me then. For once. In seventh grade, I placed 10th in a statewide geography bee. I always got good grades, always had better spelling and grammar, and always had more general knowledge of the world. Because I was curious.
But I never, at any point, felt that’s what I wanted. More than anything, I wanted to desperately to be like everyone else. Socially. I had friends in elementary, middle, and high school, but not many. I wasn’t the one who was always going to friends’ houses, parties, sleepovers, etc. They happened every once in a while, but I knew I was an outcast. This lasted until about 5 years ago. Now, my social life is the best it’s ever been. I have more friends than I can count, and they’re not the socially-awkward kind of people I always thought I was. Sometimes I’m so busy hanging out with friends, I barely have time for anything else in my spare time.
So I should be happy, shouldn’t I? But I’m not. I can’t bring myself to be. Not because I’m dissatisfied or ungrateful for what I have now, but because I didn’t have it sooner. I may have come a long way, but I can’t turn a clock backwards. All I can tell myself now is how many missed opportunities I’ve had. I still look back and tell myself things should have been quite different. You’re only young once. People tell me I’m young now, and maybe I am, but not as much as I’d like to be. I’ve known for seven and a half years now that I’m not going to live very long.
I wanted my high school years to be more memorable. I wanted to have the kind of social life, sex life, attitude, and determination that high schoolers in modern society have. But I didn’t have any of that. Just about the only thing I had in common with a typical high school student was the fact that I got my driver’s license and my first car during my junior year. I don’t take that for granted, but it didn’t mean the same thing for me as it did for everyone else. To everyone else, I was still one of those “awkward people”, just because I didn’t socialize much. Because even though I’m not at all mentally or physically disabled or “different,” people still found something about me to poke fun at. Because for some reason, whatever it is, I was not like them.
I’m now 26.
I’ve only had two girlfriends. Some would consider this “average” or “sufficient” for someone my age. Whether or not it is, it sure isn’t where I’m from. And it only makes me feel worse about myself. Some guys can meet girls with the snap of a finger. I’ve always struggled with it. I don’t know why. I always knew I had something to offer, but apparently women don’t seem to think so.
I’m still in college. Now, I know a few people who didn’t finish college until they were in their 30s (including my mom). Even some of my friends, both my age and older, are still in college. But I don’t want to be in this position. It’s discouraging and upsetting seeing someone many years younger than me graduate with a great degree and making more money per hour than I’ll ever see in a week in the near future.
I’m still single. Again, I know many people my age and older are as well, but I don’t want to be one of them. More than anything else in the entire fuckin’ world…what I absolutely HATE more than ANYTHING, is that there are rude, incompetent, unintelligent, abusive, dishonest, disloyal, and overall shitty people out there who still have someone who loves them. They have someone, and they either don’t deserve it, or didn’t work to get it. It’s just how things “happened” for them. Because apparently they can do something right that I can’t. This is what I cannot get over.
Many of the people I know from as far back as first grade now have at least one child. Not only does this make me feel ancient and unaccomplished, but because of how I felt about myself and how people treated me through much of my childhood and school life, I always felt like I had to prove myself to them. To the “normal people.” But how can I do that? I still don’t have what they do. It’s like living the nightmare all over again. Like everything they’ve done and said to me is still true today, 20 years later.
And I don’t have all the time in the world. Even if I were to meet someone special tomorrow, how can I be optimistic? It takes a very long time to form a relationship that’s fitting and committed enough to have children together. I’ll be ancient by that time. The people I know who are having kids today have been together for several years now. Even if I did meet someone tomorrow, how can I be sure they’d be willing to move out of California with me? I can’t stay here forever, even when I do get my degree. It’s just too hard to stay afloat here. But so many people want to stay. Then there goes that! Do I put off trying to find that special someone for a few whole years, or do I start looking now and risk losing it all a few years down the road?
Some guys get it all because they know what to say or do. Do you have any idea how hard it is for me to say, or even imply, to a female, “Hey, I really like you a lot!” or “Would you like to go [somewhere on a date]?” They hear that shit all the time. For most of them, they probably think guys just say that to get into their pants for a night before calling it quits. I’m not like that. Don’t get me wrong…I love sex (even though it’s been months since I’ve had it)…but I want there to be a connection. Most guys don’t care. Maybe I’m afraid of rejection…or maybe I just don’t want to be grouped with other men who would willingly fuck anything that walks on two legs. I probably wouldn’t have anything to worry about if men weren’t so fuckin’ sexual all the time. But that’s how we’re biologically-programmed. Whatever. The fact is that women my age, younger, and older, have men crawling up to them all the time. They can pick, select, or choose whoever they want. But males…they have to do the flirting. The courting. The wooing. And because I’m apparently not good at that, I’m forced to miss out. What. The. Fuck. Ever.
I look at my life now, knowing I’m more accomplished than many people my age, but I can’t see those people. I don’t know who they are. I just know they exist somewhere. But regardless, I’m not as happy as I should be. I feel like my life is an endless loop that goes nowhere. My college classes don’t continue until late August. I work two dead-end jobs that only pay my bills and don’t give me much extra, while more than half the people my age I know make good enough money to support them for the rest of their life. They have valuable skills that will benefit them in their future. I don’t have that. I don’t have any valuable skills. I spend a considerable amount of my free time on my computer making dumb pictures that require very little talent. I have people tell me my work is amazing. They don’t know how little effort it takes. I don’t even have my own unique art style. I really want to ask myself how much longer I can keep doing this.
Whatever I’ve done, I’ve worked hard at. And yet, I have nothing to show for it but two failed relationships, a busted ego, a small apartment and a couple ancient cars nobody but me cares about. I have the most amazing family, but I didn’t work to have them. They worked to have me. And I know I just let them down.
I never felt like I fit into society when I was younger. Now that I feel I do, more than I used to, I’m just beating myself up for not fitting in sooner, or better. And even then, I’m just looking at what other people my age have that I don’t have. A good job. A lover. A child. A future. I’m eternally grateful for what I do have, but I still feel lacking. All the things I have now, in my mid-20s, I should have had 10 years ago if I wanted to make something of myself and feel better about who I am.
But I know that not everyone, even if they’re older than me, has what I have now. And that makes me a shitty person. That’s the worst part about all this. I never believed in personal pride, because I never thought I had a reason to justify having it, myself. I live in a society, and a country, where I’m made to feel like shit for not having the things I have now, earlier in life. Our very own culture is telling me that my golden years have been wasted.
I don’t want sympathy. I just want to relate.