I am not successful. I am not happy. I am not thriving.

I am not the person that graduated from my high school — an aspiring pre-med student full of hopes and aspirations. I am tired. Relented. Every night, I smoke a cigarette on my balcony when I come back to my off-campus home. I take a melatonin pill right before I brush my teeth — not to fall asleep, but to stay asleep. When the morning returns, I wake up and fill my metal thermal bottle with dark roasted coffee at Green Line Cafe on my way to campus. Rinse and repeat.

I am a mess. I am a failure. I am someone with a long list of unfulfilled hopes and aspirations. I am someone who graduated middle school without realizing my capabilities. I graduated high school without realizing the full potential of my opportunities. And now, I will graduate college without realizing the same opportunities I have been given. I have created an enemy out of myself. I have dabbled in self-destruction. I have come to develop a distaste for people who don’t.

I had been

Alone. Tired. Unfulfilled.

I am still

Alone. Tired. Unfulfilled.

And I will continue to be

Alone. Tired. Unfulfilled.

I envy those who do not experience loneliness on a regular basis. I envy those who can fall asleep without waking up at least four times throughout the night to intense feelings of self-hatred and contempt. I envy those who can wake up to their alarm without a continuous need to justify why life is worth living, those who have not yet developed an affection for the bitter reflection of reality found in black coffee, those who can appreciate moments of happiness without constantly questioning if they deserve it.

I envy those who don’t get me — those individuals who feel as if my view of the world is “pessimistic” or “cynical.” I wish I could share their sentiment because I would not wish sadness for anybody. I wish I could take the option and enter Nozick’s experience machine, where I wouldn’t have to continuously use different words to articulate my feelings to even feel some semblance of being human. I wish I could live my life without constantly creating new justifications to live, without constantly internally vomiting at the sight of happiness.

But I can’t. I ask myself, have I not experienced enough trauma to appreciate my life? Perhaps. I have had quite a comfortable living in the context of the privileges I have been afforded due to the socioeconomic status that I did not earn. Of course, like most people, I have had my fair share of conflicts growing up, but I have never experienced trauma. But why? Why do I constantly check my privileges to even express the emptiness I feel on a regular basis? Why do I feel as if I need to have some sort of trauma to allow myself to feel the way I do?

I don’t get it. I haven’t experienced enough hardship in my life to get it.  I have had too privileged of an existence to understand what true sadness feels like. But I have read enough literature to understand that the world is composed of individuals who have experienced trauma that I cannot even comprehend within the limits of my imagination defined by my own experiences. So if I shouldn’t feel sad, then why do I? I have not experienced nearly the same intensity of suffering. I don’t have a right to get it.

I don’t get it. I get why I don’t get it. I don’t get it.