My motivation to do anything good with my life is entirely driven by the fear of breaking my own heart. I think about all of those nights I spent locked up in my teenage bedroom, escaping the world, curled up next to my ratty boombox, listening to tapes like Tori Amos’ Little Earthquakes, Depeche Mode’s Violator, and the soundtrack to the Christian Slater movie Pump Up the Volume. My hyper-angsty self would often feel devastated by a boy not noticing me or a fight with my stepmother, and listening to my music was the only remedy to really comfort myself. I would wipe away tears and promise myself to one day be free, free from my parents’ strict ways, free from the pathetic hierarchy of high school, free from the stifling Stepford daily routine of life in midwestern suburbia. I knew my future self wouldn’t let anyone hold me back or tell me how to live my life. I would never become a lifeless, rule-following drone.
Now, no matter how hard life gets, how frustrated or sad or angry or pissed off I can feel, I think of that girl in my old bedroom. She wouldn’t have wanted to grow up a bitter, scared, defeated woman. She wouldn’t have wanted to become someone who lets life beat her with a sledgehammer.
So god damn it if I’m not going to be happy. No way am I going to mope around being upset over what isn’t going right in my life, focusing on all that is wrong. I physically can’t do it. I won’t do it to her. Because that 14-year-old strawberry blonde in purple Doc Martens and an oversized flannel is counting on me to make things good. And I’m not going to let her down.