I just met up with Steve (not his name), the Lebanese guy I was dating before my current beau, to bid him farewell before his big move to Los Angeles next week for some software engineering job that will likely earn him the millions he’s always dreamed of/deserves.
Steve is really good with money. I always admired that about him, mostly because I’m so terrible with mine. Sometimes he would vocalize his concerns with my financial habits, which, while completely legitimate, ultimately only contributed to the demise of our relationship. There was actually quite a bit Steve and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on; Still, he was always one of my very favorite humans. That’s why today, when he said to me over cappuccinos topped with foamy leaf patterns, “Some of my best memories in Vegas are ones I made with you,” I almost broke into tears. (I held it together until I got into my car, at which point I totally lost it. But I think that had more to do with an existential crisis that is actually the topic of this blog post and will be discussed further in a moment. #foreshadowing)
Although we rarely saw eye-to-eye (and perhaps because of it) Steve and I always had the best conversations. I envision his mind as a factory machine, one into which you can insert any complex problem and it will be dissected into a million pieces and then processed into a carefully considered, logical thought. And while his thoughts are often delivered in less than perfect English, Steve tends to make more sense than the majority of people I know with a lifelong command of the language. Steve forces me think twice about everything, and on more than one occasion he has actually changed my mind or opinion about something–no easy feat considering my overly stubborn nature.
Anyway, here’s an epiphany I had today that I sort of alluded to a moment ago: It is really, really, REALLY important to get off your ass and spend time with the people who truly mean something to you. And not just because they might up and leave you for LA one day.
Lately I’ve been stuck in this self-deprecating rut where even meeting a friend for coffee feels like a chore. I’d rather sit on my couch alone, wallowing in self-pity while making mental notes about all the things I need to change in my life, than pull myself up to get out there and actually change them. It’s a vicious cycle that was broken today when I hopped in the shower, put myself together, and drove to the other side of town just to sit across the table from someone who cares about me–someone with whom I’d made wonderful memories–and talk about life.
We talked about his problems, about mine. About our plans for the future, our short term goals, our lifelong dreams. About the things we’d need to overcome in order to turn our hopes into realities. We talked about all the things that people meet up with other people to talk about–the things that can make you feel really fucking lonely when you’re sitting on your couch thinking about alone, but somehow don’t seem so bad when said aloud to a friend.
As someone who internalizes absolutely everything, it becomes very easy to get angry with and disappointed in myself. I get caught up in these phases of not wanting to leave my apartment–not wanting to burden others or bring them down with my presence–that I sometimes forget other people don’t think I’m all that bad. I forget other people actually like being around me because I’m “interesting” and “cultured” and “well-informed about what’s going on in the world.” (Steve’s words today.) And the crazy thing about that is it makes me feel a thousand times better. Like maybe I’m not as awful as I sometimes let myself believe. Like maybe I’m actually kind of cool.
I decided to share a sliver of this dark aspect of my personality because I feel as though this is something a lot of writers go through. I’m not sure whether it’s the amount of rejection we face on a day-to-day basis, but it seems that as writers we tend to go through bouts where we lose our self-worth. From there it’s easy to spiral into some pretty lonely places, and my hope is that if you’re there right now you will accept this as a reminder to let others help pull you out.
Get off your couch and meet a friend for coffee. And let your friend build you back up, because you are every bit as great as your friends think you are.
Then go home and write.
Also yes, I did change a Lebanese guy’s name to “Steve” for this post.