A long, long time ago I made a list of fifty reasons to stick around. And I wrote a list of fifty reasons not to do so. And BOTH helped me, yall. Both have been good tools for combating the crazy. But they’re old. And I wrote them in haste, without putting much thought into either of them. I did the different reasons list AFTER I’d written the live list, and almost every item on the different reasons list was the antithesis of its counterpart on the live list. Those lists… they need a little tweaking. So I am rehashing them for the current moods and madness with which I struggle. This is a hard one for me to write. I took more time with this one. I have to be in the right mindset, which at first wasn’t easy to do and I wasn’t sure I could find that place again, but that was the other day. I found it.
In reading this the mindset I have at the beginning, one of agreement, morphs into one of denial by the end. The Bloggess, aka Jenny Lawson, has said OFTEN depression lies. Here are the lies I tell myself:
One. You are broken. You were born that way. Everything about your body, your face, your brain is fucked.
Two. Your brothers got most of the goods: the looks, the personality, the mad skills. You got the scraps: the leftovers, the rejected bits, all the less admirable traits from your ancestors. The mad and the madness. You’re a spawn, a spore. There’s one in every generation.
Three. Six surgeries. Thirty some-odd-scars. And you’re still an ugly hag.
Four. And now you’re a FAT, bitter, ugly hag. FAT. Remember what that one boy said to you? How at the reunion, people’s reaction upon seeing you would be, Who’s that rolling in? Yeah. You don’t get to prove him wrong about that.
Five. No one will ever want to marry you because you’re too ugly and no one wants to wake up next to something that ugly every morning. You don’t get to prove him wrong about that, either.
Six. You should go kill yourself; you’re taking up valuable air and space, and there are more important people who need it. You should’ve done it. Those people could manage to make friends and live good lives. You don’t get to prove them, any of them, wrong about that, either. You keep trying, though. You keep thinking you have gifts. Oh dear heavens, girl. SCRAPS. You’re made of scraps!!! Gifts ain’t found in the junkyard.
Seven. You signed up for that socials site to meet new people, to PAY people to spend time with you. TO PAY PEOPLE TO SPEND TIME WITH YOU. Your friends don’t want to spend time with you. They don’t want it SO much that one of them suggested that socials site so you could stop badgering her to spend time with you. They WANT you to leave them alone. You’re one of those unimportant people, remember? They’re too nice, too GOOD to tell you to fuck off. And you should. YOU SHOULD.
Eight. Your own brother doesn’t even want to spend time with you. Seriously. You’ve seen him like four times since Christmas. And it’s NOT because of Covid, though he sure does like to use that excuse with you… it was like this BEFORE the virus… and THEN it was work. Ask yourself why he makes the excuses. He sure can find the time for quite a few others.
Nine. Mama says you’ve got that go to hell look patented, and you know she’s right because you can feel the fury on your face when you unleash that look. You boil over, Jennifer. ALL the time. You boil over because the pan’s filled with rage and hate. There’s no love in the pot to temper the heat.
Ten. Good men want nothing to do with you. The moment they figure out you’re off your rocker, they RUN for the hills. Can’t get away fast enough. The words… you’re a WRITER, and the words that come out of your mouth are RIDICULOUS. They say you’re intimidating? That’s polite code for YOU FUCKING SCARE THE SHIT OUT OF ME, BITCH. PSYCHO FEMALE.
Eleven. You don’t know how to love. That BSF Bible study group leader talked about what happens when the virtues are perverted. You’ve perverted ALL of them. A L L of them. There’s a place for people like you.
Twelve. How desperate can you possibly be? You love Aggieland so much, were so incapable of conveying that love to your parents so they could respect your choice of institution for higher learning and have regretted that inadequacy with every breath since, that you’d brainwash your brother’s children in their infancy to love that university so they’d decided by their tenth year that THAT’S where they want to go so YOU can live vicariously through them. WHAT BULLSHIT IS THIS?? WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO BE LIKE YOUR MOTHER??? You HATE that she took choice from you! You’d want to take it from them? Those babies you say you love as though they were your own? IDIOT!! Why would you perpetuate that hell?
Thirteen. Must every other word that rolls off your tongue be foul? Really? Because girl… your mouth is essentially an ashtray. Your words reek like the trashiest of alleys.
Fourteen. When your parents pass, you will lose all contact with people. You will hole up in an apartment and play on Facebook… the modern day arena where Ms. Brill would watch her shows… Handy that she wouldn’t have to leave her house. You are JUST like that pathetic woman. JUST LIKE HER.
Fifteen. You spent thirty minutes writing about the lack of love, and half the words you put on the page were film quotes. You’d spend the rest of your pathetic life in bed watching movies because you’re too afraid to live.
Sixteen. You’ll NEVER write a story so good people would want to show it on a screen. And all you wanted when you were a kid was to win a damned Oscar. You’d make up speeches. WHAT A FOOL.
Seventeen. Everything you write is crap. No one’s every going to want to read it.
Eighteen. The staff at Pappadeux’s? They’re only nice to you because they have to be.
Nineteen. You quit smoking?? That was STUPID. You want a short life, right? Doesn’t quitting mean it’d last longer??
Twenty. Your teachers… how many of them hated teaching you? I bet it was a lot.
Twenty-One. Like school did you any good anyway. All that money your grandmother and great aunt left you so you could have a fine education, and you squandered it.
