The following are photos I’ve taken in different spots I’ve explored. What are your thoughts? Don’t try so much to define the contents, but aim to share the emotions they evoke in you. Post your thoughts in the comments; I would love to hear them, and they may help others!
“Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy. Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.” ~ Khalil Gibran
I flipped to this quote in Gibran’s The Prophet, a book given to me by Ray, and one we’ve been slowly reading together. I shared the quote with him during a rough morning he was experiencing, and he told me that evening that the thought worked well to improve his mood. The night previous, when I first read it, I was going to sleep. I imagined sitting in meditation, my open hands upon my knees. I want to practice this image in reality, my hands as the scales, balanced, because I am empty.
I want to deepen the inner stillness of my soul by standing between my joy and sorrow. I’m not sure how to describe what that looks like, because I’m uncertain if I’ve experienced it, or if it’s attainable. I choose to believe it’s attainable, and that I will experience it, though it may not be soon. What does standing between joy and sorrow look and feel like? What can be learned? What experiences will come and what will my perspective be?
I’ll begin exploring with a simple sitting, hands on my knees, open and upward, the mists of my mind settling.
In the past week, I’ve cut my dosage in half because I’m running out of meds and live in an out-of-reach place, where, about thirty minutes away, Walmart is the only thriving shopping center. Granted, the less-commercialized side of the town, the less-pagan side (a joke formed between my dear and I when we were trying to eat out one Sunday and all the restaurants in historic downtown were closed because of those “Damn Christians”. Before anyone is offended, we are of the Christian influence in part) provides shops of personalized and local variety. Anyway, I’ve been running on 10 mg per day instead of 20, and my dear (who I will now reveal as Ray, and not William) told me last night on the phone that I must take the 20 mg today. He reassured me in ways I never could reassure myself how adequate I actually am, saying that I am, in fact, “overqualified for the position” of his significant other. Thank goodness he knows me better than me, though we’ve known each other for only nearly half-a-year.
Confidence reassured and 20 mg of Prozac now in me, I enter here some goals and aspirations to boost me.
Games I want to learn/master:
Childhood interests I am revisiting:
2. outer space
3. the Titanic
4. butterflies and birds
I didn’t pursue these interests in full when I was a child. I am quick to regret this, but I know the depression hit early, perhaps preventing me from staying true to my personal studies. Maybe it was just childhood indecision. Regardless, I make the decision now, as an adult, to more fully pursue these interests. May I maintain a child-like heart in these endeavors.
I’m writing tonight just to get my fingers moving, so my mind will tag along. I’m trying some fiction writing, but without burning myself out. I tend to think I need the entire story plotted when I begin writing, but I realize I need to just write now, organize later. Write whatever comes to mind. Just to keep him off my mind.
I love thinking of him. He shines in my heart. His spirit kindles my spirit. But anxiety of what may or may not happen droops heavily on branches spread through the forest of my mind. Last night, I dreamt my grandfather drove up (unrealistic, because he should not be driving) to my dad and I. He said, “You know your friend, [insert my man's name]? He died.” It was of a corroded artery or something. I fell in front of the car, sobbing, asking why repeatedly, after a short period of denial.
Thankfully, I awoke. I called him, despite my inner conflict, because he said I could call at any time, even 3 a.m. I was around 5 a.m. I apologized, but he insisted not to, assured me it was just a dream and if that happened, he’d be fine. We talked for over an hour, and he thankfully had another hour before rising for work.
The dream shook me, shakes me still. I confess I don’t know what would happen should I be left without him. Much has been said between us since I last reported here. I am part of his beauty, and he mine. We have agreed to set the pace slow, but he does not want me to linger. A calling draws him to help many, and with his job mixed in, he feels he would not give me the time he thinks I deserve. I continue to tell myself that if it is meant to be, it will be. I also know that a relationship takes work. He suggested we continue to communicate, and I have agreed. These terms were discussed previously, days before the dream. Unfortunately, my brain took me to the place of departure that neither of us could stop. But what will be, will be.
His heart sings to me. I stretch to hear him always.
That is all I know for now. So, I attempt, for now, to write away my fears.
I regret that I did not seize my former days. I lament that I still have not learned to seize the one I’m dwelling in. I fear that my days to come will be left empty.
I fear being mediocre, in others’ eyes and my own. I fear I will never improve. I fear that I will always be average. I fear that I will always be a dream-chaser without any drive and without any results.
This infuriates me. Yet, I don’t know what to do.
My dreams are tall, and not all are unreachable. “You’re so young,” they say. But that will all fly by me, and I fear that in that small window of human-organized time, the small frame of years, and in the finiteness of human life, I will not accomplish something that satisfies me.
I try to exercise bravery, to press on and do things regardless of fear, so that someday soon the fears will be dissipated by experience. How am I to be brave now, today, when everything feels worthless? Small actions that accomplish small things, such as laundry or reading a chapter, feel like nothing. Surely they are worth something?
Why won’t my dreams propel me? I’m treading the snow outside, feet deep in my winter of discontent.
Yesterday, I performed an exercise.
Nope, it wasn’t athletic, though I stretched a little. Does watching figure skating later count? Anyway, I exercised being alone. But not being lonely.
