Things still can and do feel like shit. That’s just life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There comes a point though in our lives when things stop feeling like shit all the time. We have those moments of where we realize that we’re going to be ok.
I’m reading Hyperbole and a Half and in the second section on depression that author, Allie Brosh, explains the moment she realized things can stop feeling like shit. Brosh was having a cry on the floor when she noticed a shriveled up, lone piece of corn under her refrigerator. For reasons she cannot explain, seeing this piece of corn made Brosh laugh uncontrollably. Something about this piece of corn and that moment told her that things can be less shitty. This got me thinking about the moment in my life when I realized things can be less shitty.
I was 18 years old and was dating a complete idiot. For online purposes, we’ll call him “S”. S and I dated for 2 months or so and I even took him to prom (which was a shit-show). He was a few years older than me, in his very early 20s,
and was first generation Canadian to Italian Catholic immigrants (which is relevant from a cultural difference stand-point). I met S through my ex’s friend when I went to see a movie with them. S tried to engage me in a conversation about the movie after it was over and I blew him off. A few days later I was told by my ex’s friend that S liked me. Silly, vulnerable me, thought that, that was amazing and because of that fact I must like him back. Oddly enough I was actually dating B, my current partner, at the time and justified leaving him for S because S lived closer to me. Very quickly I saw that I had made a mistake dating S. He was extremely controlling and demeaning. He expected me to be like his mother, a “wife” that would serve his needs and not question him. It was some hardcore Italian Catholic ideologies (I am well aware that not all Catholics and Italians are like this, this is just what he and his family were like and those were the reasons he identified). After 2 months of being told what to do and made me feel horrible and, confused S broke up with me over the phone after I called him to let him know that I was going to spend a second night with a friend. Apparently, I had no right to spend multiple days in a row with my friends. I got off the phone with him, cried for 10 minutes, and then carried on with me life. This was the moment things stopped being so shitty.
While the situation was horrible, it was extremely different from other situations I had found myself in even a year before when I was 17 years old. I had never questioned my poor treatment by others as strongly as I did with S. Everything he said and did to me I found myself saying, and sometimes even to his face, “No, that’s not right.” Then, not only did I say it or think it, I stood by it. This was also the time I decided to stop taking psych drug. The exact moment I realized though that I was going to be ok in my life, that I would not die young or be miserable forever, was when S broke up with me and I didn’t fall to pieces. The 10 minute cry was for myself, not for him. I cried out of love and compassion for myself. I cried because I was sorry that I had put myself through such a horrible time with such a horrible person. I cried because I was happy the relationship was over.
From that moment on things have only gone forward. My path towards being the person I want to be isn’t a straight one and trust me, yours will not be straight either. There were many moments of where I fell and felt like I was losing it but since that moment with S, I have been able to bounce back faster and come out stronger. I can only describe it as a being like a switch. That time when I was 18, for some reason, flicked the switch in my mind that let me know things will be ok and that switch has stayed on.