Every now and then I reread old journals, because the so-called life ruining moments then are things I laugh about now…sometimes. Then there are passages that make me laugh and cry:
I think we can all agree that there is a valuable lesson to be learned from this excerpt: never say never. Because four months after that entry was written, I ran into an old friend who bought me my first Christmas ornament: a little ceramic black squirrel (if you went to Kent State, you’ll understand). I paid him back with coffee. He paid me back with dinner. Eventually he gave me the ultimate trump card: a ring. So I paid him back one more by saying “Heck yeah!!!”
But if you had an ability to predict the future and tried to convince the me of Summer 2011 how wrong I was, I wouldn’t have believed a word of it. At the same time, I was obsessed with this song from Death Cab for Cutie: You may feel alone when you’re falling asleep/And every time tears roll down your cheek/I know your heart belongs to someone you’ve yet to meet/Someday you will be loved.
I’m not about to repeat the cliché that every person who is still single over the age of twenty-five has heard ad nauseum: If you just stop looking, that’s when you’ll find the one! I don’t think there’s any cosmic reverse psychology: curse the thing you want so the universe makes sure you get it (At least I hope there’s not, because I’ve been telling people I don’t even want to think about kids for at least another five years, so I hope I’m not getting myself in trouble…).
What I really think made all the difference was my willingness to not to let depression keep me in a sinkhole. I went back to counseling after a five-year hiatus, got back on anti-depressants, and dragged my sad butt out of bed every morning…sometimes that was the most productive thing I did all day. I made it a goal to accomplish one act of self-care per day if I could. Sometimes it was managing to take a shower or eat something healthier than a Chik-Fil-A sandwich. Sometimes it was wearing a nice outfit even if I had nowhere to go because it made me feel good. I worked up from small outings outside my house for grocery shopping to meeting a friend for coffee. I learned how to function again, one step at a time.
That might sound ridiculous and extreme to some, but if you’ve ever had severe depression, you understand that sometimes it physically hurts. It clings to you like baggy clothes and draws away your energy like white cat fur to a black shirt. You live in it, you don’t just feel it. You see the world through it. It’s like fog, really.
I owe my first seven months of marriage to that decision to take better care of myself and quit being a hermit. Not because I had anyone to impress, but because it’s what healthy humans do. Because I decided to give the world a chance rather than wait until I felt like it…and I met someone in the process. But I could have met anyone – a new friend, a lady who noticed my “Be careful or I’ll put you in my novel” t-shirt and asked if I was published, and then for a business card…
I owe it all to accepting the risk of possibility. Because “Stop looking and you’ll find him!” is empty, if not stupid, advice.