goodbye, twenty-something.

Text message, a few weeks ago. “I can’t understand why you purposefully put walls up with certain aspects of your life… I don’t just keep everyone at acquaintance level to suit my needs.”

I’m thirty years old.

I’m really more contemplative than trying to fight the change of thirty. I think my life is really just beginning now. My twenties were full of uncertainty and I was even more neurotic then when I was a teenager because there were more bad, exciting and strangely rewarding choices to make, and I was even more stubborn and hard-headed, and this often led to learning the same lesson multiple times. I simply went through cycles of glowing, suffering, and withering in my highly toxic, bipolar relationships. I, like many in their twenties, was relishing every moment of my own and others’ stupidity and selfishness. I couldn’t help but love and loathe the depression, the climb, the self-deprecating secrets.

Even when things were progressing in the way society, my parents, and college had taught me, sometimes it was all so perplexing and moving at this horribly quick pace that it tumbled and lurched into this knot in my stomach, and I just wanted to get off this ride but of course I couldn’t. Everything was a run-on sentence and I was giving more and more and more of myself until I became so empty, tattooed, and starved, it was getting quite taxing. I punished myself and the others around me because I was not happy. And when I was happy, I gave everyone else too much credit, too much of my trust and affection, and I was so. fucking. emotional. all. the. fucking. time.

I had a lot of really great, mellow friends but since I was a very young child I was always a sucker for difficult, tantalizing bitches and assholes who weren’t totally off base when we would get into arguments, but were definitely not in the right either. Usually I would bow down to their demands to appease them even if I felt like they were punishing me for not meeting a standard that they could never meet themselves.

The first part of this entry, the text message above, is part of a conversation I had with someone I really care about, cared about, I don’t even try to dissect the distinction between past and present of this detail anymore. The end of our friendship has allowed me to feel a large range of emotions, similar to what I’ve felt before at the end of any relationship ― bitter, sad, relieved and ultimately, more guarded.

Hurtful and cruel things were said because neither one of us could back down even though I think we’ve both really have done our best in this friendship, even if we have different ideas of what that means. Those two sentences she wrote struck me more factual than the rest of her emotional discharge. Those walls that I so carefully built over the years are driven by experience, devastation, abandonment. I don’t keep everyone at acquaintance level as much as I no longer treat my friendships like I did before. I have many different friends that bring amazingly different perspective to my life instead of having a quasi-romantic relationship with a girl friend or two. Also, the past year a lot of my priorities have shifted. I’m more dedicated to helping my parents transition into their mid-60’s, trying to get eight hours of sleep, making sure I can maintain my own sanity as well as M’s, working on art projects, running, staying out of debt, not constantly trying to fill everyone else and myself up with hedonistic crazy bohemian madness and participating in estrogen-driven telephonic therapy sessions. Of course with that territory comes the potential to be flaky and unavailable, which I never denied, but I am sorry that I inadvertently hurt her or anyone else.

Unfortunately with age and walls, the apologies often never get expressed in the exchange of angry, resentful accusations. I’m less patient with life-sucking, guilt-heavy situations that seemed to completely absorb me before. I’m over people walking all over me with heated rants, baiting me with their forgiveness, or passive aggressiveness. I used to be really apologetic, and now I just get irate.

Maybe it’s just now that I understand my own self-worth. Maybe it’s just now that I understand that if a situation has escalated to becoming a sawed off shotgun menacingly jabbing at the roof of this mouth we called a friendship, I’m slowly learning to not panic, relax the jaw, and wait for the evacuation of it’s brain. I’m not negotiating with someone who attacks me. What’s left for me to even save if you’ve already got your finger on the trigger? I won’t force you to stay. I can’t keep giving and giving and be pathetically sorry when it’s only a matter of time before I surely will disappoint them again and I will try to defend myself, and then glow, suffocate, and wither all over again. And again.

Because really, I’m starting to warm up to my thirties. I am about to marry this really stellar person who really loves everything about me, even the psycho rants I go on where I can’t control the volume of my voice, and he leans his head into his palm like he’s attentively watching a professor explain why vaginas are so amazing, but he’s really trying to muffle my high pitched excited squeals from four months ago about traffic and how I needed to build a giant roller-coaster that would take me to and from work. Could I even stand to be on a roller-coaster for 25.2 miles? I bet I could build it right across the bay. What happens when it rains? Do you ever think about how much bacteria is on BART seats? I bet they were really cozy when they were new.

Twelve years of adulthood and I finally got one thing right: him. And by him, I mean finally realizing that my life doesn’t have to be so draining. It can be effortless. It’s not always uphill. I have the best people surrounding me right now. I’m in more control over my happiness than I’ve ever been ― even if I’m sometimes scared to love when those old, pesky memories whisper through me when I have too much time to think and I feel alone. I remember all the times I was never good enough and I had to be sorry for it. But it’s gone as fast as it came, and I shake it off, taking long ravenous breaths of this new life with these brand new walls that I painstakingly built. And it’s then, or maybe now, that I understand that I don’t want to have to constantly explain who I am, or keep score, or try to measure up, or jump through hoops for peanuts; I simply refuse to ever let anyone make me feel like I’m in my twenties ever again.

“Nothing drives people crazier than seeing someone have a good fucking life.”
― Chuck Palahniuk