There was a time in my life, when things were very different for me, when I had to stop reading certain blogs. Everything was just too damn perfect for these bloggers and I couldn't stand to read it.
I'd been looking for a job for over two years. You can't understand what that's like - a long, unsuccessful job search - unless you've been through it. The constant, unrelenting rejection. Being treated as something less than fully human by coworkers as a temp and by students as a substitute. I hadn't had any money in ages. And I was over 30 and single and without the feeling that I had anything to offer to any man I could manage to meet.
There was a post on another blog that I had years and years ago, before this one, which was all very serious and overwrought and thankfully no longer exists. The post was inspired by the Alanis Morrisette song Joining You, which is written as a letter to a friend who is considering suicide. She says she'd be joining him if we were our bodies, nametags, rejections, successes, etc.
I am not my job, I would tell myself. I am not my relationship status or my checking account balance. I am not my wardrobe, my car, or even my ability to be cheerful or, failing that, ok.
Things are much better for me these days. I have a good job, a good relationship, a nice apartment, and while still not very much money in the bank, generally enough. (The wardrobe and car, I am sorry to tell you, have if anything gotten slightly worse, mostly due to gross negelect on my part.) And I'm happy overall, and more often than not happy in the moment as well.
Which is not to say that everything is perfect. If this or any other blog leads you to believe that a person's life is perfect, then it's up to you to remember that life just doesn't work like that. It's just that these days, the things that aren't perfect are annoyances more so than actual problems. Like, if I could just lose fifteen or twenty pounds without having to make any lifestyle changes and also be offered a 10% raise out of the blue, that would really help me out. And the power to teleport would be fantastic, thanks. My new Kitchen Aid mixer only sits there and makes angry noises and I have to wait a week for the new one to arrive! Woe is me!
So there's this sort of survivor's guilt that I've got. I wonder sometimes whether I'm hard to read these days for anyone. And I don't know how to say that without sounding like a jackass. I'm not bragging because while I acknowledge that I'm incredibly lucky right now, that's all I acknowledge it to be. I certainly don't imagine that I deserve any of this.
And there are things you don't write about. Things that I don't write about anyway. Which is, again, not to suggest that there's anything so terrible lurking behind what you read. Just that I know I didn't do a very good job, way back when, of reminding myself that there was anything at all lurking behind the pretty pictures and nice stories.
Partly it's just that a lot of what happens in a relationship is meant to be kept between the people in it. It's not all for public consumption. There's also this feeling that if I should, God forbid, ever express the faintest hint of a belief that there was even one thing about being single that was worthy of nostalgia, the perpetually unhappily single me of the past would find a way to burst through the space-time continuum and strangle me.
Because I will not be one of those no-longer-single people who patronize single people with the notion that there are so many great things about being single! I miss it so much! I don't. I like being in a relationship, in this relationship specifically. There are things about being single that are good, but taken on the whole, this is so much better. [I'd say the same about work, but while I've certainly complained plenty about my job this year (two students at my job, to be specific), I've never had the slightest hint of nostalgia for subbing, temping, or job hunting.]
I swear I had a direction in mind for this post when I started writing it, but as so often happens to me when I try to write anything serious, it's gone off the rails somewhere. I guess I just hate the idea so much that writing about my happiness could cause someone else pain that I felt the need to say something about it. Something rambling and incoherent, it turns out, but still something feels better than nothing. We'll return to your regularly scheduled silliness next week.