You grow up. And you have to learn to live. Live with the demons always stalking you to remind you across the country is not far enough of a ways to go to escape from your past. And you have to learn to live with the angels that saved the people around you from themselves. Even though they make your skin crawl. And you hate yourself for hating something so beautiful. But you can’t help it.
You have to learn to live with the pain of knowing that you will never be enough. You will never make any one person happier than the other people in their lives because you entered it too late. You didn’t make friends ten years ago. That time has passed. And everyone else has someone else who will light up in a way when they see a face that is not your own. And you have to learn to live if you want to live at all. And you won’t be enough for the job that you want. Not because you can’t perform its functions, but because you can’t do it without passion. And you have to live with knowing you will never be an artist because you spent too much money becoming a scientist and you’re not going to be the kind of innovator who blurs the lines between the two.
You have to learn that most people aren’t going to notice you. And the ones who do will think you’re an object. They’ll ask you for your name but what they really want to know is, will you go to bed with me tonight? So maybe it’s not so bad that almost all of the time you blend in with everyone else. You remember what being different was like and it actually wasn’t that much fun. Being different is for men and the fearless.
You have to live with the portraits of smiling faces on the walls. And you have to be okay with knowing that none of them will ever be you. Because even if you earned a place, they’d still be ahead of you. And you couldn’t earn a place because you’d know that. And you’d cry when they’re not looking and try to convince them everything is okay by the time they turn around. And those tears will wet and weigh down everything. And your picture will be too heavy with the reminders of bad times and pain to ever stay attached to the wall. And you’ll fall.
You grow up and you have to learn to be okay with growing up. Everyone lied to you the whole time. Everyone pretended to be happy and never bothered explaining what it would be like. They never told you there wouldn’t be any photographs of you throughout the whole of your twenties without bags under your eyes. They never told you that most people actually don’t care. They never told you that every day would be marked by panic attacks and sleepless nights. They never told you that you would be spending all of your time in classrooms and behind registers and all of the people around you would tell you that you’re not working hard enough, least not as hard as they are. And you want to argue and say you’d be working a lot harder if you thought it would pay off. You’d be working a lot harder if you could concentrate. You’d be working a lot harder if you could stop crying and your contacts would stay put.
They never tell you that the first time you hated yourself was the first time you tried to change and you couldn’t. Or the first time you fell in love and realized that they didn’t love you back quite as much. Or the first time you wake up in a strangers bed wondering how you got there.
But you have to live with it. You have to learn to deal.