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I had this sudden wish, as I sat contemplating my post tonight, to be cool. In the absence of genuine coolness, I thought about faking it. Were I in a real relationship with you (Imaginary Reader), this would be a time when I would force myself to laugh a little too long or a little too hard at something either of us said, answer your direct questions as quickly and vaguely as possible, and direct the conversation back to being about you as often as possible.

I would hide my truth because I am ashamed of it. I am disgusted by it. I wouldn’t want to share it with you for fear that you would also be disgusted by me. I wouldn’t want you to see me for fear of what you would think of me. So I would pretend to be something other than I actually am and mutter fervent prayers that I would get better faster so that the next time we met, you would like what you see.

I am a confused mess at the moment. I still don’t want to deal with the realities of my life and so choose, instead, to read and ignore them for another day. The guilt builds. The shame builds. I turn my face from them and duck into another story, but I feel the weight of them still.

I am not proud of the person I am right now. I feel like a weak, mewling creature stuck in a mire of apathy, closing my eyes and wishing the world out of existence. This is the truth of me tonight. I am no better or different then yesterday or the days that seem to stretch behind me into years. I am not choosing to respond differently. I am not galvanizing into action or strengthening myself toward change. I am despondent and struggling to hang onto whatever meager hope I can muster. I am reading to escape a life I wish could be magically transformed into something inspired. A life that leaves me bereft from wanting.

I want to ask you (Imaginary Reader) if you could love me even like this. Could you find something good in me still? I can’t. Not tonight. Tonight I hate myself for not trying harder. For not doing something. For turning yet again to escape. For lying under the covers, a book clutched in my hand, and being happiest there. For the wish I will make before I fall asleep tonight that I wake up tomorrow differently. And because I know I won’t.