Twenty-Two. Every night, just so you can sleep, you gotta pop some pills. There’s so much ugliness inside you, the only way you can silence it is to drug it.
Twenty-Three. You like giving things to people, don’t you? Makes you feel better about yourself? They’re just things. And you’re trying to buy affection, just like when you were a kid. Remember the year you gave everyone in your class Valentines and got NONE in return. Yeah. YEAH. You sat at your desk staring at your pitiful, poorly decorated, EMPTY brown paper sack, waiting for someone to drop in a card, and NO ONE DID.
Twenty-Four. You BELIEVED Adam when he said you were gorgeous. YOU BELIEVED HIM. Of COURSE he’s going to say that. Boys will say ANYTHING to sucker a gal.
Twenty-Five. You’re too much like a boy, anyway. How could you POSSIBLY be GORGEOUS. GORY. GROSS. N O T gorgeous.
Twenty-Six. Haven’t got the faintest idea of how to be a girl, do you?
Twenty-Seven. Boys don’t want to get their hands on you anymore. Not the gentlemen. They never did. EVER. NOT ONCE. You were just there. Weak, convenient, lonely and easy… or so they thought.
Twenty-Eight. But you can’t even do that right, can you? So eager to play… but then you balk and walk almost EVERY TIME.
Twenty-Nine. When you finally said fuck it? You let a narcissistic, manipulative, emotionally and verbally abusive JACKASS have that card. You gave it to him in a fucking VALUE PLACE INN on the southwest side of San Antonio, in the damned desert, practically. Good GOD, girl. Talk about TRAGIC. SHIT. What a loser you are.
Thirty. God knows your parents would be better off if you weren’t here. They could’ve actually ENJOYED retirement instead of having to support their stupid, lazy daughter. They could’ve set aside money for their grandchildren’s education, but you’d rather rob them of that.
Thirty-One. Your brother couldn’t because he was weak. You’re JUST like him, in ALL the WRONG ways. All those bad scraps…
Thirty-Two. You signed a piece of paper twenty years ago. That doctor who made you sign it? He’s probably forgotten all about you. So many will…
Thirty-Three. And the debt. The goddamned DEBT you’ve amassed. STUPID GIRL.
Thirty-Four. You think you can sing? Bullshit. Your voice ain’t that awesome — ’bout as good as Marge Simpon’s. Look at all those times you tried to get up on stage. Your friends were in bands and never once asked you to sing with them.
Thirty-Five. It won’t be alright in the end. It’ll just be more of the same bullshit.
Thirty-Six. Those doctors in your infancy… they told your parents you would be better off in an institution for people like you. Those doctors were right.
Thirty-Seven. Your boss gave you a job because he needed a body–someone to occupy a desk and free the boys up from the incessant phone calls so they could actually WORK. He doesn’t actually like you. The hand!!! That face he made with it! I’m not talking to you. Shut the FUCK up. Answer the phones. Take the payments. Be QUIET.
Thirty-Eight. What good is a woman without a husband and children?
Thirty-Nine. Those prayer boards you’re fashioning… so you can have something positive and lovely and good to think on when you wake and when you sleep… You put little knickknacks and mementos on those so you can delude yourself into thinking people love you. IF they loved you, they’d not let you hide out in your room so often. If they were truly friends, they’d be FRIENDLY.
Forty. Jamie. Remember that time you felt bad that no one was at the other end of the pool cheering him on, so you went down there to be his cheerleader? You were the only one. Why would he WANT to swim toward that end if you were standing there screaming at him? Your interest in him was LAUGHABLE.
Forty-One. David. Three years you obsessed over that dude. THREE. YEARS. And I don’t know what he said about you to others, but it must’ve been ugly. And your fascination with him made everyone in that circle uncomfortable. Regina told you so. You should never have tried to be friends with them. You should never have thought enough of yourself that you could be appreciated by them, by him.
Forty-Two. Ben. He signed your junior high yearbook, “To the Love Doctor.” He humiliated you then, and yet, when yall were in college, when he roomed with your brother, you thought maybe he’d become a better person. He seemed to have done so. But you had to go and fuck that friendship up, and by doing so, fuck up his friendship with your brother. You drove two hours to go see about a guy, because, again, you thought enough of yourself… Cried the whole way home, and when you got closer to home, you realized you didn’t want to be alone, so you drove another hour out of the way to impose on your brother’s hospitality… You ruin EVERYTHING.
Forty-Three. Adam. Everything about that was a lie. EVERYTHING. Maybe if, just once, JUST ONCE, you’d been honest from the get-go, maybe things would’ve been different. But… you ruin everything, so… probably not.
Forty-Four. Tony. Everything about that was a lie, too. He was probably really good. He was probably worthy of your consideration. But… he bored you, and you can’t have that. Who the fuck do you think you are???
Forty-Five. Casey. You thought so well of him. A modern day Puck. He thought SO LITTLE of you. SO LITTLE.
Forty-Six. Gary. You thought so little of him. He thought so little of you. SO LITTLE. Yall deserved each other.
Forty-Seven. You should stop taking your meds and start smoking again and drink all the liquor and eat all the bad food… just get it over with already.
Forty-Eight. They said you couldn’t live, and you can’t.
Forty-Nine. They said you shouldn’t live, and you don’t. This isn’t a life, girl. This isn’t anything remotely resembling a life.
Fifty. They said you wouldn’t live, and you won’t. You’ll just keep writing the same damned chapters day after day after day… Who the fuck wants to read that? No one.