I just read an article entitled “The Vicious Cycle of Self Destruction & How to Get Out of It” by Margarita Stoffberg. Naturally, the title alone piqued my interest, but more than that – I wanted to find out how the hell I can get out of this new shit storm I’ve created.
As per the usual self-help and self-discovery fare, the author talked of looking to one’s past to find out where the behavior first manifested. Every bad behavior, addiction, failure, or choice comes from something dark and sinister in your past. Once identified, then you forgive it and become a whole person. You know, face your demons. Wrestle with them and beat them into submission! Damn them! They’ve forced you into your poor choices! Then, as they lie bloodied and beaten – forgive them. Voila! you can now begin to rebuild your life , or at the very least, get on with the business of cleaning up whatever mess you’ve made of your life. The article made it sound so simple. As do all of my fellow suffering writers, but nothing about this is that simple. Really…it’s not.
I’ve been through therapy, a 12-step program, taken medication, moved, divorced, let toxic people go, surrounded myself with love, reveled in my successes and watched myself fail. I’ve read books, listened to lectures, ate lunch with like-minded people, tried yoga, meditation, written papers and blogs, journaled daily, started and stopped healthy eating, exercised, self-medicated, slept, cried, talked (and talked – ok, and talked!!), dated, made myself be alone and the list goes on. I’ve marveled at nature, babies and my family. I’ve prayed and sent positive messages to the universe. I know “The Secret” and I’ve shared my knowledge, you know? Helped others? Yeah, still have a shit storm.
“Be grateful” I’m told. I am. Really. I am very grateful for everything I have and then some. “Just Let it Go” I’m told. I have, but now I find out that in order to get over my self-destructive behavior I need to face the demons again. Apparently, I’m not quite done with them. I’m told over an over again that in order to truly put myself out there with my writing I must write about my past. I guess it’s another way to hang out with the demons.
I ask this, “Why?” If I’ve already faced my demons and understand why I am the way that I am…why do I have to keep going back to them to improve my behavior? Am I looking at the wrong demons? I’m pretty sure I know every bad thing that’s ever happened to me, so I don’t get how going over it, writing about it or facing them again is going to push me forward. I want them to rest now. I want them to find peace. I want to rest. I want to find peace. I’m tired.
I’m tired of fighting my past. I want to figure out how to get this future deal on track. I’m out of work again, still couching it on the “couch of no sleep” and wondering how I’m going to manage to get through this current mess I’m in. I have bankruptcy looming, I need to find money for my daughter to go back to college and I need a job. I know how this happened, I know why I’m here – what I want to know is how do I really make it stop?
I find peace in my family and my friends. I find comfort in my writing. However, the taking the steps necessary to change my life? I don’t know if I’m scared, self-destructive, or am I too confident that things will work out for the best?
In my mind I hear all of the self-healing words: serenity, love yourself first, be gracious, show gratitude, help others, pray, keep moving forward, what has passed is now my past, you’ll be fine, you are strong, you’ve survived worse, you are smart, you are confident – and I’m sure there are other words I’ve missed, but those come to mind right now. I know, a lot of words.
What I really want to know about these other writers is when did “it” happen? What was that moment that prompted you to make these life altering choices? I want to be healthier, I want to finish my degree, I want to write, I want to be able to support myself and my daughter financially without being terrified that I will never find a job that I can actually do well! I want to know how you just flipped a fucking switch in your head and your life was wonderful and everything became crystal clear! You are a successful writer, living in a cabin in the mountains with your dogs and children and living the dream. How did that happen? I can’t even get out of my own way long enough to get dressed most days! Not for depression – I just don’t feel like getting dressed. I want to make the healthy foods, but I don’t have money for the expensive organic ingredients. I want to exercise more, but well, I just don’t do it. Why can’t I find a switch that makes me want to do it??? Please don’t say, “Stop making excuses.” I know that one, but what I want to know is HOW do I stop making excuses?
I’m supposed to learn to be alone. To do things on my own. I’m not a solitary kind of person. I need people. I need to be where there are people who are kind and supportive. I need social not solitary. I don’t mind living alone – in fact, I miss it terribly, but this other stuff? I don’t want to do any of it alone. I want someone to help me! However, these aren’t the kinds of things that anyone else can help me with. They, truly are things I have to do myself…and I know, one step at a time. Blah.Blah.Blah. Honestly, the reason I couldn’t stand being in the past two jobs was because I had no team to work with. I was left to my own devices and I floundered and was so very unhappy. I can work and I can do good work, but when I am isolated from the rest of the herd, I drift. I lose interest and I resent being left alone. I always have and I’ve murdered the demon that caused that little effect on my psyche. I hated being separated from my mother and my grandmother – I had to be because they needed to work to provide for me and my family, but I was so afraid they would never return that I ran away from whatever care giver I had been left with to find them. To this day, I don’t like being left alone unless I choose to be alone. I know it and I recognize it, but it doesn’t mean that I accept it.
So, I’m searching for a job where I’m not left alone. Something that involves people and planning and teamwork. Something I can wrap my head around. Still, in order to move on to that search, I have to bury the mess that my finances have put me in. I also have to make sure that my daughter is taken care of and then – then maybe I’ll find my job. Do you find it odd that I want to write too? Writing is so very solitary. I find that odd. Of course, everything about me is odd, so I don’t know why I should be so surprised.
I know that things will be fine. I have healed some very large wounds and closed the door and several other demons. I still have a few that I like to party with once in a while, but I never let them stay long. I know there are lights at the ends of each of these dark tunnels, but for now I have more questions than answers and that bothers me. I suppose the truth is that I won’t find the answers unless I keep asking the questions nor will I find them if I stop searching. One day, maybe I will be able to wear a day glo outfit, build a cabin in the mountains and raise some muppet dogs that yap at the wind. For now, I’m searching and asking questions. I’m fighting with demons and looking toward the future. I have my faith and I know that wherever I land is where I will need to be. For now.