“I don’t want to actually have a life; I just want to look like I do,” I said, explaining to my family we needed to do something for Halloween.
It’s not exactly true. As hilarious as I think I am claiming all I want is a good Instagram photo, what I really want is a good memory and that is exactly what pomp and circumstance is for.
One of my standby words of wisdom is that if you want to be a writer, you need to start noticing your ideas. Everyone constantly has moments of imagination, but authors learn to recognize them for concepts pivotal plot scenes, inspired by their everyday fears and fantasies.
Meanwhile, here I am, meeting new people, trying to think of something to say and drawing a blank. Most shy people will tell you their silence comes from brain paralysis, and that’s not much different than the tremendous hemorrhaging I experience.
While moving to New York City, I am staying temporarily with my cousin who is about as extraverted as you’re going to find. She’s the life of the party, filled with confidence and charm, and while watching her, I realized that being in the limelight requires you to do exactly the opposite of what you’d think.
There is no hesitation in talking about herself. She tells great stories, speaks her mind, and doesn’t hesitate to argue. In fact, she thrives on it. While bartending this summer, I mentioned to my coworker how I will never get the best tips because of my perfunctory delivery of my duties, in which he described a bartender who told the best stories.
I recently read a book in which a demon demanded payment in the form of good memories. If I had to pull up a good memory right now, I’m not so sure I could.
My ex behaved poorly in the honeymoon stage, and retroactively tainted all of the good memories I had of us “falling in love.” I told him I needed them replaced if I was ever going to forgive him. I had used many of the romantic things he’d done early as a means to feel loved and important, and when I found out how ingenuine they were, they became sources of pain, not pleasure. He did try to a certain extent, but it all felt false, and we never recovered.
As a child, my mother wasn’t big into traditions, and I can’t say the rest of the family was either. My dad to a zero extent, while my mom wanted to put in some effort, but as we got older the less we all cared. I hated going out into the cold and cutting down a Christmas tree. Decorating it felt tedious. I liked working on holidays, and I was a regular ole Scrooge.
Last year, I decided to make a point to celebrate and make things feel important again. I was struggling with stress and depression, and I hoped to start putting more effort into my everyday life to create more joy, more stories, more memories. But I found people—my ex mainly—fighting me, refusing to carve pumpkins, telling me, “I don’t do Valentine’s day,” the whole shebang.
Halloween is the next holiday after my birthday, and my first attempt to try and make things right for this “new year.” Of course, I didn’t make a costume this year or plan ahead, but scrounging some things from my cousin’s basement, I am off to Salem to be bombarded by crowds. If I’m willing to argue, I may be able to convince someone to carve pumpkins and make pie, but we can only hope.
Memories are, of course, what you make them, and being present long enough to enjoy a laugh, but a big part of it is getting out of bed first.
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