So. Here I am. I am poking my head up again from my rabbit hole and looking around. I haven’t written much publicly for nearly a year.
I’ve dredged my Twitter account up out of the muck and compost. It was still growing- a little. The dirt is knocked off of the root-ball, the Following list is pruned back and it looks so foreign now. It’s like a new phone or a new tablet. You have to get the hang of handling one without opening a gazillion tabs and windows.
I am contemplating simplifying my Facebook life. I’ve culled through my Friends lists. I am no longer interested in how many friends I have nor how many likes I receive on anything I post or re-share, if I ever really was. I am only motivated to visit my LinkedIn account these days to update contact information or resume particulars. Pinterest and Instagram get a passing nod every week or so.
Yet, culling through old posts and re-tweets and looking at the things I was interested in, the things I shared, the loves I thought I had; the work I used to pour myself into just a few short years ago; I wondered where that grown-up girl had gone. I certainly know what she was hiding from in all of those topical posts and re-tweets. I know what she was hiding from herself.
At least now I do and that’s supposed to help me to feel ahead of the game. I don’t. In fact, I often find myself standing in the middle of somewhere I’ve never been, not feeling very ahead of anything.
Anyway, whoever that grownup girl was she’s gone and a woman has returned in her stead. My mother said it not long ago while commenting on a recent photo of me : “there’s something about…well, I don’t know…you look just…different”. Personally, I think I just looked happy and more myself in that photograph than I had in the past.
The truth is that it’s been a hard year. I’m happier but its been a hard year.
I’ve been everywhere within but not very many places without; I’ve changed my mind about things—the big things—to the point of confusion; I’ve doubted everything I’ve ever known, and then what I thought I would learn instead, left me doubled over with too many questions that I hoped would organize the dark in me.
But alas, they did not.
I often found myself wondering if I was a mistake—if my existence was entirely faulty from the start; designed for destruction and disappointment. I wondered if my choices were all wrong, if moving again- free as we were- was a good idea. I started second-guessing myself again. Something I hadn’t done for a very long time.
Maybe it has something to do with the way I feel I can’t find my purpose in this world or the way I seemed to lack any sense of direction; floating, untethered to nowhere. Or maybe it was the embarrassment of failing over and over again, even though I worked hard enough; certain I deserved the hatred I was stitching into my flesh simply because I felt I had nothing to offer, nothing to give and nothing to show.
It was probably a little bit of everything that got the best of me and it could all come down to the fact that I am (and always have been) full of passion, curiosity, expression and heart— creating the fear of what I would become regardless of what I did or didn’t do.
Maybe that old fear told me to relocate, run away, instead of the hunger for newness and encouraging the vicious habit of hoping to become small enough to be permanently lost in the world. That the thought of completing a brief task that should be effortless, but actually makes me want to hide my phone in the closet. It was completing a simple but important task, like taking care of emails, staying in touch with those who care for me, scheduling a doctor’s appointment, deciding what I wanted for lunch, getting out of bed or simply answering a text, that vexed me seriously.
Just when I thought I was doing a good job (of becoming nothing, that is), my sharpness found me, inspiration struck, and a little movement shifted my perspective. Every time I have jumped into the darkness before me, smacked the jagged bottom of my own hell, and exploded into a mess of everything I had never wanted to be or feel, without fail, I learn. I grow in spirit and wisdom.
As it turns out, taking the same violent, spiral down enough times has taught me a thing or two.
Perhaps, at my age, I still haven’t found exactly what makes me happiest, but I’ve learned what happens when I pursue what does and I know what doesn’t. It could be I haven’t figured out exactly who I am, but I’ve learned exactly who I’m not, stopped trying to be what everyone else wanted me to be— and am who I am every single day.
I’ve been reminded that I am not the only person in this world who feels this way. I am not the only person who struggles along a path that isn’t clear most of the time. I am not the only person who’s carried self-contempt for being so blatantly lost and sad.
And that’s precisely why this almost silence is coming to a close. Its served its purpose and in a way that only I can truly appreciate, I think, and it did what it needed to do. Asking it to stay any longer would probably undo the small steps and great strides I’ve made upon hitting that cold, jagged, dark bottom.
So here I am. It’s been a hard year.
I’ve lived through it— without a therapist. And I’m no more worse than I was before. Now, finding myself guided by gentle hands up and out of the darkness again, I can’t help but think that there must be others out there who, like me, know this place too well—that desperate plea to reach someone, to be seen.
This post could be be their sign. Maybe mine will be the first words they read, the first hand they grasp to lend them comfort or strength. Perhaps this will let them know that although the ascent is a tough one, they are ready to take it—one ridiculously small step at a time.
I know I am.
More will come.