Good News: I’m all set for my weekend at the coast and have the best books and coolest journal to bring with me.
Bad News: My pulse has spiked to a little over 100 beats-per-minute, my eating habits have gotten worse to the point where I’ve lost about 30-35 pounds in a month, and I’m anxious almost every night from the hours of 6pm ’til about 3am.
Oh, and half my friends are depressed and seem well past their breaking point.
This has turned out to be a very stressful summer.
I began reading “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” by Ned Vizzini and everyone told me that it would stress me out, but its all I seem to find peace in. That and writing. It’s weird, but I feel like as I’m reading the book, making notes and reading the thoughts of this kid with anxiety and depression, it feels like it’s a friend trying to help me understand what I’m feeling. Every time I pick up the book, I read these sentences that hold so much weight, but I feel my shoulders get lighter and lighter as I read it. Is that weird?
I mean, the book literally starts with the words: “It’s so hard to talk when you want to kill yourself.” and while most people would be deterred by that and put down the book immediately to go pick up some happy fairytale, I became even more interested in it. While books are and always have been my greatest comfort, is it weird that this is one of the most attractive things about a book? When they’re painfully truthful and don’t sugar-coat it right from the start?
I mean, I’ve always had an underlying No-Bullsh*t attitude, but there’s a difference from telling the truth and then telling the truth in such a way that it hurts. It strikes a nerve that the receiver forgot to cover or didn’t think would be hit so they left it bare and while the truth hurts, those nerve-strikers are absolutely agonizing to the point we beg for a lie.
Is that why I like it? I’ve been lied to in a lot of situations that I would’ve preferred the truth just because the lie hurt once I found out about the truth and the reason for it being used instead of the truth…
But there are others… Other truths that stung… Stung more than the worst wasp you could find… truths that left me broken… broken to the point I sat on the floor hunched over myself. They left me lying on the floor, shattered like a broken window. They crippled me to the point that I laid in bed for almost three days thinking of how I left that one nerve bare… And how I was dumb enough to think it was okay.
It’s those painful truths that, in real life, disable even the strongest of minds. But write it in a book…
You give it a different face than your own. You give it a different name, a different place… You give it another situation detached from your own but similar enough to make you feel something. It makes you feel vulnerable.
You feel that vulnerability as if you’ve given that character a loaded gun and told them to point, but not shoot… Until they tell you that they understand… and that they won’t judge you for going through your situation as they go through theirs…
They turn that loaded gun on themselves and tell you that it’s your turn to listen and point… but not shoot… not judge them for their situation.
And although it hurts to read it… to read those thoughts that had haunted your mind as you endured your hell… we hold on to it. We cling to it. We crave those sentences, one right after the other.
Because we know what dialogue is next. We know what they’ll do and how they’ll think through it all, and we hate knowing that…
But you know something? Our society thrives on this knowing. Because even though we know the pain and suffering that this character is going to go through, we keep reading because we can’t stand to be the only one who went through it.
We want someone else to have complete knowledge of the challenges we faced.
We refuse to be the only ones.
We refuse to be alone.