See my friends.

I’m not a good friend.

I don’t know how to be.

Sometimes I see acquaintances smiling at me, uncertain.

Like I’m a simpleton, or a fragile egg.

“Do you even want to be here?”  “Are we an inconvenience?”

 
No, that’s not it.

It’s just that I’m just pretty certain you don’t like me.

And I don’t want to waste your time.

 

 

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It’s life Jim….

I was having a sneaky read of The Guardian at work today.  The topic was death.
More precisely, our fear of death.

A lot of the comments suggested that what people feared most was dying a painful death.

I don’t fear pain.  I sleep with pain, wake with it and have lived with it everyday day for the last 8 years.

And no, I don’t mean spiritual existential pain, but actual physical pain.

Pain I can come to terms with.  Yes, it grinds you down, can make you numb.  But it’s known.

Pain is not the thing I fear about death.

I fear the idea that I will cease to exist.  That the thing that makes me me, can and will vanish.

Where will I go?  Where will my thoughts go?  How can I just not be here?
To vanish into darkness, how is that possible?  I mean really?  How can the sum total of all our experiences and feelings over the course of our lives just disappear in the blink of an eye?

Maybe there’s a heaven, or at the very least an afterlife.

But maybe there’s not.

What if there’s not?

 

Eat Pray Everything.

It’s the biggest cliche ever written, but Eat Pray Love changed my life.

It was never a book I considered reading.  I avoided it for months, despite Oprah’s urging that I should read read read!
But then, it was made into a movie and I figured at some point I probably would stumble across the film, and I’d be damned if I hadn’t read the book first.

I’d been married for long time by the time I picked it up.  I was unhappy, desperately lonely and living a loveless lie.

So I found this book, with no expectation.  I read in the bath, night after night, and by the time I’d finished Pray my heart had been split wide open.

I wanted to be seen.  I wanted to by seen by my God.  And I wanted to be loved and to be happy.  I wanted to be embraced and welcomed.

I felt cracked in two, with no one to turn to.  My husband had long ago turned his back on me.  I was a hole to be fucked and a body to be blamed.

I had no safe space.

So this book asked me the question I needed to ask my entire adult life.

“What do you want?”

“I want to be happy.”

“Can you be happy continuing to do what you’ve been doing?  Can you be happy here?”

I cried.  I cried a lot.  Anguish poured out of me.

“No.”

And for the first time in endless attempts to leave, I felt supported entirely.

I’d leave.  And I’d be ok.

I’ve not picked that book up since I read the last page 8 years ago.  I’ve not needed to.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not cured or less neurotic.  I’m not even sure I’m any better at relationships than I was before I read it.
But I am free.  Freer.

Write on track

Deep down in the deepest darkest place where hope lives, a writer sits and waits.

I’ve always been drawn to writing.  It’s the hardest and best thing I can ever do.

I set myself goals, do a Nanowrimo here and there.  I struggle and strain to put the words on the page.  I think about my characters, I think about who they are.  I worry when I’ve left my protagonist stuck on a mountain top and I don’t know what comes next.

I think I’m not doing enough.  I’m not clever enough.  Not polished enough.

Recently I read a blog that said writers have to be careful not to let their blogging get in the way of their actual real writing.
And I get that.  And I’ve judged myself for it.  Because here I’m churning out words almost everyday.  As for my WIP?  Not so much.

I’ve beaten myself up over that fact.  I should be writing, doing my proper writing.

Except right now, writing here creates a space.  And everyday it creates more and more space in my head.  Years of thoughts and worries and misconceptions about myself are making themselves known on the page in front of me.  There is a silence in me, a silence that gets bigger and bigger with every word.

In silence, my true voice can finally be heard.  And it is and will be the voice of my dreams.

The Lord helps those who help themselves.

Years ago, during a short lived stint of therapy I learnt about Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.

Basically, you look at a problem and ask yourself if you can deal with it right here right now.  If the answer is yes then you use the CBT process to work through the stages of addressing the problem.  Sounds great right?

Sure does.  Except if the answer is no, I can’t do anything about this right now, CBT allows you put the problem aside to come back to later.

Well, I heard this and woohoo!  This information was like the voice of God.  Not only did I not have to chew over every piece of crap that was worrying me, I could actively send it away.

The key to CBT though is to come back.

Aaaaahhhh, but not for me.  I put shit aside, I pushed it down, I looked the other way.  CBT said I could.
I stopped looking at my anxiety.  I stopped looking at my unhappiness.
I swung from one extreme to the other.  I went from fixating on every little thing to almost ceasing to exist on an emotional level.
And for someone who struggles with emotional regulation and had experienced a lifetime of abuses, this left me in a very dangerous spot.
Now I was relying on others to tell me if things were bad.  Some of those people were not trustworthy, others ill-equipped.

I had handed my life over to other people to decide what was good for me.
I was desperate for help, and it seemed my every action and inaction cried out for it.

I don’t think you know how I feel.

Sometimes self harm looks like suicide.

Typically we cut and there’s blood and making yourself bleed means you want to die.  Right?

Then it’s very small leap to make to think that instead of just self harming, you really do want to end your life.

I remember, not long after my eldest child was born, sitting in the bath as he screamed in the next room.  I remember my husband treating me with disdain as I asked him to help me with the baby.

“He’s your kid” he said.  “You wanted him”
I remember feeling confused.  Wasn’t he the same man who openly wept as he held his tiny child for the first time only weeks before?

Entirely hopeless, my mind buzzed as I broke open the disposable razor.  I hated the sensation of the sharp edge against the thin skin of my wrist.  I hated the sting.
But the red blood signified something.  It offered something tangible.
“This how I feel!”  Help me.

And in the other room the baby still cried, and somehow that lonely noise pulled me out of myself.

He was alone too.  And whatever I was doing there in the bath, in my despair, placed him at risk.

What if I did kill myself.  What if I died and he grew up to blame himself?

That was not a burden I could put on him.  I was hopeless and floundering, but I couldn’t abandon my helpless child.

The blood didn’t mean I wanted to die.  It meant I needed help.

It would be a long time coming.