An Open Letter About (My) Fears

I have ruminated a lot about the infallible human dichotomy. The inescapable contradiction of human nature – that our lives are significantly insignificant. We can have profound impact on other people in our lives, on the world around us. Our everyday decisions dictate what our individual carbon footprint is, our impact on the earth’s increasingly fragile ecosystem. Our words can significantly affect how those around us see the world, see themselves, treat each other and themselves. We have friends and family around us that rely on us in some way, and in turn – are there to be relied upon. We support each other in this life and we each take something form the other – be it positive or negative, moral or financial – we all give and take and have incredible effects on those around us. All of these significant effects are profound, and amazing, and rewarding – yet at the end of our lives the universe is still expanding, the sun is still dying and our lives on this remote planet are just as equally insignificant. It is all in the details, in how we choose to see our lives and our successful and positive impacts and our defeats. It is in how we deal with the lows to better appreciate the highs.
With this in mind I have decided to write an open letter to clear up some confusion about my fears.
My husband and I are very lucky. At the ages of 30 & 31 we were able to choose to quit our jobs to travel for several months and now find ourselves back home in Michigan facing some pretty big decisions. Some small decisions end up making huge impacts on our lives. Choosing to take the job at Circuit City after college instead of the job at Kohl’s (I graduated in 2006 when there were so many college grads flooding the market that most of us were lucky to have a choice of two retail jobs) led to my meeting my split apart whom I have now been happily married to for almost eight years. Some big decisions lead to epic failures or totally quiet and small successes that end up just being a shrug of the shoulders that we just need to move on from to better prepare for the next part of our lives. Right now it feels that we have some big choices to make. We need to decide where we want to be, what city, what state, what country. We need to settle on and decide to invest in one of the many passions we have and open a business. Our goal is ultimately to be able to work for ourselves and to work together. That’s it. We’ve had two jobs in our eight years where we worked together and we were happy to see each other throughout the day, we were happy to drive in to work and home together. But ultimately – we have decided that money is not everything, and working together for someone else, in a job that we find unfulfilling will not make us happy. We want to be happy and that will only come when we are working together in our own business or businesses.
In our pursuit to sort out our thoughts and clarify what our choices are over the past month or so, we have enlisted the help of my father. He is a realtor and we figured we could seek some real estate advice from him. It has not been so successful. I have had a trying relationship at times with him. I have come to recognize that we are both equally at fault for the trying part of the relationship. Every relationship is made of equal measures – each person puts in fifty percent – it is always fifty percent – it’s just what each person puts in that can make it feel like such a burden or such a blessing. It may have been a mistake to ask him for help and to entrust him with our secret little planning – but in reality it has kind of turned out exactly as we expected it would so maybe we never allowed it to be anything but a mistake in choosing to enlist his help and seek his advice since we knew what we were getting into. Say la vie. I’m over it. However, today we picked him up from the the airport after a two week stint down in Florida to celebrate his 70th birthday and to get away from the gray Michigan winter. We housesat for him for 16 days, cared for his dog and cat and cleared feet of snow from his ridiculously long driveway. On the way back he treated us to lunch and brought up the same old conversation/lecture on how we just need to decide on something and do it and stop letting fear intercede. It is difficult at this point in my life to go too deeply into anything with him because it always ends with miscommunication, frustration and annoyance for both parties. It has gotten better a I have become clearer about my message and stronger in my delivery of it, but still, sitting at a busy bar on a Sunday afternoon whilst watching golf did not feel like the best of times to have a deep discussion about fear.
I hear this from him all the time. He’s my fear monger – the person in my life that keeps reminding me that I might be afraid of something. Stop letting fear over rule me, stop letting fear in, it’s always going to be there, just get over it. What is frustrating is that I just don’t think he gets that every single one of us deals with different fears. I do not share his fears. Maybe on a large scale, sure, but I genuinely believe there are very few people on this significantly large planet that share the same driving fears. Not the fears of spiders or birds or bees or sharks. Not even the fear of death. Those are overarching phobias that we each have with weird stories of where they originated and rarely affect us on a day to day basis. I’m talking the fears that drive us to succeed and keep us from it. Those big driving fears are just so dependent on who we are, what we want to be, what we don’t want to be and where we have come from. I am extremely fortunate to have never had to fear hunger, or if I would have a safe place to sleep at night, or if my mother or I would be subjected to unmentionable horrors because we were women born in the wrong part of the world at the wrong time. My driving fears come from my genetic make up. The chemical firings and misfirings that lead me to be a manic depressive. Sometimes I am terrified that I am destined to commit suicide like my Uncle Larry did – he was my father’s closest and younger brother. Sometimes I am terrified that I will live forever but be cursed with this sometimes debilitating and crushing and defeating depression. But these are not really my driving fears. So in order to avoid any future misunderstandings; let’s clear up what it is that I am afraid of exactly. At least for now. And these are as succinct as I can make them. Which is ridiculous.
I am afraid of being undeserving. That I don’t deserve the happiness that has come my way, that I have created, that I am lucky enough to have.
I am afraid that I don’t deserve my husband – he is good, and loving and accepting – and I fear that I don’t deserve him.
I am afraid that my fear of being undeserving will become a self fulfilling prophecy, that my happiness will go away because it too agrees that I don’t deserve it anymore.
I am afraid of losing my passion and my spark and my creativity to the black abyss of depression.
I am afraid of losing my compassion and empathy for all living beings (humans and otherwise).
I am afraid of my own head and getting lost in it.
I am afraid of slipping into an easy life with a steady job and good pay. I am afraid of just surviving and not living.
I am afraid of never having the guts to say this to my dad or my mom or anyone who really matters in my life because none of us ever have enough time on this earth to say everything we need to.
Advertisements

