I’m going against the trend I’ve set for myself and writing something positive. It feels wrong.
I think one of my greatest talents is finding a reason to hate my life, but that is rapidly becoming more of a challenge, and I don’t know how to feel about it. For most of the time I’ve been a person, I’ve been unhappy, but now being unhappy is kind of hard. That’s strange.
I love my job. I’m privileged because I get to do work that pays enough to sustain me, and I like doing it. I get to work in the field I’m in school for, and that’s not something I ever thought would happen. I was an English major, so I wasn’t really sure what field that would be, but teaching and writing seem like the very best-case scenario. My students, even the ones I don’t like on a personal level, are fantastic, and working with them is something I never expected to be so rewarding. Every teacher says they learn more from their students than their students from them, but it’s weirdly true–though what we learn is entirely different. I’ve become more patient, more open to strangeness, and more creative after only a short time working with students who challenge me at every opportunity. It doesn’t feel fair that I get to work and enjoy it, but I’ve gotten lucky.
I’m poor, but not as poor as I was growing up which is a boon. I have peers I’d love to see live in a tent. Other grad students in my cohort complain about how little we make for the work we do, and it’s hilarious to me how much they think we’re worth, how irreplaceable they think they are. To look only superficially into my youth, I’ve lived outside, in a tent, on a church staircase, in a meth-addled motel, with friends, and with people I now suspect were drug dealers. I can afford a room in a house, food for me and my kitty, and enough food to have a decently unhealthy BMI, and that’s a fucking gift. Every time one of my peers says they’re destitute, I laugh, commiserate, and silently I know they’d give in if things were any harder for them.
I used to revel in how alone and miserable I was, but now I’m with someone who makes me optimistic and alive, so there’s no bitterness to be found there. How could I be unhappy when there’s this relentless source of joy and completion in my life. It’s weird to have such an integral part of my identity as being alone confronted and invalidated and enjoy it so entirely. If someone gave me a magic button that would hurl me back in time to when I was content with my bitterness, I’d stab them and toss the button into the ocean. There’s just no reason to go back to a time when I had to find a way to like being alone and miserable about it.
I’m still bitter, still unhappy, but I think that’s just who I am, but I’m running out of valid reasons for it. When someone asks me how things are going, the only things I can complain about are minor inconveniences, small things dwarfed by luck and happiness. That’s a strange feeling to have after training yourself to love how awful life can be.