I Drinked the Kool-Aid…
Posted by Emmie Mears
Well, I think I drinked something, because I am bordering on insane right now. I’m so happy, I think I could burst, and I don’t think I have all that much of a reason to be so…bouncy. I usually don’t like shiny happy people, but right now, I am totally a shiny happy person, and I think I’ll just have to get over it and bask in the glory that is right now.
I just finished up a year that totally sucked, a year that followed a year that was so flipping fantabulous that having a sucky year after it was a serious letdown of epic proportions.
My year and a half in Poland was like heaven. I had, for the first time in my life, a Group. I had this fantastic collection of people who were like me in many ways, even though they came from different countries and spoke different languages. We were a family. We’re still a family in many ways, even after the passing of time. I fell in love in Poland with a wonderful German guy. I fell so hard. We had seven perfect months together, and then I had to leave.
I was ripped out of my beloved world without ceremony or consideration, and it left me raw and bleeding. A month later, my first love left me. I was left a mess, back in a country where I didn’t feel at home, and with everything I was laid bare and broken. My life was in tatters, and I felt like a shadow of the woman I had been in Poland–there I was vibrant, alive, happy, fulfilled.
The year didn’t get better. I got a crap job while I tried to finish up my degree. The money I had left over from Poland (a few thousand dollars) went to supporting me because the job didn’t pay…and the money was supposed to be put against my loans. My car had numerous problems. I didn’t have health insurance, and I had to pay for my medical bills out of pocket. My credit card debt went up. I got a new job and finished school, a job that was full time and supposedly would give me benefits after 90 days. I was pretty happy–I moved in with a friend and started to get my life back on track. But then the job cut my hours a week after naming me Employee of the Month–and two weeks before my benefits were supposed to kick in. I got sick. More doctor bills popped up. I started job searching again. I met a guy. I found a new job that paid better, but things didn’t get much better. My grandma tried to commit suicide, and I started thinking seriously about my family, and how far away from them I was. When the guy I was seeing suggested that I move to Tennessee, I thought that sounded like a good idea. I got a second job and started working 90 hours a week. I hated Denver and didn’t want to live there anymore anyway…a few weeks later, this guy turned out to be a major jackass. He was abusive and cruel, controlling and mean-spirited. We were never official, but now we were officially over. But I still wanted to leave Denver…so I did.
In June, I packed up my stuff, dumped it into a Penske truck with a musician from Boulder, and started a three-day trek across the country. Three days seemed to take forever–if it had been up to me, I would have done it in one. But we made it, and I moved into a sublet with two more musicians.
I have to say that that is where the year started to turn around. I got hopeful. I got a new job–a job that paid even better than my last job in Denver, and, with the lower living expenses of Nashville, was wholly doable for me. I also got benefits 30 days in. A friend helped me out and rented me his spare room for a flat rate of $400 a month, all included.
Things have gotten even better since then. I’ve had a couple setbacks, a couple “WTF just happened?!?” moments. But I’ve also had Writers Meetups…and glowing praise of my now-finished novel. A weekend in South Carolina with my grandparents and a weekend in Toledo with one of the musicians from my first home in Nashville. I’ve made some good friends. I’ve sort of fumblingly found my way. I’m writing again now after a few weeks of blockage…even if it’s just reflections on life.
I’ve come to the realization that I am lucky in an exorbitant way. The people I loved in Poland may be scattered across Europe and America and Canada and the rest of this world, but they’re not gone. Thanks to technology, we can be close even when there are thousands of miles between us. My first love is still one of my best friends–we’re still close because we didn’t break up due to lack of affection…looking back now, Poland was our world, and when we left, our world, the world that was Us, fell apart. I doubt that it will ever get put back together, but that’s okay. I gained a friend and lost nothing.
I have the best friends on this earth. They stick by me, listen to me whine, listen to me bounce for joy, hold me when I cry. When they hurt, I hurt. When they smile, I smile.
There’s a lot of talk in this world about love, about true love and fairy tales. A lot of it is crap. But at the same time, I look at my life and what I have experienced and what I have had. I have a best friend who risked her reentry to the UK to spend my birthday in Poland with me. She had to wait three hours at the behest of Her Majesty’s Customs when she flew back…but she did it so she could be with me on my birthday. She also flew to Denver to visit me in February. And then she bought me a ticket to Toronto so I could spend New Years with her and finally meet her family. I have an ex-boyfriend who, when we talk on Skype, I can see loves me like I’m something precious. He was never in love with me; I know that. He never loved me “that” way. By the time I left Poland, I had turned into his best friend, but I was no longer meant to be his lover. But the way he looks at me now makes all the pain of our breakup worth it. I can tell him anything–absolutely anything–and he will never think the less of me for it. He loves me now more truly than he could have if we had stayed together. I believe our friendship will endure with all my heart. We love like family now. I have another best friend in Montana who, despite the fact that we only lived in the same state for a year and a half of our friendship, is still so close to my heart. We’ve spent our adult life fumbling through experience together. I still have that group of people in Europe. They think of me and write to me. They love me. I still have my friendships from Denver, people who I’ve grown with, lived with, watched them evolve into the adults they are, heard their struggles and their pain and felt it right along with them. I have a family who, in spite of almost insurmountable odds and hardship, remains optimistic and continues to strive. A family whose love for me is so wholly without condition or pretense that I honestly don’t know how to describe it.
All this talk of fairy tales–I have known true love. I may be single–I don’t have a fairy tale prince and I don’t think I want one. When Jogi left me, I despaired of ever finding such a thing again in a romantic sense. I didn’t think I would ever feel that connection again, that click. But I’ve realized that I have found it countless times in my life, and I will continue to find it. Whether it’s in a hostel kitchen examining bruises of questionable origin, an advanced senior English class where we’re the only juniors there, on some New Year’s Eve in a far-off place, at a dingy bar in a foreign city, at a barbecue at a Polish dormitory, at a Nickelodeon Slime Fest, or even in my own living room–I’ll find it. Or maybe it’ll find me.
I had an epiphany last night, stemming from a previous epiphany. For whatever reason, I often feel like I don’t deserve happiness. So, when I came back from Poland, after that happy, happy time, I felt like my allotted happiness was over. That I had had my joy, and that it was over. I’d had my shot at love. And it was done. So when I came back, I threw myself into parts of life, into relationships that didn’t fulfill me, that tore me down, that degraded me in many ways…because I thought, “what the hell? I’m never going to find happiness again, anyway.” And I realized last night, whilst pondering a few other things, that it’s not true. Not in the slightest. So a part of my life right now, a part I am unsure what will come of, has had a beautiful purpose, regardless of what might happen. It’s shown me that my happiness isn’t over. And that is invaluable. I will find love again. Maybe not now, maybe not this year, but I will. It took a romantic filter to show me that, even though I don’t really expect anything to come of it–as much as I may want to bang my head against the wall and wish for it–even so, it gave me insight into all the million tinkling facets of love that make up my life.
Maybe that’s what this feeling is. This buoyancy that I can’t seem to understand today. It’s love. It’s pure and absolute, unadulterated and overwhelming. I can’t contain it. I was talking to a friend the other day, and he said that I must harbor some tiny niggling hope that true love exists, otherwise I would find Twilight to be completely unpalatable…ha ha. I realized something–that he is right. And it’s not just hope. It does exist. Because I have it. Maybe I don’t have it in the romantic “you complete my soul” garbage sort of way, but I have it in a million other perfect, beautiful ways. Even if I never find that romantic bit of it, I am completely vindicated.
How utterly exciting.