This I Believe

Anna - Denver, Colorado
Entered on May 6, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I used to like swimming. I used to think that floating on my back, my hair spread out around me like a halo or a troll, just drifting and listening to the water liquefied everything else in the world, so nothing on the surface mattered. But then I had to start worrying if people thought I looked weird, just floating. And then, on top of that, I developed a fear of leeches, so I had to assume a periodic windmill motion, flailing my arms and legs, because if a leech latched onto me and started sucking, it would continue to suck until I was completely dry and eventually turn to dust, at which point I would dissolve and literally become one with the water.

Sometimes it’s easier to give yourself over to petty fears, sometimes it’s easier to stay on the beach. Usually, it’s easier to be cynical than to hope for something and achieve dissatisfaction, or worse, mediocrity. The higher the hope, the greater the disappointment, right?

But a lot of these feelings, revelations maybe, sound paltry with words. Sometimes attempting to trap a sensation with words, regardless of how you arrange them, just downplays their value until said sensation becomes a cliché, and therefore superficial and unoriginal. Less human, even. Raw emotion isn’t meant to become a metaphor, and I say that with a lot of faith in the power of words.

The worst feeling in the world is the shallow emptiness of being lonely. A bold superlative, but justifiable: think about a time when you asked a serious question, something that really mattered to you. You only received a vague, indifferent answer. Or think about a time when a relationship in which you placed all of your faith fell down a steep decline.

I don’t know if marriage is a cause of depression, or a casualty of it. All I know is what I’ve been told: “You don’t want to go to bed angry. You don’t want to just drift apart, and you don’t want to look back and say, ‘I just don’t know what happened.’”

But I am far too analytical to condemn those who attempt to express, considering grammar and spelling, the primitive complexity of human relations and then attempt to do it myself. Instead, I prefer to be vague, because it’s always safer on the beach.