It begins with, “This is normal.”
You normalize the space. You normalize the lack of emotion on your face. You normalize your routine, the schedule. You normalize robotizing your day. You normalize the days passing, forgetting the difference between them.
It continues with, “This is a phase.”
You read self-help books and search for answers in all the wrong places. You ask your friends how they’re so happy. You criticize everyone on social media, convinced they’re all unhappy, too. You replace the vacancy with anger. But when you fall asleep at night, you don’t dream. Good or bad.
It follows with, “This is real life.”
You stop watching films because they’re unrealistic. You can’t read a book because it’s make-believe. You listen, but you don’t speak. Ever. You silently shut down because your opinions no longer matter. You remind yourself that you are a normal person who is never overly happy or overly sad. You’re alive. And that’s life. You live. Day to day. And you accept that your partner has become a stranger and you haven’t heard from your friends in weeks and your family talks, but you couldn’t repeat anything they say.
Life is a wave. It comes, it goes, you ride along. You follow its highs but never quite reach your own, and you sink low, but not low enough to stop living. You exist between everyone else, swimming, but you drift.
You’ve coasted along so long, assuming that all tasteless waters of life are normal. You forgot that if you jumped high enough or pulled back from the tide, you would feel different. Feeling is what you’re supposed to be doing. Yet the world told you if you felt any more or any less, if you were fulfilled, you would be alone in your thoughts.
But when the stranger sleeping beside you is someone you’ve dated for a decade, remind yourself: You can leave.
And when your friends don’t return your kind phone calls and forget to respond to your messages: You can leave.
When you loathe waking up each day because your job makes you feel like a number, like a product of some system you were not designed to mold into: You can leave.
Instead of normalizing the emptiness, make this your motto. If it hurts you, you leave. If you can’t feel happiness, you leave. If you lose yourself in someone else, you leave. If you are only a name, you leave.
You do not stay for anything that sucks life from you.
You do not stay for anyone that doesn’t provide time for you.
You do not work for any company that doesn’t care for you.
If it makes you feel empty, you leave.