When I left Chicago, I left all sorts of things behind. Relics of my past, my childhood. I don't want to remember it anymore. At the very least, I'm sick of dragging it around with me. It doesn't matter, the present moment is what it is. The inter-dependent co-arising conditions of a dumpster fire.
I grew up in Syracuse, New York because my mother was going to Syracuse University. It took her ten years to get her four year degree, because going to college while trying to raise a family is stupid. My father worked as an aid at a psychiatric hospital, for minimum wage. He should have been a patient, instead. When my mother finally graduated, she thanked him for his decade of keeping us afloat despite his mental health issues, by kicking him out of our lives and moving us to hell, because she preferred the weather. I never really recovered from that, but it would be reductive to blame all my failures on it. I was highly vulnerable to begin with. Not having a pituitary gland can do that to a person, especially a little kid.
I was struggling as it was, socially, academically. After moving though, I failed three out of four subjects in the 6th grade. By 9th grade, I never had a social life, ever again. My IQ was tested repeatedly, because everyone around me was astonishingly clueless. Why the fuck was there any question that intelligence or lack thereof was even relevant? The mental health professional who tested me remarked that I did better at recognizing shapes and reciting strings of numbers than anyone he'd ever tested. Yay, me. Destined for greatness, right?
My mother had trouble finding work in New Jersey, so we moved to Long Island. Did I refer to Jersey as hell? Yeah, I had no idea. Long Island was on a whole other level of terrible, culturally backwards, economically depressed, lots of strip malls, and the shittiest school system I've ever seen. I dropped out, and stopped leaving the house entirely for a few years. I had nowhere to go, nothing to do, anyhow. Except to see the never ending parade of therapists and psychiatrists I kept being dragged to. One suggested hospitalization, as a way to more closely monitor me or somesuch. Something must be going on that they were missing? I don't know, that was as useless as everything else, except that I met Meredith there. My first girlfriend.
A year later, we were visiting my grandparents in Massachusetts, and saw our chance to get the hell off Long Island. Full of hope that the future would finally open up and maybe not be so miserable, we moved. We lived there together for years, but we were both severely depressed. I ended up just wanting to go back to being alone. A time that still makes me sick to think about. What an emotional trainwreck I was. A few more years went by, in which I became very recluse again, when my sister invited me to move to Minneapolis. She helped me get an apartment right above hers. She helped me get involved in martial arts. Finally, something to do, and so I went on to do a lot of it, for the next few years. It almost seemed to make up for having no life, in any other respect. It gave me something to focus on that I seemed to be good at.
Out of the blue one day, I got an email from someone who read something I'd posted online, years before. A few months later, she invited me to live with her in Chicago. I threw everything away for the chance to live in a big city, and to have a girlfriend again. We didn't really have much of anything in common, and it didn't work out, but she introduced me to a variety of recreational drugs and that seemed to keep things going for a while. A few years later, I had to find somewhere to live again, and realized that in my entire life, that was never something I'd had to do. It turned out to be extraordinarily difficult, given my means. My mother's twin sister invited me to stay with them in New Jersey, to help me get back on my feet.
Knowing that it was supposed to be an acutely temporary situation, I was desperate to figure something out. I turned to getting treated for my deficiency again, hoping that would make the difference. I held onto that hope for quite a while, but it doesn't seem to work like that. I remained a basketcase, and ended up feeling more alone and incompetent than ever. Surrounded by family that didn't know what to make of me, and didn't exactly love having me around. They each tried, in their own ways, but I'm a weirdo.
A year and a half later, my cousin got married in Vermont and I saw my opportunity. I had no choice but to take it. Once again, someone found a place for me to live, something I seem to be incapable of doing for myself. So, here I am. With no choice but to hang on for dear life.
A life that has been awful and overwhelmingly depressing. Somehow I manage to be in good spirits anyhow, sometimes. I woke up feeling lousy this morning though. No idea why. If you have an injury that hurts sometimes, you might not wonder why it hurts, right? That's obvious - but why does it hurt only sometimes? Why is it especially bad, sometimes? Somewhere therein seems to be the clue that it doesn't really need to hurt at all, but still, it shouldn't be surprising when it does.