Sometimes I can notice myself feeling so angry that the only choice that seems to make sense is to check out.
April 24, 2019
Sometimes I can notice myself feeling so angry that the only choice that seems to make sense is to check out. In those moments, I have decided my emotions are too great for me, that I have a feeble frame, that I am tired of searching, and that I am restless restless restless for what seems to be no logical cause.
The more anxious and weary and restless I become, the tougher and tougher it is to stay inside my home. Normally, this would be a productive urge, except I have become afraid to leave my home again.
I’m not afraid of what is in the world. I’m afraid of what it may cause me to feel. If I am being completely honest, owning a wide gamete of feelings seems overrated these days because they present themselves with such loaded responsibilities. These are responsibilities that seem to mature me quickly or highlight what maturities I have already assumed, which makes me even angrier.
My birthday is inching near, and I will be 27-years-old. It seems like my twenties are roaring by, even though they feel like the slowest years of my life. If my world wasn’t so dramatic, I guess I would say that I’ve had relatively few years on earth, so this perspective is very limited, and therefore to be held in a hand stretched out from my eyes at a distance.
I notice this strange sensation around creating a map of my life. Not a timeline, not a drawing, not a coloring page, not a painting, not a mixed media work, not a typed document - a map. When I go to create this map, I notice an overwhelming pressure to perform, produce, provide, exceed, and shape. I notice myself comparing myself to myself. I post former years in which my creativity is what I now value as most productive, then demand it of myself. The inner parts of me feel betrayed, overrun, and destroyed for all the reasons a younger child might grow to hate living in an older child’s shadow. Expectation is like her lingering curse.
In my world that can be physically seen, documented, measured, and manipulated, I am still trying to heal my foot, still trying to figure out the inner imaging of my brain, still angry that I cannot control what steadily evolving hunger and fullness cues seem to destroy any healthy attachment I develop to food, plus an emotional lashing out at others mixed with avoiding them altogether. What in the world is happening and how did I get here? That is another reason why creating a map of my life seems to be most logical. Whatever my long-term memory has stored away from me because it loves me is pushing at its uterine lining and about to expose whatever ugliness has been festering and is at last ready to burst into my reality. It’s like I can sense that a new level of awareness is coming. I am about to find out something important. I just don’t know what. I know that whatever I learn will rock my world. It will challenge my concept of existence. It will shift what lenses I see myself, my God, my world, its people, and all created things.
At the same time, I know that no matter what lenses I put on and take off and put on and take off, when I look at a tree, a tree is still a tree is still a tree. I guess what I cannot determine is how to put a language to the tree. It is as if I have been looking at a tree and calling it an apple for my entire life. So that is why I am scared. I have been shifting and shaping for nine long years, and I want to call it quits. I want the therapy journey to be over. I want to decide my own fate and design my own prognosis. I want to gather all the insights and tests and data and pictures and imaging and just say, “Enough is enough. This is what is and how we will move forward from here.” But that is only doing to myself what others have done to me out of a preference of convenience. To give up on myself is not to be back where I started, but it does not give me a complete picture. And this makes sense to the part of me that has rebelled so severely that her rebellion is evolving into a type of apathy. That girl inside of me understands how each piece of her journey was so critical to the greater vision at large. That girl inside of me understands how her journey might contain all these itty bitty tree stumps leftover from a wild scorching hot forest fire, but those tree stumps, when admired from the upward distance of a helicopter, is describing something.
Another birthday is also a reflection of another year that has passed me by. I ask myself each birthday, in a sarcastic sort of sense: “What do we have to show for?” I notice my inward self doing that now too. The comparison train. By this time last year, I had lifted myself up out of a near hospitalization and shoved all the dirt that was on top of me back into the hole. I had both put my feet back on solid ground and make the ground solid. Perhaps it is that I blame myself and continue to loathe some piece of that picture or process that is why I am in such a restless state right now.
As a child, I was given a trajectory for my life. In my formal schooling, that trajectory was affirmed again and again through a palette of limited career options affixed to either glory or money. Few had both. You know those careers: The lawyers, the doctors, the mathematicians, the engineers. Creativity was allowed but that’s because each of those careers allowed a certain type of creativity.
As an older child, at 22, when the entire world came crumbling down just before Memorial Day weekend, I was reaching my breaking point and that trajectory was finally a logical question rather than just a doubt within myself. At 22, I was living as if I was dying next week. At 26, I am living as if I have already died. So I am not afraid of death anymore. I am afraid of living. I do not long for death anymore. I long for important living. I do not long to be important anymore. I long to create an importance of myself to specific people. I understand that I am character in a book chapter whose presence is very defined, very limited, and very critical to the main character who will go on to exist in its book’s alpha through omega. Except, I do not think there will be an omega book. That is why I think I will die young. That is why I think I have already died. That is why I think I am already living forever, and that each page is a gift in a grander life.
Whatever the reason for the restlessness, I have got to push past all of this stewing in still water. The water is warm, but it is not safe, and it is my home but it is a home with a certain eviction date I do not know. It is sort of like a bird’s nest after all of the brother and sister birds have hatched, after the mother bird is gone, and it is time to fly into the world and pick a pack to be among.
We know what to do, Little Bird. We’ve got to get it done.