It is now mid-June. Back in February, the realization that I was 4 months away from June debilitated me.
I couldn’t get out of bed. Everything made me cry. Everything made me angry.
People were stupid.
My cats were assholes. My dog sucked
My husband never replenished the toilet paper. My son’s armpits smelled and his face was always dirty.
Life was cold, dark, and endless. I cocooned myself in a misery and let no sunshine in. Oh…. I let plenty of wine, chocolate, music, and Netflix in.
But fuck sunshine. Sunshine was for shiny happy people holding hands.
I was a shivering and cold Nosferatu for months on end. Just the way I wanted things to be.
And then, one day…. June 1st happened.
It is June.
I fucking made it.
I feel like I am waking up and squinting at the foreign yellow object in the sky and realizing there is a world outside. A world that has nothing to do with my job. Nothing to do with my feelings of failure and misery.
There is a whole world out there where shit is going on. People are putting on bathing suits and going to the beach and don’t give a fuck less about my gelatinous mass under the covers somewhere.
I feel like I am learning to walk again. I feel almost reborn. I am painting my toes neon colors. Food tastes better. I am realizing there is more to eat than barbecue potato chips and Diet Coke and cheese (I am also realizing my clothes no longer fit. Fuck.) Music sounds better. I have the sun on my face. Birds are chirping out my window. I wake up singing. I dance around my house.
It’s a goddam Disney movie up in here.
But… I am a little more jaded now. In the back of my head, that “other me” still lurks like a shadow, reminding me that she can show up at any shitty moment, ready to swoop in and engulf me in her black cape again. It is like she is standing there, waiting for it to happen. Ready to feed off my energy as soon as something goes wrong again. That viscous witch with her poison apple.
I want to hate her, but I can’t. I understand what she is made of. After all…. I created her.
As I lay next to my husband one evening and contemplated my year (I am shocked that in the last 4 months, my poor husband didn’t just give up on me and start sleeping on the couch, as the bed became my late night therapy session when all he wanted to do was go to sleep), I told him that this was a “wasted year”.
“Not if you learned something, it wasn’t.” He mumbled. “Now shut up and let me sleep.”
Did I learn something?
I know our lives are all about repeating patterns until we decide those patterns no longer work for us, and then we make a goal of busting through them like a badass butterfly.
Maybe I am a badass butterfly emerging with her wings still wet. As I wait for them to dry, maybe I can explore the lessons that life seems to only teach us with pain.
Maybe I am not so confident anymore, but I have replaced that confidence with determination and a desire to still learn what will work for me. Maybe that is better than being self assured and cocky.
Maybe I am not so hopeful anymore, but I have replaced that blind hopefulness with better planning skills and the realization that treading lightly into water works better than diving full in and relying on my swimming skills to keep me going. Even the strongest muscles fatigue in the roughest of water. I don’t need to jump into the roughest areas to prove I can swim. Keeping my head above the water can still be the strongest thing I can do.
Maybe I am not as eager to please anymore, but I have replaced that puppy dog eagerness with self-reliance and independence. My legs are still shaky. My voice is still quivering. Out of all the skills I possess in my toolbox, these are at the very bottom.
They are awkward and unwieldy in my hands. I almost feel as if I don’t have permission to even touch these tools, let alone use them. But… They are still mine. I have depended on other people to use them to fix my broken parts for too long. I was taught no other way. I still am going to fumble and drop these tools but eventually I will get stronger.
Maybe I am not as weak as I told myself that I am. Even when I thought I wasn’t listening. Maybe I was wearing the wrong armor for a weakness that I no longer have. Maybe I don’t have my armor on in the right places.
Maybe it is time for me to learn where my strength is, even if it a softer, quieter, gentler strength than I am accustomed to.
Maybe it is time for me to own that strength and not dole out my worth to anyone who has the potential to give me a pat on the back. Or the potential to bring me down with their judgment of whether or not I fit their mold of “worthiness”.
Maybe it is time for me to stop looking for other people to answer the questions I should be answering on my own.
Apparently my current situation is that I am in a sea of maybes.
But I can swim in this sea.
I can stay afloat in this water. I can survive right here.
I have survived through much worse. And still that doesn’t measure my strength or my worth.
I have wasted too much time trying to measure something that goes on infinitely in all directions.
Maybe it is time I put the rulers and the cups away.
Before I fell asleep, I asked my husband if he thinks I will ever be myself again.
“You will never again be the person you were.” He answered. “That would be impossible.”
I am done with impossible.
I want a life full of possible. And life doesn’t pedal backward.
I guess I am still me. Only…. with more possible.
My wings are still drying.