If you don’t watch unReal, you really should.
But I’m not here to shill. (This time.)
I’m going to set a very bare scene. In “Truth,” the fifth episode of the first season, Rachel Goldberg, the main character, is with her ex-lover and current colleague in a barn in Mississippi. He asks her where she was when she disappeared, and she says she was depressed. Couldn’t move. “Was this because of Mexico?” He asks. She gives him a Look.
“I don’t really do well with happiness. It’s very unfamiliar. It’s terrifying, actually.”
That. Right there. All of it.
Earlier today, after a fresh round of quiet sobbing, hidden away from my coworkers, I thought about why I was expending the energy on tears, at all. I’d 100% rather walk
aggressive and angry all the time than let anyone see what’s actually going on behind the scenes. I’m too sensitive, too needy, waaaay too thirsty to just be nice to everyone and keep an open heart. I would hurt all the time. And why? I’ve got all the friends I need (and I have some smart, beautiful, talented, wonderful, dope-ass friends), and I’m good at what I do, and I can take care of myself.
But I let my guard down completely, and allowed optimism to nestle between my lungs, until it felt like I could sing forever. My imagination conjured countless snapshots of contentment, and I let them swirl around, their colors brighter every time they flipped forth. Contentment. A fleeting feeling, at best, when it descends at all. But I knew this life we talked about, we sketched together, we were laying the first bricks of foundation for —
well. We could both finally be content.
The happiness of those first few months was heady and amazing. Moment after moment of starry-eyed, goofy-grinning joy. I could feel it coming, though, the other shoe. It was there, lurking. But I pushed it out of my head, pushed the thought away, convinced negativity would dictate outcome (even though I’ve always believed that line of thinking to be bullshit). With few exceptions, that’s what life is: a jumble of people disappointing each other, in any given way, on any given day. It’s only a matter of time. It was only a matter of time.
For the sake of not being a cynical bastard, I let myself hope the happiness would prove me wrong. “I just need to make you happy,” he’d said, so often it became a gentle refrain. And I was. And he was. There was nothing he did, no gesture large or small, that rang false. I trusted him completely. He was honest with me, and helped me feel safe in being honest with him. I knew exactly what I wanted for us. I mustered optimism from somewhere inside myself that these last few days I’ve been trying to relocate, to little avail.
“It’s okay to not be okay,” Monique said, about a week ago. I’ve clung to it anytime I feel short of breath and my eyes begin to burn. I’m not okay. But the only way to function is to pretend that I am, and to really sell it. What does it say to him if I just melt away and stop doing my job? He doesn’t get to have that, broken heart or not.
Besides, as Beyoncé says, the best revenge is your paper.