Yesterday I listened to The Middle by Jimmy Eat World, a song I used to listen to when I was an outcast in high school; a song that, in my adult life, I always skip. But this time there was a huge train delay and I felt like I needed to hear it. So I played the song as I went through the tunnel. As I walked down the subway tunnel that takes you from the red and yellow line to the blue line at 42nd street times square, a line I no longer take but needed to due to delays, I heard a woman with a guitar sing in a low reassuring voice. She sang, “ It just takes some time, little girl. You’re in the middle of the ride. Everything, everything will be just fine. Everything, everything will be alright.”
In wanting approval from the people who should have loved me, I have taken little risks. I still don’t have the life that I want. And they still don’t love me unconditionally. So this is me resigning. I am ripping apart the contract that held my dreams hostage for years. I am no longer adhering to their conditions.
It’s always been easy for me to do the right thing. I have always been the perfect student. The valedictorian. Career-driven and selfless. The perfect child, always home on time, never disobeyed. I went through a life crisis in the 7th grade when I got my first non-A grade. Those grades defined me. So who was I now that I had gotten my first B?
I’d been curbing behaviors in order to fit in. I thought I was growing as a person by shrinking down the weird in me. And now that I am able to pass as normal I regret not being a freak this entire time. Being normal is not for me. It’s hard. Every day is a battle. I respect those who others put down more than those who do the put downs. I want to be part of the first group. I will never fully fit into the second.
At the age of 12 I realized that I wanted to join a circus. I never felt like I belonged. And now that I pass as someone who does belong, I realize that I never will. At least not here. I am changing my life. By this time next year I hope to be the person that I truly am, all of the time, the way the world made me. No more fighting it. “Self growth” should not come at the expense of your dreams.
I went home that day and listened to The Middle by Jimmy Eat World. The song that came after was Hear You Hear Me, the song I was listening to when I found out that Mr. Gallagher, my 40-year-old musical theater teacher, had died of a heart attack the night before.
After 3 years of him being my primary teacher in high school, just a week before I got the news, I looked him in the eyes and thanked him. Not out loud, but in my mind. For some reason the universe gave me the opportunity to appreciate his presence while he was still alive. That moment of thanking him, although it was in my head, meant a lot to me. It was the first time I felt grateful to be alive; grateful to have known someone. He was the second person to ever make me feel like I had to fight for my life rather than submit to my depression. The first was my 6th grade dance teacher.
Thank you Patrick Gallagher for showing me that life is wonderful as long as you are doing what you love. You left us too early. I still add in “look at my buuutt” when I sing the lead song from Chicago the musical. Being part of your cabaret is something that I relive constantly. It’s something that I work towards living forever.
On that day, on the subway, things that never happen on their own happened together and they happened around me. The universe may not be on my side, but it is letting me know that it is there. To be honest, I don’t think the universe is on anyone’s side. It is just harmonizing energy that whispers as we live, like how plants grow when we talk to them and give out a scent when we cut them too soon. It is non-bias. It exists with you, not for you. But on that day and other days like this, it spoke to me and I listened.
P.s. I am currently focusing on my career in UX and Digital Marketing. Thus, the sporadic posts. If you have any leads for NYC feel free to contact me. I appreciate being part of this community and will pay it forward. Thank you!