Yesterday when I woke up I had a bit of a revelation.
I’m going to have days when I want not to live any more, and I’m going to have them for the rest of my life.
I am broken.
This is as good as I get. I need to stop waiting for the time when I’m good enough, fixed, have all my ducks in a row, before I give myself permission to fully inhabit my life.
Don’t get me wrong. I know I still have a lot to learn. I realise fully there is a lot of growth ahead for me; spiritually, personally and intellectually. But yesterday when I woke up, I felt as though the world was collapsing in on me. In my head I was trapped, felt incredibly frustrated and like every single less-than I’ve ever had thrown at me had finally fruited into a toxic, bitter lump of rotten garbage right in the middle of my guts. I felt like if I was going to go through another – yes another, because I’ve been having these horrible, violent episodes of writhing self-hatred mixed with absolute panic my whole life – then I was ready to die, and to make it a quick one.
Surprised? Shocked I have suicidal thoughts from time to time? I can pinpoint the actual days in my life with almost filmic clarity when I considered ending my life, if life meant keeping on having these horrible days inside a hurricane inside my head. I remember one episode I had sitting on a step outside my house sobbing, my two month old baby inside, trying to stay closer to the ground after considering whether throwing myself off the upstairs balcony would kill me outright, or just make me hurt even more. I remember a time curled up in a ball in the corner of my bedroom, in the dark, having just screamed at my teenage daughter for half an hour over God knows what, just a few weeks after my husband left to go to rehab, and when it became clear I would have to divorce him, because he didn’t even have the strength or presence of mind to argue through our differences any more. I wondered if I had enough pills in the house to do it. I remember waking from a terrible dream I had when I was halfway through radiotherapy, and staying in a hostel in Sydney 400kms away from my family, surrounded by people dying of cancer, a dream where dying was as easy as letting go, as going to sleep, as stopping swimming up and down a pool and tumble turning at the ends, lap after lap after lap, and just sinking to the bottom, and knowing if I just gave up now, nobody would blame me, and there would be peace, stillness, safety. It could all just stop.
But I did not those three times. Or any of the others. Stop, that is. I did not really want to stop living. But I did feel like I wanted to not be alive any more.
For a great many people, being alive is being in pain. It is being alone in a hundred ways, even if there are people all around, and those people like and need you. It is feeling like you are not enough, do not belong, will never stop hurting. For me, being alive is accepting I have days where my head spins and I feel incapable of anything, where the expectations of simply existing in this society with these rules and limitations is impossible for me, because I can’t do it. That’s really what’s at the bottom of it all – *this* is what’s expected, and I cannot do it. Not that I could if I tried, and I can’t try. Not that I am missing information and could do what is expected if I had that information. Not that someone is oppressing me or abusing me or preventing me. But that I can’t do it. That I am not made for the world I am born into, and expected to function in, and succeed in. That I am broken, less than, displaced, dysfunctional, alien. And I cannot do anything about it.
Sometimes for me, being alive is being confused, and feeling less than, incurable and completely fucked up inside my head. And it feels as though I will be stuck there and never able to get out, that the day which begins like this will not end, ever.
I know an awful lot of people don’t understand why suicide happens. I understand how it happens.
But anyway, all this is not my revelation.
My revelation is in all probability, unless I choose to be sedated my whole life, this is something I will always experience from time to time. This, I understand on days like this, will not make it easier when it happens, but it will make it acceptable. To me. Probably not to certain others. But I can accept it as part of me, even if I cannot see through it when it is happening.
Like a great many things in my life, like cancer, like my marriage breaking up, like loss, rejection and pain, my episodes of madness simply must be survived.
My revelation is I cannot live my life as if being broken is something I must fix before I can go the awesome places I want to go, and do the awesome things I want to do. I must do the awesome broken.
I must accept I am broken, and may never be whole and healed in the ways which would make every day of my life joy-filled, successful and productive. I must work with the fact I am not going to be complete, or get totally fixed up, and I cannot afford to wait until I am before I give myself permission to be great.
I am mostly great now, and that is enough. The small proportion of fucked-up-edness I have is not sufficient justification for me to not do all the things, go all the places, love all the people, speak all the words, and write all the books. In fact, my bad days, however bad they are, may not be used as a weapon against myself, or a procrastination. They may not. I withdraw whatever permission I gave myself which allowed that to happen.
I sat there yesterday in the middle of my mini-breakdown and I withdrew permission to give up, or step down. No, I said to myself, this time you are not going to walk away from your life, from everything you’re in the middle of. This does not prove all the things people have said or done to you are true. This proves nothing. This is a hard day. These are unhelpful thoughts. You are close to giving up. But guess what? This time, you’re standing. You will do the awesome broken. Because awesome is all that’s left for you now. You tried everything else. It’s do awesome broken, or die now, one way or another. What’s it going to be I said?
Do awesome broken.
Have a great day, friends.