Friday, 23 June 2017

I am not the same person I was...

As I stroll through the different parts of each of my days and nights lately, I find myself baffled by how my life has completely shifted into something that I had no anticipation it would. I didn’t wake up the morning of January 4th, freezing and utterly alone for the first time in my life, thinking that everything was going to be okay. In fact, for dang near a month I wasn’t sure that anything, any part of my life would ever be okay again. For the entirety of January I went from my bed to my couch and back to my bed for days at a time, completely lost, fearful, and emptier than I can ever remember having felt. I would go out occasionally, usually to bumble the eight blocks to the bar in a trashy tee-shirt so I could quietly drink myself into a crying mess with minimal attention.

I spent almost the entire month of February with zero confidence in my own strength. There was none. I spent weeks at a time refusing to leave my house, eat, or socialize. I curled myself around my puppy in clothes I'd been wearing for what must have been longer than recommended and watched full seasons of shows I’d seen a billion times before so that I didn’t need to focus on anything but the ugly situation that I was allowing myself to spiral further into. February, I thought about killing myself almost constantly. February, I was certain I had lost every good part of me that existed, and that it had been replaced exclusively with gigantic heaps of anger, resentment, and sadness. Most days, if I didn't wake up crying, I started crying the moment my eyes opened and would cry myself into a coma and fall asleep for brief periods throughout the day. February was the furthest I had ever felt from believing that I might have a normal existence ever again. I believed I was so broken and far gone that there was no fixing it, so I stopped talking to people, stopped even toying with the idea of a doctor or medication, and almost completely stopped eating. 

Then there was April. Suddenly, on a gorgeously sunny Saturday at the beginning of April I decided I didn’t want to feel broken anymore. I made the conscious decision to be happier, make healthier choices, and start to mend my own stuff because all the crying and sad songs in the world weren't going to do it for me. I had sat on my porch in the rain the previous day in hopes that the water pouring from the sky would wash away the pain I had been harboring for months. I watched as gigantic raindrops splashed on the table and was taken by the way they hit my cherry blossom tree and sent the petals gently gliding to the ground beneath them. I remember sitting there with my book in my hand praying that the rain would fall on me and let me start again like those petals…

I wanted to find a new purpose, a new me. Much like those petals would eventually be trampled by dogs and people and snow, compacted and pushed into the ground where they would provide tiny pink bursts of nutrients to the earth below them, I wanted to finally give up and stop fighting against myself and everything around me and fall into something more purposeful and fulfilling. Something that could make me feel like me again. The me who nourishes people, the me who feels strong, the me who knows how to fix her bad days. I closed my eyes and listened to the rain, wishing harder than I'd ever wished before, that I would be able to find the strength to come through this.

And so I did.  

That night, I went out to the bar to see a friend I'd not seen in several years, despite every part of my anxiety and depression telling me not to. I went out fully expecting to completely hate it and want to come home immediately. I went out with no makeup, awful hairs, and looking fully like a lazy slob. My friend and I hugged and I met some incredible new people. I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning talking to my friend and sharing photos of cats and puppies with these beautiful new people I had met. I woke up in the morning with a smile on my face for the first time in I have no idea how long. And then everything was different. I had decided to say yes to something I had spent the past four months avoiding. And it was worth it. I took a walk the next day and felt like I was finally able to breathe again. Like I had been suffocating myself for years and my lungs were grasping at as much air as possible to make up for nearly a decade of deprivation. Everything felt different, looked different, smelled different. I walked and felt the breeze on my face as I let Andrew Jackson Jihad sing all of my most favourite songs into my ears; a concert for one as I completely rediscovered what it was to be alive.

I spent that day in utter bliss, finally able to see the light at the end of the tunnel that everyone speaks so highly of. I felt like I had been traveling down that dang tunnel for forever and the end was finally, finally in sight. And that day fell into the next week, a week of mending my heart by actively deciding to begin functioning again like a normal human being. I started cooking meals, not that I was eating them initially, but I was inviting people to my house and delighting in watching their faces eat the things I had so lovingly cooked. I started taking my puppy for walks. I started saying yes to things. I started going out and meeting people. And have since met some of the most incredible human beings, probably in the world. Some of them? I literally cannot even imagine my life without them; I can’t comprehend how I existed before they came into my life. Before I knew their hugs existed.

I have spent the past two months completely, without any hesitation, increasingly happier than I have ever been in my entire life. I, of course, have had evenings where I’ve had too much to drink, I’ve had days where I just couldn’t look in the mirror, but at the end of each of those nights? I have been goddamned thankful for the life that I have consciously decided to begin forging for myself. I chose to let go of the resentment, the anger, all the hideous things that I was clutching on to for dear life. I have spent more nights going to bed with a sore face from smiling than I ever have in my whole existence. I’ve wasted more mascara from laughing until I cried than most people could afford. I have hugged more people in the past three months than I ever did in the past thirty-two years.

