And So I Spin…

If I have learned anything over these past few weeks it is that this crazy life is just too short not to go after what you want. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us and the longer you wait to secure your fate, the greater the chance that what you want may vanish before you find the courage to hold it tight.

I woke up this morning with doubt in my mind about something I was absolutely sure of the day before. It is amazing how something small that someone says can plant the seed of confusion in your mind. Has something changed?

Did I miss a fork in the road? Or is it just the painful impatience of wanting what I want right now and not knowing for sure if I will ever have it.

It has been said that the joy is in the journey and I agree, but when you have a tendency to misread things for your own peace of mind, only to find out later that you were merely another meaningless face in the crowd, focusing on the joy in the process becomes the hardest challenge you have ever faced.

And so I ask myself a question, impossible to answer, “How much of this is all in my mind?”… Rooted in insecurities and self defeating patterns of the past.

Most of it I am sure, but the mere knowledge of that doesn’t seem to stop the cycle.

And so I spin…and spin…and spin.

Until I find a moment of reflection such as this.

For a moment, I stop, but only long enough to find a distraction from my over active imagination.

 

 

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Emotional Menstruation

We have all experienced it. You know…that moment of overwhelming emotion that brings you to your knees. There is nothing you can do, but let the levy break and ride out the wave.

Thankfully, these happen less and less for me now. Which is a great feat considering the intensity by which I feel.

For someone who spends the majority of their life hidden behind a mask of social acceptance, being vulnerable with someone is perhaps the most terrifying.

You grow accustomed to its ability to cloak your emotions, sturdy your walls and hold within the strangeness that is you.

It keeps you from being vulnerable or so you’d like to think.

It all works perfectly, until you find someone with the ability to see you and I mean really see you. When you are together, the rest of the world seems to fade away.

There is no fear in being vulnerable, because within these moments together, you have never felt more safe, more accepted, more true to yourself.

The state of my mind these last few weeks has been one that I had always assumed was no longer in the cards for me.

I am feeling things that are both exciting & terrifying all at the same time.

Sometimes, I feel like I have so much to say and not an ounce of the courage needed to say it. I am busting at the seams to dive in head first and never look back, but I am too afraid to take the leap.

Then other times, the magnitude of what I am feeling sends shivers down my spine and I am filled with the overwhelming fear that it won’t last and I will be left with yet another broken heart.

I am not sure I can do that again. I know I certainly don’t want to.

And what does all this lead to? …Yup! Emotional Menstruation.

I suppose its necessary sometimes, although not my preferred method of expression!

The worst of it is the fear.

Given my track record of misreading situations, I can’t seem to conquer the worry that the connection I am feeling is all in my head or worse, that it is real and they will change their mind.

After all, everyone else has.

 

Image courtesy of Carlos Porto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I Am Among The Strange

As you all know, I have been struggling with how to begin writing the next installment of Insane Roots; my story. And it truly is my story.

This time, it is more than a collection of memories from my childhood woven together with emotion and neatly printed on a page.

That was merely the foundation for the person I am today. The things I have experienced do not define me. Sure, they had something to do with the end result, but we all feel heartbreak. That in itself is not unique.

The real story, is how I came to find myself along the way.

It is in the journey of discovering my inner strength.

I have felt broken more than a time or two in my life, but every time, I manage to find the courage to pick myself up and move forward. THAT defines me!

Sometimes I may only muster up enough to put on my mask long enough to get through the day, but the point is that I do it.

Over and over again, I do it.

On the inside, I may be falling apart, but to the rest of the world, I have it all together.

Telling that story, means baring my soul. It means, sharing my darkest secret.

The secret…that deep beneath the surface lies someone they will never understand.

She doesn’t think like you. She doesn’t love like you and most of all, she doesn’t understand you.

This person goes out into the world each day hidden behind a mask of social acceptance.

Sometimes it is the only thing that gets them to tomorrow.

And let me be clear, I am not talking about just putting on a happy face. My closest friends can see right through that!

It’s something more. Something only another person wearing one would understand (and I’ve only met one in my life).

I alluded to it once in a poem and it is perhaps the best explanation I can give to the reasoning behind wearing the mask.

For A Moment – Insane Roots 8.30.17 (excerpt)

“Sometimes I feel as though I was not meant for this world

But rather a lonely spectator

Watching in the shadows

As the lives of others pass me by

Perhaps in another time

Or another place

Somewhere between tomorrow and today

I am lost

wandering alone

among the mysteries of the universe

…”

To sum it up, it is the feeling of constantly searching for your place in a world that will never understand you.

