How South Park helped me

I couldn’t sleep last night, so I flicked on my computer and tuned into YouTube. Eventually I landed on a South Park episode called “Assburgers” although the name doesn’t do the plot justice. It revolves around the protagonist Stan who suffered from crippling depression so deep that everything he saw, ate and heard seemed like shit. Actual diarrhea afflicted shit.

Of course, this depression didn’t just appear out of nowhere. Although he started hearing shit long before, his parents divorce and his friends abandoning him because he was a “downer” only compounded his cynicism. And although it made me sad for the most part, by the time the episode ended, I was enthralled by Stan’s story and what it had to say about what I was going through.

The sudden changes in his life felt a lot like this first year after high school. I don’t speak with most of my friends, the ones I do see only have time for a chin just of recognition. I don’t even see my parents that much. Not because they live far away (they rent the guest house at the back) or because we are fighting, I just can’t stand them.

Before you call me a horrible person, let me make something clear. I love my parents. I love my dad despite how much he pisses me off and I love my mom despite her tendency to take an authoritative stance on almost anything. But in the past they’ve done things that, while they were never directly aimed at me, caused more mental scars than the Joker in a pink thong (yes, I went there). While I’ve started to explain things in my new feature, The Best Training: A childhood, I haven’t gotten to the darkest parts of my childhood yet and so, you may think that I’m just complaining but trust me when I say I’m not. There’s just too much that’s happened between us to look at them as just my parents anymore.

Stan stayed depressed for nearly two episodes. He wanted everything to go back to the way it was before, when his parents were together, when his friends still liked him and he wasn’t surrounded by mental defecation all day. In a lot of ways, he was exactly how this year went for me. I mourned old relationships and all out denied any new ones space to grow, I kept my mind focused on the past and my happiness back then when I could have made new happiness for myself if I tried.

Towards the end, Stan went into one of those cliché character speeches that almost made me shoot myself until he reached this point:

Maybe it won’t be like before but at least it will be new, and that’s what’s gonna make it so that I can keep going.

A lot of people are always looking to the past, thinking about events and people long past instead of the faces surrounding them right now. Maybe it was pain or anger or thoughts of revenge and all you could think about was that one person who hurt you or the one that got away but in the process, you kind of lose the present.

I think that, while the past will always remain precious to us, we should strive forward and acknowledge that the future may not seem as bright as the past, but at least it will be new. And that’s just as good.

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