Since I wrote 13 Reasons.. I have felt a shift in my perception. Between the books I’m reading, re-committing myself to meditation and mindfulness, and trying to build consistency and routine again, I have felt a lot of positive changes in my life (I also discovered water is wet!).
That post prompted me to reflect more on my life. I’ve never been able to picture myself growing old. I’m not sure if that is weird, but I always took it as a sign I was going to die young. I remember, on my wedding day, having this dark thought of “I wonder how long this will last?” It wasn’t about the success or failure of my marriage (although maybe I was prophetic); it was about how long I would live. I always believed I would not make it past 35. I’m 34 and a half, so I’m really focusing on “making it work” as Tim Gunn would say. It is this deep rooted belief that has actually darkened all of my clouds.
One of the blessings of my mind is my vivid imagination. I can conjure up worlds in my brain. It’s great, because I am completely entertained by myself. One of the curses of my mind is my vivid imagination. I can conjure up hell in my brain. It’s terrifying, because I can completely torture myself. The fact that, not once, could I visualize what I thought I’d look like as an old lady bothered me.
I started reading these books because I know my life is ruled by fear and all of the hats fear likes to wear – anger, anxiety, depression, etc. My mental health is equally chemical and situational. Do I believe I need support from medication to manage my life? Yes, absolutely. Do I believe that is enough? No. That mentality is like someone with diabetes shooting insulin while nomming on donuts. My mind is a result of my environment and my environment is a result of my mind. Connecting with my fear – which is the fear of the unknown – is helping me be more open and honest with myself.
I’ve always believed that as you eliminate fear, which is ego in disguise, you free yourself up to experience new things, but more importantly, to contemplate more. When I spend all my time worrying about paying bills, I have no time to think about where the hell I came from or why the hell I am here. I can’t believe paying PECO is my purpose in life.
After Jack and I separated, I became focused on “What makes me happy?” With my kids gone part of the time, I realized that being ___’s Mom & Jack’s wife was also not my sole purpose in life. I realized, finally, that the root of so many of my issues were externalizing the very notion of my happiness. I love my mantra of “I wish to be what I am to become”. Happiness is one of my purposes, and it is my choice and perception.
I think the most difficult part of connecting with true happiness is watching yourself take it away. I think, in part, I became afraid of being happy, because I fear I will rob myself of it (again). When I practiced numbing and disassociation, life was easier, in the sense that apathy is an illusion of being free of pain. Managing life with bipolar and the alphabet soup of diagnoses requires effort, but everything requires effort. I’m unique like everyone else.
I am 34 years old, and I still cannot tell you what exactly “baseline” means to me from a mood or even goal-setting perspective. I typically wake one way, change 4 times, and go to bed in a completely different mindset. The only way I have found to cope is to meditate frequently, and foster a calm, quiet, peaceful environment as much as possible. I find myself hiding from the kids a lot to re-center myself. I used to feel guilty about it, but I realized it’s as natural as breathing. I need to care for my mind, because when I don’t, my mind tries to kill me. My vivid imagination has a habit of making me watch a sick movie of me slitting my wrists a lot.
If I had continued as I was, I do believe that my prophecy of dying before I was 35 would have come true. Frankly, I believe my obituary would have listed October 1, 1982 to January 27, 2017 – when I almost rammed into a telephone pole doing 60mph because I fell asleep behind the wheel. The next day, I went to the hospital. The past few months have been digging 6 feet up while being shown the true meaning of karma and intention. I do not think I have ever felt as low as I have in the past few months; lamenting, “how many fucking times can a person hit bottom?”
Then I saw this, and I set my intention to get back to where I was, only better – 2 weeks ago today. 1 week ago today, I began reading and doing some serious work. I started remembering dreams again, and I started seeing my smile again. I have such a beautiful smile. I have awesome dimples, and my eyes are gorgeous, and all around, I am in love with my face when I smile. It’s so damn rare, but all this week, that smile has been out again.
Every night, in my meditation, I have seen that smile. That smile was surrounded by wrinkles, and curly white hair. That smile was attached to an old woman who was covered in tattoos. She is a grandmom to a beautiful little girl with curly brown hair and dimples, and a handsome young man who is the spitting image of her oldest with chestnut hair and eyes. That woman was sitting on a green wooden rocking chair, on a big porch where you could see and hear the beach. I saw her die comfortably in bed one night, with that same smile on her face, and I knew she lived every single dream she ever had. That woman was me.
All week, I have been working on new affirmations, with my favorites being, “Love did not create this” and “I release fear and choose to see love”. As I’ve had anxiety, intrusive thoughts, and that dreadful movie play, I’ve brought myself back with those and substituted the image of a happy old lady. I don’t know specifically what my purpose is, but you better believe I will hold those grandbabies.