I Want to be David Bowie

blog

I want to be David Bowie. Seriously, who doesn’t? The man is from another planet, another world, across the universe and turn left at the old oak tree. He holds the universe in his head. He can see the past, present and future as he creates it.

I imagine he has his own gravitational pull. It’s enormous, and as he passes you on the street you feel the fluctuation in the Earth’s gravity as the planets and stars and moons in his universe orbit and collide and die and are born. Sidewalks buckle under the weight of his universe, oceans part. Glass bends and time is relative and rippling. No wonder he doesn’t like to fly.

What must it be like to have this vast cosmos ever circling and changing inside his head. What is it like to know the future and to move the past. As an avid fan and listener and believer and worshiper for the past twenty years or so; I feel as though he has been telling us all along.

For me, it started with The Labyrinth. I was only two when it came out, but I remember watching it young and throughout my preteen years I was obsessed with Jareth – and who the hell was this Sarah idiot to deny the Goblin King? Are you kidding me? Who saves a baby over a chance at eternity with the incomparable Mr B?

Then I became Ziggy Stardust.

No I really was Zig.

Just like anyone else who has ever taken in that album as I did – we have all been Zig. An alien rock n’ roller here to change the world but can’t take the pressure of it, we can’t bear the pain of the whole wide world but we have to carry on. For years I was wearing chandelier earrings to high school and college classes on the daily. Daydreaming about rock n’ roll suicide and wanting the palm tree platforms so badly I was ready to carve them myself. I didn’t – but still – someday…

As I have faced the inevitability of aging, maturing (I really kind of hate that word), learning and expanding my mind (cosmically and existentially – not chemically) – I have grown to love the many different Bowies. I have always loved his big hits from his crazy discography. I embraced the 60s pop hits of Davy Jones, the shark suited hits of the 80s and sh*t, I am still f*cking afraid of Americans; but I could never love anything as much as the 70s albums (of which there are eleven).

Now I get it – I just wasn’t ready yet. I wasn’t ready to let Mr B open my mind and show me the future. He has been telling us all what it is all about for decades now. We just haven’t been ready to listen. We each carry his crazy universe of black holes violently tearing apart and consuming anything and everything around them, of stars being born and exploding with nuclear energy and planets and moons and matter and anti-matter.

I want to be David Bowie dammit.

