I suppose in life, like in anything, there are tragedies and then there are TRAGEDIES. Death is always a favorite. Poverty, sudden or constant. I would even say the major discussion that you are forced to participate in with doctors and parents the day you are diagnosed as insane is in itself a tragedy. But this isn’t the greatest and most sublime.
I am in the middle of the most intense therapy of my life. I don’t know why this time is different, if it is me or simply my courage. I don’t know if I particularly like all the internal changes and the external questions. I am not sure about these huge revelations that are beginning to occur. Revelations that are so big that my therapist has moved our appointments from once a week to every other week so that I have time not only to ingest these new sublime thoughts but so that I can began finding an answer within myself. I don’t go to therapy so that they can tell me what is wrong and what is needed; I go to learn it for myself.
Today I learned that I have incredible coping skills among those with mental health. I should get a plaque. My son breaks both arms, not a problem, hospital on my way. There is no power or a/c in my new apartment…not a problem I can call all parties in the hopes to find a solution. The point is I can cope, and I can do so with a perfectly acceptable social masque that does not give a hint as to how I really feel. Apparently my use of the masque has finally become socially acceptable.
I knew going into this therapy that there were major things happening inside of my soul, if not my brain. I knew that despite finding the right therapist, I was needing a guidance I have never asked for. Someone was looking out for me because I got the right therapist.
What she has taught in the few weeks others couldn’t do in years. And yet in our sessions I would say she only speaks about 10 – 20 words. Total. But she slowly forces me to ask the questions that I know are sitting there, and I know that I can touch, but have only just now found the courage to do so. She requires that I don’t fix the wound on the skin, but the major and most sublime wound on my soul. And I can’t be led by her, because scars on the heart heal but scars on the soul destroy. And the only one who sees my soul is me and I have long been destroyed.
Today’s meeting wasn’t on coping skills, according to my doctor that while most come for only that there is something more important happening with me. The changes that I am slowly and almost desperately wanting to happen aren’t those that can be taught in a session. The teachings go way beyond the sessions. Think Buddhist Monk on mountain top praying in the lotus position.
There was one hurdle that I was going to have to overcome. There was one little, tiny, bitty issue that was blocking the way forward. My therapist couldn’t quite answer if this was only one of many such hurdles, but I am also learning to have hope.
What is the greatest and most sublime tragedy of life? When our friends and our love ones categorize us to the extent that we lose all sense of our identity. More specifically for me, when my family, my husband, and to an extent some strangers look at me and see nothing but a disease. I am a disease. Not, I have a disease. But that the only thing I could ever be is my disease.
I know that I am guilty of doing this same thing out of fear and laziness. When your husband can easily blame everything you do and don’t do on a disease there is so much you can get away with. When your parents are racked with guilt and self-denial, you get presents because you are a disease. A disease, alive and breathing, that completely and totally subverts the real self is not the tragedy. Those who have perpetrated the myth that who and what I am is only this, lost me. And the loss of myself, whether good or bad, because no one can see beyond the disease including myself, is the tragedy.
I know they lost me because for the first time in my life things are changing deep inside of myself. My soul is finally starting to stir. The air in my lungs are finally breathing the first steps of freedom, and while I think it will ultimately destroy everything I have and everything I know, this is a journey I might have to take.
Because it is time to finally figure out who I am. Not the disease, but me. And if you think that will be easy do I have real estate to sell you. For instance, let’s talk food. My favorite food is…wait for it…hell, if I know. I don’t like my son’s pizza, my daughter’s spaghetti, my husband’s wings. I don’t think I really like meat, bread, or even over seasoned food. I think I like plain vegetables and fruit only, ONLY. But I don’t know if this is exactly right, because those who blame this disease, also expect that I perform in a certain way. And yes, in some ways eat in the same way.
And maybe it is not fair to say that I have been a trained dancing chicken for so long. Maybe it is my fault for not concentrating on who and what I was growing up. Maybe it is my fault that I forgot that sometimes I am important too.
But if I can’t even definitely tell you what my favorite food is, then the world just became a lot larger. What color do I really want my hair? Do I really want another tattoo? Am I interested in running? How easy would it really be to quit smoking? Do I want to wear jeans or some of the dresses I have been buying? Do I feel anything if the world is left alone, and not touched by me in any way? And if my greatest dream is to run away, can I even with the disappointment it would bring?
I can handle tragedy in all forms. My therapists checked that box years ago. But can I handle figuring who and what I am, beyond this disease? And can I do it with my mother’s doubts, my sister’s cynicism, or my father’s ignorance? Can I do it knowing that my husband will never be able to see me beyond this disease and will believe with his unbelievable capability for not only doubt but his ease in believing the worst of every situation? Can I do it if the mother that lies within the earth and beats so wonderfully through us, doesn’t allow it?
Can I have courage? Overcoming the greatest and most sublime tragedy of life isn’t about the change, but the courage to see it through.