Straight-Back Chairs

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angelI am not a wonderful person.  Blame it on the disease, the personality, the person that I am, but the truth is I am a difficult person to love.  There are no words that can change my mind about this, nothing that anyone can say that would make me think any differently.

I isolate myself day in and day out to protect myself.  I keep my emotions in check and try desperately to stay far away from the chaotic world around me so that I can survive. There are those that believe that they know me, my husband for instance, people who believe that because they understand a piece of me they know the whole of me.

I get angry at this world.  I get angry at this world because it isn’t the fairy tale that everyone else seems to be living.  I am smart enough to understand that there are real problems that everyone faces and monsters that everyone must fight – no one is exempt. They are very normal people out there who live life to their best capability and live for those seconds of perfection that remind them of the fairy tale they believe in. But that simply isn’t the world that I live in.

I get angry at the people who have others to talk to; even when it is a simple text to say hello.  I get frustrated with the people who live their lives each day and never really know the defeat of hating one’s own self.  I hate the people who don’t have the disease that God decided I must suffer.  I purposely leave my marriage, my family, even my children in disgust of who and what they are.  Not because they are bad, but because I have no one who understands me and no one to trust.

If you try and understand me you will find that who and what I am today is not how I will feel or think tomorrow.  I internalize little hurts and little mistakes made towards me by people who are supposed to understand me.  I hate the fact that in all the mirrors of this world no one knows which one is me.

I don’t have anyone to talk to; partly because I have separated myself out of desperation and the need to protect myself and partly because there are so many times this world disappoints me.  There are so many times that I hold my breath in anticipation only for those I love to once again show me their reality.  And their reality isn’t my reality.

I have a disease that destroys everything good in life.  It turns me against my own self and it turns me against those that are supposed to be there.  It makes me believe that no one loves me, for how could anyone love someone like me?  How could anyone love a woman who hates herself, a woman who doesn’t understand the security of touch, a woman who doesn’t understand how this world could ignore, not even try, to understand me? Why doesn’t anyone try to know who I am?

If you ask those who profess to love me they will tell you that they understand parts of me.  And they may actually be able to do so.  They may know about the masks I put on in order to hide from the world my own personal disdain, and they may know about the times when I am inside my head.

But they don’t know the times I cry.  They don’t understand the moments when their simple words crush me.  They blame the disease for all manners of emotions that I have, almost like the men who blame PMS for their girlfriend’s anger.  People that I love can’t understand what it feels like to not be able to talk about my day or what is going through my mind because of a very simple fear.  They are sitting there with ears ready to listen, but they don’t know what it feels like to realize no one is hearing.

I accept that part of everything in my world is my own.  I can’t blame most things on either the disease or the people around me; it is truly only on me.  But I can blame them for so much more.

I am literally staring at the phone, doing my damn-est not to once again try and kill myself with a bottle of pills, and I realize that I have no one to call.  There are those that would stand up and ask why not me? Why can you not talk to me? But the truth is, I know deep in my soul that with all the best of intentions those people will make it worse before they ever could make it better.

So once again, I am on my own.  I have built a world of isolation that mocks me during times such as these.  I have built such walls around myself, that when the world collapses there is no one to help build it back up.  There is no one to love and there is no one that resides in the deepest, darkness parts in my mind.  No one to reach out to.

I will get through this episode, I seem to get through them all.

I will sit in my straight-back chair, not move in case the demons find a weakness, and stare straight ahead until the world stops spinning.  I won’t talk, I won’t cry, I will build my fortress once again.  And this time, like all the times before it, there will be one less brick, one less beam to support the whole.  Until the only alternative will be to let those walls collapse, and fall to the ground with them.

Be still and know.  Be still and fight the whispers deep in my mind.  Be still and look for the light in the darkness.  Be still and know that maybe today the Angels will be merciful.

Dreams in Reality

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awakeThis last year I have been searching – see previous post.  I have been looking deep into my own soul to try to figure out who and what that I am.  It is an ongoing journey that I started years ago; and what always amazes me is that who and what I am and what I learn on this journey continues to grow and change.

It is hard to understand who and what you are. It is hard to figure out how much of what we do is because life has determined our path and how much of life we have worked for in order to be happy.  There is so much that seems we do to make others happy or to give others the life that they have dreamed of.  We do it without thought, without planning, and we do it because we have been programmed to do so.