Split-Aparts and Star Dust

Saturn blog

Today I have connected some dots. Some of the star dust dots that we are all made of and that I have always wanted to physically feel in my blood and in my skin. I never liked to sleep a whole lot. Not that I didn’t like sleeping, just that I loved to go to bed late, when no one else was up in the house and when I felt like I was the last person left in the world – the last person awake to feel it. The last to appreciate its quiet and stillness and beauty. I was an explorer in uncharted territory about to discover al the secrets of the universe. I was about to feel the star dust. I loved waking up early to start the day, so I had time to get shit done. I despised naps and never took them, and if I happened across one accidentally I was pissed that I wasted the time and would almost always wake up with a headache and a groggy disposition. Then I slowly, over time, slipped into this weird state of sleepiness. Like I couldn’t understand how I had gotten so old so quickly and needed all this sleep all of the sudden. How had I used to go to bed at 3 am only to wake up at 6:30 or 7 and not necessarily jump out of bed, but certainly not dawdle in it. I’ve had a few scattered months over this past six or seven years of sleepiness where I had this energy. To wake up at 5:30, or better yet 5:15 even, to burn some calories on the elliptical, and better yet do an interval workout too, so I could kill 700 nasty calories before I had breakfast and headed to work. Now I recognize those months as manic periods before the fall. This past week or so I have found I am dreaming again, a lot. I haven’t in so long it’s strange to stir several times a night from one dream to enter another. I admitted – out loud and everything –  just yesterday – that I don’t like sleeping much anymore. I just toss and turn, and I miss being physically and mentally awake with my love – even though we literally spend every waking moment together. I can’t get comfortable anymore, I’ve always been a side or back sleeper and now I have no idea what I’m doing but I think I’m turning into one of those….a stomach sleeper. I have gone to sleep later and later to read or watch or absorb or create new ideas and characters and lives to live. I wake up later then I used to but not by much and lingering in bed is a new joy because it is the first few minutes of the day and I get my love all to myself and the world still feels asleep outside and it is just us figuring out what lay ahead for us. Today and forever. I used to hear and see and feel the potential that people saw in me. I loved it. I totally thought that even though I was not attractive – that maybe that meant I could become deep and a philanthropist and change the world for the better and I would be somebody. It equally excited and scared me because I always feared in the back of my mind that I was sure to disappoint them all. Then that faded and I started to see only the black holes that I was and that my life had become and all the things I had screwed up and all the ways I had disappointed. I did not deserve anything I had, I have seen all the good and potential and beauty and love in everyone around me but I kept them at arm’s length. I have never trusted anyone of them enough to be really truly honest. I don’t know that I know who I am to be honest about – but I finally admitted last week – out loud and everything – that my parents divorcing when I was so young and the way that it went down, left me with abandonment issues and I’ve never been able to give myself to anyone the way that they deserved – because I was sure they would leave anyway. I’ve been waiting for years for everyone to figure out what a piece of shit I am and finally just give up on me so I could drift away into the black holes. Now, I don’t know that I see the potential I used to feel so strongly, but I don’t really care. I just care that I am seeing all of this more clearly then I ever have before. I care that I can admit all of this tar out loud to my love for the first time – and he still loves me. I just care that the black holes are closing in on themselves and not me. I am still terrified of them. Yesterday I was so excited and bubbly and talkative and acting like I haven’t in so long that I don’t remember that I have ever acted like that – and I was sure it meant I was just in an up swing – sure to be followed by a down. But that’s ok, because I have realized that I need to start to forgive myself soon before I crush myself into oblivion. I am only thirty. I still have a lot of life ahead and that really isn’t as ominous as it always used to feel. Like a weight around my neck.

I still want to feel that star dust, bubbling just below the surface. To feel connected to the universe and to feel how infinitesimally small I really am to to appreciate the details in the huge picture for exactly what they are.
And not to get too dragged down by the mire…Saturn is the best planet, so that’s nice.

 

Day Forty Five

claws

Today…sh-t got real. I was guilted into changing some of the plans I had for my birthday and I was immediately unhappy about said guilt-driven-changes. I was so pissed off, at my family, at myself. After a few hours of wallowing in self-misery I decided to alter my plans back. I don’t want to dread my 30th. I don’t want to worry about anyone saying something to hurt me, or anyone being in a crabby mood and taking it out on me.

That already happened all day today.

We had planned a nice relaxing Mom’s Day for everyone, and it all turned to sh-t. First thing in the morning I was attacked for selling a few cheap frames at the garage sale that apparently were über-important (even though I have never once heard of their apparent irreplaceable appeal). From there a lot of tension clouded the day. We had a delicious brunch at PJ’s Lager House in Corktown and headed to Ikea for some afternoon shopping, but the day was tainted.

I am so tired of talking about the same old sh-t; so for the first time – today I decided what was going to be best for me and said no to anything less. It is liberating and guilt-inducing at the same time. But I guess I am ok with that. I don’t want to lose the instinct to say yes all the time, and to want to please other people. I just want to say no more often when saying yes causes so much unhappiness and stress.

I also cannot wait to turn 30 all of the sudden…it’s weird and I cannot explain it but I feel like it has to be better then this sh-t.

