The Tempus, It Fugits

I cannot believe how fast this year has sped by.  It seems like just yesterday I was standing on the edge of the Taroko Gorge and contemplating jumping off.  I had escaped death there many years ago, and I thought maybe it was my fate to die there.

As I looked down, I was aware of how fat, hot, and miserable I was.  It was the first time our family had been together in years, and it was not on my home turf.   I wanted to end it all.

Somehow, I managed to not kill myself on that trip.  I survived, though barely.  My parents sent me ‘this is everything that’s wrong with you’ emails that nearly broke me.   This was in March of this year, and I sank into a depth of despair.  Why the fuck was I alive?  How the hell could I ever make my family proud of me?

This took up much of my therapy sessions early in the year.  At some point, though, I just snapped.  Or rather, my despair snapped.  As my therapist pointed out many months later, going to Taiwan, however hard it had been,  was the event that triggered many of the changes I made in this last year.  I realized that all the hiding of my true self I did around my family wasn’t enough–they were never going to be happy with the fake me, so I might as well let the real me come out to play.  It wasn’t a conscious decision–I just couldn’t pretend any more.

It was actually a relief to realize that the fake-me wasn’t good enough, and I could toss her away.  (Like it’s that easy.  Yeah, right).  Even if the real me isn’t good enough for my family, I haven’t lost anything, anyway.  And, it’s easier, if scarier, to be the real me than to be the fake me.
So.  I started changing bit by bit.  And, as it sometimes happens, things in life conspired to solidify the change.  I met Kel and her family (twice!), and they opened my eyes to a whole different family dynamic.  One that is warm, vibrant, loving, and messy (in a good way), rather than cold, quiet, sterile and contained.   I met Vienna Teng, one of my musical idols (for many reasons) at the same time, which was way cool.

Then, my mother was here for two months.  Two months.  Two whole months.  It was hard;  it was painful, but I did not revert to my previous behavior (much).  My mom and I had some difficult conversations, truthful conversations, that led to us having a better working relationship.   We also talked about a few of the biiiiig elephants in the room without coming to major blows.

By far, though, the hardest event of the year was my father’s visit.  I didn’t think I could make it through that intact, but I did.  And, we had some excruciatingly honest and painful discussions that tore the heart out of me.  Again, I wanted to kill myself because it hurt so much.

And yet…once the pain started ebbing (with A LOT of help from my friends), I felt cleansed.  It was as if I had taken a canister of something very caustic (like acid) and poured it through my body to burn off all the shit that has resided inside of me since I was a kid.   I was able to see my father as he really was–broken, damaged, and emotionally-disabled, which help melt away some of the self-loathing I had that I could not please him or my mother.  This was in early September.

In addition, this is the year I finished the Solo Form in Taiji (yay me) despite being very lackadaisical about practicing.  I no longer felt like just a student of Taiji–I was now a practitioner.

The last three months of this year were gone in a blink of the eye.  I shut down my blog (though, not permanently, as you can tell)–

Real life note: My parents just called, and I was able to talk to them without exploding, even when my father got one of his trademark digs (it was a joke, hahahaha) at me.  I consider that progress.  Back to my musing.

ABL asked me to blog over at her place, and I got serious about my fiction writing.  Even though I have written all my life, I am really am new in the getting published arena (as well as in the political blogosphere).  I was hesitant and scared of proffering my political opinions, but I was embraced warmly over at ABL’s place.  I have people who followed me from my blog (or from BJ or TNC’s place) to ABL’s place, and that amazes and touches me.

I spent way too much time in the past week reading shit said by John McCain and crafting a scathing rant about him that sapped my will to live.  However, once I was done, I realized that it was pretty damn good.  Since I was trying to keep the word count under 2,000 (didn’t make it), I focused on a very limited part of McCain’s assholeness.  It took me many days to write, but I was very satisfied with it when I finished.  And, I felt better for getting it out of my system.

And, I started allowing myself to think that I could do it–political blogging, that is.  I know I can write in an engaging style.  I know I can turn a well-crafted phrase.  I know I can create a compelling protagonist.  I wasn’t as sure I could hang with the bigs in the political blogosphere.  Now, I think I can.

In early December, my therapist and I were marveling at how this year disappeared in a blink of an eye.  I was saying how last year at that time,  I had been preparing to go to Taiwan (and dreading it).  I still can’t believe that a year ago tomorrow, I was headed for Taiwan, feeling like my life was about to end.

It’s funny, in a way, because so many outside things haven’t changed in the year.  I’m in the same suburb.  I’m still fat.  I still don’t have a steady job.  From the outside, it doesn’t look like I’ve gone very far at all.

Yet, on the inside, I am substantially different than I was a year ago.  I can feel my body–which is not always a good thing, but which is amazing after being frozen for so long.  I am learning that I can no longer treat my body like shit because I will actually feel the ramifications when I do (migraines, for instance).

