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To Live and not Just Exist

Choosing life, happiness, peace and joy. Oh and weight loss too

Month

July 2015

The Leaving

For the longest time, part of my psychosis has been never being able to accept that I have value. My belief structure has always revolved around the fact that family have to love. They have to help. The have to accept you. So it doesn’t matter how broken you are. They are there and it is a given.

But what happens when they are not?

What do you do when you are the one left behind?

When you are faced with a place that has no family and the ties of blood?

What do you do when you are the one left holding the buck?

When a parent gets old and frail and ill and you alone must carry that emotional weight? A weight you are ill equipped to carry. Most of the time I cannot even carry my own emotions. Most of the time the fake it fools everyone into thinking I have made it. Sometimes it even fools me.

Last night the very carefully constructed walls that keep me functioning came down for a moment and my nephew and I engaged in a shouting, door slamming, swearing, remote throwing argument. I have never argued with my nephew before. Not to this degree.

He is as lost as I am, in a different way, and last night 7 months of trying too hard, being more than I am, stress and responsibility collided with his pain and anger and Mount Vesuvius was revisited.

For a moment the loss of stability, the loss of love, the loss of someone to talk to, the responsibly that is my nature to take on, the difficulty in living with people, the just plain emptiness of no blood ties shattered me. Shattered my nephew. Luckily we managed to calm the seas, and hopefully there is an understanding now.

What saves my nephew is that he is moving towards a family I no longer have. Towards a life I really do not begrudge him. I want him to be as happy as he can be, in whatever he chooses for himself. As long as it is his choice.

What saves me? Fledgling relationships and Hope. Hope for something better. Hope that it will get better. Hope that when the day comes and I need someone – I won’t stand alone. Hope that when my mom goes – someone will hold my hand.

She is almost permanently ill now, with one bug or another, one flu or the other. She forgets things. She loses things. She cries allot. She lost her family too. And her loss is harder to bear.

Or – in her loss and in her psychosis, am I allowing her to manipulate my feelings once again? Is she truly as ill as she thinks she is? Or is depression and a lifetime of chosen sorrow reality now? A mantle she can no longer take off? One which blurs my vision? My objectivity? My emotions?

I hope … I hope for something better. Whatever it may be. For me, for her, for my family.

But what do you do when all you can do is watch?

Watch the leaving.

All the while, standing still.

I am

I got caught up in the idea that I had wasted some of my life the other day. Wasted it on not feeling good enough, not being thin enough, not being enough really.

Wasted it on doubting myself. Doubting my abilities. Doubting my inner being.

Wasted it on endlessly looking for …. Peace? Acceptance? Love?

Wasted it on people who don’t deserve time. On endeavors that I knew would harm me? Collecting stuff that ultimately adds no value?

Except, the idea occurred to me, that every single thing I have ever done, has led me to here. Every person, every fault, every word, every endeavor, every ‘thing’ I have coveted / wanted / needed, every failed relationship, every miserable moment.

Every glorious moment.

Every honorable friend.

Every smile, every laugh, every step on a very hard road.

They have all brought me to this place where I drove home from bootcamp last night singing and dancing to some silly song that I don’t even remember anymore. But I remember dancing.

Because bootcamp bitches. But more so because

Joy….

Fit….

Love for self….

Acceptance of self….

Doing the best I can, and actually doing it.

Being the best I can be, even it if it is not perfect, it being enough.

Facing life head-on. With a smile and a laugh and a joy that I have not had before.

Because I am. I am loud. I am the carrier of a bit of excess weight. I am sarcastic. I am self-conscious. I am too often lost. I am too often doubtful. I am kind. I am loving. I am honorable. I am a good friend. I am a brilliant daughter and sister. I am not alone as long as there are friends. My friends are not alone as long as I breathe. I am courageous. I am hard working. I am brave. I am too often sad. I am more often loved.

I am the best of me.

I am.

Malaise

Depression and I are no strangers to each other. But this slow creeping, insidious malaise that snuck up on me is new. It seems to me that things become habit and habit became commonplace and commonplace became automatic and whammo – I woke up this morning on the verge of…

Tears?

Disappointment?

