Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A letter to my future self (from the past, the unpublished archives)

I'm actually not sure when I wrote the below but I would hazard to guess it's over a year ago. I've been absent from here for too long. I've not written for too long. I'm back again. My stats page is telling me that people are still visiting and I'm thankful to you. I'm glad you're still here but now I need to sort out the new themes and make this place home again. But, until then I leave you with this, from the unpublished archives:

I've not always been good to myself. It's not that I've been any worse to myself than your average person but I have pushed myself in areas that I instinctively knew weren't good for me. I thought that the pain I felt as a result of it was just normal, a part of life and living, and that it was just the way life is supposed to be. I knew I had it in me to be more adventurous and free, and to let go more, but I chose security for the most part because that's what we're taught to do, it's what we're supposed to do, but mostly because that's what I needed to do at the time. Or thought I needed. Both knowing and thinking hold equal power in our minds most of the time if we're not careful.

I've been on a spiritual path for, what, two decades now.

I've read so much that it's a wonder that my head hasn't exploded and that my mind hasn't expanded beyond the non-existent limits of the Universe.

(Is there really such a thing as non-existent limits of the Universe, or is the Universe in fact what I suspected as a child, something that's contained in a glass jar that some kid has stashed under his bed because he doesn't want his clean freak mum to know it exists. Everyone and then he adds something to the cocktail and maybe a new star is born, a black hole swallows something up or we discover a new galaxy thinking that we've learned to look farther.)

I know much about psychology not because I've been in therapy but because I was curious about my mind and other's.

I've filled my head with handy how-to lists mostly on how to fix yourself and less with how to keep your house neat and tidy.

I've absorbed wisdom from times past and present, and I've compared it and come to realize how much is rehashed, repackaged and resold as "new" thoughts. (I guess we all have to make a living somehow.)

I've taken the advice of those I thought knew more than me and I applied it to me, sometimes out of desperation and sometime out of pure curiosity as though life is just one big experiment. I know now that I prefer the experiments. The desperate attempts never yielded quite the same lasting results and they were, well, desperate attempts.

I've wondered what's wrong with me when something I tried that "should" work didn't work, when I didn't seem to shine bright enough or when I just failed to get anything out of what I was doing even though I followed the instructions to the letter. To the letter.

I've taken two steps forward and one step back, I've danced the cha-cha all my life just very seldom to my own beat and I've allowed myself to be told too many times that I'm not doing it right and I've corrected my steps accordingly. Most of the time it made it easier for me to follow but the whole time the emptiness grew bigger in me and the only thing that could be heard in there was the sorrowful sound of my own aching heart. I broke my own heart more times than other beings combined.

I had dreams I stepped on with the same authority as the parents I once blamed for all the ills in my life had done, or had done in my mind at least.

I had love in me that punched a hole in the wall next to my head just as he had done so many times when it was too obvious to hit my face.

I had ideas that were killed in performance reviews I gave myself over and over because goodness knows I could use correction and improvement.

I hid myself from myself because I did what I thought others had done to me all my life; I lived in the knowing that for the most part I was wrong, I didn't fit in and I just wasn't good enough, and if I was good enough I should still to better.

I polished my persona, acquired many masks and I learned to fit in so that the rest of humanity would accept me for who I am.

I've stood alone because I refused to see the crowd of people around me ready to support.

I fought battles that weren't mine just because I thought I was better at it than others and because I thought that the thing one thing I'm good is protecting others.

I feared because it was safer than actually stepping out in the light and be accepted.

Then I broke. I broke so hard and in so many pieces that there was no way it was ever going to be but back together again in the same way. I stood in the mess of scattered pieces of me and I realized that because I wasn't of my own making there was no way I could pull this pile of experiences and carefully crafted personas back together. I had to start a new venture and create a new me.

There was nothing I could do I realized as I carefully, tearfully, picked and poked at the pieces before me, and I was scared, I was so scared, because everything was lost. Everything was lost. There in the silence of my broken self everything was lost.

I sat on the comfy couch in my therapist's office and I asked him if I could ever recover from this. He said what all therapists say in a situation like that, he said "What do you think? - the most annoying and seemingly unhelpful answer in the Universe but it made me think, at the time it made me think. (He later told me that he couldn't believe he actually said that because it's not very helpful. We laughed about it.)

I had no idea. None.

I had no trust in myself when it came to recovery. None.

I had no strength. None.

I had no wisdom to draw on. None.

When he said it I didn't look at him, I kept staring at the floor with the feeling that I was now looking to myself for answers because there was no one else to ask. I answered "I don't know but if it's a matter of choice I choose to recover starting now."

And, I did.

I choose to recover. I went from maxing out on the measured depression and anxiety scales to hitting normal levels and virtually non-existent levels. I did that in seven months. I refused to let up on myself, give up on myself or even let myself off the hook once. I parented the parts of me that had been left behind and allowed to remain immature and I did that, not because I'm super human but because I'm human and that's what we're capable of when we stubbornly refuse to let go of wanting something better for ourselves.

I came out the other end and I began to rebuild and I began to create. I started seeing possibilities and opportunities and I began to hope.

Onward. That is all.


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