You are different and that is all there is to it.

There comes a day when you realize that you are among the strange. Unique to the composition of your current reality.

The intensity by which you feel will frighten even the bravest of lovers. So you walk alone.

Knowing in your heart that no one is coming to save you. That job is entirely yours.

And maybe there is more to all of this.

Maybe I am lingering in the doorway to something beyond our current human constructs… or maybe it is simply that I was never meant to be understood.

 

 

 

 

What if we don’t have to be broken?

I think one of the most difficult parts of growing up is finding the strength to pull the skeletons from your closet. It would seem so much easier to hide them away forever and leave the past in the past, but in everything we have done that we are not proud of, there is a little piece of ourselves hidden among the ashes.

I hear a lot of people say they are broken. I have even said it myself in the past.

What if we don’t have to be broken?

What if there was a way to put ourselves back together?

When I first started writing my memoir, I remember it being very painful at times. Revisiting memories that I had selectively forgotten in order to save my own sanity.

As soon as I opened the door to my childhood, they all came rushing out and the wall of security I had built began tumbling down out around me.

It was from within one of the lowest moments of my life that I found my greatest strength.

One by one, I confronted all the residual emotional patterns that I had built up during those years.

The feelings of disappointment, neglect, abandonment, and loss.

The root of my constant need for approval and codependency.

My fear of love or the loss there of.

Piece by piece, I began putting myself back together.

Until I came to a place of great appreciation for all that I had experienced.

I was a new person the day I finished the first chapter and even more so as I wrote the final page.

And now, as I struggle with the pages of the 2nd, I am reminded of the same reluctance I felt when I wrote my very first blog post.

I know writing this next phase of my story will be just as, if not more of an emotional roller coaster than that last.

The first was during my early childhood and most of it was about my mother and her skeletons. There was aftermath, but it was her aftermath.

This next book will begin as I am entering High school, my mother having  been missing for just short of a year. I was lost and confused, but determined to act like neither of those were true. I don’t even know that girl now.

I picked up one of my old journals for inspiration and I barely got through the first few pages before I had to put it down. I could feel the pain on those pages and worse yet, I knew what was to come.

The moment my mother left me, something in me changed. Something it took years of reflection to understand. I spent a great deal of my life beyond that point feeling as though I always had to prove something to someone. In the earlier years it was proving to everyone else that I was not my mother. Showing them that I could conquer anything and everything she couldn’t.

Needless to say, it led me down a road where I did a lot of things I am not necessarily proud of. Things…the majority of the people in my life have no idea I did and for that matter would have a hard time believing I ever could do.

Up until now, I was not ready to share these things with anyone, let alone the whole world.

But you know what?

The person I am today is not just the result of all of the good things I have done. It is also and maybe more so, everything I have done that I am not proud of, those little piece of myself hidden among the ashes.

I am living proof that in this life, we are not bound by the mistakes of our past or the circumstances placed on us by others.

If telling my story is an inspiration to even just one, it’s worth it. That was the whole reason I started this blog and went on to write the book. So believe me when I say, I am not going to quit now, just because I hit a raw moment!

Thank you to everyone who has been so patient, yet persistent 🙂 in kicking my butt back in gear!

The wheels have started turning and I promise you’ll be the first ones to get a sneak peek!

 

It is a strange thing; this life.

I am writing to you today from within a fleeting moment of ease.

I don’t know how long it will last or how long it will be before my perception begins to blur, but these moments are scarce at best these days and therefore something to cherish.

It is a strange thing; this life.

A collection of moments woven together through emotional experiences. Creating the unique tapestry we cloak ourselves in for the entirety of our lives.

Seemingly so simple at times, almost mundane.

A settled routine providing much needed comfort in an otherwise chaotic world.

And then other times…it knocks the wind out of you. Sending you into a tale spin so fast all you can do is hold on tight and pray it is over soon.

Up until this week, I had been feeling pretty easy about things. Sure, I was still working through some emotional scars, but it was nothing I couldn’t handle.

And then, before I knew what was happening, manageable took a nose dive into sheer and utter chaos!

Before I knew it, I was behind in every aspect of my life! I won’t bore you with too many of the details (after all we all have our stuff). Basically, I went out of town on business, got sick and per the usual over extended myself on all levels. 😦

Due to a series of unfortunate events, I was behind on yard work, personal projects, social obligations, work obligations, you name it. And when I say behind I mean like a few days for most stuff. Which I’m sure sounds silly to most people, but for someone like me it is an emotional trigger.

