Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behaviour. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them—if you want to. Just as some day, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.“
The shy ones have something worth hiding. Either that, or they are deathly allergic to being seen by anyone, and sometimes even themselves in the mirror. Some people aren’t just cut out for spotlights and attention, even though many dread it and at the same time desire it. The shell we thrive in is just so tightened it doesn’t need to be broken, though some who are in it wish it was destroyed completely. And as confusing and contradicting as that was, being looked at is something sick in of itself. To be stared at, for whatever reason and to be analyzed, for whatever intentions. If you think about it, we are sparing ourselves manic thoughts and preparation by being shy. It’s not exactly what we all want, especially if you know someone who is terrifyingly shy, but it’s something we just do. For whatever reason, we don’t like to be watched by a couple of idiots who don’t know when to leave us alone, and when we need them most.
"So tonight I reach for my journal again. This is the first time I’ve done this since I came to Italy. What I write in my journal is that I am weak and full of fear. I explain that Depression and Loneliness have shown up, and I’m scared they will never leave. I say that I don’t want to take the drugs anymore, but I’m frightened I will have to. I am terrified that I will never really pull my life together. In response, somewhere from within me, rises a now-familiar presence, offering me all the certainties I have always wished another person would say to me when I was troubled.
This is what I find myself writing on the page: I’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long. I will stay with you. If you need the medication again, go ahead and take it—I will love you through that, as well. If you don’t need the medication, I will love you, too. There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you. I am stronger than Depression and Braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me.
Tonight, this strange interior gesture of friendship—the lending of a hand from me to myself when nobody else is around to offer solace—reminds me of something that happened to me once in New York City. I walked into an office building one afternoon in a hurry, dashed into the waiting elevator. As I rushed in, I caught an unexpected glance of myself in a security mirror’s reflection. In that moment, my brain did an odd thing—it fired off this split-second message: “Hey! You know her! That’s a friend of yours!” And I actually ran forward toward my own reflection with a smile, ready to welcome that girl whose name I had lost but whose face was so familiar. In a flash instant of course, I realized my mistake and laughed in embarrassment at my almost doglike confusion over how a mirror works. But for some reason that incident comes to mind again tonight during my sadness in Rome, and I find myself writing this comforting reminder at the bottom of the page.
Never forget that once upon a time, in an unguarded moment, you recognized yourself as a FRIEND…
I fell asleep holding my notebook pressed against my chest, open to this most recent assurance. In the morning when I wake up, I can still smell a faint trace of depression’s lingering smoke, but he himself is nowhere to be seen. Somewhere during the night, he got up and left. And his buddy loneliness beat it, too.”
“I feel sad for someone who has never known love. Love elevates. You know, Brad would joke about me having this conversation about love. Love? It’s such a funny word. Brad can find certain phrases of poetry for it. I’m terrible at it. But I know it means wanting the best for the people you love, putting their interests above your own, always. Love does that. Love is what you live for.”—Angelina Jolie