I’m sitting at the end of the Ocean Beach pier, writing, listening to music in the dark. I’ve been to the other side of the world and back, and this is still one of my favorite places to be. Being able to walk here from my house is humbling and ridiculous and not real all at the same time.
I’ve been to the end of this pier a million times before. It always feels different at night. A little bit scary. A little bit exciting. Still, I feel safe here. Tonight, I’ve had a bit of wine and the surf is so big that I can feel the pier rocking back an forth. A surge of nausea moves through me every few minutes and I kind of like it.
It’s gloomy and dark and quiet enough that it feels like anything could happen. A rogue wave could come in at any second and wash me away. Lightning could strike, or a plane coming in could crash in the water right in front of me. My mermaid fairy godmother could swim up to the surface below me and call out my name, or a giant sea monster could swallow the pier up whole. A stranger could run up behind me and throw me over the railing into the freezing Pacific or slit my throat with a knife or ask me for help or tell me he thinks I’m the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen.
Yes, these are the things I think about when I’m alone in the dark at the end of the pier. I’m sharing my premonitions here as a sort of insurance policy. Isn’t that how it works? Once you share your fears or say them out loud they can’t ever happen. It’s like making a wish on your birthday and then blowing out the candles. If you tell someone your birthday wish it can’t come true. So, I’m telling you the strange thoughts that cross my imagination. I don’t want any of those things to happen. Well, maybe the stranger telling me I’m beautiful is OK–as long as he was single and moderately handsome with good intentions. But that mermaid fairy godmother thing? I’m pretty sure even that would freak me out.
Do you see what I’m dealing with up in my mind? I don’t want it to go there, but it goes there. I can’t stop it.
The San Diego winter gloom might finally be getting to me. The end of year high I was feeling might be wearing off. I’m back to work and I love it. But something is missing. I still don’t know what it is. My mind is going crazy. I’m going crazy.
I think I’m bored. Ugh, I hate that word. It takes me back to my childhood when my mother would say “only boring people get bored” or tell me to “use my imagination.” (I love you, Mom!)
But…I’m bored and try everything I know to not be bored. I feel nothing, so I do anything I know to make me feel things. I sit at the end of the pier thinking about how I’ll survive that rogue wave and save all those plane crash victims. I walk around at night with headphones blasting Fetty Wap into my ears so my other senses are on high to anything going on around me. I watch Grey’s Anatomy reruns because I know it will make me cry. I push my body until I’m in physical pain. I throw money around until I’m stressed about paying rent. I eat sugar until my stomach hurts. I go out with boys I don’t like. I daydream for hours about the boys that will never ask me out. I drink wine and vodka until it’s time to go to bed, and then it’s finally tomorrow and I get to start over again and be one day closer to having it all figured out and be one day closer to the day that I feel something again.
I do all of it. Because feeling anything is almost always better than feeling nothing. And there’s nothing worse than feeling nothing until you get to the point where even feeling nothing starts to hurt.
It’s OK, guys. I’m not worried. I’ve been worried about myself before, but not this time.
Because this time I know that the feeling part is coming. I know that sometimes feeling bad is better than feeling nothing. I also know that feeling nothing isn’t always bad. And I know that feeling nothing once in a while doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with me.
And I know that most of the time…feeling bad or feeling nothing?
Is what comes right before you feel better than you ever thought possible.