June 27, 2010
Over the years I have developed a picture of what a human being living humanely is like. She is a person who understand, values and develops her body, finding it beautiful and useful; a person who is real and is willing to take risks, to be creative, to manifest competence, to change when the situation calls for it, and to find ways to accommodate to what is new and different, keeping that part of the old that is still useful and discarding what is not ~Virginia Satir
This has been the Second Day of Sunset…
Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm,
but to add color to my sunset sky…
May 24, 2010
I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet. ~Sylvia Plath
I am not the person who is singing
I am the silent one inside
I am not the one who laughs at people’s jokes
I just pacify their egos
I am not my house, my car, my songs
They are only just stops along my way
I am like the winter
I’m a dark cold female
With a golden ring of wisdom in my cave
And it is me who is my enemy
Me who beats me up
Me who makes the monsters
Me who strips my confidence
I am carrying my voice
I am carrying my heart
I am carrying my rhythm
I am carrying my prayers
But you can’t kill my spirit
It’s soaring and it’s strong
Like a mountain
I’ll go on and on
But when my wings are folded
The brightly colored moth
Blends into the dirt into the ground
And it’s me who’s too weak
And it’s me who’s too shy
To ask for the thing I love
And it’s me who’s too weak
And it’s me who’s too shy
To ask for the thing I love
That I love
I am walking on the bridge
I am over the water
And I’m scared as hell
But I know there’s something better
Yes I know there’s something
Yes I know, I know, yes I know
That I love
But it’s me
And it’s me
But it’s me
March 18, 2010
I have been putting off writing this entry all day. I didn’t feel emotionally capable of writing anything yesterday either, which is why I resorted to posting a song (which is one of my favorites). I’ve had a lot of different emotions coursing through me, many thoughts twirling around in my head… But I’m having difficulty putting a name to them or defining their source. I have that trouble sometimes. I will be feeling a certain way and I can’t figure out why.
For example, when I have my “homesick” feeling. It’s not an actual homesickness – that is just how I described it as a very young child. It is an acute, throbbing pain somewhere below my heart but above my stomach (I actually think this is called the “solar plexus” if you want to get technical… I just learned that term a few days ago haha). That’s the physical aspect of it – the accompanying emotion can only be described as a deep “longing” of sorts. I remember first experiencing this when I was three years old, lying on my bed, staring at the ceiling. It still persists, and I have yet to figure out exactly what it is and where it comes from. It strikes at seemingly random times and is the worst feeling in the world. It almost feels like I’m sinking rapidly into a never-ending pit. I’ve just come to accept that it happens… I just wish I understood it.
Anyways, I just feel kind of melancholy today. Not a depressive melancholy… more a contemplative one, where I just feel mellow and thoughtful. Though I can honestly say I haven’t thought very about much today… Well, not purposely (there’s always an inner dialogue going on in the background of my mind which can be either so loud as to drown out everything else or as quiet as a faint whisper…depending on the day). I almost feel like my thoughts and emotions are “digesting” today, if that makes any sense. But I’ve been avoiding writing, probably because I can’t put my finger on exactly what’s going on in that unpredictable brain of mine, and I’m worried about what might come out once I put my fingers to the keyboard.
Well, as you can see, nothing too drastic has happened yet, but it might soon once I finally do what I avoided doing last night – writing about an experience I had stumbling upon something from my past. I was going through my documents on my laptop, cleaning up and organizing, etc. I came across a folder called “Received Files” that I had never noticed before. Another folder was stored under that one called “History.” Hm. So I opened that one to find the entire transcript of a very long instant message conversation that took place a year and a half ago with my boyfriend at the time. Against my better judgment (maybe), I read it. All of it.
It was painful. So painful in fact, that I spaced out for several minutes and freaked out my mom a bit. It brought back a lot of thoughts, feelings, fears, etc. that I had been feeling at that time in my life, most of which I understand now to be the symptoms of BPD raging their ugly heads. The pain I felt as I read it was from utter disgust with myself. Well, disgust is probably too strong of a word, but I was in complete shock with the things that I said in this particular conversation. And this was but one conversation. I could recall many similar conversations, some much, much worse, in which I had taken one little thing this guy said, misunderstood or twisted it (unintentionally, mind you), and then strongly reacted to it. The poor guy hadn’t even said anything out of line, but it seemed I took it completely the wrong way and fought tooth-and-nail as if it had been a giant monster ready to devour me. As my eyes scanned the words exchanged – him trying to explain what he had meant and reassure me, with me simultaneously accusing him of not loving me and threatening to call everything off – I was stunned at just how obvious my insecurities and fears are, how terrified of rejection I am. I took one perceived criticism, saw it as a very real threat of abandonment, and lost grasp of all reality.
After reading this, I felt incredibly ashamed, and sorry for what I had put this guy through. Then, I realized something very big and very important. I was seeing it. I could see where I had misunderstood. I could see how I reacted. I could see that the way I was talking and behaving was irrational (though at the time, it was perfectly rational to me). I could see my struggle with BPD being played out right in front of me. This was a major sign to me that I have come far since then, that I am much more in touch with reality now that I can identify my own problematic behaviors. I could never have seen it back then – the pain, the fear, the insecurity…that was my reality in the moment. Now, I can see what actually happened in that conversation. Things are a lot clearer. And even though while reading it, I could still feel the intense pain that the conversation caused, I understood more of where it was coming from and that it wasn’t me. It’s not my fault that I behaved so irrationally and hurtfully. Now, I’m not saying I shouldn’t take responsibility for what transpired, but I understand that the root cause was my disorder in all its complexities, not some fundamental flaw in me.
