It’s a default im sad lmao.
Ain’t nothing going on, just a lot that’s happened, just a lot happening, just a lot that’s gonna happen.
I picture myself as who I wish I still was. A seventh grader. It was the happiest I’d ever been. I tell people that was the year I skipped to lunch, to class, to the restroom. I was happy and I needed to skip to convey that to the world. Don’t ask me what was so great about the seventh grade, but it was the only time I remember feeling unstoppable and invincible. After that, something happened, something had to have happened, but I can’t pinpoint what that is. I just know that after that year, I would never get that feeling back.
I wanted to kill myself. It was high school. Who was it that said high school is the best time of your life? They weren’t wrong. If I’m being honest the first two years were amazing. I was on the right track to having an idyllic high school experience, but then shit hit the fan. Suddenly, I couldn’t look myself in the mirror. I went a year without being able to see my reflection. Then, shit kept hitting the fan.
I would lay in bed at night look up at the stars me, my mom, and my sister had taped to our ceiling years ago and I’d contemplate how to fulfill my desire to kill myself. I considered hanging myself, slitting my wrists, swallowing a handful of pills, but I kept picturing my mom, my dad, or my sister finding my body, and I’d just cry. Instead, I decided I would disappear. I bookmarked WikiHow’s How to Disappear Completely. I thought I could that, disappear and pretend I never existed. I never did. I never could. I just couldn’t.
That ended, at least I think it did, but there’s the residual sadness. In seventh grade happiness was my default–I used to wake up laughing. The problem might be that I forget happiness is fleeting. It comes and it goes, like waves. Happiness is what people aim for in life–but I never remember telling myself I was happy in the seventh grade. Maybe happiness is nostalgia, or maybe I’ve forgotten how to live in the present and harness those moments that I’m sure I let pass me by, because I’m too concerned with the residuals–with the past.
If happiness is like waves, then sadness is a riptide. College started and I was hell bent on making it the high school experience I never had, but that didn’t last long. High school seemed to be following me around. The residuals at every crosswalk, on the bus, the train, the car, home. College became the only thing I had. I hated it but it was all I had so I reluctantly committed to it. I wore my graduation ring on my ring finger, “I’m married to my education.” I’d tell no one because I had no friends to ask about it. I told myself I didn’t need friends, that I could do it all on my own. I was mean to people trying to be my friend, or people trying to be nice. There was a guy, he was supposed to switch trains but instead he rode all the way to the end of the line like I knew he would. I asked the questions I knew no one asked him, gave him the attention I knew he needed. I cried in the car, went home, and wrote a story about a girl running onto the interstate. I didn’t give a fuck. The sadness kept pulling me in.
I ran into that guy recently and I was embarrassed. Embarrassed at the way I fostered fake interest to give someone the attention I wish someone would have given me. I would’ve apologized, but he didn’t know what I’d done. It was around that time that I decided to make friends. Actual friends. I was tired of the emotional disconnect, the mundane, and the impersonal. I was tired of being tired. It was also when I decided to run away, to escape the heaviness of the past and the residuals.
I made friends, check. I ran away to Oxford, check.
I was happy there. Probably because there weren’t any residuals to follow me around. In Toni Morrison’s Beloved there’s this concept rememory. Sethe explains herself:
“If a house burns down, it’s gone, but the place—the picture of it—stays, and not just in my rememory, but out there, in the world. What I remember is a picture floating around out there outside my head. I mean, even if I don’t think it, even if I die, the picture of what I did, or knew, or saw is still out there. Right in the place where it happened.”
I think that’s why I’m so comfortable in new places. That’s why I was so comfortable being in the unknown. There is no sadness in these new places, no memories to associate with my past. There is only the present and the future. I was excited to come back home, and bring back this productive, excited energy I had adopted. Instead, I was exhausted and I found myself surrounded by this heavy, anchoring energy.
Those times, those people, those places they’re gone, but they linger. They’re rememory. They’re residuals. I left thinking they’d disappear but they live on through me. Whenever I find myself within those spaces, or around those people I’m affected, emotionally, mentally, and physically. It’s why I longed to get away. It’s why I ran away. But I’m back, and I have nowhere to go, nowhere to run to. The past is my past. There’s no avoiding it.
It’s January and we’re all scrambling to make sure the new year will lead to personal growth and check marked resolutions. But it’s only been a week, meaning last year was only a week ago. And things happen–unexpectedly and quickly.
Last week, my uncle was a thought that led to a sad sigh. He was either dead or deported in my fantasies, but now we know he’s drugged and depressed. Normally, I don’t talk about shit happening in the now, and I’m trying to change that. I hate unloading my baggage onto someone else, which is why social media is such a blessing. It’s as cathartic as yelling into the night, everyone will hear it, and for a moment everyone will be listening. I know my uncle will be fine, as long as he chooses to be fine. This is a nationwide epidemic, so there are resources for him if he wants it. He could kill himself, doing what brings him happiness or peace or whatever the fuck it is that meth does. He could keep choosing to doing that, and that’s what hurts.
I’m more appreciative of my family. Everyone is getting older my dads hair is more grey than black, my mom takes more naps. We’re all aging and it’s scary to think about how limited time is.
My grandparents especially, and they’re the last link I have to El Salvador, to what could’ve been. This summer before visiting my abuelito from my mom’s side la encargo with white socks. He already has his caja, suit, and shoes picked out. All he’s missing is a pair of white socks. We didn’t get them for him, maybe without the outfits completion, he won’t have to die.
Then my abuelita from my mom’s side came to visit. We went for a walk around the neighborhood and my cousins were ahead of us collecting rocks to throw into the frozen lake to try and crack it. I was holding her hand and she told me, “your cousin’s tall.” She’s a bit shorter than me, and that’s saying something because I’m 4’10”. I smiled and she said, “I don’t like tall people.” I looked over at her with furrowed brows and a half smile, “porque?” “I used to have a boyfriend, he was tall and he asked me porque no te vas con migo?” She told this guy she wouldn’t marry him because he was too tall. I laughed, and I saw how smooth her skin was and how it sagged around her neck and I wanted to cry at how beautiful she looked. Then she tripped, and thankfully I was there to catch her because with her bad knees there was no way–“si me hubiera caido, me hubiera muerto.”
Maybe I’m not sad, but im sad lmao is my default. I don’t know why but my body and my mind just accepts it. It’s like my body is comfortable with this heavy, anchoring feeling. My being, though, isn’t as easily appeased. That part of me struggles to accept the immobile me, the me that lacks the drive to do anything except open up my laptop and watch hours of television. When I do try to fight it, though, I’m overwhelmed by my lack skill, my lack of personality, and my lack of talent to do…anything. I’ve been coasting. I’ve forgotten that at the end of this I’m supposed to be working towards something. The past has consumed my present and I haven’t given any thought to the future. If I close my eyes and try to picture myself 10 years into the future I can’t picture anything. I don’t see anything. I’m trying to work towards it, though. It’s just I’m afraid to take those steps. What if I disappoint the generation before my parents? im sad lmao. The generation that gave up their children, the ultimate dreamers, to build a life more worthwhile than theirs. What if they die before I can justify their kids decision? im sad lmao. What if I never let the past be the past? im sad lmao. What if I become my Tio? im sad lmao. What if I fail and adopt the head space of high school me? im sad lmao.
Maybe. Maybe, I’ve conflated all these feelings, these thoughts, these concepts with this phrase im sad lmao. It’s everything I’m uncertain about, it’s everything I can’t put into words, it’s everything I can put into words. It’s what I feel when I think about my past, my present, and my future. It’s all of it.
This was cathartic, and now I feel optimistic. Hopeful.