Loss of self?

I woke up tired. That much I do know. Tired of the automation of it. Of the responsibility. Of the day and night. Tired of the strength I fake. The joy I force sometimes. The shoulder I become. Tired of the effort. Tired of being tired.

I feel it most in my eating habits. Sometimes the wrongness of a whole lifetime of bad habits is what you need to get you through a day. Or a month. Or, like me, you look in a rubbish bin and suddenly realize what you are shoveling and just how long you have been shoveling it for. And you don’t even remember it. Was it good? Of course, I guess. In the moment. But that is not why you are shoveling. You are shoveling because depression makes you doubt who you are. What you have done. Who you became. You revert to a past you. A you that found joy and comfort in food and eating and the mechanism of shoveling.

Depression, malaise, self doubt – they all take the little bit of worth that you have scratched together in the dirt, that you have fought tooth and nail for, and they cast a shit filter on it.

Don’t get me wrong – your worth is not suddenly shit. Nor is it suddenly gone. For a moment, it is just not visible for what it is. It is bogged down in bog. For a moment – it is invisible and lost to you.

What suddenly broke my slow descent into full depression? Or perhaps halted my climb back out of it? Limbo is funny like that – you can’t really tell where you are. What hurried the tears and started this all?

I can’t do a sit up. Not for love nor money can I do a sit up. So I have spent an entire day contemplating the life that brought me to not being fit enough or strong enough to do a sit up.

None of what I achieved is nullified. Or less. Or lost.

It is just not enough today. I think that is ok too. It is not ok if it is tomorrow too. And the next. And not functioning. And mess and blubber and snot.

I think I am a little bit depressed today.

But that is ok too.

Maybe this is how you grieve a life. A loss. A family gone. A family going. Maybe this is who I am as well.

Not always the life and soul.

Maybe I am more than I allow people to see.

Look….

The joy of the dance

I got to thinking the other day about the music of our lives. How some songs stick with us through the years and remind us of better, or worse, times.

How the music of our parents reminds us of a war maybe, or a hardship, we did not personally live through.

How the music of our peers reminds us of a person, or a place long forgotten.

How the music that reaches down into our very substance and speaks to us can truly defines us. It is not necessarily good music, or well written. Or even popular. It is a chance meeting sometimes, lyrical beauty and depth hiding in the places you least expect to find them.

It is the songs of our innocence Pink Toothbrush by Max Bygraves. Of the times when dance and imagination and bravery and joy and solitude were the things that made us whole. When drama and performing were an option Yellow Submarine by the Beatles. Where Jeremiah was a Bullfrog by Three Dog Night was the best thing you ever heard, innocent and silly.

It is the songs of loss Amazing Grace by Celtic Woman sung at the funeral of a father you never really knew. And the song your mother used to heal herself We will meet again by Vera Lynn.

It is the songs of growing up where The Locomotion by Kyle Minogue was on everyone’s lips and we weren’t ashamed of it. Where the difference between a singing and speaking voice was endlessly debated Never gonna give you up by Rick Astley.

It is trying to find a place that accepts you, and liking what you think will find peace, and learning to love it for what it is –

Satan bites the dust by Carmen

The Champion by Carmen

It is the beginning of the formulation of your own musical identity –

Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen

Bed Of Roses by Bon Jovi

Losing My Religion by REM

Maria by Blondie

Bitter Sweet Symphony by The Verve

Take On Me by a-ha

Johnny Come Home by Fine Young Cannibals

“Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance

The list is too long to put here…

It is to this day the memory of some of the most beautiful music you remember hearing. The kind that they rarely make anymore –

The Rose by Bette Midler

Power Of Love by Jennifer Rush

It is falling in love with the songs that tell a story –

The River by Garth Brooks

The Thunder Rolls by Garth Brooks

The songs you love because you have to –

Jessie by Joshua Kadison

It is my God song –

Nothing Is Written by Mumford and Sons

And it is the song you identify most with –

I Lived by OneRepublic

There will be more. Songs that remind me of people, places, times and events. Some will be joyous, some traumatic and some sad.

Songs of love, loss, joy, triumph.

The songs that resonate with my soul.

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