October is the beginning of the hardest time of year, for me, the season of my birthday and all of the festivity and expectations for holiday cheer and joy. My depression is most clearly evidenced in my lack of joy and vitality. I have lived most of my life this way(though at times better able to hide it). Depressed and joyless, not entirely void of laughter, fleeting moments of pleasure or satisfaction. But without peace, joy, by this definition is an impossibility. JOY: The experience or practice of loving what is.
When you literally hate your most basic unchangeable traits and truths, as I had, joy is not a possible outcome.
What I came to hate, as a person in my family, and my town and my brain(The things I was taught to not accept or love about myself):
A deep sense of shame and guilt which I could not understand or change** my intense emotions** my name** the names of people in my nuclear family** my height** my weight** the clothing I was provided** my inability to feel or be perceived as pretty** calm** happy** pleasing** small** normal** quiet**uncomplicated**resilient**undemanding** the smells and foods in our home** the lack of a god whom I could follow or turn to** the active resistance by my parents, to traditional holiday décor and celebration** my fear** my discomfort** my anger and despair** my nose shape** the intensity of life at home which was rarely engaging and constantly overwhelming at sensory and emotional levels** my large appetite and heightened sensitivity to smell, texture, taste** my anxiety and depression (all of which helped me earn the labels of negative and impossible, making it safe and easy to target or dismiss me—CUZ if I am already naturally a piece of shit dumpster fire, that is on me and how could diminishing/negligent words and actions be responsible for that?) I was an easy outlet for anyone with a negative urge or instinct. My reactions to those initiatives made that reality exponentially more true. My sister capitalized on this and literally springboarded off of my issues, seizing each opportunity to exacerbate and then illuminate my struggles while showcasing her non-likeness. As if her greatest achievement —would be limited to her not being ME.
As an adult and a person in recovery I am now able to recgonize and choose sane reactions to pain and to exit optional dynamics and systems in which I am to hold the soul-wounding role of the thing that is not approved of. I have found the courage and hope to beleive in and practice wholesome love and connection. Entanglement via genetics and marriage certificates are literally not foundations for sustainable healthy relationships. I had to let those go. Tragically, I hold tightly to much of the pain, grief, and shame of having had no better options. Letting them go did not release me from the effects of trauma, but it does at least create space and opportunity for peace and acceptance, and maybe even joy, some day.
My poor boys and sweet Greg will get to helplessly spectate another holiday season of me failing to love what is. I do love my home, my job, and all my guys, furry four legged ones included. But that love pales in comparison to the exhaustion of learning to regulate, rest, recover, to just be ok with what is.
I am never free from the worry of how the mental health of our family and the legacies of shame and despair are shaping my sons. In honor of MHA- week, I have sought a new counsellor, purchased the BIG RED BOOK, and have signed up for coaching support with goal setting. Survival is not a great goal. I am well practiced at healthier survival tactics and would like to experiment with some actual thriving. I am tired of circling the drain.Much Love,
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