Rookie Mistake

I’ve been had.

It’s pathetic. Someone comes along, says the right things I’ve wanted to hear, and I fall for it. What am I, fucking new? People have said similar things throughout my life. Complimenting certain things and claiming that I have a talent. Typically I just smile and don’t believe them, so I don’t know why this time was so different. I guess the hint of recognition was a strong aroma to resist. But in the end, I’m the idiot here. I thought I could have been good enough, but the thing I seem to keep running from is the fact that things are the way they are. They don’t really change. I’m still stuck in the same place, I just find certain wiggle room at random times. Something that lets me move a new limb, stretch a warped appendage. Something to get by on.

The reality is harsh.

People say you’re supposed to follow your dreams. I wanted that for me — a life of dreams. What they don’t tell you is when to stop being a moron and accept things for what they are. Like me, accepting that I’m probably not going to reach that pinnacle. I’m probably stuck in the wasteland of opportunity, discontent with what it has to offer because I’ve never been one prone to engineering and sucking the oil from our ground. Sure, I’ll edit the magazines about it, but that didn’t get me very far at all, and I’m not even in agreement with this whole “pave paradise and put up a parking lot” shit. If I had my way, I’d probably live on land where people don’t go. So I don’t have to see them or talk to them. People are the worst.

Every road so far has just led me to a sneak peek at a life I don’t get to have. It’s cruel, really. But I hope he enjoyed it — letting me dream that hard and wish that deeply. But you can’t trust anybody, no matter how much they preach differently.

What they need to teach in school is less home ec — baking is common sense; if you can’t figure it out, buy pre-made. And I’m not sorry I never learned how to sew a hideous fucking pair of boxer shorts, no matter how guilty that shitty teacher’s aide tried to make me feel. I wish school had taught me what failure feels like; that college is important, no matter how small town your school is; that dreaming hard won’t get you any further, given the wrong ingredients; that learning to spend your money the right way is more important than cooking a fucking batch of cookies; that even now, at 28, when my lifelong dream seems to be dying, that you need to pick a new one. I need to find something else, now. Something to keep me going. They never teach you that in school; that life is about finding something to live for. That you have to make yourself happy.

It’s easy, when everything feels like it’s fallen, to feel broken and empty and left behind. I feel like a prize fucking idiot. But negative feelings are something I’ve gotten somewhat acquainted with.

I didn’t get hope, so it’s hard to start growing it now.

What I have is what I’m left with, after the silly dreams of my own success have been forced from my hands. Which is what? A book collection I’ve stopped lending out because people never return them; a dog I love more than anything else, more than most people (like my biological parents) love their children; a pretty decent shoe and clothing collection; and my mind. My mind, which is a blessing and a curse, formed into a pulsating ball of repression, oppression, and a hint of progression. Rhyme time.

Of course I want progress. I want Kelly Oxford’s life. The Canadian writer who gets to make it? Obviously that’s what I wanted all along. Instead, I’m supposed to learn how to be happy with things I consider menial. I don’t want to sit at a desk in an office full of people who are content with stagnancy. I don’t want to live paycheque to paycheque. I don’t want to dream of what could have been — but I guess now I can stop. There is no “could have been” for me.

Sure. I guess it’s good that “I tried.” Otherwise I’m sure I would be even worse off, believing I could have made it.

So what’s worse: believing you could have done it, or knowing you can’t? Either way, it’s a serving of regrets.

I never wanted to be this person. Luckily, I guess, I’m only her on certain days, when the unsatisfying life I lead comes to head and I’m forced to see it for what it is and accept it. Other days, I’m able to escape those parts. I focus on other things. Things that make me happy. Even then — a new job — it’s short-lived. Eventually I’m left with, again, feeling out of place and wrong and uncomfortable and miserable.

I’ve been had.


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