Anyone who follows my writing should know by now that depression has been a struggle of mine for almost 20 years. My issues stem from a horrendous self-image and a perpetual state of stress. Shout out to being a Pisces. Anyway, my issues nowadays are much better. I still have my down periods of worry and despair, but compared to how I used to be, 34-year-old Kris is sublimely happy (not true, but you get the point).
The self-image issues I had required some intense thought reprogramming. I’ve had to search for things about myself – my body, my life, my mind – that I liked, or at least accepted. It took years of snapping selfies and immediately deleting the evidence of my perceived vanity. Lots of positive affirmations when I really wanted to say “screw the world.” Instead of pouring my soul into stories and poems that only I would read, I began to share them and accept all manner of praise and criticism. Over time, I began to see myself in a better light, but that personal journey taught me something about life as a whole:
People closest to you seem happier when you struggle.
Case in point, one of my this-is-never-gonna-happen-so-I-may-as-well-give-it-up-now dreams was to be published. I wanted my name on a book and a byline in a magazine. Both of those dreams came true in 2015. My dearest and closest friends and family knew of my aspirations and encouraged them, to an extent. But when the dream was fulfilled, I was greeted largely with silence by some of my loudest cheerleaders.
Don’t get me wrong. I have a wonderful support system that I’m eternally grateful for, but it never escaped my attention that a lot of people I hold close to my heart were radio silent during some of the biggest successes of my life thus far. Those I expected to run to Amazon to get a copy of the book they had championed for years barely acknowledged its existence once I finally birthed it. Kind of like a model boyfriend who says, “Yes, let’s have this baby,” only to chuck up the deuces and dip out in the middle of delivery.
I received more love from Facebook friends and acquaintances I had never met in person.
My essay for The Huffington Post was read, though, but…sheesh. I couldn’t even enjoy that modicum of success (it was my first accepted pitch to a publication) because I was too busy doing damage control with my relatives who felt slighted for some reason.
I take that back. They did give me a reason: I thanked my mother in the essay and not them.
Because to some people, it’s always about them, even when it isn’t.
The fun doesn’t stop there, folks. It was also in 2015 that I began working with Rebel Lifestyle Magazine as an editor and contributor. Most of my inner circle was ecstatic to hear the news about my new gig, but others couldn’t wait to change the subject once I brought it up.
Prominent voices that pushed me to pursue education were quiet when I earned my bachelors degree earlier this year.
I began interviewing celebrities and doing write-ups for movies before they premiered, but that wasn’t a big deal. Or even a small deal. It was nothing.
By the time I found love, I was convinced few people would care. If my small professional successes didn’t matter, why should my personal happiness? Still, I bit the bullet and shared that I was in a good relationship.
The general consensus was, “Oh…okay”
I hate being right sometimes.
Talking to some of my “closest” friends and family in recent months let me know that no matter what, some folks just won’t be happy for me. It’s almost as though they preferred when I didn’t have anything going for myself. When things were bad for me, they were fine. Once I got better, suddenly few people had time to spare.
When I was struggling with self-doubt and worry, I didn’t feel as though anyone genuinely cared about me. Now I know a good chunk of them don’t.
I’ll be honest with you: There’s a piece of me that feels like a total tool for even writing this. Part of being a decent human is having humility and modesty. I never want to look as though I’m flaunting anything because truth be told, there isn’t much to flaunt. However, considering how far I’d come in my personal journey, I never expected I would debate whether or not to keep quiet about my progress. Not when it comes to those who “supported” me for years.
Yes, the quotes around “support” are necessary. If I have to question your motives in whatever relationship we have, then all support you lend is questionable. I have friends who only call me when they want something. Fuck a “hey, how are ya?” Friends who only kept me around until they found something better. Folks who only want to talk about their problems and try to one-up anything I have going on in my life. I have relatives who used to be some of my favorite people in the world who would now rather cause drama for those who genuinely care for me instead of being, I don’t know, decent.
After keeping myself hidden from the world for so long, I have a lot I want to share, and I will. When it comes to most of the people I called friends and family, though, I will no longer expect support from them. I’ll keep making moves. I’ll keep pushing. But most of my progress they’ll never know unless they discover it on their own. Hell, most of them won’t even know I got married until after it’s done. They can kiss that invitation goodbye.
I’d rather suffer my happiness in silence than have one person around me who would rather see me fail.