Recently, I have regressed. And it has propelled me forward like nothing else has been able to.
For my readers to fully understand what I hope to express with this post, I need to first paint you a quick portrait of the girl I was between the ages of 15 and 18, give or take a few months in either direction. So, let’s meet Pammy.
Don’t I look so thrilled with life? Well, half the time, I wasn’t. I suffered from mild depression during high school and into my early college years. My parents’ relationship was toxic, my father didn’t know how to be a father, and I was a smart, unique girl in a two-star town where those traits were not valued. My mother, god love her, did her very best to boost my ego and repair the damage my dad did on a daily basis but for the most part, I was sort of on my own. I turned to music to save me. I listened to 89X radio here in Detroit religiously. Their mixture of pop-punk and alternative spoke to my miserable side as well as my rebellious side. I adopted their red and black color scheme in my daily life. I blasted My Chemical Romance in my bedroom. My father would bang on the door, bark that he didn’t like the shit I was listening to, and I would simply put on headphone and damage my hearing even more, while I let the despairing messages make me feel better.
The other half the time I was this girl.
When I was actually among peers who welcomed my presence, I was more alive. I had comedic timing, I told great stories complete with character voices and waving arms and I knew how to work a room when I had to. The sound of others laughing with me rather than at me was intoxicating and it was my drug: if I could make others laugh, then I was a person worth being. My friends used to comment that I smiled and laughed constantly. I’m glad people saw me that way because I really tried to hide how shitty I felt when I was alone (which was the majority of the time), so I created a character that I played as often as I could: a bit hysterical, but mostly just jokey and huggy and eager to love and be loved. But because it was a role I was playing I rarely let those people I called my friends be friends to me. I supported them, but didn’t want to be supported. I could play the part and keep them all in the dark and if that meant when high school was over that these people didn’t really mean as much to me as they should have, well, so be it. It was my survival strategy. It got me through those bad years. (And I should mention that I did let in a few people over that span of time, and I will forever be indebted to them for still liking me when my facade cracked and I fell out of character.)
Thankfully, when I got to college, MSU assigned me an incredible roommate and with her support and the support of the few other really wonderful friends I made, I got to stop acting and start being. The depression faded after some time, the laughter and jokes became genuine rather than forced and I got to have real friends and be a real friend. I healed. I was happy. I was driven. I loved school and my friends and my boyfriend. I was bright and talented and I had so much passion for life. I was going to do great things after leaving school. I was certain of it.
Yes, I healed, and I never looked back.
OK, there ya go. A brief history of Pamela. Now, onto my real point.
As we know something changed after graduation. I’ve been grudgingly content to be in limbo for the last year. Not only stuck in a rut because of the economy and other circumstances outside of my control, but also just…lazy. I can be honest. I’ve been lazy. Saying I was planning to start writing again but not. Watching reruns that bore me rather than reading. Giving up on going for a career because my job is paying the bills alright. It’s pathetic, really.
Well, lately the rut has been really getting me down. I haven’t looked around at my life and been this unhappy since I lived with my parents. And something in me snapped and I started feeling like a 16 year old emo-kid all over again: sarcasm and foolishness were suddenly helping to hide the fact that I was really unhappy with my lot; I started painting my nails black again; and I turned to music to drown out the sadness.
I was listening to my old fall-backs again: Fall Out Boy, The Killers (trying to convince myself that I could be Ms. Brightside if I tried hard enough) and Anberlin. I’m not proud of this exactly, that I was doing the timewarp right back to 10th grade, but it made me feel better.
Well, then I watched the VMAs. And this video won Best Rock video.
And I looked it up. And I watched it. And then I watched it again. And again. And again until a blissful balloon had inflated in my chest and I knew every word to the song. It was like waking up from a long sleep full of bad dreams. I felt…awake. Alive.
I wanted more of that feeling. So I bought the album.
I was into 30 Seconds to Mars once upon a time, but they, like all my favorite sad-kid bands, fell by the wayside when I cheered up. But after downloading ‘This Is War’ I couldn’t remember why I stopped listening to them. Something about the theme of taking up arms against the sad state of our nation rang out in me. I wanted to be part of their Echelon, the Vox Populi. And I remembered why I wanted to be a writer. I remembered what it felt like to be different and proud of it, the desire to use my differences to help the world be…different. I looked around at the average life I’ve fallen into and didn’t recognize it as my own. I am not average. I have never been average. I am extraordinary, but I allowed the disappointment of my post-grad life to smother all the passion I had when things were going great.
This awakening lit a fire under my ass. I am reading ravenously again. I am positive about my future, and actually making plans for making it begin. And I started this here blog.
It’s wild, a little regression reignited my forward momentum. Pretty sure that defies physics, but I’ll take it.
P.S. A heartfelt thank you to 30 Seconds to Mars for being the slap in the face that I needed.