When I was a little girl, my father flitted in and out of my life. I adored him as only a child can; with rose-colored glasses and pedestals so high they literally were hidden in the clouds. The mists of the night hid my father so that the truth of him could not be seen. Little girls should never see their daddy in any other light. He was dashing, and handsome. His personality was one that a whole room of strangers would light up the moment he entered; women flocked, men stood right beside him.
My mother on the other hand was a rock. This was not something that I could recognize much less appreciate at a young age. While my dad came and went, building years of disappointments, it was mother that made sure I was fed everyday, that my homework was done, and she was the person that was at every concert and every sporting event. She did not cry, she may have gotten frustrated, but never truly angry. She was rarely late, and rarely anything but a single presence in my life that I could count on. As a child, it was the lights of my father that I loved the most; but it was the steadiness of my mother that I needed the most.
This was a profound truth that I could never wrap my head around until I had children on my own. It wasn’t until I had to be a mother that I recognized that I didn’t need my child’s worship; I needed my child’s love, his health, his happiness. I became the woman who was as steady as I could be; and left the rest to history.
My mother stayed with my father for over twenty years. For twenty years, my mother choose to live and work side by side with a man who routinely and consistently cheated on her, and threw that fact in her face. As a teenager, this was a concept that I could not understand. While dreaming of my princes and the fairy tale world I would live in, I could never reconcile reality with hope. I swore I would never be my mother. I swore that I wouldn’t be a woman who lived a life for others, never for herself.
And yet, while my situation isn’t similar, it has certain themes. And while I can see those themes, and I can see those realities, the truth in the matter is, I also have the reality that nothing in my life is truly real.
I have a disease that makes me question reality each and every day. I have a disease that teaches me constantly, that the person that I thought I was and that I thought I could be, is simply a figment of my imagination. I have a disease that alters the very persona I strive to become, and I have a disease that distorts truth for its own gain.
In my first year of marriage, my husband and I lived in an apartment in an extremely small town. The apartment was brand new, we were the first to ever live there, and the neighbors were few. Every weekend, like clockwork, I cleaned that apartment. I vacuumed, I dusted, I mopped the floor. I remember those weekends and more importantly I remember that sense of accomplishment. I remember feeling good about myself, and proud of the home I was creating. And I know I don’t do it anymore.
Have I quit cleaning every weekend with religious fanaticism because I no longer have that energy; have the medications I am now taking, stripped that desire away? Has my self changed, have I become lazy and reluctant to clean a house that is just going to be dirty five minutes later, or has the medication I take with this disease made me this way?
This disease is harder than anyone can imagine. You find yourself, one way or another, questioning everything about yourself. It is actually quite normal, if that makes anyone feel better. You wonder if it is the medicine that suppressed that emotion, or if it really doesn’t bother you that much. You wonder why each time you take a Cosmo quiz the answer is different. You wonder what is reality, and what you have convinced yourself is reality. And you rarely notice that the person and reality you are today, will never be the person you can be tomorrow.
I have learned a lot through writing this blog; mostly about myself. I have learned that I have no self-esteem. I have learned that I have emotions that are deep and sensitive, but I never express them out loud. I have learned that I hide in books, in activities, in things that can subjugate the reality of my life, with a happily ever after. I have learned that I don’t know a thing.
I have learned that while I had dreams of this marriage, it didn’t come all the way true. But what I don’t know is if that is my fault. Am I projecting my disease on this marriage? Am I leaning on this disease to make sense of actions that I can’t process? Am I willing and able to make a concrete decision when my head is swimming with all the realities that do not exist? How does one determine truth, when that truth changes constantly?
And am I like my mother? Or am I like my father? Am I making excuses to justify how I feel? And how do I feel? Am I right? Am I wrong? Am I left? Am I right? Am I who and what I want to be? Or am I who and what I can only be? Who am I under the layers of this disease? And what decision is best for that long hidden girl? Where does my truth begin, and where does reality end?
Jen Czahur said:
I often start reading someone’s post and then, a few paragraphs in, get distracted and stop. I try to be one of those people who reach out and “get involved” with the blogging community because I assume that’s what I’m doing here, but I just find it all too much. But I started reading this post of yours just now and even though there was a moment where I had to stop and take a deep breath, it wasn’t out of frustration or boredom or because I lost interest. It was because I found myself relating on an emotional level and I needed a few seconds to gain my perspective. I don’t have children or a husband. I wasn’t relating to your “facts”, I was simply in tune with how you feel and your words stabbed through the icy exterior I had been shielding myself behind all day, pierced straight through and jabbed into my heart. I don’t have any words to offer you to make your current worries calm, I wish that I did, I truly do. But I did want to take the time to let you know that you sharing your thoughts, you reaching out today whether it was a means of grasping for someone else to help you or as a way of offering help to another (maybe both?) your efforts have found me. And they have made a difference. You have made a difference. I am going to come back here and continue following your story. Thank you for making more of this day for me.
Jen – I am always truthful about my writing. For the most part, I don’t write for others but for myself. However, that does not negate the incredible joy to know that someone else has read my words, and their day changed if only in the slightest way. I am learning that life is very rarely simple, just there are common elements we all can explore; to make ourselves better and to make others better. Thank you for your comment. Thank you is such a basic thing to say, but I sincerely hope that it conveys the very real and beautiful feelings your words gave to me. I wish you the best of luck – J
Jen Czahur said:
I’m grateful and glad that I let you know. I can be shy about the strangest things. But yes, it was a good thing to have happen to me and I’m happy you knowing that has in turn been a good thing for you. Best of luck to you as well.
The most important thing is to NEVER EVER let your illness define you or who you are. You are not reliving your parent’s love story. You are carving your own path in this world and trying to figure things out for yourself and for that you deserve nothing but respect. I don’t have any disease yet I as myself these questions everyday. It’s in our nature to be suspicious of ourselves and our actions and question ourselves a billion and one times before doing anything.