still fighting

The Combat of Mars and Minerva
By Joseph-Benoît Suvée – Web Gallery of Art: Image Info about artwork, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6365816

My original purpose of writing was to help others. If someone who was struggling and wandering around the interwebs came across something I wrote, I wanted them to recognize that there was someone else out there just like them. I don’t have answers, but I want them to see that I’m still pushing forward despite the demons trying to convince me to do otherwise.

I stopped because I found myself unable to publish anything for fear of upsetting friends and family. They know most of what I’ve been through, and perhaps my daughters intuit what goes through my head, but still I’m concerned about them actually reading in black and white the reality of what has never really gone away.  But the people that care about me will still have concerns whether or not I’m blatantly honest. My history doesn’t allow my loved ones a worry-free life. I know this because even though she is doing well, I will never forget seeing my daughter in the ER swaddled in bandages, or drinking charcoal.  So I will write again. As always, there are no trigger warnings at the beginning of each post, it’s there on the page, and that should be enough.

I’m not a big proponent of awareness months, weeks, or days. I do understand their importance, but it always concerns me that being bludgeoned by awareness posts will have the opposite effect of what is intended. It’s tiring to be reminded of mental illness, domestic violence, cancer, or any other of the horrors of the world. Pretty soon people stop paying attention and move on to the next cat video. The events that are the most relevant to my history are often difficult for me. The first blast of suicide prevention posts this month reminded me that it’s something that seems to have taken residence in my brain. There is rarely a day that I don’t think about ending my fight. My god, I’m 60 now, and I’ve had decades in this battle with no end in sight. I’m tired, I’m frustrated, I’m scared.

However, as always, I will keep going. There will be a hummingbird flitting by my window in the morning. There will be an unexpected hug from a belligerent grandchild. There will be spiderwebs sparkling with morning dew. There will be a kiss on the back of my neck while I wash the dishes. There will be a warm, purring cat curled up in my lap. There will be that one person who says “Thank you for writing that, I feel the same way.”

There are no delusions that what I write will win awards, make me famous, or change lives. I just want you to know you’re not alone.

 

 

 

Isn’t it obvious?

staringWhy can’t you tell that I’m lying?

Why can’t you hear it in my voice?

Don’t you hear the halting speech, the pauses…searching for the right word to convey the illusion of sanity?

Why can’t you see it in my eyes?

Don’t you notice that they rarely look at you while I speak? They dart around the room, looking for an anchor.

Why can’t you see my trembling hands?

Don’t you see them shredding the tissue in my lap? Flittering around, trying to convey something I can’t express in words.

How can you sit there and say “I’m pleased to see that you seem like you’re doing well.”

And why do I hide it from you?

Why do I go from “I’m struggling, I need help” to “Oh yes, I’m fine and don’t need another appointment right now” by the end of the session?

The bodi posi movement eludes me

The clotheswoman in front of mirror are flying out of the closet, tears are pouring out of my eyes, foul language is spewing out of my mouth. The self-disgust is so palpable, it’s oozing out of my pores. One more week until I visit my brother, and I have not lost enough weight to fit into my “nice” clothes. But wait, think about the fact that my idea of “clothes fitting” may be different than yours. Oh yes, my clothes fit just fine, but oh shit now you can see the outline of the belt loop on my jeans. I can feel the sleeve of my shirt on my skin. These are really horrific things to me, honestly. Do you know how difficult it is for me to say this? Do you understand what it’s like to have people say to you “There’s nothing wrong with your body.” when you know damn well it’s the most disgusting thing on the planet?

There are so many examples of strong, confident women all over the internet who have no fucks to give about what you think about their bodies. Instead of being inspired by these women, my brain uses them to remind me of yet another failure of mine – my inability to love myself. Now, not only do I abhor the way I look, I have disdain for that attitude and my inability to change. I’m angry that I don’t do enough to lose weight, and I’m angry that I can’t just let it go. The most shameful thing about this is that the definition of “fat” which I apply to myself is not even close to what I see in the body positivity world.

That’s the same shame that said to me “At least you have no broken bones.” when my husband abused me.

That’s the same shame that says to me “At least you don’t have cancer (or anything else ‘worse’).” when my bipolar disorder flares up.

Every time I start to open up to the possibility of letting go of my impossible standards, I become certain that once I do that I am admitting defeat.

Life was not meant to be lived like this, I’m certain. Food should not be something I judge, weigh, and measure before I’ll be able to eat it. Simple enjoyment should be at the top of the list of considerations. Actually, the only consideration should be if something would pose an immediate and serious danger if it were to be consumed.

 

I will share my quilt

 

quilt
‘Contained’ Crazy Quilt at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Here, wrap yourself in my yesmetoo quilt made from words that pour out of my heart. Be comforted with the knowledge that you are not alone with whatever you feel. Burrow beneath the warmth from the surety that others have survived what you are experiencing.

Since I’ve started writing, I’ve learned that there are people all over the world that are very different from me yet we have shared experiences. The simple “Yes, me too!” comment is my favorite. After so many years of being told I’m crazy, stupid, or wrong, it’s comforting to know that there is at least one other person that knows exactly what I’m talking about.

So here, wrap yourself in my yesmetoo quilt whenever you need it.

Picking up the slack

two women yellingAt 3 AM, she burst into my brain like a prizefighter after the first bell. She’s usually there every damn day, and I’d gotten used to her almost constant harangues about my faults and failures. Yesterday I managed to shove her out for a while. But, man, she was angry – who the hell do I think I am, posting a picture of my smiling face and giving the impression that I’ve got my shit together despite battling with bipolar disorder. And then, as if that wasn’t enough, I had the audacity to actually think it was a pretty picture of myself.

She moved in shortly after I escaped from my domestic violence situation. In the absence of an abuser, the abused becomes adept at picking up the slack. Until I met another person who actually hears voices, I didn’t realize I did this to myself. I mean, come on, the things I tell myself…never would I say them to another person. Nobody deserves to be screamed at, torn down, belittled, discouraged, or beaten. So just stop, you might say. Sheri, you wouldn’t talk to anyone else like this, why not accord yourself the same respect? But I can tell you, after a lifetime of this crap it’s hard to fight back.

Somedays I think it’s too late for me, after decades of this I just can’t see it ending.

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