Being depressed now is not like being depressed when I was sixteen. When I was sixteen, I didn’t know what to do with my feelings. My mind raced and I cried and I didn’t eat and I set myself to self-destruct. Sometimes those symptoms still occur but mostly when I’m depressed these days, I just have to play the waiting game. My depression is, as it always has been, a storm cloud overhead. These days, all I can think of doing is waiting for it to pass. My instinct is to self-destruct again but that would be no good. Because the depression passes eventually – it always does – and if I’ve done something stupid in the meantime, well, that just leaves me in a bigger mess.
Does art imitate life or does life imitate art? I think I’m trying to imitate all the poets I’ve read and all the books I’ve devoured and all the songs I’ve invested my heart in. And you know how in those chick-flick movies (and those chick-lit books, for that matter) that the girl always seems to be oblivious to the wonderful boy who’s in love with her, and meanwhile is besotted herself with some abominable prick? Isn’t it always the way? And don’t you just wish she’d notice her best friend/lab partner/whatever, since he’s the one who is so good and wholesome and dedicated to her? And in the end, maybe she does notice. Maybe the prick stands her up on a date to the cinema and she realises that the boy whose shoulder she used to cry on is now the boy whose bones she wants to jump. Maybe. But that’s not realistic, is it? I’ve tried that. It doesn’t work. Like death, you can’t trick love.
Pretty in Pink is different. Molly Ringwald doesn’t pick Duckie, her confidante, her best friend, and the source of all her pleasant irritation. She picks Andrew McCarthy. She picks the one with the looks. The one she gets butterflies around. The one who makes her feel like nothing and everything all at once. Duckie is a sure thing and will love her forever but who wants that? Andrew McCarthy is something special and, ultimately, that’s all that matters. You can try to talk yourself into something safe and secure and healthy, but it won’t work. You’ll always want the one who gives you goosebumps.
That’s the tragedy of the human existence, isn’t it? We all want what’s bad for us. Cigarettes, alcohol, lovers who will destroy us. Or maybe that takes a certain type of person – the type of person who is already on the brink of self-destruction anyway and will snatch at anything that is likely to send her hurtling off the edge. Or maybe that’s just me. Or maybe it’s what I’ve been telling myself all along. And not telling myself. Maybe love isn’t necessarily self-destructive, maybe you just love who you love and that’s the end of it. One thing is for certain, you know love when you see it.
Naturally, I’ve tried to trick myself a couple of times. More than a couple of times. Too many times. I think part of it is that I’m greedy: I’ll claim someone if I think they’re worth claiming, even if my feelings aren’t particularly strong. But I’ve met love and I’ve shook its hand and I’ve stared lovingly and longingly into its eyes and it fucking hurts. But that’s how you know. Love makes you vulnerable.
Love isn’t practical. I’ve been trying to talk myself into and out of real love since I was fifteen. And I have all these quotes that make up a bible or a guide to life and they all say different things about love but none of them contradict each other. And that’s interesting.
“When love is not madness, it is not love.” – Pedro Calderón de la Barca.
“The lover is a monotheist who knows that other people worship different gods but cannot himself imagine that there could be other gods.” – Theodor Reik.
“And he touches you with his fingers. And he burns holes in your skin with his mouth. And it hurts when you look at him. And it hurts when you don’t. And it feels like someone’s cut you open with a jagged piece of glass.” – The Tracy Fragments.
Whatever. I’m just at a loose end, man.