I would also like to add that I am not such a self-absorbed person as I surely come off on this blog. It’s terrifying how opening up and trying to journal via blogging has made me feel/sound so whiney. I typically don’t even tell my love what I am really thinking and feeling on a daily basis. I certainly never tell friends or family – hence the trust issues. This is all a part of the journey I suppose; but please believe when I say that I can’t stand listening to myself whine all over the place either.

Day Forty Four

db

Third and final day of the let’s-get-the-f-ck-out-sale and we hit pay dirt. The last of our big items sold, we tallied up our total to almost $700 over the three days and I led my first section of a yin yoga class today for over 20 minutes while being recorded. It was the first day of feeling super sh-t about myself in a while, and the first time that I have gone back on a promise I have made myself since all this crazy started forty four days ago. I had promised quite recently that i would take people at their word, not question motives or honesty, and not care either way. But today, I felt ok with my performance in my yoga training, I managed to pull off coming up with an entirely different flow because I had no wall space to work with, I received great feedback that was both highly positive and constructive criticisms. However, somehow within an hour and a half of leaving yoga, driving home, changing and getting to the sale to help out – I had convinces my self that I suck so bad at yoga that everyone was just trying to be nice, I am a failure in all things, especially yoga, my in-laws hate me, and I am the fat, ugly daughter-in-law that they wish they never had. I hate this spiral of horrible thoughts that I think are absolute truths. It’s hard and frustrating to stop, it’s even harder to reverse and repair the damage.

Today was the first day I have felt like such a failure – I promised myself something and I couldn’t hold it up – and that f-cking sucks.

Day Thirty Four

fears

So today I compiled a list of my greatest fears. I don’t like spiders, speaking in public or touching gross bumpy things. None of these are on the list. Admittedly the list is a work in progress – but seeing some of my darkest fears typed out in front of me is a bit harrowing.

Seeing how irrational some of them are is a bit hilarious.

Reading them makes me want to conquer them. Conquer is a bit of a ridiculous word in this situation – but I don’t want to “work through them” – that just sounds laborious. Conquer feels fast, strong, fun. Game of Thrones style – I’m going to direwolf this shit.

This week has been a rough one – too much time to think – not enough time to do anything about it.

Day Seventeen

apartment

This was a crazy weekend. I feel like so many of my weeks blur together and I’m not really sure what day it is. Today felt like a Sunday – and it was. It was a beautiful day here. Sunny, slightly breezy, a bit of cloud cover to keep the temperature moderate and a first taste of that famous humidity that plagues so many summer days in Michigan. For maybe a week or more I have been picturing very clearly a future home for my husband and I. Just a very specific section of a living room. I don’t know if it’s in Portland or Paris or London or Tokyo or even somewhere in the Maldives. I just know that it feels like home. I am happy and comfortable picturing it and I want to be there.

This is the first time in my memorable past (aka maybe ten-fifteen years) that I have so vividly pictured a future for myself that it feels like I am there. Like it is tactile, already my reality and I have lived it. There’s a fuzzy feeling of contentment that feels right. Maybe it was just a dream that I am remembering. Maybe my subconscious is sapping this vision from a movie or show or an immersive description in a book. But it doesn’t feel like that. It feels original, and all my own. It feels so good to be able to claim a vision of my future life. It just feels great to want a future at all.

Suicide has such an awful stigma attached to it. Unfortunately that stigma makes it hard for me to even write that I have contemplated suicide as much as I have these past few years. The first reaction of some family and friends (the grand total is eight btw) that I have spoken to is anger. A “how dare you” attitude that only compounds how shitty and nervous I feel about talking to anyone (let alone a friend who claims to love me) about these thoughts and feelings. Another reaction is disbelief – “really? you? you always have it together though. you’re so strong.” Like this is something I would lie about. If you know me enough to think me strong and together – then know me enough to believe what I am saying to you right now. One of the hardest parts when telling family and friends is you can practically feel the crazy brand being burned into your forehead. Never again do they seem to ask “how are you?” and really mean it. The questions are always direct; “how is your mom doing? how is your husband? how is your work going?” A truly, deep-down heartfelt “how are you?”  seems to be off the menu. You know what I mean right? Someone asks you something they might know the answer to but they just really want you to honestly talk to them – and whatever you say they will hear it and love you the same at the end of your answer as they did eight months ago before you branded your forehead with i’m a f#%&ing crazy mess.

I am a f#%&ing crazy mess – a fistful of it. But I also have a really clear picture of a home I want to create and exist in. I want that future and that is a really f#%&ing great first for today.