When I can't locate my emotional compass, when what seems to have taken over is lethargy and ennui, when all I want to do is wear sweats, eat chips, and watch every episode of 'West Wing' from all seven seasons, it's as if I've been locked in a solitary cell to serve out a life sentence. Yeah, sentenced to life, that's what it feels like, with no possibility of parole.
Of course I want to blame this on external events - on being surrounded by death lately, on a too-long car ride two days in a row to and from the memorial service for the first relative of my generation, on the sinus drainage that wakes me up at night, and especially on the need for continuing to search for and secure a job so the rent will continue to get paid. All this stuff is real, and each has contributed to a wearing on body and soul recently - even though I've truly made every good faith effort to provide self-care, to watch for signs of overwhelm.
When I feel this way I think there's something wrong: with me, with my attitude, and I fear letting people know. They won't want to be around me, I think, will think of me as a downer, a buzz-kill, as too broken to deal with. And it's in writing it out this way, in telling you (whoever you are out there) that I see the error of my thinking.
It's in confining myself to NOT sharing the sadness I've felt about the recent (and more distant) losses, in not discussing my fear of having to settle for a job that will only provide money and nothing else, in not allowing myself to bitch (even a little) about feeling worn out by seasonal allergies that I place myself in prison. It's in admitting that I've a right to shut down and watch all the damn 'West Wing's' I want for a while that I accept that sometimes life is just hard, and each of us needs a break at those times.
It's trite but it's true - where there's life, there's hope. And as much as I've often wondered why I survived a heart attack, an alcoholic marriage, a childhood that wounded - the only truth I get in wondering is that I did survive them. That's the hope. And I not only don't have to, but truly can't answer the why questions - for those are God questions.
Of all places and times and situations that teach me, teach all of us, it seems that those that feel the worst are those from which the most important lessons are learned. Maybe I ought'a write myself a reminder of that, put it on a post-it and stick it to my bathroom mirror.