I think… sometime in the last few weeks I came to a realization that I’m only just now recognizing.
I’ve been brought as low as I’m willing to go.
I may be here for a while yet. I may even wallow in my worst moments.
But I won’t sink any lower.
Eleanor Roosevelt said that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. It’s tricky to know how or why or exactly when I gave my consent. But I know that I revoke it now.
I revoke my consent to let one man’s selfishness and fear make me feel small and distant. I revoke my consent to let one man’s inability to love me make me feel undeserving.
I revoke my consent to let one man’s cowardice define my life.
I will climb out of this hole. And then I will fill it with cement, set up a monument to myself and light a signal fire to invite the people who actually love to celebrate. Fuck unworthiness. Fuck despair. Fuck him. I will not be owned by another person’s weaknesses.
But first, wine. And a book. Because building blocks and stairs are called for here. And time, I suspect. But I’m already building my monument in my head.
Am I really having more good days than bad? I told someone I was, but I don’t know if that’s quantitatively true. I haven’t actually kept track.
What is true is that I’m immensely grateful for the good days, so they stand out. The days when I don’t wake up in the throes of a panic attack. When I’m able to pay back a little of the kindness that has been bestowed on me. When I laugh unexpectedly. I don’t think those days actually come around very often, so they feel bigger when they do.
But neither am I having the black nothingness days as often. When despair drowns me, and my mind goes to dark, dark places. Places I can’t admit to my therapist, let alone my friends.
I think the truth is I’m reaching a middle ground. A place where good days and bad days may be mostly balanced, but the remainder is unknown – a new normal. I don’t know how to qualify that yet. What do you call the days that are bereft of love, but maybe not hope?
I try to stay focused on gratitude. The tribe that keeps me sane, and supported. The job that will let me gain my independence. The vast network of small kindnesses that are like tiny threads with miniature life-rafts attached. Some days that’s enough. Some days – not so much. I try to remember that my life is not over just because I’m 40 and cut off from the future I had planned. It feels that way sometimes. I feel like giving up – the weariness is overwhelming. Am I so unloveable? I ask. In my mind, I know that’s defeatest bullshit, but my heart hurts. It’s a battle.
The weather has turned toward spring. New growth and pollen – making things equally beautiful and miserable and I have to laugh. I was at my darkest during winter – it’s like mother nature and I are striving for the sun at the same time. The earth goes on – I must, as well.
There’s so much pain to reconcile. So much disappointment in myself. There is a reckoning approaching, but I’m still not ready for it. I’m still cowering under the lean-to that has set up over my psyche. But I’m looking outward. The sun is shining. I may venture out today, or not. It’s the unknown that gets you.