Now if I can only look at other things that happened in my past in that same light… I might be well on my way towards forgiving myself, for not hating myself, for not acting out the loathing I carry deep inside for the mistakes I have made and for the people I have hurt. That’s going to take a long time… Even after that breakthrough in separating me from my illness, I am still going back and forth in my mind about it… That voice in my head that tells me I’m a horrible person and that I should feel ashamed for everything, ashamed for even being alive, is so loud. Maybe that’s what I’ve been fighting all day, and just didn’t realize it. In any event, I think this was a very important step, regardless of whether my mind and emotions want to accept it yet or not.
Well, I did it. I wrote about it. I did what I’ve been running from all day.
I guess it wasn’t so bad in the end.
March 11, 2010
I’m taking on a big task today. I’m facing those nasty “shoulds” that have been hounding me for years now, not only originating from my own perfectionism and unrealistic expectations for myself, but also other people’s expectations and ideas of what I “should” be doing with my life. I was a pretty smart kid – skipped two grades, graduated high school early, went to college on full scholarship at 17 years old, etc. School was just always easy for me. After I graduated college, I really had no clue what I wanted to do, but I kind of took it for granted that I would get a post-graduate degree. I considered several options, including law school, business school, or going for a Masters or PhD. However, nothing ever seemed to really fit, and honestly, while I did miss the learning aspect of education, I didn’t really relish the idea of going back to school for another three to five years. So for three years now I’ve been going back and forth with the idea, getting input from other people, and changing my mind every few weeks it seems.
Friends, family, and coworkers have also felt the need to “advise” me as to my life path. My boss encouraged me towards business, my aunt practically begged me to become a lawyer, and a close friend of mine even told me that if I didn’t go to grad school, he would be “disappointed” and that I would not be “living up” to my “potential.” So here I am, bombarded with all of these pressures, on top of the nagging voice in my head saying “If you don’t, you’ll regret it!” and “Don’t sell yourself short!” So great was my anxiety over the issue that it was the topic of many sessions with my therapist. She presented me with a very important question that, at the time, I could not even answer: “What do YOU want?”
The query stumped me. I didn’t really know. I just had this expectation built up that I was going to become something “great,” and somehow that translated into becoming some sort of professional with multiple degrees. But how did I define “great”? What would I consider as “living up to my potential”? What do I want to do with my life? Who do I want to be? What would make ME happy? At the time, I was so overwhelmed by opinions and expectations that I couldn’t even identify my own inner voice. I just assumed that the only way I could ever be happy with myself was if I went back to school… But what if I didn’t? What if I decided grad school wasn’t the thing for me, at least for right now? What if I decided on another path? For a long time, I couldn’t find those answers within myself, and I continued in my discontentment and lack of direction.
Yesterday I had an enormous breakthrough. I was able to identify those things that make me the happiest. I realized that going to grad school at this time in my life would NOT make me the happiest. Sure, I could do it, no doubt. But do I want to? No. What makes me happy? Expressing myself through music and writing. Being a daughter, sister, friend. Being involved in my church. Learning on my own through good books. Trying in some small way to make a difference in this world. Volunteering. Loving. Enjoying nature. Discovering who I am and just being that woman, no more, no less.
What do I want for my life? What do I hope to become when I am recovered and healthy in every way? I will tell you.
First and foremost, I want to be a wife and mother someday. I want to have a beautiful, peaceful home full of love and happiness. I want to be a wonderful lover, best friend, and incredible wife to the husband I hope to have one day. I want to have children. I want silly things like… Surprising my husband when he comes home from work with a candlelight dinner. Tucking my children into bed and telling them stories I make up from the top of my head. Taking my kids to soccer practice and ballet lessons. Going on romantic picnics with my husband. I want a flower garden. I want to invent delicious and healthful meals for my family. I want the kind of home that my kids’ friends will love to hang out at. I want to teach my children how to love God, others, and themselves. I want my home to be full of warmth, love, music, and laughter.
I want to be a supportive and loving daughter to my parents. I want to be a positive example to my younger siblings, especially my little sister as she becomes a teenager. I want to be there for my family whenever they need me.
I want to be a published writer.
I want to go to a community college and get an associates degree in music and become a music teacher. I want to give piano lessons in my home. I want to write my own songs and maybe someday make an album.
I want to travel when I can and see as much of this beautiful world as possible.
I want to serve in my church.
I want to keep learning for the rest of my life, and developing new skills.
I want to live my life with passion, taking advantage of every opportunity that comes my way and living life to the fullest.
I want to change the world for good in some way and let my light shine. I want to be a conduit of God’s love and an instrument in His hands to lift His children. I want to inspire others and help those in need in whatever way God has planned.
I don’t need to be a lawyer or doctor to be happy and make a difference in the world. I might still do that someday when my kids are grown, but it is not what I feel is best right now. The last time I was in the hospital, I had this overwhelming feeling that I have something important to do with my life, and that is why God needs me here. I’m not sure what that is yet, but I believe as I do those things I listed above – the things that make me and others around me happy – I will surely discover my purpose.
Finally, I feel free from those expectations and “shoulds” I had bound myself with for so long. Free to enjoy my life. Free to be all that I can be. Free to reach my true potential.