Is this where I live now? This chaos in my brain? Yet again, I have started several posts and I have yet to finish one. I can’t seem to untangle the threads in my mind to string together enough words to even form a cohesive thought. Maybe that’s a goal I should abandon- cohesive thoughts. Instead, embrace the disorder and stunted assessments of my mind.
Last week I really wanted to write an uplifting #blessed post. But I couldn’t find it within my spirit. Thus bringing a truckload of guilt. Because when I can step outside of my mind- escape the oppressive emotions I experience- I see my abundance of blessings. I know I am a lucky human in the grand scheme. But shifting my focus and stepping outside of my emotion- my experience- doesn’t make the feelings disappear. Dear God, I wish it did. I hate how I feel. I hate that I cannot shake it. I hate that I am not as resilient as I pretend to be.
The post I began constructing last week was full of good intentions- but just resulted in this cheery excerpt:
“It’s Thanksgiving week. And because it’s Thanksgiving week, I want to fill myself with as much gratitude as possible. I want that to be my outlook. I want that to be the place that my mind resides. It’s not.
Wednesday morning, I shuffled in the darkness to Moose’s crib. He was still fast asleep in his footie pajamas and cocooned in his blanket. A toy car an arms reach away. I pulled my sleepy Moose from his crib and gently positioned him on my shoulder. He only stirred enough to settle his face into the nook of my neck as he whispered “Mommy’s bed”. A reflexive action that will always make my heart swell and bring a smile to my face. This is our routine every weekday morning. I cradle his ever growing body in my arms- breathe in his scent- and crawl back into my bed with him slumbering on my chest. It is one of my favorite times of day. And some mornings- Wednesday morning was one of them- the sweetness of it all is a bit heartbreaking.
I laid in the darkness, curled around him, and I prayed. I thanked God for this tiny human. I restrained the tears that wanted to cascade down my cheeks. Because I wasn’t sharing this sweet moment with anyone. The life I hoped for- the life I was led to believe wasn’t unreasonable to expect- doesn’t exist. It was all a figment of my imagination. A tale spun to me by a person with good intentions. I am trying hard to make myself believe that they were good intentions. So instead of snuggling my cherub, counting down the hours until a festive Thanksgiving Dinner, I was trying to cement in my brain how his little sleepy body felt on my chest. The way his curls tickle my nose. The smell of his skin. Because this holiday isn’t mine. I won’t get to gaze at his face across a table as I think “I’m so thankful you exist”. Instead, I get to plaster a sad smile to my face and pretend I am doing alright. I get to experience the pain of his absence for five days. Five very long days.”
It’s what I keep circling back to. It’s all one of my drafts from last week held- just those two words and a blinking cursor. I don’t want to be. I really, really don’t want to be. The robotic language in my head that has taken hold from years of therapy- and an overwhelming desire to feel “normal”- says that anger is a nonproductive emotion. It does nothing to change my circumstances. Nothing to improve my life. Plus, it just feels crummy. So I should just abandon it. Force it away.
But you see, that’s been the problem. I am remarkably good at forcing the negative emotions down- just below the surface. They are never as far away as I want to believe. I want to pretend that I can logic them away. That I have complete control of myself. That I can see the futile nature of the emotions and just abolish them. But that’s not reality. And no matter how much I declare the lie to myself that I will be healthy when I have said command of my feelings- it doesn’t make it truth.
I have written about how anger carried me through the process of my divorce. And it did. It helped me retain focus. It kept the sorrow from drowning me. But then I got tired of it. I didn’t want to be angry. Moreover, I didn’t want to be sad. I no longer wanted sorrow as a bedfellow. So I shucked it. Like an old, over sized coat. I shrugged it from my shoulders and determined it gone. I was free of it’s weight.
It was an illusion. A beautiful hallucination I constructed for myself. And one I hid behind really well- for a while. I didn’t rid myself of the pain. And the resulting anger became more insidious. It wasn’t the outward anger I had propped myself upon previously. No, that anger resulted in ranting and humorous- though dark- jokes. The new anger came in a new form. It was the protection of the vulnerable hurt. The mourning. The utter loss of control. It was a quiet thrum under everything I did. It lurked in the shadows, laying claim to everything I felt- everything I thought- any progress I attempted to make in my emotional journey. It has taken root as bitterness, sabotaging my joy. It was sharp and biting. Venomous.
I want to write that I have found the magical path. The healthy way to rid myself of this pervasive emotion. Partially to inspire hope. To have a beautiful epiphany to end on. But mostly, because that’s what I dream of. The easy way out. The answer that makes me feel strong and capable. But I haven’t. Instead, I am learning to sit with it. To curl into a ball and cry when I need to. To admit to the world that I am angry. And resentful. I feel weak. Some days, I feel utterly hopeless. But I keep telling myself, I am finally walking the healthy path. Because I am feeling. I am allowing myself to endure the process. I am forgiving myself for not being whole yet; for not having all of the solutions. Well, I am trying. And that’s commendable in itself.
I am grabbing the lifeline of a fantastic therapist. I am savoring my genuine laughter. The moments that hope floods back in. Because when I get to where I want to be, it will be honest not the hallucination I fed myself. This isn’t easy. It isn’t comfortable. And it isn’t as fast as I want. Because let’s be honest, when you hurt, you crave peace at near instantaneous speed. But that peace isn’t sustainable. It isn’t real. Today I allow myself to feel my hurt. My anger. My resentment. I put one foot in front of the other and clutch my faith. My faith that God didn’t build me wrong. My faith in joy. The faith I am building in myself.