This is Why You Must Survive

I have been told that this blog is so depressing that some people have stopped reading it, which seems almost funny to me because if anything I soft-pedal how unrelentingly bleak my life can be. For instance, I have not mentioned my habit of telling myself, as many as a dozen times a day, that I am a bad person and that I am stupid. I do this as a reflex when I do something sub-optimal, or worse when I remember doing something sub-optimal, especially if it was of a social nature. That’s the background radiation of my life; that’s what happens to me on a good day. Some mornings, it is a real fight to get out of bed.

Things are looking up, though. For the first time in a long time, I have a real path forward to something better. Even after the euphoria died down, I still kept writing. Now I’m at 56,000 words. I should have a complete manuscript by the end of the year. More importantly, a friend of mine wants to write a intro to PHP book with me. He’s a pretty good programmer, and I’m a pretty good writer, and together we should make a pretty good book. The best part is that I’ll be able to use it as a portfolio piece, and hopefully start picking up some technical writing jobs. Once I have some professional credits and references to my name, I’ll have the start of an honest-to-Goddess career on my hands. There’s something even bigger and better in the pipe, but I can’t talk about it because I don’t know what I can say without jeopardizing things and I’d rather err on the side of discretion.

Socially, things are…choppy. I lost a good friend. She’ll stay lost until she can realize what she did wrong, and why her “apology” didn’t cut it. That might make for some strain with my other two main hangout friends, but I’ve got a third who might be developing in that same circle, and I think I can branch out to find more, as well. It feels a little mercenary and gross to be evaluating friendships for their potential contributions to my mental health and stability, but that’s part of my life now. If I lose a friend, I have to be on the lookout to pick up others or grow closer to ones I already have, or else I could enter a tail spin and have a hard time pulling out. I will die in the dark if I let myself be alone.

So I don’t let myself be alone.

I’m not long for Beaverton, anyhow. One way or another, I’m leaving next year. The Portland area is where I plan to retire; I can’t stand to live here in my youth. Or maybe I’m just restless. Last year I hopped from place to place, constantly in flux. My housing situation was unstable for the vast bulk of the year, only settling out in November. Life changing decisions had to be made regularly, sometimes in a matter of hours. It was survival living, hand to mouth. Maybe I acclimated to it. Stability, at least up here in Beaverton, doesn’t agree with me.

Or didn’t, at least. The restlessness is fading. I feel like I could fall into a rut here. That scares me. Is it because I’ve made the decision to move, or is it because I’m re-acclimating to stability? (Is stability banality? Should I fear it as much as I think I do?)

I am in a liminal space. Not the desperately scrambling “I’ll try (almost) anything” way that I was at the depth of my homelessness, when I was seriously looking for a time and place to experiment with drugs because hey, what’s the worst that’s gonna happen: I end up homeless? This is a more prolonged, and perhaps somewhat more penetrating, evolution. It’s not just new experiences I’m searching for. I’m thinking about where I’m going to be in five years. Who I am going to be. My career is on the runway. My social life is in turmoil but not exactly falling apart. Geographically, things will change in a big way soon. Everything is shifting, some parts faster than others.

I feel good to be alive, even despite all the shit. This is what I survived for. I know I made the right choice in refusing to die. If I’d let myself go, nothing would have changed. My life would have ended in such poor conditions. You don’t stay alive because things are guaranteed to turn out well–although things are up from where they were last year, everything could still fall apart for me, and get even worse this time. You stay alive because if you die, nothing will ever get better for you. How you died in the end, that will be it. But if you survive, you retain the blessings of uncertainty, and of potential.

When things are at their darkest, remember, this is why you must survive: not for false hope. Simply to see if things will change.

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2 thoughts on “This is Why You Must Survive

  1. Well, readers, like friends come and go, especially for those of us on the journey to a more authentic personal reality. Maybe only those of us who have suffered and survived similar situations have the empathy and tolerance to deal with the pain expressed by others.

    Life is flux and evolution, to stop is to stagnate. To me that is a form of slow creeping death, so I will always find ways to learn, grow and live.

    Much good luck.

  2. P1: I don’t think the content of your blog is any more depressing than the thoughts of most of my friends. True, I seem to attract a pretty screwed up crowd (or crazily self-disciplined go-getters), but still. In my case, I’m just a flake at reading things, and journal notifications get lost in the ever-growing stack of new e-mails perpetually flooding my inbox. Anyway – I digress. The content isn’t that much more depressing than my other depressed/unstable/trans/suicidal/various-states-of-traumatized friends; the only thing I have noticed is that you seem a bit more inclined to just say you’re miserable and it all sucks and you think bad things, whereas they are a bit angrier, or a bit more resigned, or try to be a bit more self-encouraging regardless of their actual view of their own self-worth simply because you can’t feel it unless you start to live it.

    P2: Best of luck on the Intro to PHP book!

    P3: It’s not mercenary/gross at all. It’s good to be able to step back and go, “This person is detrimental to my mental health.” It keeps you out of abusive relationships.

    P5/6: Where are you thinking of going to, if not Beaverton or Portland? I understand the “rut” thing. I feel miserable, restlessly settled in Beaverton. It makes my spirit feel smothered and grey.

    P7: Searching is good. Searching is progress.

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