I am currently, and have been for the past year, trying to get through Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-five.” It’s not that Vonnegut is hard to read, not even a little bit. His way of articulately spelling out every emotion I’ve ever felt and ever hope to feel is impeccable. I think I’ve been having a hard time getting through it because I do not ever just sit down to read anymore, which is a travesty. But I digress.
One of the most famous quotes from that book, and in all of Vonnegut’s work for that matter, is one that is not especially put in certain words, but is one that is able to pack in so much meaning into three simple words:
“So it goes.”
It was placed in such meaningful parts of the book where he spoke of death and massacre and all sorts of horrors that we should all be lucky enough never to see. He used it to move on from the kind of low lows that would break anybody.
I should know better than to call out and ask for “something to happen.” I should know that by now. The hardest times in my life were when I did that out of boredom. But then again, those were also the best times of my life. Maybe that’s why it’s so tempting to keep going back and back and back again. It never fails to make, at the very least, a great story.
Sometimes we go through things that we never thought we would, and that’s fine. That’s how life is. We take sacrifices, we make compromises, and sometimes we do not get what we want. Sometimes it sucks, sometimes it leads to something better. The important part is that you learn. Learn how it made you better, learn what you did wrong, learn how you can make sure never to be back there again. Learn that sometimes, things end, people disappear, and the people that you love will walk away and not even take a look back.
This is not about a boy. At least that much needs to be said.
“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.” (Player Piano, 1951)
It’s my time at the edge. I’ve been standing near the edge for a long time, always with the thought in the back of my head that I will never get the guts to get any closer. To move in a way that requires me to brave. I never really believed that I could do all those brave things that I wanted to do. Even though I never said it out loud, I always knew that my bravery was all talk. Do you ever feel like that? Maybe you do. I don’t know. Sometimes I am afraid that even though I am already so unbelievably unhappy, that I would still be able to find it in myself to stay for one reason or another. I complain, I bitch and whine, but sooner or later I’m comfortable despite my knowing that I shouldn’t be there.
Okay so maybe this is about a boy. But it’s also about my career, my friendships, my relationships, everything. I’ve already gone as far as setting my plans in motion, only to step back and start running away when it seemed like things might actually happen. I’ve gone as far as recognizing that I am ready for a new relationship, and that I may even want it, but I reject any form of intimacy that may have come my way. It’s classic self-sabotaging. So many people do it, you know. So why do we do it?
So it goes.