Only You Know The Truth

As you know, a while back, I began the messy process of falling apart. Now, I consider myself somewhat of an expert at this particular activity…only, this time, it was different. Usually, it takes some type of EVENT to start my little disaster a-rollin’, but in this case, nothing had outwardly changed. I still had beautiful, healthy children. I still had my home and my awesome job. I still had a roller-coaster of a relationship with the same guy I’d been riding along with for the past four years.

And yet…day by day, my misery mounted. My moods, at first, were mercurial and alarming, but eventually settled down into “horrible”. For a good while, I soldiered on, putting on my Stepford Wives face for work, then discarding it the minute I got home, locking myself in my room, snarling at anyone who interfered with whatever nonsense I was doing. I withdrew from EVERYONE who loved me, either because I didn’t feel like hearing whatever they had to say, or because I didn’t want to bring them down. I desperately wanted to get better, but I wouldn’t do any of the things I knew I needed to do to get there. I was tired of asking for help, and too stubborn to help myself. In short, it sucked. Bad.

One day, I woke up, and I just could not, under any circumstances, do it for one second more. I could not get up, get dressed, go to work, and pretend I was fine, while in my head I was terrified that, at any moment, I was literally going to run screaming from the hospital. I could not pretend I was fine, period. It was killing me.

So I hit my pause button- stopped everything dead in it’s tracks- and I went out on FMLA for mental health reasons. At the time, I felt like I was a full of shit liar, but HELLO! Why is it so hard to see our own dysfunction while we are in the midst of it? I was off my freaking rocker, and anyone who knows me can vouch for that.

I knew it was pretty bad when I told my mom that I had taken leave from work, and, rather than the scornful scolding I expected, she said “Oh, Thank God!” or something like that. I mean, she lives ten hours away, and she could see how ill I had become.

The first three weeks were not so good. I slept a lot, I ate a lot, I gave in to my depression. I spent a lot of time crying, and the rest of the time trying to figure out what I was going to do. Should I check myself in somewhere? Should I get the hell out of dodge? Should I just go back to bed? I thought I was just spinning my wheels, but I see now that I was doing something incredibly important. I was giving myself some time- a LOT of time- to breathe, to think, to grieve, to fall apart- with no pressure. I mean, what an incredible gift I gave myself…a long chain of days to just feel what I was feeling instead of fighting it and masking it and pretending I was fine.

In the midst of all this, my mom, who is the queen of practical gifts for your crisis (she once, when I was in my early thirties, sent me this package that I excitedly opened, only to find a case of laxative TEA. No shit. Pun intended.) sent me a book called “Finding Your Own North Star” by Martha Beck. I had my doubts, but cracked it open anyway. Have you ever been completely lost in the middle of your own life and suddenly found the exact set of directions you needed to find your way home again? Well, this book was that thing for me. Or the first part of that thing, anyway. It described to me exactly where I was, exactly what was happening, and precisely how to deal with it. I am still reading it, weeks later, bit by bit, but every time I open it up, it assures me, yes, yes, what is happening now is what is supposed to be happening.

You see, apparently, the way I was living was so out of sync with who I truly am, that I was losing my mind. When you are doing what you think you are supposed to be doing ( in other words, what your mom and your boss and “society” thinks is correct) and it is in direct odds with what the REAL you, the one that wants to be a cross dressing ballroom dancer, lets say, NEEDS to do- it can make you do exactly what I did. You can bet your ass you are going to wake up one day and, though that good and obedient, people pleasing you will want to get up and go, go, go, happy to perpetuate the facade of happiness, the REAL you is going to refuse.

So, here I am. Doing what I am meant to do, which is write. I don’t care if I am writing MY truth, as I am in this blog, or writing the make believe story of a make believe person in a novel (which I have done, and will be doing again for nanowrimo, yay!). When I am doing THIS, I feel alive and excited. I feel like what I am saying is important and worthwhile, and I feel engaged and full of that fire that I cannot access any other way. For me, this is LIVING.  There is more to it, as well, but this post is getting REALLY long, so I will leave it at that.

What is it that you feel passionately about? What path does your heart long to follow? I want to hear your answers, even if you feel stupid and have never told another living soul. Please don’t wait until it goes to hell in a handbasket before you set yourself free. Can’t wait to hear from you!

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9 thoughts on “Only You Know The Truth

  1. (from Mom) Well first of all, once again, I am a sinner and a saint, but it’s okay – it’s part of being a mom, as you now know. And YES -I am SO glad you took time off. You know that I am the first one who recognized that you need to write – it is who you are and who you have been since you were about 6 years old, and I love love LOVE that part of you!! I am SO glad you love the book and have found it useful. Martha Beck has another VERY useful book for you to read after you are done with that one. I’ll send it, of course, if I haven’t already.

    What do I need to do that makes me feel alive, that I am NOT currently doing, at least often enough? Ballroom dancing. Living at the ocean. Writing poetry. Sewing, drawing, bead-work, drawing and just creating. My situation, as complicated as it seems to be, all falls away whenever I am doing any one of these wonderful things, and time stops for me. THIS is how I know when I am doing what I am meant to do.

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  2. I’m glad the book helped you find your North Star, and that it’s led you back to writing among other things! Much like you, writing does so much for me– it’s therapy, it’s expression, it’s reaching out to the world and connecting with people.

    Your mom seems very cool BTW 🙂

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  3. Well I thought I posted a comment but I guess I messed up so I will try again.
    I loved your post and I am so happy that you are really going to put your energy into writing. I look forward to reading it all, from blog post to bestseller. I wish I knew what my purpose was, I’m thinking I will have to get that book. 🙂 I was thinking about your questions and started to cry thinking of how much I long to be on the ocean. I would normally just let those feelings pass but you have inspired me to find a way to get out on the ocean again. Thank you for that!! I was going to say best of luck to you but I don’t think you really need it. You have the talent and now that you are fired up there will be no stopping you.

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    1. Oh, you are wonderful to say such nice things…you really ought to check that book out. It actually has a part in it about listening to your body, and what our authentic self is trying to say to us when we cry with longing for the thing we love. I urge you to absolutely pursue your hearts desire…life is just too precious and short to waste in any other way. Thanks for reading, commenting and encouraging me. Keep me posted!

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