“No matter how many Zen mentors or books or phases I experience, nothing has ever seemed to change my sentiment towards life in general. I still view it as an experience, and if it consistently sucks and you can’t seem to change it, you can choose to end it just like you can choose to let pink t-shirts and cell phone bling amuse you and keep you content,” I said, poking a piece of sushi with my chopsticks. Jeffrey blinked and slowly chewed a mouthful of tempura.

“I have done several things throughout my life to attempt to affect change for the better,” I continued, “usually concerning things I can control. That is, after all, the realistic approach. I have taken risks, followed my heart, had faith, been skeptical instead, tried therapy, tried drugs, tried the power of positive thinking, and even tried being happy with cell phone bling, you know? But it all lands me at the same place feeling like I will really only obtain happiness the day I die, or the day I find an island where no other human beings exist.

Humans cause suffering to others. Immense amounts of it, and they cause some to themselves, but nothing like they do to other people. Even the ones that think they are doing nice things, they are fucking up as well. Or blowing up. Or inciting riots.”

I nudged the sushi around my plate, as if it would somehow sprout legs and gallop off, squealing in its new-found freedom.

“I got into a conversation the other day about winning the lottery. How awesome would that be?” Jeffrey swallowed.

“It wouldn’t be.” He dipped his head at my answer and I went on, “It wouldn’t change anything for the better. It would add responsibility, attract more people to make you suffer, change your priorities to include more material gain than internal gain. It might make you an EBay addict that fills your house with meaningless crap in boxes 8 feet high to the point where you can no longer see your furniture.”

“What would you do with it?” he asked.

“I would give almost all of it away, or else just use it to shelter and feed myself while traveling aimlessly looking for something to change my mind about all this,” I replied.

Being in a situation with seemingly no positive outcome surely makes a person pessimistic. I am also deeply depressed, which I won’t waste time denying. It makes it very difficult to concentrate, to articulate, to communicate. I haven’t felt like this for about 3 years. Sitting there watching Jeffrey’s face contort as he tried to digest my melancholy made me lose my appetite.

When I had talked to Anne about it, she assured me none of it is permanent, and none of it should be shouldered like it’s a part of me that is flawed. Depression, she assured me, along with anxiety, will cause all sorts of mental breakdowns beginning with standard processing of information.

I liked her explanation better than being told I am simply stupid. If I could meet myself as the men in my life saw me…and I am thinking of coworkers, boyfriends, and my father (especially lately), and not just Jeffrey… I see this insignificantly plain, blank, uninspiring, colorless, and frustratingly disappointing lump of flesh with one nice feature not worth insulting. It is the kind of person that works in a bar as a stripper, or cleans hotel rooms, or jumps off of bridges.