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The Edge of Forever
Have you ever felt so strange, so lost, that life itself seems to be a passing memory?
I think of myself as a dreamer, the one waiting on the edge of forever. Floating in time, yet unable to anchor myself, finding my body adrift in the fragments of something that I don’t quite understand. It’s always been that way, even through the spaces where I things fall to the way they should be.
Maybe that’s why I always find myself here. Walking out into the trail at the edge of the city, seeing the long grass and the acreages in the distance. Where I stand now, there’s this big Canadian flag. One of the people that live along here put it up a few years ago, and it even has a sturdy flagpole that they hammered into the ground. I thought that the city would take it down, since it was on their property, but it’s been here ever since. Kind-of like me, something that stands out in this world of nature.
I can’t remember when I started coming to this spot, but it’s a place I often find myself in. I like to sit and look out at the world, watch the cows in the distance, and think about why life has turned out the way it has. Here, nothing can bother me, and the world is a dream.
I know I’m young. Not too young to be unable to understand, but not old enough to be as hardened as I am to the world. It’s something I’ve never been able to fully grasp. People tell me how this is the best time of my life, how things should be lived to the fullest. And I watch the others around me, how they talk and gossip and live their lives, but somehow always end up feeling like this.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate life. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t love the sun coming up, the people around me, or the hand that life has dealt me. I’m not an outcast. I have friends and family who love me, a social life, and talents I wouldn’t give up for the world. Life itself is a gift, and I appreciate it all, but there are still some nights where sleep evades me. It’s those times, when I’m staring at the dots on my ceiling, that I wonder if I’m doing this right.
Sometimes I wonder if being so adrift is really what gives me a knack for creation. The slightest distraction sends me off into daydreams, thinking of situations and every possible turn of life. If I had a gift, it would be my imagination and the ability to put those images into the written word. The ability to pull myself back and observe others, like flies under sandpaper, like some cold kind of God.
I tell myself it’s a gift, it’s how I can create as well as I do, but on those late nights, I know it’s my curse. Even when I was little, I’d stand back and wonder why Bobby Joan was such a nasty-pie and why it even mattered. The drama, the social workings, it all went through me. Why? It’s not like it mattered in the end.
At least I can crawl out of this, like I’m not some broken record that is stuck with the same mood. I go out with friends, get angry when somebody hurts a loved one, feel infatuation, freak out over something personal, and live my life like a normal person. When I’m with other people, surrounded by talking and babbling and stupidly funny dirty jokes, I forget that I’m the observer. I think that I’ve finally escaped this place, that I’ve finally been saved from what makes me feel so distanced.
It’s those times that I feel really alive. Those nights at the movies, lunch hours at school, parties at a friend’s house, it’s the life I should be living all the time. These are the times when my memories are made, the amazing ones that you hold on to in your dying days. That special time when I don’t doubt everything I do, don’t take my every word and put it under the microscope, scanning to see if I’ve turned my life in the wrong direction.
That’s what it all really boils down to, isn’t it? Which direction my life goes. All of those opportunities dying away, the chance that my life will end up being this meaningless rut that doesn’t matter anyway. The chance of a mistake, to not have control of my life. Here, sitting back with all the options open, I don’t have to deal with the things that can make life hell.
Every day, I wake up and think this is the beginning of the rest of my life. That this waiting will end, that I’ll finally be able to let go of all that holds me back and start truly existing. This blind hope keeps me going, what drives me to keep on living, an optimism that I might be better off without.
I sometimes feel like I’ll always be doomed to be the observer, always sitting back and waiting for what’s supposed to feel right to come along. Creation is my doom. After reading so many books that say things should just feel perfect, that there shouldn’t be a thought to anything, I’ve warped my own mind. Everything that’s supposed to be right gets second-guessed, doubted, until something that should have been a match made in heaven feels like a foreign memory. Right now, with nothing depending on me, I feel free. Free to imagine anything, to wonder about anyone, to do whatever I want.
Freedom is my writing, my creation, my ability to be a free spirit. Maybe that’s why I quit committing to anything serious anymore, run away from people when they get too close. Sometimes I wonder if they’ll see what’s inside. This numbness that always surrounds me when I get a chance to think, how I pull away, and that the person will leave. I mean, getting close means closing all those doors of things that could be. Guiding myself down a restricted path that I’ve seen end in sorrow for so many others.
This freedom, this temptation, it’s like a high I never want to run out. I dream everyday of those firsts that should be coming up in my life. First kiss, first house, first day of university, first time I get published, first boyfriend, first child. Everything is waiting, but when the chance comes up for one to happen, I run away.
I’m only human and I’ve made mistakes. When I was younger, I put my trust into the wrong people, embarrassed myself beyond belief, and my life has turned down ways I don’t ever want to see again. The doors started to slam shut, trapping me, and I ran backwards in a panic. I couldn’t predict my future, take my life into my own hands, and the panic ate away at me until I couldn’t breathe. So I reduced myself to this, where nothing can make me doubt myself, where everything is safe.
I don’t lie to myself. I’m used to being the one in control, the God of creation, and when life takes that away, I run. There’s a word for that.
I know life, watching it unfold, living it myself. After being the observer, I know how badly things can end. Embarrassment, shame, hate, everything that I’m afraid of. Love always seems to be the center of the human life, and I know that it can be the most wonderful thing a person experiences. Except, it always comes crashing down, leaving you weeping and wondering why you ruined your life. There’s never an all-time high without the low, like how the person you trusted turned out to be all wrong, how you’re alone in a room full of people, how the only solution can be pulling the trigger of that gun pressed to your head. I, the observer know this, and think about the whole cloud where others only see the silver lining.
I’m afraid to take the plunge, knowing all too well what my ending will probably be. I want a life, I want to be obliviously normal, because then I’d be able to have a relationship, take risks, and hold nothing back. But, I’m not, and I know I never will be. Every thought about life, the inability to see anything other than the end, always holds me back.
They say you can’t change who you are, and this is all I’ve known. No matter how much I’ve tried to distract myself, immerse my mind in the workings of life, I’ll never be able to leave this place behind. This horribly wonderful place where my emotions seem cold, where I can accept the things that my subconscious tries to keep away. The fear that I’ll never live. I’ll never have children, never find a lifelong friend, never overcome this lack of desire to have a man touch me, only being able to think of the end instead of the journey.
This place, I’m afraid I’ll never leave it. These moments where it’s just me and the emptiness of the world, the lingering ghosts of the life I might have been able to live, the fear that I’m doomed already.
As I sit here, trying to keep it all away, I know what keeps me going. There’s the change that someday, somewhere, somebody will take me away. The hope, the chance of happiness in the future, it’s always there. Like the characters in my stories, some happy ending may come, not the one I’m afraid of, where I’m old, alone, and a spinster without ever knowing what love was. At nights, my mind whispers to me, you know how this ends; you know where it ends up.
The thought of it, of being unable to walk through the next door, terrifies me more than the numbness itself. After seeing how wonderful life can be, all the promise, accepting this will truly drive me mad. To only be put on this planet to watch others find joy, to be shown, again and again, what’s wrong with me, is the worst possible punishment. That’s why I live, why I can tolerate this waiting, this pondering over what I cannot change. I need to believe that the future is still waiting for me, that somewhere down the line, I can leave this place and never look back.
I need to believe that love is waiting, understanding, a future where I quit thinking like I don’t even belong in this world. I need to believe, need to hang on, because having only this for the rest of my life is truly eternal hell.