May 22, 2010

Anything You Want to Say?…

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , at 2:40 pm by eddejae

More and more, I find that words are simply inadequate. As emotions become more complicated, as situations increase in their complexity, as life grows layer upon layer upon layer…

Words lose their power.

So I find myself turning to music and to art to express what I cannot say…

Fleeting images and sounds strung together impress upon the soul in an indelible way tongue-formed syllables never will…

I don’t give a damn about the castle on the hill,
All the gold that we could eat, or the horse you had for sale,
No I’m getting kinda rich on the side of any soul alive.
I don’t give a damn if I’m running from the law
When my moneys not enough and they come and take it all,
No I’m getting kinda rich on the side of any soul alive.

Have you heard the Mona Lisa
Have you heard who you are
You’re a new morning
You’re a new morning

Wanna be ok when I’m sitting here alone,

Not just thinking of the ways that I could have done it wrong,

No I’m getting kinda rich on the side of any soul alive.

Have you heard the Mona Lisa
Have you heard who you are
You’re a new moring
You’re a new morning
You’re a new morning

Now, you’re a new morning now
Have you heard my Mona Lisa
Have you heard who you are
You’re a new morning
You’re a new morning
You’re a new morning

Now, you’re a new morning now


April 9, 2010

Let Me Live

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:06 am by eddejae

Tonight my thoughts are tripping over each other struggling for expression, overflowing the delicate vessel of my mind and spilling out into words – words inadequate, unreliable, unpredictable. If only words could capture the true essence of thought, of emotion, of meaning. If only words had the universal power of music in their ability to convey the spirit of what is intended – communication in its purest form. Less subject to varied interpretation than poetry or art. Dance is one step closer I believe, but still unparalleled to sound purposefully organized to resonate in the very soul of the listener – setting particles in motion, inspiring feeling, painting vivid mental pictures, conveying a story through the combination of tone, rhythm, and measured silence.

Take, for example, Beethoven’s Symphony Number 7 in A, Op 92: II. Allegretto. The first time I heard it, I wept. It would be an iron-souled person indeed who was not compelled to feel – and to feel deeply – the angst, the desire, the passion that Beethoven is able to infuse in the very heart of the sensitive listener. I cannot listen to this piece without feeling my spirit being lifted into a higher realm, where emotion is experienced more deeply, tinged with a surreal sense of otherworldliness. I envy the ability to create such music. I don’t believe I would ever feel the need to speak if I had such a divine power. My music would speak volumes, and would be more than sufficient to communicate the true depth of my feelings on pain, on love, on despair, on joy, on the ebb and flow of life.

I am sitting in my room. It is completely dark except for the light shining from my computer monitor. The draft from the ceiling fan mingles with the coolness of the night air drifting through the open window, creating a pleasant and calming breeze. Beethoven’s genius permeates the darkness surrounding me. Looking outside my window, I can see the willowy forms of the gray shadows that have followed me about today. I am not afraid of them now. Armed with the strength of music and the spoken word, I will use them for my own benefit. I shall let them inspire me, not torture me. They are under my power now, to move and to speak and to act according to my will. With the force of my mind I command them to dance a mysterious dance in time with Beethoven. Twirling, leaping, tilting, swaying… Now gone.  The weary shadows waltz each other away into the blackness of the night. I shall miss them, perhaps.

What is it about the night that inspires me so? Why is it that in some moments, I beg for sleep to overcome me, to numb my feelings, quiet my mind, and paralyze my body into blessed stillness? Why is it that at some times, I pray for the angel of rest to pass by my door, too fascinated by the magic of the night to yield to sleep’s unconscious stupor with its muddled and sometimes frightening dreams? Insomnia is at once a curse and a blessing. I drift in and out of phases of chronic vigilance, in which I am held captive by the clutches of sleeplessness, plagued by the lack of refreshing respite from the cares of the day. I lie wide-eyed in the darkness while others bask in the throes of unconsciousness.  Many things, both dark and disturbing, inspiring and enlightening,  lurk in the corners of my mind as the ticking clock propels me closer to morning light. Weep for me, oh ye fully rested ones who slip into dreamland the moment your heads alight upon your soft pillows. And yet, despair…for only such as I hold within their weary souls the secrets of the night…

I am staring at the tiny white Seroquel pill and glass of water in front of me. I know I should take it, but I don’t want to. It makes me sleepy, and I want to be awake tonight. Free from dreams, free from endless tossing and turning, free to do as I please with this quiet solitude that is all mine. I wish I were brave (or foolish) enough to go out for a walk. The air is crisp, the sounds of the night coming through my window enticing, and I long to mingle with my fellow nocturnal creatures. But here I remain, in the safety and comfort of my little room, listening to my music, hiding from the Sandman.

I am alone, but somehow… I am not lonely. The gentle breeze wraps its arms around me, the music cradles me in its gentle embrace, and even the darkness seems soothing to the yet raw and aching wounds of my soul. My head aches and my eyes are bleary, but I am no longer numb inside. The icy chill in my heart has at last been thawed by the fiery strains of the music and the softening ambiance of the evening. Sometimes I think it is better to feel sorrow than nothing at all, better to feel pain than that cold, empty, hollow, dreary numbness in which there is no saving spark of fire, no glimmering undercurrent of hope in the sadness. Of course, it is far better than either of these things to feel joy, but when that cannot be attained, I’d take any emotion that carries with it some kind of soul-moving ache than over the deadness that seems to eat through your heart and mind, creating a vapid nothingness where every color turns to gray and every thing around you turns to dust.

