I’d never been to see a therapist, but I’ve been to a shit-ton of movies and well, there’s always a couch in the movies. There’s almost always a happy ending, too, which should have been my first clue that art does not imitate life, but mocks it.
Instead of one big couch there were two chairs and three smaller sofas arranged in a semi-circle. “Sit anywhere you like,” she said, which is not what you say to someone who can’t even decide what flavor of hummus to buy (hey “pumpkin” hummus, you know you’re ridiculous, right?) I picked the seat furthest from her, the one with the most pillows, where I could sink into the soft leather like a dead weight subsumed by quicksand.
Now I’m not going to go down a mental health rabbit hole and bare my soul in some desperate cry for attention. That’s what all my work emails are for. But I do want to stop pretending that everything is okay – because after a pandemic, contracting Covid, and a myriad of other life changes and pressures, everything is definitely not fucking okay.
I spent so much time pursuing fiction that I couldn’t separate it from reality. The fiction – that life was great, that I was some high-powered executive, that nothing bothered me and I got along with everyone and I was always funny – was so much more interesting. And who doesn’t want to be interesting? So I played the part, taking “all the world’s a stage” to heart and being the person I was expected to be but who didn’t exist.
So many people spend their lives manifesting conceit, projecting perfection, making every moment memorable if not instantly Instragammable. And they are rarely satisfied, always looking with longing at all those other “happy” people who must be doing something right because God knows I’m never that happy and why the hell is that?
Because in our search for perfection, for acceptance, we ignore the broken parts that make up who we are. But the fact is we are all constructed from strewn pieces. It’s those individual imperfections that come together and make us whole.
I used to hate the broken parts. I still do, though not as much and not as often. I now know that broken can make you better; that hiding behind fiction doesn’t guarantee a happily ever after.
I will still have moments where nothing seems to matter. There will still be times when I smile to keep from screaming; when I will let the quicksand drag me down.
But I’ll keep trying. Broken parts and all.