Living with depression is like listening to Verdi on a transistor radio.
I’ve arrived at a place where I choose to see the blessings rather than consider myself cursed. Which gives me a fairly unique take on FOMO, the acronym for “Fear of missing out”. It’s a social media commodity and it’s a thing with kids . . of all ages. And since I really don’t get why that is, Imma guess that’s one of those blessings I mentioned a little bit earlier.
For as long as I can remember, my brain has been living independently of the societal tenets most adults tried to ingrain in my bony little ass. I pledged to their proverbs because I knew what they wanted to hear. I curled up to the narrow logistics with earnestness, even if it felt as if I was test tubing on the Upper Gauley. And when the answers to the questions didn’t make the least bit of sense to me, I simply smiled my best lie.
As a boy, I buried myself in books and curls; the former because they provided far away worlds through which I could venture. And the latter because they proffered riddles with such a furious magic. Whereas my boy pals were as nuanced as ball-peen hammers, girls spoke in balletic riddles whose mysteries soothed my deepest aches momentarily enough.
In my youth, I prospected all manner of clubs as if mining for gold. From Boy Scouts to little league, chess club to school newspaper to mock trials. I did so not because I wanted to fit in, but rather, because I wanted to see if maybe I was missing out on something. Because that’s what every adult insisted was happening when their son or daughter belonged to something I didn’t belong to. I was ‘missing out’ and it was a shame . . they insisted.
Sports was supposed to teach me all about teamwork, but of course, it didn’t work that way for me. It became a way in which I could hone my observational skills. I learned that our head coach was afforded the benefits of all the doubts he created, so long as he won. His drinking and carousing and leering at girls who could have been his daughters was time stamped for future processing: As in, when he started losing games, they became actionable. My teammates were easy to figure. The guys who constantly bragged about getting laid, weren’t. The guys who talked about gay people, were. And the guys who simply wanted to please the coaches were searching for something that didn’t exist.
So yeah, that whole teamwork thing was lost on me. I worked well within the parameters of it, and I still do. Even if I will always march to the beat of my own drum because I possess not a fig of Newton’s gravitas when it comes to the natural order of things.
I do not judge someone for wanting to be a part of something “bigger than themselves” even if I don’t understand it. I don’t outwardly defy convention even if inwardly I will not ride its coattails. I don’t swim in the ‘community’ pool because I’ve learned enough to know that being comfortable in my own skin is where it’s at. And where it needs to be at. For me.
There was a time when I would get pissed off at people who judged me for not seeing the value of some prescribed standard of living. Their rebukes served as a constant reminder to me. That from Boy Scouts to football to marriage to here, I have never been happy. Like, ever. So yanno, it’s rocket fuel personal when you add it up that way.
But I learned. To understand others, even if they do not always understand me. And it’s yet another blessing I’ve found on the way to my something else. Because I am proof positive that we may weave a tangled web, but it doesn’t mean we have to cry inside of it.
So yes, I’m missing out. On so very much, according to all those perfect lives being lived out on social media right this very minute. And I’m okay with that. Because I have what I have, and there is peace of mind attached to the fine print of that deed. And sometimes you have to count your blessings, because it’s a start. And Lord knows, life doesn’t give you very much in the way of breadcrumbs. So choose not to fear the things you do not have.
Love the things you do.