And then, sometimes, I’d rather feel nothing at all than experience the pain. Or… I’d rather feel the pain on the outside than on the inside. I guess, still, that is preferring pain over numbness. I was born to feel. Without it, I do not exist.

I would rather be ashes than dust!

I would rather that my spark should burn out

in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.

I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom

of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.

The function of man is to live, not to exist.

I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.

I shall use my time.

~Jack London

So sing to me, oh violin, cello, flute. Stir my soul into feeling when nothing else will. Satisfy my longing to feel alive. Comfort me, oh night, oh darkness, oh solitude.  Let my very breath vibrate the air with a subtle music of my own. Let my every atom resonate with love, with light, in tune with the universe surrounding me. Let me cry in agony, let me sing with joy, anything… Just let me exist, exist with every particle of my being. Yet, not merely to exist… Let me be alive.  LET…ME…LIVE…

I want to feel passion, I want to feel pain. I want to weep at the sound of your name. Come make me laugh, come make me cry… just make me feel alive.” ~Joey Lauren Adams

March 11, 2010

Visions of the Future

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:10 pm by eddejae

Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us. ~Wilma Rudolph

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.

March 7, 2010

Beauty from Pain

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , at 11:03 pm by eddejae

The pain passes, but the beauty remains. ~Renoir

I first heard the following song today, and it had such an impact on me I had to share it. I feel like I could have written it myself, it hits so close to home.

The lights go out all around me
One last candle to keep out the night
And then the darkness surrounds me
I know I’m alive but I feel like I’ve died
And all that’s left is to accept that it’s over
My dreams ran like sand through the fists that I made
I try to keep warm but I just grow colder
I feel like I’m slipping away

After all this has passed, I still will remain
After I’ve cried my last, there’ll be beauty from pain
Though it won’t be today,
Someday I’ll hope again
And there’ll be beauty from pain
You will bring beauty from my pain

My whole world is the pain inside me
The best I can do is just get through the day
When life before is only a memory
I’ll wonder why God lets me walk through this place
And though I can’t understand why this happened
I know that I will when I look back someday
And see how you’ve brought beauty from ashes
And made me as gold purified through these flames

After all this has passed, I still will remain
After I’ve cried my last, there’ll be beauty from pain
Though it won’t be today,
Someday I’ll hope again
And there’ll be beauty from pain
You will bring beauty from my pain

Here I am, at the end of me
Trying to hold to what I can’t see
I forgot how to hope
This night’s been so long
I cling to Your promise
There will be a dawn

After all this has passed, I still will remain
After I’ve cried my last, there’ll be beauty from pain
Though it won’t be today,
Someday I’ll hope again
And there’ll be beauty from pain
You will bring beauty from my pain

February 27, 2010

Head in the Clouds

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:53 pm by eddejae

Today was rather odd. For most of the day I felt like I was walking around in a dream and I was going to wake up any moment… Almost like I never really woke up this morning. Nothing felt “real” and I kept spacing out. I kind of had this ache in the pit of my stomach that didn’t feel like my normal anxious/panicked feeling. It was more like a melancholy mixed with nausea, and my thought patterns and mood were just kind of “out there.” I don’t know if it was my medication, or just a side effect of the flu I’m still fighting, or what.

That achy feeling wouldn’t go away, and it was making me really uncomfortable, so my mind went automatically to somehow numbing it. I considered binging but I decided to play the piano instead. To my surprise, it actually helped quite a bit and that surreal, spacey, achy feeling subsided. I was glad I was able to use my music as a coping skill instead of going downhill again.

I also got rid of a big stressor that has been hanging over me for a while. This guy who has been interested in me for a few months now has been putting pressure on me to be in a relationship. A few weeks ago I told him I needed some time away from talking/texting (I needed time away from everyone, as a matter of fact… took a “social hiatus” if you will). He was still pretty persistent though in trying to contact me, to my annoyance. Well today he wrote me this long letter about how much he wants to be with me and will wait until I’m ready… blah blah blah… I mean, he’s a nice guy and everything… But I’m just not interested in him romantically and, in fact, I’m not ready for any kind of relationship with anyone right now. Dating is the last thing on my mind.

Well, I was pretty proud of how I handled the situation. I’ve been working with my therapist on setting healthy boundaries with others. So instead of being afraid to be honest, and allowing him continue to put that pressure on me, this is what I said:

I need to be honest with you about everything. I really needed this time “away” to regain a sense of self and figure things out. One of the things I realized is that I’m nowhere near being ready for any kind of relationship, and probably won’t be for a while. I’d hate for you to wait around for me, because I really can’t promise anything. I’m not even sure that when the time comes that I actually do want a relationship, I will be interested in you as anything more than a friend. I’ve changed a lot and “moved on” in a lot of ways, and it’s just not something that I think I want anymore.

I’m sorry if any of this hurts you. I just needed to tell you the truth. I do want to stay good friends though. You are a great person and I appreciate you being there for me through the tough times. Good luck with everything. I’ll talk to you later.

That’s it. No excuses, no beating around the bush… Just sweet and to the point. What a relief! So even though I didn’t really feel that great today, I still had two victories. And that made the day worth living.