Dedicated to Stephanie on her 35th birthday. 25 years of friendship and every time we have ever spoke she has encouraged me to write.
Today, as I was coming out of a meditation session, a few shocking words came to me. Wait. Who am I trying to kid? It was a masturbation session. Whatever, same difference. One is a heck of a lot more fun, though.
Anyways, these words came to me: You have never failed at anything in your life.
They came to me like magic, like I was speaking in tongues all of the sudden. Behold! The word of the Lord speaketh through my jacked off body; so supple, so tender. (Sorry, I had to.)
You have to understand that just a few days ago I was recounting my sad feelings of the day (it’s a fun game I like to play) to my partner, Beth. She had just came home from work and I was in my pajamas still, unbathed and wild eyed. I could feel my skin hanging off of my face from the hours of obsessive thinking I had put myself through. She kindly listens to me drone on and on about my mundane worries.
I make faces of horror and disgust and go on and on about how I constantly disappoint myself and how everyone hates me. I exclaim, “I am such a shit show, my life is a shit show!”
Beth stops me suddenly, looks at me very seriously and says, “You are not a shit show!”
I scoff and say, “Yes I am, look at me!”
She says not once, not twice, but three times “You are not a shit show!” And I can tell she means it. I can tell she’s almost mad and insulted that I would utter such words. Almost as if I said “I molested the dog, ok?? I love sex with dogs and you can’t stop me!”
So I shut the fuck up and she made me a bagel sandwich. As penance I agreed to go haul some free wood with her off of a Craigslist post to prove that I can be a person and move my body even when I don’t want to even though I huffed and puffed and complained the whole time. And we (meaning she) made a fire, had some beers and called it a night.
But today as I was doing a plank in the shower (because I like to live dangerously), I realized her passionate response was an incantation of sorts.
“You are not a shit show!” repeat 3x, follow with a bagel sandwich and wood hauling and Boom! The shit washeth from my body. (so supple, so tender.)
I have never failed at anything in my life.
Ask anyone who knows me well and they will tell you “Jen has very nice breasts and a semi-full mustache when she doesn’t wax”. They will also tell you I am my own terrorist. I will beat myself up about literally every move I have ever made. For your schadenfreude pleasure, I have compiled a list of my shortcomings:
-Didn’t go to college
-Left a piece of pizza crust under an ex’s pillow once while sleep eating and never spoke of it and they never brought it up, which is confusing on so many levels
-Got divorced after marrying my high school friends baby daddy who I thought was dreamy because he looked like Eminem (in my defense I met him in the year 1999 and I was very high most of that year)
-Fired from multiple jobs for bizarre reasons
-One of those reasons being that I wrote a Facebook status wishing the city that I worked in would burn down and “all their children to be born with bad livers and uni-brows” (I couldn’t make that up even if I wanted too)
-Have multiple friends who have blocked me on social media
-Have had to develop a sneezing technique that makes me clench my entire body so much so that I am sure I have damaged internal organs, because if I don’t I will most certainly fart in front of you
-Tried to hold hands with an asexual person when I knew very well they were asexual but we had just finished watching a documentary about the decline of the bee population and I thought “Just maybe” and I fear that I am forever branded as a sexual predator in their mind now
-Was one time masturbating on my knees in my room when I was a kid and my cousin walked in on me and I stood straight up and mushed my face against the wall pretended to be examining my 90210 poster really closely and I’m still not sure I pulled that off
-Had a relationship end with the person vandalizing my car by writing “DYKE” on it in Sharpie marker (and she was a woman. Again, confusion on so many levels).
-Barely graduated from high school
-Barely have a relationship with my family
-Have worked so hard for the last 20 years of my life, sometimes working multiple jobs but I have still managed to own nothing, have no career or sense or direction
-Have been hospitalized multiple times in different psychiatric facilities for my depression
-Will probably not have children and my feelings range from deep sadness to indifference because I am not sure if I am most sad about missing out of the experience of motherhood, the fact that I don’t really want kids might make me less than a woman, the fact that I’m getting too damn old anyways or that I am not nurturing and loving enough to have a child. I also worry that if I have a spark of motherly resurgence occur in my mid-40s that they would never let me adopt a kid anyways because of all of my hospitalizations for depression.
-My love of sleep has trumped most other activities in my life
-I have never actually completed a full laundry cycle where all my clothes have been washed, dried and put away in my entire adult life.
So, I feel like that’s enough guilty admissions, though you better believe I could go on until they release the next season of Game of Thrones.
But yet the thought that I have never failed at anything in my life still came to me today anyways. Like a goddamn gift. Like a delivery message tied to a tiny owl leg; My personal invitation to Hogwarts.
I have never failed at anything in my life because I am still alive.
Those words bring tears to my eyes but I’m not actually crying because im very dehydrated at the moment.
I have been fighting against life, I have been punching myself in the face and I have been planning my own death since as far back as I can remember. But I have lived.
I have lived despite a constant call for death. I have lived despite every embarrassing thought flooding my mind and telling me I am worthless and stupid.
I have lived through a very lonely childhood, and sexual assault and humiliation and belittlement, and rejection and those very, very dark places one can go to in their own mind.
I have never failed at anything in life because I am still alive.
And if you are reading this, you are too.