I know that I have issues with needing acceptance from others to validate my own self worth and this last week was a perfect example of why that is such an unhealthy habit to have.

I woke up Monday feeling like death and my boss even gave me the okay to take it easy and rest up.

Nice right? Ya, she is amazing 🙂

Unfortunately, the universe had a different plan. All at once emails, phone calls, and notifications began pouring in.

At first I remained calm as I usually do. I began answering each in the order it was received (my normal MO) and repeated the mantra:

“Inspiration will come and I will get it done!”

 

Again, may sound silly, but all a mantra really is, is a way for you to take your mind away from worry (producing negative feelings) and realign you to a more positive manageable place.

Like I said, it worked for a while.

Until, people started getting antsy!

One negative to punctuality is that you end up setting an expectation. People are not used to waiting more than a few hours to receive a response from me, so when it is approaching the day mark they begin to wonder if I received their email.

So now Jane Smith’s one email and one phone call just turned into more emails and more phone calls.

And the list grows….

Every new request felt like someone placing another barbell on my chest.

All the while a portion of my mind was still focused on the previous heartbreak I was already dealing with and making a list of all of the personal tasks I had still not tended to.

It was too much.

And I had been here before; a bitter sweet realization.

The complete shut down. Depression.

Seeing as I am a frequent traveler through the town of The Overwhelmed , I knew I would be able to climb back out of it, but the question was how long would that take and was there a way to speed up the process?

So yesterday, after work ended, I decided to turn off  my phone. At this point, I knew social interaction was an absolute no go. Especially considering how emotionally vulnerable I was feeling. I even posted a message on FB letting everyone know that I was detaching so no one would worry when I didn’t respond to their calls/texts. Basically my way of saying, “I love you all, but please leave me alone!!”.

So I stayed up to 4 AM getting caught up on work. It wasn’t like I was going to sleep anyway! 🙂

And besides, it was worth the peace of mind it gave me when I started back up today.

Now… I have finished work and for the first time in almost a month I finally felt like writing, well more so I felt like sharing.

In a world where the list of aliments is never ending, I don’t think many people understand how diverse & debilitating depression is. And more importantly, how to properly give those suffering from it the support or in many cases the distance they need.

Before I gained the mechanisms to deal with my depression, tale spins such as the one I just described could have lasted much longer or resulted in a more serious outcome.

As unhealthy as it can be sometimes to love others more than yourself, in the case of depression it can sometimes prevent you from taking it to the extreme. I know what something like taking my own life would do to the ones I care about, so for me that will never be an option on the table. I am blessed in that respect. My struggle is my savior.

I have also had the benefit of studying psychology and as with most psych majors, the first person I picked apart was myself 🙂 Not everyone is as blessed to have this advantage.

I guess the point I am trying to get across is that you just never know where a person is at in life or what could send them over the edge. For that reason, is it not just better to be kind?

Depression is something I have dealt with and hid quite well through out most of my life, so believe me when I tell you that you may think you know what someone is dealing with at any given moment, but chances are you have no idea.

I can sit here now and clearly see the patterns in my behavior and I think while it was happening I had some awareness of it, but when my limits were tested as quickly as they were, there was little left to do than surrender.

My brain was all twisted up and the only way of releasing the pressure was to let go and ride out the storm.

There was nothing anyone could do for me in that moment, except leave me alone, but there was no way for anyone to know that because I would never tell them.

See how in essence I create my own misery? It’s sad really how clear it is to realize that after the fact!

The take away is that with each relapse comes the additional clarity to better deal with those that have yet to come. And there will be more.

As anyone with depression will tell you, it is not something that can be cured.

It is something that must be conquered.

To anyone feeling lost,

You are not alone.

Your feelings are valid and not meant to be understood by anyone but you.

Your heart will heal when it’s ready and only you can decide when it is time to move on.

You are not obligated to explain yourself for needing time alone with your thoughts or for anything for that matter.

It is okay to be selfish and even a little frivolous at times.

You are not perfect, but neither is anyone else.

You are going to make mistakes. Sometimes the same ones, over and over again. Go easy on yourself. Being alive can be challenging and unexpected. You are only doing the best you can with what you have and that is all you have within your power to do.

Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. I know you have wounds deeper than most, but you will never find the one meant to heal them, if you don’t let them try.

And most importantly, find a way to love yourself.

Even if it takes a life time.

 

Image courtesy of Janpen04081986 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net