Advice from the Patchwork Girl
I’ve always had this feeling that my life was abnormal or “broken”.
I don’t quite know why. What is so “weird” about me, at the end of the day? But I’ve always been convinced that something is. Some indefinable quality that makes me an outcast.
Maybe it’s like a car. You know what they say, “once one part goes, it’s all downhill from there.”
My first part went at the age of mine, a Type I Diabetic, patching an insulin pump on my failing pancreas like duct taping a battery powered fan to the dashboard when the air conditioner stops working.
Then came the pockets of depression, like bumps on a country road. The anxiety I was officially diagnosed with last week — a constant background hum you try and convince yourself you’re getting used to. The fact that I was bisexual — scrapes in the pretty varnish and paint.
Then, finally, at the age of eighteen, early college years, came the abusive relationship, a total systems failure. Now, at the age of 25, we’ve hit the quarter-life crisis and hard factory reset on everything I thought I was. But the feeling of broken hasn’t gotten any worse (or better) since.
It’s like life was preparing me for these events. The patchwork girl, held together at the seams. It’s certainly taught me resiliency, efficiently sewing together a “normal life” from what scraps I had to work with.
I wish I could tell you how it happened. It’s been useful, this knowledge that I was never going to be quite like other people were. When something would happen to me that could floor another person, knocking them down, I was never so much as surprised. I’d simply slide that piece into the gap of my life’s puzzle, thinking “so that’s what it was” with complete disregard of time’s orderly continuum. I’d always been ill. I’d always been depressed, anxious, queer, battered, and pissed off, respectively.
Perhaps the black sheep’s wool is thicker, a protective hide insulating from the world. Perhaps I’m wrong, and I’ve hardened over time, learning this behavior as it was needed, as I go, the path in retrospect seeming inevitable.
Too often I find myself doling out advice, savoring the problems of others for the common, for “normal”. There’s comfort to the universal, in my eyes, though those in distress rarely seem to believe so. I have sympathy, of course, for the crush gone wrong, the rejection, the dream job that has become a waking nightmare. I feel your pain, I really do. But sometimes life gives us burdens to bear, a little emotional strength training to do. Sometimes our lives are upended, and we start entirely over. Not everyone gets the two kids, the dog, and the picket fence in the end. And often it takes a long time to get there.
But life finds a way, and so does happiness. So will you. So have I.
And at the end of the day, nothing ever got better because you stressed about it.
Personally, I say you stitch the pieces together, take a deep breath, and enjoy your weird, wild ride.
I can’t explain to you how I’ve come to that conclusion, how I feel so safe and so sure in my strange, patched up mess.
But I’m hardly complaining about it either.
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