This is my belly fully extended after eating Girl Guide cookies. I can still see my feet, which means that I'm hawt.
It's not about this space. Not really. I love this space. Blogging is my great passion in this life. I used to feel stupid saying that, like I was that creepy woman who keeps an entire room devoted to her creepy doll collection, but I don't anymore. I love blogging. It is the most incredible thing that has ever happened to me.
(I apologize if you're a creepy doll collection person. I'm sure not everyone finds your creepy hobby creepy. I really do, though. Please don't show me pictures of it.)
My entire life has changed because of blogging. It has carried me through depression and anxiety and cancer and the Palinode's broken back and a treacherous work environment and the first days of my sobriety and quitting smoking. Blogging has allowed me to see more of myself than the failed work drone with a creative spirit stifled by fear, with everything stifled by fear, that I used to see.
I am liberated by writing out loud. In the beginning was the Word, and words make things real. They lend shape and texture to previously foggy intuitions. I can point at a particular problem or fear or piece of shame and see it for what it is. Most things are naked emperors. You only need to point it out to strip them of their false power.
And now that I'm writing all of this out, I'm realizing that my feeling unable to share in this space over the last couple of weeks isn't because of this space at all but because I have things that I don't want to talk about. As much as I have completely metamorphosed so much of my dialogue with life over the course of writing this weblog since August of 2003, I still clam up when I come up against a sense of failure.
I don't really believe in failure. I used to. I was a failure, I thought. I was a terrible writer, a terrible life partner, insufficiently sane, lacking in motivation. I couldn't put my finger on any successes, but I could ferret out a failure in the happiest of situations. If I happened to make a good sandwich, it was only in spite of my utter lack of culinary prowess.
A failure, though, is only a particular equation concocted out of the particular minutiae of particular events. A failure is generally described through the very narrow focus of a subjective lens with no eye to the wild dance of reality that came to together to create so much more than that one, undesired outcome.
A sense of failure, more correctly, indicates a lack of proper focus.
So, I was focusing here, on this space, as though this weblog was what was making me feel unable to express myself, because writing out loud is such an incredibly naked experience to visit on oneself, but it turns out that this space isn't at fault at all. I've been misplacing my diagnosis. It's me. I didn't want to tell you that I'm a failure.
I'm not a failure, but that's how I feel right now. I quit drinking, I quit smoking, I've weaned myself off much of my knee-jerk negative thought habits. I've talked about how life is exciting and full of promise and that I feel like a kid again learning everything anew. That's all still holding true, for the most part, but I just didn't bargain for the growing and learning to be so damn sad like it was when I was a kid.
I hated my childhood, or at least most of it. From the time I was about two or three years old, I found the experience of maturing in our society as a thinking, depressive, gender contrarian, pansexual, natural atheist to be a roundly lonely and alienating experience, and I was kind of hoping that the loneliness and alienation part of maturing was over now that I'm in my late thirties. It turns out that this recovering alcoholic is shit out of luck. Growth is hard no matter when you do it.
I didn't want to tell you about it. I didn't want to tell me about it. I am happier and more well-adjusted and experiencing more professional satisfaction than ever before in my entire life, and yet I am also feeling intense loneliness and nostalgic depression.
In so many ways, all these positive life changes I've been making have alienated so very much of my past from me, which, in the large part, is good. I was blinded by negative life clutter before. It's a relief to be relieved of it, but, still, I am also made more alone by it. I have walked away from the majority of the people and places that took up my time over the previous decade in order to take on sobriety and mental health, and now, just over a year later, the fullness of that decision is starting to sink in.
It is wonderful and terrible in equal measure. I feel lighter and more creative than at any other time in my life, but I am heavy with nostalgia for days filled with familiar faces. I am free but burdened, joyful but sad, encouraged but weary.
I am lost, and I didn't want to admit it, and I hated the existence of this blog for making me think about it so much. I didn't want to admit that my seasonal depression is back with a vengeance, that I doubt my abilities in all areas, that I feel unloveable, that I worry about the weakening fibres of my sanity. I didn't want this to be what I handed over to you. I didn't want this to be what I claimed for myself.
The thing is, now that I am admitting to it, the relief is palpable. I think I actually breathed a deep breath for the first time in days.
I am lost right now, it's true, but being lost is not a failure. I am just lost, and that's okay. Being lost is what I have to go through so that I'll know when I've been found again.
PS. Laurie reminded me why I'm here. She doesn't know it yet, but she's why I came back.