Hello fair world of blog readers – or more likely the eager listeners inside of my own head,
So, I remain here, sitting in my grandmother’s house, attempting to grapple with the incongruous stream of life that has floating in and through me the past week. The week filled with towering highs and sobering lows. The week that reminded me how far I still need to traverse and how to enjoy the moment without worrying too much about that anxiety-ridden path. How much beauty and love exists in my life even in the midst of dreams deferred and poverty.
I still have thoughts about him, about the ex – the alcoholic abuser – and he stalked in the shadows of this exciting celebration of the end of my 27th year of life. Likely, because he had such a significant role in orchestrating the festivities that accompanied my previous birthday. And now, that I have conclusively left him, he exists to me now only as a memory, as a no contact order, and in dreams filled with pain and confusion and longing and vitriol. I suppose that will lessen in time. I suppose that he will continue to fade into the distance. I hope the dreams stop.
And poverty. The demon that always exists. The one I thought I would escape by attending Mount Holyoke College and then becoming a doctor. When that dream deferred and withered – when the combination of faulty neural circuitry, poor diagnostics, too many traumatic experiences, and a weakened will prevented me from completing my undergraduate degree – I had no plan B. I had only ever wanted to do one thing with my life – become a doctor for the poor and underprivileged – and now, instead of becoming a healer, I was and am the poor and underprivileged. Existing below the poverty line. Depending on the kindness of friends, family, and a backwards social services system to get my basic needs met and to experience exultant events such as the one that transpired this weekend. I had always wanted to be financially independent, but without a degree, without letters next to my name, and with 10 years of medical mismanagement uprooting seedlings of opportunity, I have found such a dream to be unobtainable, at least for now. Oh, well.
I suppose there is only an upward trajectory that can exist from here. Or that can stem from the near catatonic depression and psychosis that came about in August. I suppose I can be grateful that there even is an “I” thinking and writing these words. That my own brain didn’t take me. That I can still breathe, and function, and enjoy modern art, and hug my friends, and explore centuries-old buildings, and experience orgasms, and effervesce in the glory of Broadway theater, and the taste of vegan cheesecake, and the sound of multicultural New York filling my ears like a choral symphony. That’s the gift of nearly dying. Especially at your own hands. You learn to appreciate the simple sensations of this world. And the gift of multiple waves of crippling depression. You learn to revel in any bringer of joy, because you remember so clearly what it felt like not to have that capacity, to be mired in the anhedonia doldrums.
Kindness to self and patience, patience, patience. Not too much change at once. Just grasp onto simplicity and perspective. You still are, Elizabeth. You survived to 27. You fought. You triumphed. You breathe. Congratulations. That is a badge of honor worth celebrating.