My parents were out working for the day, so it was just my kitty and I. Unfortunately, I slept too much in the morning, but by the afternoon I stayed awake. I declared it a tech-free day, with the exception of texting on my cell phone. No television and no internet/computer, except later that evening. It was refreshing to not use these, because I too often use the internet when I’m feeling lonely especially, absent-mindedly thinking that social media sites will fill the void. They won’t. They can make me more depressed and stressed.
What did I do with myself, all alone without internet and the racket-making telly? I watched the rain with Arthur (the kitty), lit a candle lamp, brewed some coffee, read a little, crocheted lots, danced to the banjo-induced jazz of Béla Fleck and the Marcus Roberts Trio, dressed in one of my favorite dresses, and made myself dinner.
Later, I wasn’t alone. My parents were back in time for me to catch a ride with Dad to see some friends who live about 30 minutes away. Sadly, my car is being a stubborn little girl and not starting, so a ride from Dad was necessary (also necessary was the ABBA disc we played on the way). I promised him a coffee, since Starbucks was were I was meeting my friends. He got more than coffee, he got conversation, too, as my friends, good as they are, assimilated him into our group. We talked for hours, and my time with them was fun and enlivening.
So my day alone wasn’t so lonely. I ended it with real social time with friends, face-to-face, cup-to-cup.
Being alone is not so lonely after all. We shouldn’t isolate ourselves, no, social time is essential, but we need to learn to like ourselves unconditionally during those mandatory solitary times. In turn, if we enjoy our time alone, our time with others is very likely to be enhanced.
This year, post-Valentine’s Day, is more difficult than the actual Valentine’s Day. Last night, I had a great time seeing a friend in the Vagina Monologues, a roaring, necessary dramatic dialogue in feminism. Following, there was late dinner and hanging out with she and her roommates. It was a fun diversion.
In the back of my mind, however, was “William”. Remember the significantly older guy? He and I have been texting more and more, and have talked on the phone twice for more than two hours. Of course, I see him frequently, as always, in the coffee house. I told him it would be nice to hangout before I left for camp (more on that later). I texted him last night about a park he mentioned for us to visit, because I was an hour early to the show, and was going to research the park on my phone while I waited.
He still hasn’t texted me back. Even last night my thoughts became rowdy, thinking that “he got some” last night (without me, ha!), and now, with the morning after here, I can’t help but wonder more.
So I’m trying to forget him. Shove him out of my mind entirely. ‘Tis my defense mechanism when potential romantic relationships begin to sour, then rot, in my mouth. Now insecurity threatens, despite this defense. I see the Facebook posts of ever-happy people gushing about their Valentines. They all have a right to gush. I want to say I’m happy for them.
I look forward to camp, my new job starting on the 26th. I’ll be teaching kids about nature, and it’ll be a much more brain-stimulating, life-propelling job than the coffee house. I’ll move away from the coffee house, at least for three months, and live in the camp staff house, about two hours away. Then I begin summer classes in Russian.
I am strong enough to maintain peace during my singleness. I must not doubt that, or I will falter. I will continue to pop Prozac and pray that the diversions continue.
Let the diversions continue. Please, Lord, have mercy, and allow the diversions to continue.
Please: I want to be joyful within myself, by myself, at last.
Unfortunately, they didn’t add my blog to the article, but hey followers, more mental health blogs are contained within. :)
Originally posted on WordPress.com News:
When we start a blog instead of simply keeping a private diary, it’s because we want to connect with others. When you start to blog, you join a community.
It comes as no surprise that many bloggers are drawn to online communities as a place to work through challenges — to heal and process, find others with similar experiences, and seek (or offer) support. There are lots of supportive communities around WordPress.com: women dealing with breast cancer, people managing diabetes, parents of children with unique needs, and many, many more. Throughout January, we’ll be zooming in on how bloggers use WordPress.com to support their health and wellness.
Today, on the heels of the Blog for Mental Health 2014 kick-off, we’re focusing on mental health. Read on for a look at the many ways WordPress.com bloggers use their sites to improve their own lives, and the lives of others who have…
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I just overheard a senior citizen ramble something about “kids today”. Because his complaints about the younger generations are exactly what I want to hear while enjoying my mostly bread meal at Panera. I immediately stopped listening. I won’t inspire anger in my spirit by overhearing.
But here’s the thing about “kids today”, for all the older gens listening:
1. We are trying our best.
Given the current state of the economy and education, we’re trying to work with what you’ve given us. When you were a young adult, you could get a factory or other minimum wage job and live on your own. Now, we have college educations that have thrown us (or will throw us, for the pre-20s people) into a pit of debt, with no jobs to be found to follow that education. It’s becoming more frequent that we go back to school, incurring more debt, just so we can get a job to pay off the loans, then live comfortably. And minimum wage has not changed in parallel with the ever-rising standard of living, so we can’t even live on our own by working at McDonalds.
2. Our culture is different, but it is not necessarily incorrect.
You rebelled against the older generations of your day, did you not? Well, at least those who grew up in the 60s and 70s did. And isn’t rebellion oftentimes hope for progress? The American Revolution. The French Revolution. The Feminist Revolution. All that jazz. Change is necessary. Our culture and times are not perfect, but neither are yours.
3. Your incessant complaints about us say something about yourselves.
Why are you complaining? Is it because, subconsciously, you regret that you did not set up a better world for us? If you’re complaining, you are not helping to make it better. When you complain, I am made to think you don’t care about us, but only care about “being right” and making us look “wrong”.
I would think, for all your years, you would have learned wisdom. But you didn’t, because you’re still talking.