Have you ever had one of those moments where a very infinitely-carved and even deeply troubling characteristic of your personality can be traced to that one defining moment?
There I was, giddy beyond repair, on St. Patrick’s Day almost four years ago this March. I was singing love songs in my head, ones that I compiled into a rushed playlist on my iPod because I didn’t want to listen to any negativity or think anything but happy thoughts about the life-affirming night I had only two days prior. The whole weekend had been cold and snowy but suddenly on St. Patrick’s Day warmth returned to Edmonton and when I woke up that morning I could hear icicles dripping water from just outside my window. I peered through the blinds and sunlight and said to myself, ‘this is the most perfect, happiest morning that’s ever been created!’
I walked around in the warm weather and got coffee before going to class; once I sat down with my notebook and pen, I realized how difficult it was to concentrate on anything at all, so enraptured was I in my own life which seemed perfect; for the last 40 hours or so, what ‘should be’ and ‘what was’ were exactly aligned in my world. Everything made sense. Everything was illuminated.
I walked home from class with my best friend, both of us cheerful and greeting the coming spring with refreshed eyes and a new perspective on the world, our eyes covered by rosy red love-hued goggles. I bid her goodbye and went home, retreated to my bedroom again, and opened my Facebook page. There was a message in my inbox.
Have you ever experienced a moment where you were the happiest you’ve ever been in your life, by feeling something you had no idea you were even capable of feeling in the first place, and with the click of a button your entire world fell down with one huge, plundering, explosive crash? Where your mood changed so completely from the very highest, highest high to the extremely lowest, lowest low, just by reading a few sentences on your computer screen? Imagine it for a second; your dry, tasteless mouth curdling; your heart emptying and palpitating; your eyes welling with prickling tears; the colour gone from your cheeks which moments before, were glowing and flushed with the promise of new love and prosperity… I put my heavy head down on my desk and whimpered silently into my lap. As is true with most serious, damaging events in my life that occurred since the age of 9, I was incapable of crying. I bled inwardly instead.
Why would anyone want to read a ‘make or break’ message ever, ever again after devastation like that? Why would anyone want to put themselves through that build-up resulting in terrible, catastrophic life-altering disappointment? St. Patrick’s Day almost four years ago this March, was the day my entire outlook on life changed completely. The irrational fears I had when I was in junior high – of being persecuted and having to walk among people who baited me and drowned me in cruelty; of being homely and fat with an awkward child’s body for the rest of my life – suddenly returned. The growth I endured by allowing my Drama courses to help me become more outgoing, fearless, careless and free was shut up again in a tiny, plainly wrapped, non-descript box. I was yarn, raveled back up into a messy ball, as opposed to the neat, tightly wrapped sphere I once was.
It was this moment that forever made me afraid of reading that which could say something I never, ever want to find out.