The Cynic Has It Bad But The Dreamer Has It Worse
As the depressing life of being a recent college graduate begins to sink in and infiltrate my own life, I’m beginning to realize that my dreams are just going to have to take a detour for a while. Because when you spend your 9-to-5 days creating a fake life for the secretary in the law office space next to your own company’s office space (sidebar: I’ve named her Chelsea and by the looks of the all the texting she was doing this morning, she got into a fight with her live-in boyfriend Paul who always forgets to turn the lights off when he leaves to go to work at some coffee shop on the east side and will be home late tonight because he’s got band practice.) and you look forward to the end of the workday just so you can get in your car and listen to your Best of Spice Girls disc set and wonder if you should be that girl who cries in her car or not, things can get a little bleak.
Yeah, that’s sort of where my life is at. I blame the middle/high school version of me for not seeing this coming and instead choosing to fill my spongey brain up with disillusions of being a widely popular writer a la Carrie freakin’ Bradshaw. Isn’t it depressing to think of how many girls watch Sex and the City and think they’re going to grow up to be a dating columnist who doesn’t eat and can magically afford to spend over $500 on a pair of shoes? Yeah, I can say that because I was (/am sort of still) one.
Sometimes your life faces you with the most difficult revelations to deal with, like realizing that you have run out of greek yogurt right before you’re supposed to be leaving for work, or realizing that every relationship that you’ve had in the last three years has led to you to a dead-end so miserable you consider throwing up and then sort of feel grateful that you didn’t have that yogurt after all…because that’d just be a waste of $1.50.
It’s like that miserable moment when it takes you reliving something bad to know it’s actually bad for you and then all you want to do is curse yourself for not realizing it in the seemingly blissful in-between periods. Like when you realize that every serious relationship you’ve had in the last four years has been a product of long-distance situations where no matter what it always seems like the guy has the upper hand. The harsh reality sinks in that as it turns out you haven’t been living your own life after all; that instead you’ve been following a clueless dreamer who promises things he doesn’t even believe in. So you wait around, convincing yourself that it was all a compromise, that you wanting in was enough to say you were in this together. But there’s no such thing as “together” when one person gave up a year of their life and the other just dropped in to say hello every now and then.
It’s the most discouraging feeling in the world. The uncharacteristic paranoia, the helplessness from a girl whose never needed anyone else’s help, all from someone who once had to be cajoled into love and now the fool who chased it into foreign territories, literally. Even at the end of all of it, what are you left with? When people ask how it all started, you get the honor of saying you waited around like a complete fool for a year and somehow it’s all supposed to be this wonderful story? There’s nothing wonderful about realizing that you’ve lived your life on the terms of somebody else’s dreams. Even if you lived your own life along the way, there’s this horrible residue left behind knowing that one of the two of you made a decision that could affect both people, while you settled for making the one that would be nothing short of compliant. More and more I’m starting to learn that best intentions have nothing on being a genuinely devoted and good person.
Then there’s always the lingering question that hurts too much to ask but hurts even more not to know the answer to: will you love me enough to make up for the fact that you really had me going for a year, entranced by things that apparently didn’t even really exist the whole time? And even so, what kind of relationship is it if you never feel fully appreciated for all you gave up, secretly never forgiving them for an offense they didn’t even know they were committing? Either way, it seems it always comes back to you. Even if you were the one who gave it all up, chased the stupid idea of love that Taylor Swift and the rest of the world promised you would be worth it, and especially if you were always the one doing all the forgiving in the relationship. Chances are if you were the part of the couple that rarely ever committed a relationship crime, you’ll be the one whose left with the majority of the damage, because everyone knows that the cynic has it bad, but the dreamer has it worst.