By M. Alexander
When I was a freshman in college at NYU, I fell in love with my best friend. I was miserable. I had never felt anything like this; an intense unrelenting pain buried in the depths of my clenched stomach. I had no energy. I could not get out of bed. I attached everything I wanted in life: unconditional love, security, and children, to this one girl I had known for barely 6 months. Before I told her that I loved her, I was already convinced of my imminent rejection. I had rejected myself so how was anyone else supposed to accept me?
I began to numb myself using a variety of different drugs. I could stay in bed and slowly my feelings began to dissolve. How great is the bliss of apathy when it immediately follows misery!? It is pure, uncut escape. Since this first unrequited love 4 years ago, I cannot remember having any strong emotions. Now that I have 3 months without any mind-altering substance, I find that my defense against misery is still holding strong. I am not able to feel joy and I am not able to feel sorrow.
I vacillate between acceptance and the desire to change; I can accept apathy and nihilism or I can slowly rid myself of the notion that nothing matters. The major issue I am facing is: how do I bring myself to care enough to bring myself out of apathy? It is as if I fell into a pond of quicksand, each day becoming further and further entrenched. At a certain point, I became so stuck that now I do not know anything else. It is comfortable, it is safe.
Thinking will not get me out; feelings will not help me to escape. It is action! I must put one foot in front of the other. I must help someone in need. I must vote according to my principles. I must do the next right thing. Knowing that it will be an arduous, lengthy struggle, I will be able to pull myself out of the trenches one fiber of my soul at a time. Feelings will not be comfortable, but I will be able to feel again!
Alexander Dumas says “there is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness.” I have already experienced seemingly bottomless grief, it is now time to realize and experience my dreams of joy and happiness.