Ever since I can remember I’ve been a part of two different worlds. It started around the time I was five or six years old. I was born into the Morro family, but quickly adopted another family in my building. The biggest difference between the two families came at meal time. Polar opposites. I learned to eat at both these tables growing up, and made the decision that I truly belonged at each. Even in grammar school I had a separate life than my classmates. All the kids at school made that school their life. Meanwhile, my friends came on the hockey and football teams I was playing on outside of the regular school curriculum. By the end of seventh grade, things took a sharper turn toward true dichotomy.
They shipped me off to boarding school where my life was split in half. Most of the time I was working hard and playing three sports at my new home in Canaan, New Hampshire. Back in Chicago only for brief holidays. I was growing apart from both of my families. Eventually, I graduated from the junior boarding school in 9th grade and started my next adventure at another boarding school in Concord, Massachusetts. I didn’t adjust well. Until I graduated I felt like an outcast. I only had one friend in the whole school my first year at this place. Coming back from spring break that same year, I was pretty damn distraught. I had to go it alone during a time where I could’ve really used friendship. I picked up a Divine advisor a couple weeks after that sophomore year spring break. She’s the only reason I graduated.
Luckily, there were always vacations to get back home. I would land at Midway and immediately call up the kids in my alternate family. ‘Where’s the party at?’ became my theme call once I was back in Chicago. Time went on and I developed more relationships at school, but they didn’t compare to the escape I got when I’d link up with my crew from the city. One time, I got off my flight (having told noone what time I was landing), and just walked into an empty house where my secondary family resided. Nobody was home. I took my shoes off, dropped my bag in the hallway, and posted up in the tv room. They came back from dinner and didn’t ask any questions; It was expected. My life at boarding school mixed with my life in Chicago was truly bipolar (in the non-bipolar sense of the word).
College was a little different. My college life spanned four and a half years with the first 1.5 years totally different than the last 3 years. After my first three semesters at school, I was diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder. It really changed how I was perceived on campus… and rightfully so. I gained 70 pounds and lost the ability to talk to people, especially women. I no longer had a strong grasp on who I was, and this just means I lost all confidence in myself. I picked up one main friend in particular toward the tail end of my time in college. He allowed me to be my old self and knew that I really hadn’t changed much at all. Going to parties on campus was really hard for me (I often went around acting like a zombie because I just didn’t know how to engage people in conversations anymore). Back in Chicago, it was never like that. Yeah, I was diagnosed bipolar, and yeah, I gained a bunch of wait, but everything remained normal. I still don’t understand why this was the case. Was I acting different or were people in both places just treating me differently? I could care less about that diagnosis as it probably was a little or a lot of both.
Since graduating college it has been a long strange trip (to be excessively colloquial). I started off living with a bilateral hydrocele while making camp with one of my ‘brothers’ and his now wife in boystown (Chicago). Then I said enough of this and booked a one way trip to Hawaii. My life’s journey finally came to fruition. I met the right group of people and was not judged by any means. Hawaii wasn’t perfect; I failed to make a living and got sent back to Chicago at just the right time. There’s nothing wrong with failing. I learned in Hawaii the value of hard work. But when I got back to Chicago my life and mostly friends were all over the map. I was spread pretty thin and couldn’t control all my circles. Most were in Boston, some in New York, a bunch in Hawaii, but my Chicago base was moving faster in their lives than I was; their careers were taking precedence over their social life. I lucked into a new job that offered relief.
My new venture in Chicago afforded me friendship. I leaned on this friendship with full force. My second family in Chicago was, as I have pointed out, still there, but busy making their own lives. When time ran out at this new job, after about two years, I was left picking up the scraps. Most of my friends from this company, the ones that I was really leaning on for a social life, vanished as soon as I stopped working with them. Randomly, I drove out to New England, and made a pit stop in New York. I slid up on an old friend from college. He made sure I was okay and I did the same for him. It was with him that I begrudgingly coined the phrase bipolar life for a bipolar person. It just feels like I’m torn between all these different worlds without enough firepower to ever make them all connect.
Nowadays, I am left alienated from my families in Chicago. I don’t want to be a charity case. Even my immediate family lives a different life than mine. My brother and sister are increasingly successful and I am busy looking for minimum wage jobs just to get off unemployment and make ends meet. Is life that hard? No, I don’t think about the pressure at all. I thrive on it. I have had to restart my life time and time again; pretty much every time I get out of the psych ward. I am not afraid of starting over… it’s become part of my nature… It's a cool journey. Where will I start over next? In the end, it would be nice if my worlds’ collided, but I imagine they never will. It is challenging to have different worlds that are so important to you spread out across the globe. It makes it extremely challenging to have foundational friendship.
Shout out to my brother who has always been there for me above all others… You might not deserve the world, but goddamn if anyone stops you from getting it.