Friday, January 6, 2012

The Best I'll Ever Have?

I can't remember a time when I ever felt proud of my life.

Sure, I've felt proud of certain accomplishments - grades, awards, victories, prizes, promotions, raises - but they've always felt like aberrations, the exceptions in my life. I haven't been able to be proud of my life as a whole.

In fact, I can't remember a time when I didn't feel embarrassed over...something...

...When I wasn't humiliated by
my parents
my weight
my glasses
my hair
my voice
my period
being single
being penniless
being alone
being sick
being young
being old
feeling ignored
getting lost
losing hope

I spend my whole life trying to convince other people that I'm fine. I hide, obscure, spin, maneuver, euphemize, and minimize the heartbreaks, fears, shortcomings, and misgivings. I color my hair. I wax it elsewhere. I paint my nails. I line my eyelids. I perfume my chest. I gloss my lips. I shave my legs.

I no longer cry in public, the girl that once wept openly on the subway and let steady streams of tears flow down her face while sipping drinks at bars.

Or, rather, I wait until I'm in my car, driving home late at night, gulping down my sobs, when the only people who can see me are those peering at me in their rear view mirrors at stop signs, or pulling up alongside me at stop lights.

When will good enough be enough?

When will I stop agonizing over not being...
thin enough
young enough
old enough
serious enough
happy enough
Jewish enough
rich enough
popular enough
fashionable enough
?

When will it stop being my fault that I am too single?

When will my life stop requiring me to do something about it? At what point do I get to just...enjoy it? When can I say, "Enough is enough" and accept that the way things are are the way they're going to be, and live with it?

Can I ever do that?

Can anyone ever do that? (Well, certainly some people do, some at earlier points in their lives than others, but that doesn't mean they necessarily should.)

Every year, I used to vow, as a singular New Year's Resolution, to simply get better - to make my life better in whatever ways I could. In my mind, that usually meant losing weight, wearing more makeup, tweezing my eyebrows better, choosing my hookups better, making more money, whatever. But rather than giving me just one resolution to stick to, it was so vague that it opened up a whole world of possibilities of how I could potentially improve my life, and if I didn't - or couldn't, especially in those areas over which I had no control - I felt like a failure.

So this year, can I just give myself a year during which I cut myself a break? Can I just...be?

I'm tired. I know I'm not the best out there. I know I don't have the best life, or even the best life I could have. And this year, I may not be able to be better than I was last year. But while I try to take a break this year, I can only hope that the best I ever had - so far - isn't the best I'll ever have. God help me, I hope the best is yet to come. Because I wouldn't go back to any part of my past life for anything.

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