Oh!  I am actually starting to get chunks of sleep at a time–seven to eight hours.  This is the amazing thing.  It leaves me even more tired, but I think it’s just because I’ve been so fatigued for so long, it’s going to take a while to catch up.  I am not having nightmares, either.  Just weird and/or unpleasant dreams with a few OK ones sprinkled in.

I can’t tell you how huge this is.  I have no idea why this is happening, and I don’t much care, either.   I would hazard a guess it’s because I’m working through some of my issues–oh, and I’m trying to adhere to a no-dairy, no-wheat diet again (been mostly successful), which may help as well.

You know what the biggest difference is thus far?  I feel like I matter.  Now, I know my friends and family would protest and say that I’ve mattered all along.  The problem is, I never felt like I mattered, so it didn’t help to hear friends say it.  Or rather, it didn’t stop me from thinking they were just being nice to me because they’re my friends.  I had to matter to me, and for the first time ever, I do.

I will admit, it helps to hear from others that what I have to say is valuable.  I will never get tired of hearing, “I thought I was the only one!  Thank you for showing me I’m not.”  In fact, as a lifelong outsider, it helps me as well to know I’m not alone, either.  I have dubbed myself Our Lady of Perpetual Freakitude.  I think that’s about right.

I am still too deferential and reticent in some ways.  As friends have noted, I apologize too much.  Sorry!  Some of the issues I’ve had all my life are still here (self-doubt, panic attacks, chattering mind, OCD), but they are less in magnitude.  I am starting to have confidence in my voice, and that’s an amazing thing.

I did not hate Christmas this year.  I think it’s in part because I opt out of doing anything for it.  However, it’s also because as I get more comfortable with myself, I don’t have to mind as much the goings-on around me in which I do not participate.  I can ignore it as much as I’m able, and I can just STFU when I don’t feel like being full of good cheer.

I’m feeling mellow and at ease this Christmas.  I am looking at 2011 and not dreading it or thinking it’s just going to be the same old, same old.  I look back over 2010, and I marvel at how far I’ve come.  Just think how much further I can go in the new year!  I hope to see you all there.

P.S.  The actual clip of Eric Cartman trying to sing the song.

11 Responses to The Tempus, It Fugits

  1. I see a lot of myself in your writing. I’ve felt out of place most of my life and never felt I was good enough at much of anything or with anybody. Its odd to me how we can carry things like this around for an entire lifetime and never really figure it all out. How is it we carry around our childhood for years after we become adults.

    I’ve gone through somewhat of a healing process over the past year myself in the past year, though self-directed. Let go of alot of the baggage, becoming more assertive, getting back my sense of self and esteem. Everyday it feels better.

    I don’t know whether it was Iraq that sent me down the bad road or was it just normal life and aging but it feels good to be back.

    Anyways, I haven’t read much of the site here but I’ve enjoyed what I have read. Aloneness is an illusion that is difficult to break.

  2. Hooray for you, Minna! If it helps, I didn’t practice my Taiji very well when I first learned it, either.

    But mostly, I want to say how happy I am for you, and for where you are today. I’m really glad you’re sleeping more. You may be tired when you waken, but I bet you’re not dozing off at the wheel like you were earlier this year.

    All my love to you, and I will add my wish that 2011 brings more independence and happiness for you!

  3. kwAwk, hey! Always good to see a BJer around these parts. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Thank you for your service (I assume that’s what you mean), and yeah, it’s really hard to put down the burdens–even when you are aware of the way they weigh you down.

    Aloneness: You really hit it on the head. We have the internet which instantly connects us with people around the world, and yet, it can make you feel even lonelier. I have realized that if I am not OK with me, then it doesn’t matter how many people tell me they like/love me.

    Choolie, I know (about Taiji). I keep telling myself that it’s more money for you! Plus, it’s been amazing to look back and see how much I have learn, sometimes despite myself.

    Thanks. I am astounded where I am now in relation to where I was last year–and I have you and my other friends to thank for being with me on the journey. Love you, too.

  4. It goes beyond the internet really. The natural reaction to being in an abusive relationship is to withdraw and to start to believe that you are to blame for everything.

    Its neat to see the progression you’re making of finding your support network and learning to trust those people while at the same time learning to confront the abuser(s).

  5. kwAwk, sadly, you are right about real life as well. I have spent much of my life taking the blame for everything that has gone wrong with my relationships. I am very good at figuring out what I’ve done wrong–unfortunately, I take on other people’s parts as well. It’s a lasting legacy of living through abuse.

    Thank you for your second sentence. It feels good to finally(!) emerge from my shell of depression, self-abuse, and isolation. It’s even better to know that I have the support of my friends and to believe it with all my heart.

  6. I can´t tell you how pleased I am to finally make it back here, and find you in such a different place. You have done such amazing work, and it seems that you are beginning to harvest the results.

    Congratulations, and (((HUGS)))

  7. Rob M., DUDE! Where have you been? Good to see ya. Yeah, I’m in a bit of a dip right now. So it goes.