I’m almost 36. Are things changing? Have things changed? What’s different? How much closer am I to my goals? What are my goals? Why do I feel like I’m standing still? Why doesn’t the world make sense? How much longer before it starts to? Will it ever? I strongly doubt it. I sometimes despair of ever getting my shit together.
I feel so much older lately, these last few months. Maybe just this last month. When I suddenly had to face the fact that I’m here alone, I have no partner, just wrinkles and fat and too many cats, not a single pair of decent shoes, a pile of debts that refuses to budge, no matter how resolutely I pick up extra shifts and stop sleeping/eating/talking. I would like to give up now, please, if I may. I am tired. Bone tired. Soul tired.
To tell the truth, it’s the cats that keep me here. I wish I could say that it’s optimism, or faith, some form of belief that things will get better, that my life will mean something. But in the end, it’s as I suspect it is for many people: my children. Who will take care of them if I leave? So I stay. And that means roughly 19 years, or until our politicians get us all killed, whichever comes first. At the moment, I strongly suspect the latter.
Anyway, I’m old. Older. I still look young-ish. Not as young as a few years ago, but not as old as I could look for my age. I haven’t birthed any babies, and I’ve never smoked or spent a lot of time in the sun, so my skin is still in good shape. I’m swollen around the eyes lately, and if you look closely, you’ll see all of the grays in my otherwise brunette ‘do. Plus, there’s much more facial hair than ever before. I hate it. I do what I can, but it’s resilient. It’s wirey. It comes out of nowhere, a sudden chin hair, sprung out of a mole midafternoon. Well, I am a witch. What did I expect?
I want tattoos. I want to wear my inside on my outside, for people to see me as I am. But I’m afraid maybe they do. I fear I am wan, as a personality. That I am nearly nothing, and almost gone. I have never amounted to anything, and I doubt I ever will. I am so bored of all of this. People say things like “there’s so much living yet to do,” as though we should all know that means something good. For me, the future stretches on as either something filled with terror, pain and death, or else nothing – a winding, milquetoast road, paved with the quiet indignities of a long, lonely life.
I wish there were a way to opt out of this round. I just need a break. I need a long walk. I need a friend to hug me and tell me that this is all for something, that there’s a point to struggling on. If there is one, I don’t see it.
But maybe it’s just that the way forward has been buried up to its chin in platitudes, nearly drowned under the weight of all of that fake optimism everyone’s using to cover up their terror. Maybe I’ve just got to shovel everyone else’s bullshit away to see the truth underneath. Maybe tomorrow I’ll have more energy to attempt to be OK. One day closer to 36.
And who knows, maybe it’s 36 that makes all of this make sense. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.