I go back to all those websites, all those blogs that state that we should also take care of ourselves.  There are little quotes and long discourses not only on what we should do to take care of ourselves but the health benefits and the life long savings we can achieve.

But it isn’t to take care of ourselves.  It is hard to remember except late at night when the world finally quiets enough that our own thoughts can be heard that we see and feel the dreams that are buried so far beneath us.

I am the first to admit that there are dreams that are on the surface of our lives.  They don’t mean as much and usually are easily attained; they are the electronics that would make our lives easier but just a little out of our pocket’s reach.  Or they are so easily attained that only our own laziness keeps us from following through to them; they are the trips to museums or trying a local restaurant.

We all have a tendency to defeat ourselves when it comes to dreams.  We all seem quite capable of being able to put up roadblocks whether real or imaginary throughout this journey.  We forget about our dreams in favor of beliefs of inadequacies, or in the belief that there is something else we should be doing.  We create a world of laziness because the fear of failing and not attaining our dreams is too real.  We create a world of excuses out of the belief that we shouldn’t or simply cannot do something for ourselves.  We don’t follow our dreams because the dreams are too far from our current reality to seem possible.  They are our carnival of strange sights and bright lights. They are our life’s biggest regrets.

I know that I don’t follow my dreams.  I know I don’t follow my dreams because I am too afraid.  I worry about hurting those who have stood beside me for so long in this dismal world I live in and I worry about giving away that which is safest for the possibility of a moment.  To give away a life for a possible moment, a possible second of perfection, becomes the elephant in the corner and the rock we simply cannot bring ourselves to climb.

Because dreams can last only a moment.  We may get all that we wish to have in this life; we may work like we have never worked before and our dreams will only last long enough for us to recognize that we have finally made it.  And once we have that second, that second to realize all the we have, it can be taken away from us and we are left in the dust of our dreams.

There is a price we must pay for our dreams.  There is always a moment of absolute horror that we must also have in order to feel the beauty of our dreams. Nothing is free; nothing is sacred.  Nothing is allowed without the payment of something else, and the bigger the dream, the bigger the payment.  The more we work, the more we sweat and find the path that we feel we are destined to travel, the more we have to lose.  Because despite all of the gifts, we can’t ignore this truth.

I sit here thinking about my dreams and wonder exactly what it is that I am willing to give up.  I am hardly able to give up three dollars for free shipping at Amazon, so how can I give up all that I have to get a dream.  There is no way around what I will lose and there is no way to salvage the dream and live the life. I must give up on or the other. I must find my peace in the lesser of all possibilities.

Despite those sayings, despite all others do to pull you up or all others write encouragingly to make you look at things differently there is still the reality of truth to deal with.  It doesn’t matter how much you want or what you want, life is a balance that will never go in your favor completely. It is not possible to have all you dream; not today.

Some would say that I am not thinking of all the possibilities; and some would say that giving up something would be healthy.  Some would say that there is a time and a place for all things and that I cannot sit in this life and wait for it.  And some would say that dreams are not meant to be found; just because you made a choice in your twenties does not mean that you can now ignore the reap.

The truth is that you cannot ignore the reap that you have sown.  You cannot ignore the very real world that you have built to follow some dream that may cost you not your life but the happiness and contentment of others. Dreams are for children who fight mysterious pirates and watch princess for clues to happily ever after.  Dreams are for those who cannot reconcile the life ones chooses with the life one wants. Dreams are to be brought out deep in the night, lived, and then put back in their box for another time.

That Feeling

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about-us-adeus-black-broken-broken-heart-Favim.com-411051Ever had that feeling? That feeling when the shivers slowly, ever so slowly, go up your spine.  Your chin automatically rises, and your shoulders go back.  You feel taller; you feel more powerful. The world for that moment is yours and those moments that seem to simply exist to push you down are for that moment no longer a master over you.

These feelings are so powerful and they are so fleeting that our natural instinct is to give to these feelings more weight than they may deserve.  It isn’t everyday that we are given a moment such as this and so we hold onto it in some desperation to feel it longer.

It goes away.  It always goes away.  It takes its moment in the center stage and then leaves us naked in a crowd of expectations. And we are left wondering if it really happened or if it was some sort of dream that the demons that have so much real power of us have teased and tortured us with.

