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?