“At times the whole world seems to be in conspiracy to importune you with emphatic trifles,” My literary boyfriend, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his masterpiece essay, Self-Reliance, “do not spill thy soul; do not all descend; keep thy state; stay at home in thine own heaven.” Mrs. Gallo introduced us to Emerson during my junior year, a stroke of serendipity, because “the whole world was in conspiracy to importune [me] with emphatic trifles” then and I needed Emerson to help me get through it all.
I came into my junior year straight off of my sophomore high. I had found love, had the best friends, and a car. I felt like I was unstoppable, things were going to continue uphill for me. I was an elite member of prom committee, had many plans for the dances (including my own prom) and football games. I kinda had a “just try and stop me” attitude, and unfortunately, the universe took me literally.
I crashed my car within a week of school. I was luck enough to be saved, but my car wasn’t. I was sad, I loved my car, I named her Lola- and she was gone. It was a traumatic experience, but I had made it out okay. I had my health, my family, my friends, and my boyfriend. I would be okay.
But my relationship was growing distant. I blindly told myself not to worry about, I never had anything to worry before, so why should I now? So when we finally broke up about a month after my car accident, I had seen it coming, but that didn’t curb the devestation. He was my first boyfriend, I loved him, how could this happen? After he drove away that night, I cried to my mother and my best friend came over and I felt somewhat better. “Boys will always come in and out of your life,” My momma told me, “but your girlfriends will stay”
Well, my best friend decided a month later that she didn’t want to be friends anymore. I couldn’t believe it. I was still trying to cope with breakup and small bouts of PTS from the crash earlier. I needed her to be with me. I didn’t know how to deal with it as an individual stressor, let alone with my other problems.
By January of my junior year, I had begun working at Sweet Frog. I was working three or four days a week, my college tuition savings was starting. Trying to keep myself busy with work, I attempted to get my problems off of my mind. Weekends, when not at work, were spent with prom committee, I almost never saw my friends. At least I’ll always have my family, I told myself.
When my grandfather died in March (Song Contest week nonetheless), I had hit rockbottom. I had lost someone in the worst possible way, some dear to me. This was the worst blow, there was nothing I could’ve done to stop it, and nothing to do to bring him back. Granddaddy was now with two of his sons, and I know that he would now be my guardian angel, so Granddaddy, I’m going to need your help.
As prom drew closer, I was so busy working out, working at Sweet Frog or working on the committee, I didn’t have time to bat my eyes. Without any time to find a date and knowing no one to take, I asked a friend to set me up. When the day came, my hard work in the committee paid off, I got lots of compliments for the beautiful decorations and well as being skinny and my dress. I was proud of myself, but when my friends walked away, I saw my date and felt like crap on the inside. My consistent efforts of ditch the date were failing, he kept following me. I was an awful person for having a date- just wanting my exboyfriend, the one, months later, I still had feelings for, to see pictures of skinny me with a guy on Facebook and maybe miss me like I missed him. It’s disgusting how selfish I was.
A few months later in the summer, I finally said something to him about how I never got closure after our break-up. After sending a few text messages, something finally manifested-what am I thinking? He has a girlfriend now, he’s over me and I should be over him. The Greek tragedy of my life hit catharsis, and a wave of relief went through my body. I will be okay. I walked into work a couple days later to a new, extremely cute employee at Sweet Frog, “Hey, I’m Robert.” I hadn’t experienced happiness in a long time, and this boy made me giddy. I flirted with the first boy that I was attracted to since my ex, even though he didn’t understand I was attracted to him. When love songs came on the radio during my drive home, I didn’t immediately turn them off in anger at the happy people, in fact, I turned the volume up and sang along.
Something that helped me chug through my junior year was picking up my Norton reader for Honors English 11 and leafing through the section on Emerson, and a certain line spoke to me more than the others: “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself”. Everyone else seemed to prance all tra-la-la and I hated them, wiping away tears in the corner to my overplayed break-up music playlist on my way to work. I felt like they couldn’t and didn’t want to listen to me and my overplayed problems. But it was my fault for keeping them in. I wasn’t bringing myself any peace. I had to go out of my bubble, and start to the journey to mental happiness. I started trying to see my friends and do things that made me internally happy, jewelry making, baking, whatever I wanted. Life kicked me onto the ground four times, but I got up one grand time and marched into my senior year. And you know what? I think I did a good job-I got into my dream college three weeks after I submitted my application, I made my own prom dress (and loved going dateless, even after Robert said no), and graduated with honors. Robert and I never worked out- but I don’t think we were meant to. He wasn’t someone to date, he was a symbol that I could be happy with another guy. Senior year went by in the bat of an eye. That girl and I didn’t become friends again, but we got on better terms. I’m still a bit of a paranoid driver, but it’s only because I’m trying to be safe, and Grandaddy watched over me every step of the way.
God, Buddha, or whoever you believe in, gives us a lot of tough times to deal with, but I think it’s to see how bring ourselves back up. No matter how you do so, it all springs from your mental clarity. I believe all things happen for a reason, but sometimes we don’t know what that reason is. You can go forth and conquer all you want, but it’s not going to be worth a thing if you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. I think it’s Mrs McAleer who says “flexibility is the key to mental health”, so let’s all take a deep breath, let out our emotions, do some yoga (get our bodies flexible) and work on mental health and happiness.