Having someone who is outside the realm of your experience comment/judge on your experience is more than just a little maddening. You get slightly defensive, or maybe you feel slightly inferior. In all reality, the person is just trying to help, but mental illness and addiction are not something I think you can “imagine.” It is sort of like envisioning being a parent without actually having a child. Before I had GG, I had all these grandiose ideas and assumed emotions that were so far off base it isn’t even funny. This is one of those times where experiential trumps ideation.
As an alcoholic active in recovery and as a woman who has battled mental illness her whole life, I am really skilled at feeling less than. I rock that mutha fucka on a daily basis. I can talk all day long logially about how the peripheral “you” should love and accept yourself and when the spotlight hits me, I’m gone. I have strong ideas about who I am, and how strong I am, but it only takes some perceived slight to make me feel like an absolute moron. Why do I keep freely giving away all of my power? I feel like I’ve been slowly extricating myself from a life-threatening car crash these last few months.
I had a friend over this week who hit the nail on the head. She was talking about the pain after one of her knee surgeries and she said “I honestly kept thinking this is more pain and anguish than a human can survive.” I get that. I think I’ve been stuck feeling like that on and off for most of two years.
Those closest to me and doctors/nurses have some idea of the hell I’ve been through over the last three years, but I really do think that some people are all up in their heads thinking “suck it up, I do.” And I get it. I used to think that in earlier sobriety and I used to think that when I was working through the deepest part of my sexual trauma, but I just don’t feel that way anymore. For whatever reason, the repeated medical trauma and repeated consequences of my body regularly dumping insulin has left me a little gun shy. Okay, a lot gun-shy and that’s a weird-ass metaphor since I’m not a huge fan of guns in general.
I digress, people are just people. We all need support and sometimes we need a little ass- kicking. The ass-kicking doesn’t work, though, if you aren’t ready to receive it. I feel like I am clutching at God and friends and my daughter and husband lately with an absolute iron grip. I will squeeze every inch of beauty from this world but I will also scream until I am hoarse if i think it might help me or someone else feel better. Because feeling awful? Fuck that.
I am not always well. I’m inching incrementally inside this burned out frame of metal. Some days I feel like I am going to reach it in a few moments, and other days I feel like I will be trapped forever. The only thing I know is to just keep going. I know that getting outside of myself and letting my feelings out, and trying to be a better person and understanding that I’m not in charge (and I really never was) is the key to living this life. I know I need to rewrite my neural pathways and teach myself I am ok again.
Today, GG (my daughter) threw four out-and-out tantrums. Not one. Not two. Four. It was guttural and it went deep into my marrow and honestly it only heightened that I felt like that inside. I want to be able to fix everything for her, but I know I can’t. I know I have to be attuned to her needs and teach her how to calm herself down, but it is tough. This is the hardest job I have ever had, because it matters more than any other job. If I can create in her the self-esteem I wish I had, and the strong sense that she will be fine no matter what as long as she is humble and leans on a higher power, and as long as she is adding light and kindness to this world, than I have done my job. The thing about parenting, is that it is exactly like teaching: giving information versus modeling aren’t even in the same stratosphere. Ergo, I have to learn to be a happier and lighter person for my daughter, while still trying to be honest and authentic for me. Today that seems extremely daunting. Fuck. Me.
Because today, I am the Blue Rock Lizard she is carefully examining through the glass.