My whole life right now, despite low moments, can only be described as blissful. Accidentally blissful, and I am so thankful. I’m thankful for all the old friends who caught me when I repeatedly threw myself off a metaphorical mountain of emotions. People who weren’t scared of my ugly depression. I’m thankful for my dog for always knowing when mommy needed a cuddle and readily giving them out. I’m thankful for my new friends, who have shown me an entirely new way to laugh, live, and feel good about myself. And I’m goddamned thankful for myself, for deciding to take control of my life and make it something that I am not miserable with anymore.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

I thought wrong

I had assumed that because I'm balls-deep into my thirties that I wouldn't have to deal with the agony of growing pains. I thought I had left those unbearable nights lying in bed with every part of my body aching because each one of my cells decided to work overtime to build me in my pre-teens. I thought that I wouldn't have any more nights lying in my bed, tears pooled in my eyeballs, willing my body to just shut down because that would hurt so much less than the heat radiating in my knees and what felt like my shins being pulled apart.

I clearly had been mistaken, because then January 2017 happened. The first day of this year was spent like the first days of the previous six years... Snuggled on one end of the couch with my husband on the other end. I gazed at him just as much that day as I did the first day I met him. I watched his face and imagined what it would look like when he got older. I listened to him talk about whatever was playing on the telly and imagined what it was going to be like three days from that moment. I closed my eyes and willed every part of me to remember what it felt like to have this person I'd been in love with for what seems like forever so close to me. In the darkness of my thoughts I sifted through sixteen years of plans, dreams, memories, and emotions.

The second day of the year was a flurry of excitement. Our house was full of people who were helping fill a gigantic truck with all of the things I had come to know as OURS. Books and art and records and dishes. Our entire life had been reduced to boxes labeled either "Dane" or "Danie." All the memories I had spent the previous night mulling over had been carefully packed into boxes that had no way of indicating all the years we'd spent loving their contents beyond the clumsy notes written on their sides.

And then we drove. During the drive I snuggled my puppy and imagined all the possibilities that we were driving towards. I organized and reorganized the plans and thoughts in my head. I reveled in the excited confidence that I was certain I would experience once the drive had finished. I smiled to myself as I imagined all the things that I would do, watch, listen to, and eat. In that moment I was astronomically proud of the strength that I believed I had built within myself to wade through this mess that we were driving towards. I anticipated no tears, no drawn out dramatics, and no pain.

And then the fourth happened. I woke up and immediately lost every tiny speck of courage that I had been clutching onto. It was six in the morning, chubby flakes of puffy snow were falling all around us, the air smelled of all the fireplaces that had been lit the previous night, and I was holding him and hoping that it was cold enough outside that our bodies would freeze together and I'd have just a little more time with him. When he got in the truck I watched him. I saw every move he made as he situated himself to drive away from me. I knew them before he did them, and knew that he was gone, but had I secretly hoped that he'd come out and hug me just one more time. Hoped that he would wrap the arms I spent my entire life pining after around me and place one more kiss on my forehead. But then he drove away and I immediately began to sob heavy, marble-sized tears into the snow. I waited, hoping he would pull back around the corner. I waited and cried for twenty minutes, thinking that maybe he got lost and might still be coming. I cried until I felt the thin glaze of moisture begin to freeze in salty sheets on my face. I waited until I realized that he wasn't coming back. He made his decision and left me. 

Once I remembered that I had legs that were functional, I waded through the snow back into my house and laid on my bed and sobbed for hours... and the hours turned into a day... and then that day fell into weeks, which turned into a month. The agony that I would come to experience was like nothing I had ever known in my life. I would spend days huddled in blankets, begging for the pain to dull however it could. Praying that the hurt that my heart was feeling would shift to a toothache or a stomachache or a goddamn stab wound. I would have taken anything over feeling like my actual heart was dying. 

But over the past several weeks, I've realized that it wasn't dying. Parts of it were shifting and growing to take the shape of my new heart. The heart that I have spent years wishing that I had the strength to accept. The heart that cares more about me than everyone else. The heart that I have now decided to begin falling in love with above anything or anyone else. My heart is becoming my own. 

For the first time in my life I am living alone and it's terrifying and exciting and relaxing and horrific all at once. I have begun to file away the past sixteen years of memories... Placing them carefully on high-up shelves that I have no intention of visiting on a regular basis. I am running the fingertips of my mind over every thought, insecurity, heartache, excitement, frustration, and expectation I've seen over the past several years and taking the pieces that I know I will need and putting the rest away so that I don't need to stare at them anymore. 

Because I don't NEED to. I am finding myself growing in ways I had never anticipated. I am discovering new hopes and dreams and desires that I had never given so much as a second thought prior to now. I'm caring more for me and my heart than anybody else's. I'm filling my cup up first and not allowing myself to be afraid of what people will think if I don't immediately stop caring for me so that I can care for them. And it's exciting. I am so thrilled with the peace and empowerment that most of my days are filled with now. 

Sure, there are still days that all I want to do is lie down and cry and replay every destructive memory I have. Days that I beg for a relief from the pain my heart is going through... But those days are coming less and less often, and I know that it is because my heart is finally getting to the place it needs to be for me. Not for anybody else. Just me.        

I'm finally growing into the me that I was always meant to be. I'm growing and I plan to take advantage of it as often and with as much delight as I possibly can.


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