"If I'm ever going to be okay, I'll have to earn it"
-Markus Zusak, "The Messenger"
Demi's little brother is 12 and not particularly fine. We, the near-adults, look on with fascination and a vague understanding of numerous years of our own lives being played out now in his. There are similarities, I can see them, between him and what I was like then, except I would speculate that he is worse.
It took me years. I think about it sometimes, everything that it took. People will try to tell you that depression is permanent and other people will try to tell you that if you really wanted to, you could wake up tomorrow morning and shake it the fuck off, forever. I've realised that the truth is probably somewhere in between (isn't it always). I had to learn how to be okay. Do you know what I mean? I had to train my brain, train my heart, train my limbs to stretch on a more regular basis. Okay-ness for me has played out in a mixture of not thinking at all and thinking when the moment is right. It's happened by telling myself for years that I want to be happy, and ignoring current news events for months on end (waiting till I could handle them again), and finally recognising the times when I actually did stumble on to something close to what I was looking for. It happened by drinking coffee and eating hot breakfasts in the painful mornings and forgiving myself for being a bit of an awkward, ugly mess.
Because you see, in order to be okay, you have to figure out how to recognize the moments when you are, and then expand them. If that fucking makes even the slightest sense.
But God, I needed the time. I needed people to be patient with me and feed me confirmations and I needed to feed those confirmations to myself and sometimes i needed to look at my own reflection in a mirror and spend hours liking my eyes. I needed to cry and yell sometimes and I needed to sit still on my bed except for the shaking of my knees. I needed to complain and search and I even needed to hurt myself before I ever reached a place where i didn't need to anymore.
God, I barely see Demi's brother any more, since we moved out here on our own. Demi, Kiesha and I. I find myself thinking about how harsh it is that for us to do what we need to do, live happy lives, he needs to be left alone with his mum in that house for the time being. I was in the same situation after my siblings moved out, but I was older before it happened. Then I realise that it all just has to happen. He needs to have his own shit happen to him to one day be great.
But in everyday that I can I'll look out for that kid, and try to do what I can to make sure he gets what he needs to be amazing one day.
I have to stop and admire the concept, too, that I could possibly look on these days from a separate place than he is in. Because for the first time in my life I happen to be remarkably okay. By no mistake.