It’s raining in San Francisco. I can hear the rain pattering down on my deck, see the rain streaked windows, and hear the cars slosh through the wet streets. I fucking love the rain. Some people just say that. I mean it.
I also love Garbage. Always have and always will. I’m certain I am the only person who actually bought their last album, Bleed Like Me, on the day it came out and listened to it on loop for at least 2 weeks.
This song is so me. And no, I didn’t hear it and pick it out as my own personal anthem. People from high school, college, and even law school told me they thought of me when they heard this song. That’s actually kind of sad if you really think about it. I’m not a complete misanthrope. I can find beauty and happiness in the world. It just happens to be that I find it in the darkness, the cold, in the silence.
I live in anxiety. It’s peaceful there. I think a lot about why that is. I’m surrounded by people who seem pretty content. Correction. That’s not what I envy. I envy their ability to find peace and happiness in the simplest of things. All these assholes who write on their Match.com profiles that they love sunsets, views from the top of Mt. Tam, the simple pleasures of a beautiful day. Who are you? And I don’t mean that as a negative judgment (well, yes, the asshole part probably skews a bit negative). I just marvel at their ability to actually say that crap out loud.
I don’t know why I’m hard-wired this way. My parents are fantastic. They’re able to find happiness in simplicity. I had a happy childhood. Despite a dearth of resources, I wanted for nothing. Most of my adolescent and adult life was spent comfortable, middle-class, white suburbs. Based on my environment, there’s no reason I should be like this.
Which leads me to the ultimate conclusion that I am, in fact, hard-wired for pain and sadness. I came out this way. The bubble that I grew up in, full — in fact, overflowing — with love, happiness, and comfort, made me feel numb. Maybe. Probably. I think so. In my anxiety, I feel. I suppose that could be the high I’m constantly chasing.
It makes me think of this quote I read a few years ago from Morrissey:
“I read persistently. I swam in books as a child and at some point it becomes quite ruinous. It gets to the point where you can’t answer the door without being heavily analytical about it.”
It’s like an emotional form of cutting. “I hurt myself today. To see if I can feel.” I think there’s something to that. They say that the reason people love spicy food is because the pain causes your body to release endorphins, which are your body’s natural pain killers. Endorphins are natural opiates. They make you feel better. They get you high.
The only thing gives me comfort as I write this (and I know I sound like one depressed motherfucker, which I’m not) is knowing that I do want to be happy. I do fight this part of myself, every day. I fight it when I wake up, when I decide whether to sit on my couch alone or go out with friends, basically, in every decision that requires me to choose between being alone or interacting with the world. I lose a lot of those battles. But I do fight them and occasionally –no, more than occasionally — the outside world wins out and I am reminded that I am surrounded by amazing people in a breathtaking city with an outrageously supportive family. And in those moments, the dead weight that is the loner in me slowly chips away, bit by bit. I’m grinning as I write this. That gives me hope.