Butterfly Cauldron

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Ambition

What is it that pushes one person forward, but leaves another person content with what they have? Is it inborn or learned?

I've chronicled my own trip through illness, depression, whatever on and on here. And will again, I'm sure. But this post isn't about me. (Ha!) I have a friend, someone I love very much. He's the same age I am. In many ways, we're like twins. When we met, we have that spark of recognition you only get once or twice in a lifetime. We just clicked. Like we'd known each other forever.

He's got a lot of the same issues I have, even. Depression, possible chronic illness. (He thinks he's diabetic, but he won't go to the doctor because his father was severely diabetic and he had to watch him die.) Anyway, he's also brilliant and artistic. But he had some problems when we started college and lost his scholarships. So, he set out, for a semester at first, until he could get things straightened out. Well, that one semester has turned into nearly a decade now. He never finished college, he doesn't have a job, or a driver's license. He lives with another friend of ours, who doesn't require anything of him, really, except for him to be there for her as a friend. Free room and board, doesn't make him get a job, no paying for any of the bills. And that works for them.

But I wonder -- since I know he's still decidedly depressed and often unhappy -- what it is that keeps him from doing something different. So, he doesnt' want to go to college. Sure. It's not for everyone. But there are all sorts of things he could do. He's a talented writer and artist. And there's no reason he could do a simple, basic job -- fast food, retail, whatever. Sure, it's not glamarous, but you know, someone has to do those jobs, don't they? He'd need to learn how to drive and get a license -- so how hard is that? I'd teach him, his roommate would teach him. There's nothing really standing in his way of having at least a simple job. It would get him out of the house, which would go a long way to helping with his depression. Maybe he'd get a job with insurance, so he could get on medication for that depression. And find out if he is, in fact, diabetic or if those symptoms are in fact caused by his depression.

He operates out of fear, a lot. I understand that. I lived in fear for years, worried that the doctors would tell me that I was dying. That all those symptoms were dangerous, deadly. Probably cancer. I feared I'd never get a new job, never find love again, never have anything more than I had. And it was fucking hard to get past it, but something in me would not let me give up, even when I wanted to. Even when my brain is screaming just let me die already!

So what is it that is there for one person, but not for another? Why did I have that in me, even when I didn't want it, to find a way out of all that hell? Finish school, find a job, go to a doctor. Go to another doctor. And another one until someone finds out what the hell is wrong with me. Take some time to heal, let time cure all those emotional wounds. Take the chance, step outside, see what makes life worth living.

So why can't I give that to him? Why can't I convince him to come stay with me for awhile, get out of that place he's in, so that he can see there's more out there and that he can have it? Why can't I convince him he can stay with me while he goes back to school? (He's mentioned he wants to go to culinary school and there's one reallly close to my house.)

Why doesn't he want more? And I think he does want more. I think he wants a life of his own, where he has his own job and his own apartment and his own life and value and no more depression. So why can't I get through to him that he can have that? That there are people who've done it before and hey, I can show you the way out, if you want.

I know that you cannot force anyone to move before they're ready. I know that there were doubtlessly so very many friends who thought the same thing about me at one time. I get that. I just...hasn't he lived like that long enough?

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posted by Zan at 7:44 PM

3 Comments:

We have to learn and do things in our own way, in our own time, even if it means never learning or doing them.

I don't think we can see ourselves from someone else's perspective, any more than we can hear ourselves the way anyone else hears us.

8:45 PM  

I know, I just want to do something for him :(

7:03 AM  

Does he know you feel all this?

7:23 PM  

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