Final edit 4-17-18. clarifications, word usage, and grammar
Closing doors is difficult. So is opening new ones. I offer this as parting words for those of you who occasionally read this blog.
Since my blogging began, it has been an adventure in great insight and poor judgement, and vice versa. I think I need to close this blog properly by writing the last chapter of a book, one sitting right in the middle of an ongoing series of books.
The Burning Suit was intended to be where I explore my growth (and sometimes decline) as a person. I have not always used it for that. I have attacked, been unfair, and sometimes used it to gain a brief spotlight of support and attention. The intent was to be anonymous to most of you, and therefore more honest. For those who actually know me personally (the three of you whom I have told), I hope that reading what was written here has only helped you see me more clearly.
I regret and apologize for any unfairness I have leveled toward anyone in this space. Being a one person stage has its own freedom, but that includes the ability to spout off any opinion, whether justified or not, and to betray confidences.
With regard to me, my world is changing. I recently wrote around the edges of the topic of my increasing isolation, with a bravado and a crowing of its benefits to me. At its heart, I embarked on a path where I decided not to care so much. Turns out, my self-care suffered as well and this fact needed to be pointed out to me. Here’s what’s true: I believe I have grown stronger in myself, but I have also grown dangerously unconcerned about my personal surroundings and other elements of my life. I have justified the wrong things as well as the right ones.
Still, I feel different, or even differently. I feel enabled. This is a mixed bag.
I have written here about depression. The dark thoughts and my attempts to deal with them have been at the center of this blog. To be clear – I have not cured my depression, nor have I accepted its elimination as necessary, but I have changed the dynamic. Like any medication or change in practice or habit, the side effects can sometimes be worse than the cure. I still go to counseling, and in this process, I am still tuning my approach. I would warn against taking my example as advice. In fact, I expressly advise against it. You need to bounce this off someone who is willing to occasionally tell you that you are an ass. You cannot tune everyone out, and you need someone whom you can trust, even if you have to write a check.
The primary positive effects have been a sense of my own strength and my right to advocate for myself, plus, a comfort in my own skin, even under a critical gaze. This does not mean I am correct or even well intentioned, though I endeavor to be.
I have dived into my career, only to find a greater risk and reward in doing so. This has almost swallowed my life. I live on coffee and restless sleep, indulging either anytime, night and day. It is unbalanced and unsustainable, for sure. It was not intended to be a permanent move. Regular sleep was a cornerstone of this process when it began. Physical health and working out was another.
But there has been one curious upside: I have greater control of my emotional and mental state. I do not feel helplessness and frustration permeating the world. I have hope. I see roads before me. It feels like a beginning, like moving to a new town. Negative and desperate feelings that were once constant companions rarely visit.
In the last year, I have felt a sense of self I have not felt in so long (decades) that it genuinely surprised me.
It also feels entirely too small, restrictive, and boring. I admit one more thing that I refused to recognize: it does feel lonely (like a droning headache), and telling myself that being able to be lonely is the same as having strength enough to be alone is a platitude. The real strength comes in now choosing how to be fulfilled.
Perhaps the demons of depression are only poking lightly now and will return in force when I least expect them. Perhaps this is self-delusion hiding cowardice and escape. In that case, it may be that this way of being is the depression itself manifesting in a different way. The fact that I’m watching it, own it, and that I blame nobody else for my state of affairs feels like having my hands on the wheel, which is powerful. Perhaps powerfully foolish, perhaps an illusion. I’m trying to decide if this is running forward or running away. Truth is, it sounds like both, even to my ears. I would do things differently.
In hindsight, I believe that this actually was a radical purge. It was an attempt to shed a deep suspicion that I held. The belief was that my self worth was too tightly linked to what other people thought of me. Figuring this out was not like a sweat-lodge revelation released through penitential deprivation, but a slowly growing process of shedding the noise around me. But, I slowly decided not to give a damn what others thought of me. I ripped down my own curtains. In the process, I confused and hurt people. I am sorry for that.
Turns out we need external information to create a full view of ourselves – information we’d be wise not to discard. By we, I do mean I.
I am doing well, sincerely and truly. The sun is shining brightly in my world these days. I smile a lot, even with nobody to witness. Even today, after a discussion at the end of a relationship, the sensation of light penetrates the torrent outside my window, reflecting in and off of the rivulets on the pane. That discussion was helpful and filling, and allowed us to honestly eject a lot of baggage and touch points that I believed impossible to reach. Such are the too-much too-late discussions when neither person has incentive to perpetuate a stance. This leg of my unintended personal journey seems to be at an end. My personal take-away, minus the details, is another post for another blog.
Love for my family and friends feels more genuine than ever. My body and mind are actually starting to feel like one element, a unified person instead of a split self. I have value I choose to build up on my own, often flawed, terms. I have more baggage that I need to shed as well.
Enough of the explanation.
To those of you who read my work, I hope you find me wherever I land in the blogosphere. To the blog writers, counselors, and the rest of you going through life out loud, keep writing. I will keep reading.