By Jen Pastiloff
I have often felt as restless as the earth, as afflicted. As inconsolable.
This is to all the I am irrelevants: You’re not.
Some irrelevant things might be: getting into a perfect crow pose in a yoga class, finding a grey hair, your jeans, what kind of car you have, whether you like to have sex with men or women (or both.)
This is to all the people who howl at the moon how lost they are, how bad they suck, how little they have to offer. This is to the voices that speak in a languages that love doesn’t understand. A language that sounds like this: I am nothing, I do not matter, I don’t fit in. This is a language that often can’t be translated and when it is, it is found out to be gibberish. Bullshit. Untruths.
This is to you all.
I drove across country when I was 18 years old with my mother and her boyfriend at that time, as well as his two kids. We had a minivan and I sat in the back reading books and eating dried peaches. I read Love in The Time of Cholera twice on that trip. I prayed that somehow I would get left back on the trip and not have to start NYU in the fall. That I could stay back in the Rockies somewhere and get fat and let myself sink into oblivion. I prayed and prayed in the back of the minivan in my little cut-off red shorts as I bit my nails off. Please let me not me found.
I was starving myself to such a degree that I hadn’t menstruated in years. I remember being in Cody, at this steak house with everyone. I had asked the waitress to take a can of vegetarian chili into the back and open it for me while everyone ordered off the steakhouse menu like polite people. I dreamt of a knife through the fat of a nice juicy sirloin, some well done barbecued ribs, mashed potatoes pats and pats and pats of butter streaming off the plate as I ate my canned chili cold.
I thought about sending a postcard to my boyfriend who had already left for Boston saying: I am laughing with bear trappers who eat bear meat and wear bear coats. I am in the Black Hills of South Dakota trying to catch a big fat trout hook right through it’s mouth, cleaning it. Digging into it and cooking on an open fire, singing songs of the land and the Dakotas. I am in the Rockies high up, high at the top- summer and still snow caps the very top walking stick guiding me through the crooked trails around each bend.
You’ll never never find me in a motel room in Toronto on the water above a German restaurant, eating beets marinated in sugar and knockwurst. Teeth and lips stained red. You’ll never find me, licking the sides of an ice cream cone. You’ll never find me at the fish and tackle store in Yellowstone.
I had finished my chili that night and gone to bed in a tent as was the protocol on our trip. I never did send that postcard but I wrote it out and kept it as a bookmark in case I did want to send it, eventually.
Years later I found the postcard in between some pages of Love in The Time of Cholera. I thought I had wanted to get lost but it was the opposite. I wanted to be understood. I wanted to be left alone with my books and my words and I wanted to understand why I hated myself so much. I wanted someone to look at me and say You are not irrelevant. You are not bad. You do not need to disappear.
I was trying to do a disappearing act, as it were. If I starved myself enough I would eventually evaporate. I would turn into ether. I would become the moon.
This is for you, Dear Hopeless Ones. I am you. Don’t you see it? I was there. I was one of the: I am nothings, I am hopeless, I am bads.
What a crappy club to be part of.
It’s a mean club, full of liars and storytellers and petty thiefs.
Its like this. You have caught glimpses of your life. You, who think you are irrelevant, you have reached out for love, and on occasion, been able to grab fistfuls of its beauty. If you look closely, you can see your life all mapped out. Irreversible veins raised and ready for puncture. The geometry of your life: blue, ingrained, vainglorious.
It’s like how your eyes adjust to things- the inside of an apartment after an eyeful of sunlight. How you can see part of the moon when it isn’t really there anymore: hanging sliver white as pearl on black, it’s fullness still faintly visible, an illusion. A palsied arc, the fingernail piece of moon that hangs like it’s missing something of itself, waiting out it’s own cycles. It’s like that. You have to wait out your own cycles.
The moon is never missing any of itself. We just can’t see it. You are like that too.
I can see it. You are all there. You are not irrelevant, you are not nothing, you do matter, you do fit in. I can see all of it.
You may have to wait out your own cycles too. You may think you want to get lost among the bear trappers, but even then, I will be able to see you. You can never disappear. You can never become ether.
You are as relevant as the moon. And beyond.
Reblogged this on LifeRevelation and commented:
This is slightly different than what I usually choose to reblog…hopefully you’ll indulge for a few moments…I was once one of those who felt irrelevant…especially the part about “I am nothing.” It has been a long time since those feelings captivated me, but I still remember the vacant feelings in my heart…I’ve chosen this because maybe you or someone you know needs to hear it…be encouraged!
Jennifer, thank you. What a well written, gut honest post. I admire those who leave the varnish and fluff on the shelf and take a plunge into nakedness…be encouraged!
This was such a pleasure to read. Like a bowl of ice cream you just don’t want to end. Miss you!
This reminds me of a simple mantra I learned from a brilliant writer named Brené Brown. She urges us to say “I am enough” – 3 simple words that move mountains and break down the fear of being irrelevant. I spent years wondering why a loser like me could ever deserve a good life. We deserve it because we are enough, just as we are. You are enough. I am enough.
I so want to pour some good stuff outta me after reading this, but for now all I can say is mmmmmmmmmmm feels sooooo gooooood!
Reblogged this on My Latter Half and commented:
“I like to think that the moon is there even if I am not looking at it”.
This post resonated with me in so many ways, not the least of which are these words: “I thought I had wanted to get lost but it was the opposite. I wanted to be understood. I wanted to be left alone with my books and my words and I wanted to understand why I hated myself so much. I wanted someone to look at me and say You are not irrelevant. You are not bad. You do not need to disappear.”
It’s been such a long journey, but at long last I have reached a point where I can agree – “The moon is never missing any of itself. We just can’t see it. You are like that too. I can see it. You are all there. You are not irrelevant, you are not nothing, you do matter, you do fit in. I can see all of it.”
This is so beautiful. So necessary. You are such a kind and giving person to write this for other people. Thank you.
Reblogged this on The Grateful Life.
This is so beautiful and it really hit home for me. Thank you for writing it.
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made a mug of coffee and now thoroughly enjoying…both the heavenly liquid saving my sanity today as well as this amazing read 🙂
Another beautiful and insightful post – thank you. I have felt irrelevant many times in my life. I still do at times but I am learning to recognise those thoughts as untruths and to step out and embrace my life. I spent years hiding away – and now although I often feel afraid as I step out of my comfort zone I wouldn’t go back to the days when I felt invisible – not for anything!
once again, I find myself printing out another one of your writings to save. I will have to get a binder soon to keep them all in 🙂 thanks again for your beautiful words!
Excellent post. Grateful you see me as I see you. Love you.
Ah! thank you Thank you! Especially “If you look closely, you can see your life all mapped out. Irreversible veins raised and ready for puncture. The geometry of your life: blue, ingrained, vainglorious.” What beauty! What a way to tell us,it’s our destiny, in our literal skin to matter. xoxo
[…] wrote a post a while back called The Irrelevants. This letter to me was a response to that article and with Michelle Medina’s permission, I […]