First, please accept my (non-religious) prayers for you and your loved ones for your health, happiness, and sanity today and in the days following up to the new year. I pray that joy and hope are part of your day today, that if you shop the after-Christmas sales tomorrow, you quest untrodden, and that the miracle of familial accord settles upon your families for the duration of your visits. The proverbial eternal optimist.
My head is pounding, my thoughts are scattered, and my heart is aching. I made it through the day yesterday thanks to my cousin, Darla**, my long distance love, Trey**, a few of my true friends via Facebook, and strangely enough, PBS, also through Facebook. They posted a question asking what Christmas traditions people thought unique to their families. Apparently a lot of people give each other a new set of pajamas so they and other family members can be cute and comfortable while opening presents. I guess we can’t have mom in ragged, stained sweats in posterity’s photographs of ancestors. Makes perfect sense to me. I remember getting pajamas for Christmas often as a child and adolescent. But the point being, there were posts every little bit throughout the late afternoon and evening and it gave me something to which I could hang on.
I was going to watch a movie that came via Netflix, but I couldn’t find it when I went looking for it. I have a lot of trouble finding things. I’ve lost my organizational skills temporarily, and I need to buckle down and get things back in order tout de suite. Good luck with that. I have such difficulty getting started. Then carrying on till the whole thing is done. Then maintaining. You may have gathered, I simply have problems. Obsessional thinking is the hallmark of my OCD. I think about things and the chasm between thinking and doing is wide.
I’m impoverished, jobless. My children live with their father and I see them rarely. I’m overweight and my health is poor, and I am forced to sell my home. I have to be honest as to my starting point here. You’ve heard people say, ad nauseam, it could be worse. It has been worse for me.
But I am optimistic. Honestly optimistic. The Oxford English Dictionary defines optimism as having “hopefulness and confidence about the future or successful outcome of something; a tendency to take a favourable or hopeful view.” There’s being optimistic with no realistic possibility of the outcome taking place. It’s the difference between saying, “I am going to lose 20 pounds” and having a plan to lose those 20 pounds over time, succeeding, and saying the same thing with your ten-year class reunion three days away. There’s some factor involved, some deep knowledge within yourself, that you are going to do whatever it takes to make that goal happen. Otherwise, it’s just wishful thinking.
I don’t have a plan at the moment. But I do have that deep knowledge that I am going to do whatever it takes to 1) recover as much as possible from my mental breakdown; 2) have my children back with me; 3) have meaningful work that allows us to have what we need and some of what we want; 4) get as in shape as a 48-year-old woman can.
I don’t know if I can save my house. It’s not looking good. I don’t know if I can count on my long distance relationship being fulfilled because I’ve already transgressed against its goodwill by being dishonest about who I am. I’m starting at zero, in some respects. Rebuilding my life. Does that make me a zero? A loser? Some people would say yes. My brother in particular said that. But I’ve let go of toxic relationships and toxic people. I have been toxic to some people at some points in my life. I’ve mixed showing love with inflicting pain. Some pain is inevitable, some isn’t. I’ve inflicted the preventable kind of pain on people I love. Broken people hurt others. And that is something I wish to end. Because I have come to understand that you can’t learn to love yourself while you’re still causing preventable pain. So I have to come clean with Trey. And I have to be honest from here on out. I want to be trustworthy. I want to be honest. I want to be a person associated with integrity. I’m ashamed to admit that those aren’t qualities people associate with me. It’s not enough to care about people in your head and heart. Intentions matter. But actions matter more. Somewhere down the line, in my previous life, I thought I had to be all things to all people, which is impossible. And what ended up happening was, I was not much of anything to anyone. People are more than what they produce, but I was being a negative in some cases, especially to people close to me during these last six or so years. And my negatives not only cancelled out my positives, they put me in the red. That is never the person I intended to be. I wanted to save the whole world. People have always told me that I had to take care of me first. I never wanted to believe that. But, in not taking care of myself, in so very many ways, I have come to this place where I am. And to make the change I want in my life, I have to change myself. I have to learn to take care of me. Sounds like a fairly ridiculous thing for a woman of almost 50 to say, does it not? It’s so frightening to start over at 48. I’ve been so afraid of middle age and old age, I’ve spent my life not being present and accounted for. But there it is. I can continue to flounder and fail. Or I can do something about it. I choose to do something about it. And as low as I am, I have this deep knowledge that I can and will. I don’t know how, I don’t have a plan, but my therapist and I will work on it. I’ve finally made the decision to overcome and then to thrive. Stand on my own two feet. Step up to the plate and all of those other clichés. I am not responsible for my illness, but I am responsible for my recovery. I am going to take my rightful place in the world, whatever the hell that is.
Calvin Coolidge gave us this great gem,
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
I disagree that it’s just persistence and determination. One must work intelligently as well. Have talent. And I do have intelligence, talent, persistence, and determination and I am going to put all of them into play. And I am going to succeed. Watch me.
I’ve taken my medications. Tomorrow I am going to clean the kitchen, and my promise to myself will be that I will keep it clean. Here is what I’m grateful for today:
1.) My children, they give me reason to live and strive, and proof that I can do things right by anyone’s standards.
2.) My mother, because she loves me regardless.
3.) My dogs, because they love me unconditionally, and give me physical comfort.
4.) My therapist, without whom I wouldn’t be alive.
5.) My health insurance, without which I wouldn’t be alive.
*The Christmas Crocodile is MIA. She holds three candles, has red shoes, and pink pearlescent glitter. If you see her in your neighborhood, please inform me. We want her back.
**Names changed to protect the privacy of the innocent