There aren’t many feelings that are comparable to this one.  There aren’t many times in our lives that we can say this feels like an everyday, normal occurrence. It is special.

But in spite of this amazing feeling the truth is that it is out of the norm.  It does not fit into our world and therefore, in many ways, can’t remain in our world.  It is fleeting because it has to be fleeting. We have responsibilities, choices that we have made and a temporary moment of perfection won’t change that.

We are despite our passions, despite our desires, grown ups. We have made our choices and we must live with them.  Living with that feeling is for movie stars and fairy tales. It does not apply to us.  It cannot stay with us.

When this feeling comes to me I fall in a horrible depression after it has gone. After it has left to join all the other lost dreams and broken promises, you are left with the reality of the world you have created.  Life becomes darker, bleaker, and sometimes simply less than we once dreamed it could be.

But this is life. This is the reality we live with.  If we could go back maybe we would change it all; but we never get that chance.

The Search

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stock-footage-reading-old-books-by-candlelight-bibleOver the last year I have been engaged in incredible searches of myself and my soul. I have been contemplating the vast questions, this vast universe, and my place in it. I acknowledge that this is a vital part of the human experience; the greatest minds of our time and that of our past have begun similar quests. And I acknowledge that I have been on this search for most of my life.

It is in human nature to find answers.  And there are two kinds of people who look for those answers. One, asks a question and looks for the easiest solution.  They are comforted by the quick answers. They resist the search for the other side and they can and will sit for hours listening only to what they have been told.

Then there is the other kind. The kind who is never satisfied; easy answers are automatically thought as the wrong answer. Allowing for laziness in this quest is on par with ignorance. And each step, each answer, asks a different question. Their minds race with possibilities and their fingers can rarely keep up with the ideas coming from them.

I am the second kind. Is it because I have a high IQ? Is it how my mother raised me? Is it the product of the mental illness that I suffer?

When I ask questions, I never get easy answers. For instance, contemplating questions of religion can send me down paths that keep me up at night.  Does God need our prayer if he already knows how we feel? Is God so egotistical that he needs to hear my voice in order to find me worthy? How is it that free will can exist when God and even the text of the Bible assures us that our paths were laid out long before we were born? If God already knows who and what I am, and ultimately what I am going to do in any situation, then isn’t the freedom to choose my own path a contradiction?

If I move onto the cosmos or mother nature, or even human nature, similar questions start coming that bring not answers, but more inflection.

I have learned that I am not alone in my thoughts, in my questions. I have learned through the writing and the reading of great minds such as Cicero, Einstein, even those we would consider the greatest enemies on earth, that many feel as I do. There are those that are designed simply to question.

And there are those who do not like those questions.

When one looks at this world it is literally impossible not to see that we have more questions than we have answers.  I dare you to find a man or woman who can fully explain the human brain; and yet the object of these questions are inside all of us.

I have had to learn in this year that there are people who get offended by questions, something that took me years to understand.  There are good, wonderful people out there who believe what they are told in the Bible, what they are told by the television news, and those who believe that what happens on the Internet is nothing but the truth. I have come to learn that this mindset isn’t wrong, it simply is as different from mine as night to day.

I have an aunt who is religious; several members of my family are. And since moving closer to them I have had to learn the definition of dinner conversation.  Dinner conversation, at least in my family, does not include discourse on the workings of religion on the populace, nor does it include an extensive search into human behavior – for the whys of human behavior.  Sitting at my family’s dinner table does not give me an invitation to investigate into any of these questions or the millions of others that I have.

There would have been a time that I would have resented this. I would have been frustrated by the idea that not all want to explore the where and whys of this world. I would have been angry that those I love didn’t want to challenge their mind, and in some cases improve their mind, in the same ways that I have to.

But that isn’t this world; there are simply too many brains working at the same time. It offends people when you think outside the box, or find yourself by the very questions your asking to be on the other side of common place ideas. People, as a rule, don’t like their beliefs or their hardened faith to be questioned by anyone.  And I have learned that taking away anyone’s comfort because of the questions rolling through my mind is not only a disservice to those who can’t fathom my ideas but to the good person that I am trying to be.

