Weird sadness in the air yesterday. I suspect a town elder passed away. It feels like dozens of people are grieving nearby. That felt distracting all day.
I also fidgeted with myself about being unproductive even though I puttered at some housework, gathered photos to post my travels on October, read the end of Wyndham’s “The Kraken Wakes” and all of “The Chrysalids”, started H. R. Haggard’s “Treasure of the Lake”, ate healthy food in reasonable proportions, had a pretty fire in the fireplace, worked on training to dogs to accept the new cat, did a smidgen of calligraphy, topped off the tub, food/water/pooped/medicated the dogs and cats, and reorganized the cat/dog boundaries and furniture to help the new girl (Hex) be more comfortable. I chose active mental pastimes, left the TV off, and minimized the silly brain-sucking portions of social media. Contacting friends is good; reading the Top Ten Reasons Why: Your Dog Has Five Toes in Front and Four in Back, Your Clothes Wear Out, Your Shelves Get Dusty, You Feel Sick When You Only Eat Candy, Blah Blah Blah for 87 hours is bad.
Feeling new chapters of “Ouroboros” forming. May go get a hand truck and dog food, load the trailer with crap for the community clean up (old water heater, three toilets I don’t need, rotten lumber I’ve pulled off the house), and write. I always feel happy and productive when I’m writing. This is only a drag when I consider my bank account.
Thinking through a safe ride to California and a happy time helping my dad for two weeks. He won’t use a walker, can’t stand up without falling over, and is twice as big as anybody else in the family. Mom needs a break, I am not reporting to a job, and I totally love hanging out with Daddy even when circumstances are uncomfortable. It’s going to be fun.
The truth is I’ve been dogged with self-destruction most of my life. I learned it very early, though my folks did much better for me than their folks did for them, I still managed to leave home with poor self-esteem, a desire to stuff my head with a variety of analgesics, a tolerance for terrible treatment from people I love, and an expectation that I would have no reward at all for my efforts.
Fast forward to 49, now.
I was getting very, very sick. I was losing use of my hands and feet. My migraines were insane. I was taking tons of medicine, supplements, booze, and medical mj. When I wasn’t at work, I was sitting on the couch smashing out my brains. I let myself and the house go to hell.
Yet my whole life I have also been a writer, an artist, a rainbow warrior energetically working for peace and justice, and a woman with beauty, brains, and talent. I realized, finally, that the go-to-work-ignore-the-suffering path I’d been on since 1991 was killing me and killing my fate.
I quit my job and turned my focus to art, aikido, and personal growth.
I’ve dragged out of depression, I’m not smashing my brains, I’m not stuffed with pills, I’m not parked on the couch for weeks. I’m not subordinating my time and goals to the whims of seeking romance. I’m not so overwhelmed by the tasks ahead that I quit before I start. I’m not living in complete isolation.
I can stand to hear myself think. I’m writing. I’m fixing things. I can sleep at night. I’m going dancing for the fun of it. I’m bathing and getting dressed and eating relatively healthy food. I’m visiting friends. I’m writing letters. I’m making professional contacts.
Am I all better?
Hell, no. It took almost a year to get this far, and a lot of it looked pretty bad from the outside, I suspect. I still have those self-destructive habits. I still hear myself excuse slovenly choices because it’s “just me”. Serving others is easy. Taking of myself seemed pointless.
But I’ve developed a set of techniques to notice when I’m fading and make a better choice. I have enough forgiveness for myself that when I falter, I can get up instead of crushing myself down with criticism.
So if you admire the books, photography, aikido, spirit work, talent, brains, and beauty – see that it hasn’t been easy and we share some fundamental human struggles.
Hopefully sharing that struggle here will 1) keep me honest so I don’t pretend I’m ok when I am not, and 2) validate and encourage others who are also struggling.