Monday, March 18, 2013

I Feel Finite

Every once in a while I have a deep burning bitterness about the things I missed in high school. It's not every day or every week, but when people talk about their great teenage parties I feel passionately jealous. It doesn't happen every day or week, but it happens. With only one true friend in four years supplemented sparsely by occasional people who would try to be nice to me without losing their social standing, it was rough. Sometimes I'm mad it was rough. Sometimes I feel like going through social drama, trying alcohol, going to a club, having boys be interested in you, dating, and messing up at life are things that are really important. I never had a sore stomach from laughing with friends, but always from coughing. I missed all of those little moments where your youth feels endless. I never had a high school moment that felt like it would be infinite. I had good times. I came close, but nothing legendary happened. The only story of that era that I could tell to my grandchildren would be how I almost died. I know very few people like high school, but my particular bad experience seems rare.

I recently read The Perks of Being a Wallflower and today I went to the book club. It's a really good book. I loved it because I thought the main characters were likable, it's depictions of mental illness were accurate, and it felt real, but I just can't relate. I'm a good literary critic so I know you don't need to relate to find the redeeming qualities of fiction, but it gave me one of those hatred feelings. Charlie was messed up, but at least he had one infinite moment. He had a time when he belonged. I definitely feel included here at Simmons, but I don't feel that foolish anymore. I don't feel like I can look forward and make all the mistakes I want because there is time to fix it. I feel finite, like my decisions today are leading on in a single time stream that continues forever until I die tomorrow or in ten or twenty or fifty years. I'm grateful for the friends and family I have that love and care for me, but I worry that I might never feel infinite. I might never have a moment where I forget about the people who will remember me and just make the memories.

You can't search for that infinity either, only approach it. I will continue to put myself in situations where I might belong with people who might like me, but it's harder and harder to feel infinite, I think.

1 comment:

Bob Singer said...

Emily,
I know you missed a lot, but you were filled with other events. It's not like you just sat on the couch and coughed. You were busy with school, horseback riding, swim lessons, meets, Guild Wars people, and many people who cared about you. You missed a lot of moments that were in fact, nerve-wracking, embarrassing, awkward, and only "infinite" in the re-telling and false glorification of memory. You had a different teenage experience, but by no means an empty one. Your experiences gave you the strength, maturity, and sense of humor that have resulted in the special person you are today. You really didn't miss anything.