I have no idea when asking questions and pushing one’s own beliefs became the works of the minority.  I have no idea when people were first struck down for raising their hand and stating that something wasn’t quite right.

We can look at the past and see everyone from Galileo to Jesus and see that those who thought outside of the boundary of thought were considered to be not only the minority but those who would harm.  How many minds were silenced in someone’s quest to find power? And what did we lose in that silence?

I believe that my searches are meant to be mine. They are not to be given to the world unless we coach them in fairy tales and cute baubles.  Our minds wherever they wonder are required to be our own victory march because the alternative is far worse.

I search for the answer to many questions, but one always brings me back – How can I love my family as much as I do, and how can they love me as much as they claim, when my mind is often forced to be hidden from them? Does it make me a good person to hide my thoughts from them – thoughts of science, math and philosophy? Does it make them bad that I have to?

Contentment

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Jupiter-beach-accessIt has been a long time since I posted.  And an even longer time since I routinely posted.  To my faithful readers, it wasn’t because I didn’t have anything to say.  Good gracious, I have so much to say that I think my husband avoids me sometimes.

Instead of posting I have been engaged in another form of writing; books.  In this long period I have finished three different books. A non-fiction book entitled A Safe Haven for the parents and loved ones of those with mental illness.  Sort of a Dummies guide to what goes on in the mind of those who suffer mental illness and ideas of what can be done to help.

I also wrote a fiction book entitled Whispers in California about a reporter who must realize that life isn’t a series of words on a piece of paper, but so much more.  She explores questions she has had for years and finds answers in a woman who has given up everything to simply exist.

Then there is a book on poetry.  That one covers poems I have written through the years when my brain has needed short and oftentimes dark passages to explain what has been fueling my own mental illness.

While not posting faithfully as I should, I have instead been searching.

I have been searching for my whole life for a sense of contentment; something that will keep my grounded in a life of chaos.  I should clarify that I have never looked for happiness, I find it too fleeting and more about the moment I find myself in rather than a destination I can search for.  Instead it has always been contentment.

In my twenties I thought it was the corner office.  Part of me sincerely enjoyed the corner office and the fancy suits.  I liked being the one that was in charge, and the one that others turned to.  I felt needed and important.

But there was a catch, as there always is.  I could never sustain that level of energy and giving for very long.  Eventually my disease fueled by exhaustion and the art of the giving would show itself.  And people would react; and people would disappoint.  In the corporate world there is no room for the personal. It is considered detrimental to the goal.

I tried to get lesser jobs.  Not in sheer work but rather in responsibility.  I became the girl behind the scenes and while I certainly seemed to do better there, there was still a part of me that does not function in that world.  It may be the needed interaction with people and their personal lives when I am a person that craves silence.  It may have been the fact that no matter where I went my resume was put on display and therefore the expectations for me was greater than I thought was possible.  It is very easy for others to use someone for their own goal; assistants can be directors not in name or salary, but in responsibilities.  Makes it even harder for me.

However, I always try to remember that at least I had money coming in.

Then circumstances or probably my own stubbornness brought me home. I find myself writing not of momentary thoughts like in this blog, but in full fledged purpose.  I found myself not writing a thousand words but now seventy thousand words.  I could push myself farther and although it was only in my mind it finally gave me the thing I have been longing for: contentment.

It was quiet and I didn’t have to listen to the troubles of others.  It was on my own schedule with my own deadlines.  The goal was my own, and no one – not a boss, not a coworker, not even my family – knew if I was accomplishing anything at all.  I could wear warm clothes and make extra coffee, and I could live for the first time in a world totally of my own…at least for a couple of hours.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a writing space so not all is comfortable, but still this feeling of contentment follows me.  And as I contemplate the very real knowledge that it is time for me to return to the land of jobs, I fear the consequences of this loss. Losing something so satisfying will put me in a depression, and those consequences can be great.

But life doesn’t work the way we want it to.  Life doesn’t give each of us many opportunities for contentment, certainly not on the schedule we wish it to be. We have to fight our own way through the fog, and find our own matches to burn the light. Despite the very real feeling of purpose and even perfection that I feel today, the truth is the responsibilities I do have, those that I have chosen (as opposed to those assigned) do not care if I am content.  My children care only for the things both real and ethereal that I can give them.

And that is exactly the way it should be.

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