Today my therapist said something that a lot of people say, but the preceding events provoked me to come out with a perceivably profound reply. She said, “Its easy to focus on the negativity in life.” I may be paraphrasing because I sometimes hear things selectively. My anxiety/depression/self-hate-goggles tend to tap in very easily to my imagination. Either way, what I said in response very plainly, was “No.” For me it is much easier to pretend that everything is okay and put on such a very convincing fake smile that even I almost believe it rather than actually admitting how I feel and dealing with it. This is why most people are shocked when they meet me in real life and discover that I struggle with these issues. When I tell people that I used to smoke or drink, they drop their jaw. When I slip a swear word they act as if the Virgin Mary gave them a lap dance because I am always putting on a show, a smile, a giggle, a joke, the soft voice, and trying so hard to not explode with hate or love or fear and show the dark side. When I do show it, it comes out like a waterfall and drowns everyone involved. So I try to hide it and think about the other person. Usually it works. 8 times out of 10 I get positive responses in real life.
Last year I made the resolution to “be more positive” because I had that belief in what I think my therapist was trying to say before she said it. Sometimes she’s just playing devils advocate and some times I cut her off because of my impulsive nature so I can’t be too sure. However, she was saying this in relation to the quote on this beautiful painting my niece made for me.
Most folks are as happy as they make their mind up to be – Abraham Lincoln
It’s sort of a long story and I am not great at being concise so I will just say that a lot of really tough struggles came my way including a moderately disruptive breakup, the destruction of my non-profit, homelessness, and more than a handful of lost friendships. My instance than everything was fine actually made it worse. My expectation of myself to remain calm and positive made it very hard to grieve the various sorts of loss and struggle that I was facing. I found myself instead becoming hysterical, depressed, slightly suicidal, and confused. I was insistent that I am actually an innately happy, bubbly, silly person. Even after I began to become more physically stable, I realized more and more how unhappy I had actually been for such a long time. I started realizing that much of my “happiness” for many years has been laced with outdated self-defense mechanisms. It was an act. Very few people could see through. I had myself very convinced.
You know what I also convinced myself of? That I am a nice and good person.
Somehow though this year I’ve received the message multiple times that I am not that, at all.
While I am busy cognitively doing my tap dance and stand-up act, my consciousness is gathering intel from my senses and unconscious logic powerhouse (deciphered in a “Blink” if you will). All of that then alerts my emotions to react and usually its in a strong manner. Whether I find a person attractive, frightening, or dismissive my body lights up with something uncomfortable. Somehow I have learned that expressing excitement, attraction, mistrust, or dislike at any level is not well received. So I have to try to keep calm. By doing that, I end up making it worse and not making any sense when I finally try to speak up about it. Additionally, when I am planning or leading I find that same cycle. I start off with judgment and self-doubt/hate that I put on the backburner while the jester in me either procrastinates or distracts from the truth. Only I don’t know it, because I’ve constructed a world where I am bubbly, happy, silly… that quirky kind of cool. When I deliver my message its gobbled up by this dark, sarcastic, self-loathing, highly condescending filter. Since I don’t believe in myself, I always feel I have something to prove and to fight for against the haters.
The real truth is that everyone is in their own world. It’s so basic. Its something a friend of mine discussed in highschool and I have said periodically, but It literally took me this long to really know this in my whole body. Everyone is in their own world and we can only connect if they decide to merge worlds. When we do that, we connect even though we are collectively biased towards and against each other. I can never truly know what anyone is thinking and I certainly can not force anyone to be vulnerable and merge their known world with my unknown, potentially chaotic and difficult one.
Furthermore its true that since I quit smoking and drinking and actually tried to make myself great, I have been ashamed of the dark, chaotic side of myself. I have been afraid that the truth is that I actually suck at everything and I am not special in anyway shape or form.
I enter the new year with a question. Can I suck and not be special and still be happy?
2014 was the year of forced positivity and “fake it til you make it”. 2015? the year of Truly “embracing the suck”. It’s an experiment.
and now for some totally random, potentially horrible poetry that probably won’t be performed in your world quite the same as mine. Here it is anyway:
I forgot to tell you that my voice has been constricted, doc, you gotta fix it- I’ve been trying to get it. I’ve been leaning in to all the old familiar places, the spaces where people look over the edge of reality’s mangled cliff. Even as I say this, I’m questioning my ability to say it in a manner that’s fitting. Or maybe I’m just to lazy to rhyme right now. Maybe I know how but I have forgotten who I was which dictates who I am because I can’t. go. back. I’ve already gone to far. Riding a train full of runaways running head-on into a new world. This is a new time and I’m taking this face to a new place but it’s not a race not a 10K and even if it was I don’t need to go all day cuz it’s time that I have to say:
I’ve got nothing to prove.
I’ve already done better than I set out to do. My dreams are growing bigger, I don’t even know what they include, but I know. now, that I’ve got nothing to prove.
Unpolished and Unapologetic, looking for that type of mood.
No signs so keep on pushin til I find that mountain that moves,
but this mission ain’t litigious, my inspections ain’t religious, KID, just wanna say I did it, if it’s broken then I’ll fix it
I’ve got nothing to prove, not to me, not to him, not to her, not to you. Say what you will: I’ve got buttons to glue.
Happy Sucky New Years Folks. I resolve to suck at life and keep living anyway. I resolve to do things that make me happy and try things that I have no idea how to do them and fail miserably or possibly have minimal yet not admirable success without shame and certainly without trying to convince anyone otherwise.