This is what I’m gonna do about it

This is a writing prompt from an amazing writing retreat I went to over the weekend. The prompt was our response to “What are you gonna do about it?” Referring to the times when we receive compassion from friends or family, someone close to us who we seek counsel from when we feel sad or stuck. This was more in response to us feeling stuck, not being able to jump over some hurdle or open a door.

So, what are you gonna do about?

This the what the fuck I’m gonna do about it.

I’m gonna dig.

I pick the shovel up. It feels heavy in my blistered hands, years of digging and digging.

Dirt everywhere. Dirt in weird places, mixed with sweat, tears and a little blood. The digging hurts. But, not in a way I’m used to. It’s uncomfortable.

Shedding the skin.

Removing the hands from around my throat.

Using the voice that cracks to say, “You will not break me. I own you. Not the other way round. Fuck off, Depression!”

I can’t dig anymore.

The digging feels so painful. So uncomfortable. Like a claustrophobic panic attack. Stealing the breath from my lungs, sucking out the oxygen.

Holy shit, I can’t breathe.

Same shit, again and again and again. These vicious cycles of garbage getting recycled over and over in my head. The hurtful remarks from blood to blood only causing the cycle to shift and become smaller, threatening to kill us all. Sucking the goddamn oxygen out of us.

The digging helps. Removing myself from the cycles I get so fucking caught up in. Those words and actions, becoming toxic and crying out “I OWN YOU!” The cycles own us. They scream ownership over our blood.

But I dig. I escape like a thief in the night. I dig my escape tunnel to freedom. I do not want the chains the cycles put on me. I will not wear them. I will not drink the poison from the veins. I will not perpetuate those fucking cycles.

I am done.

Blood in not binding. Sharing genetic material is not a family make. The cycles have made us nothing more than a makeshift patchwork family, sewn together from once useable parts, now just pretending to be real. We are just pretenders, faking it until we make it.

I dig my way out. But the shovel feels too heavy, too burdensome. How can I support this change? It’s so uncomfortable. It’s too claustrophobic.

This is the goddamn fuck I’m gonna do about it. I pick the damn shovel up because it scares me. That fear is good. It makes you do things you normally could not. Dig! Be terrified!

Just fucking dig, Rachel!

Just fucking dig, and then keep on digging.

Dig and dig.

Dig and Dig.

Digging and Digging.

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Harmony

Harmony is a word I don’t understand.

I have studied music on and off for years, the idea that you can place notes together to create a chord, that in turn goes on to create a larger piece of music is a concept I understand. But when it comes to application to life? Hell, if I know. Is it the same as music, where it’s little pieces put together that help create a larger more beautiful piece? Harmony in that concept feels like a puzzle then, finding the right pieces to place together at the right time.

Is harmony just a fancy word for balance? Maybe. But, maybe it’s just something we figure out for ourselves as we dig out our issues and face them, as we mature and grow, as we learn to filter out the bad from the good, as we see what we really need. Harmony is just the idea of finding out what works for us, what helps us be the best we can be, what pieces we need to be good, to finally feel happy or just calm, to help us get the gunk out of our souls. Harmony is the expression of us using little steps, little pieces to help the larger picture become clearer.

I would love for it to be done overnight. Wouldn’t that be amazing? My god, if we could just wake up with our pieces already in place, and just enjoy our lives? Fuck! I would be a happy camper. But it doesn’t work that way. We have to dig to find our pieces, for the internal ones we already have, that are just hidden, and for the external ones that come quietly into lives, and just begin to poke us, saying you need this. You need me!

I have some of my pieces in place, and I have to honestly say it’s scary. I think the idea of it is being unknown territory, well out of my comfort zone is definitely a big piece of it, but the even scarier part of it, is that I never thought I would be here. I am at a point in my life where I never thought I would live to see. It always seemed to be a mystical place I could never imagine, let alone reach. I’m good with my parents. I am not consumed by anger and hate. I am not allowing my depression to snap my neck like a twig. I still have bad days, where the depression comes and sits on my bedside not allowing me to move. I have grief and loss and pain still, but I am able to see the good that has come from knowing the love I have lost. I know that I need that love to go on. I know I need to be able to nurture and love something outside of myself. That is the main reason I miss my dog. She was that source for me. She supported and I loved her right back. I need to give that love to something that is mine. Completely mine. Maybe it’s selfish, but fuck, I’m allowed to be. That helps me find harmony. It helps me find my pieces. This is what I know I need. It’s not a want, it’s a need. I’m good with myself for the first time, probably ever. I  want to give this new found love to something else. Something that needs it. I know what that pain is like, and it sucks.

The scariest and bravest thing I have ever done was attend a writing retreat. Over the years, words have been my solitary solace. The quiet thing I do when I need to vent, and can do so without any judgment. There is no back and forth like in therapy, there is no question of why I feel that that, or why I chose to write about that topic. I can just allow the words to get vomited up, and splashed on the page. Seeing these things that my subconscious clearly thinks I need to talk about out. I don’t think it’s always some hidden issue or feeling that needs to get out. This is my way of using my voice in my way. I can stand up and say exactly what I want to when I write. I can use my backbone and not have to worry about pissing anyone off because I wrote about a topic that wasn’t ‘okay’ or worry about airing my dirty laundry to the world. The funny thing about airing that laundry is that you realize every one else has it too, and yours isn’t that dirty or that smelly.

Everyone’s family has their problems and their issues. Sometimes they get aired like that dirty laundry, but more often they get buried. Often to a deep level where no one will want to put in the effort to dig them out. I can’t express how irritating and frustrating it is to live in a family where the issues just get pushed down. No one talks about things, and if they do, there are so many levels is misunderstanding and miscommunication that it almost defeats the purpose of trying. What I do with my path is so different than the rest of the members of my family. We make our choices and we deal with it. I wanted nothing more than them to be there for me, especially when I felt like I was falling down a pit of pure darkness with no end in sight. I grew resentful and angry because they were not physically here. They had made their choices, and looking back I wouldn’t expect them to come back and help in the way I wanted them to. They got out before the shit hit the fan, and they were lucky in that way. They avoided the full front attack of it, but they still felt the aftershocks of the earthquakes. I know they have feeling regarding the issues we have, and while it would be so easy for me to get up on my soap box and say I know how to deal with this in a healthy way, from my 14 years of therapy, I don’t. I don’t talk to them unless necessary. Which for me, is the best thing I can do for myself. Maybe it’s sublimely selfish, but I’m the only one who will take care of me.

I can’t be angry like I was. That anger bubbles up from time to time, but it’s easier to push away now. I feel it bubble up around holidays, when I know family time will be coming. Any sense of harmony I feel just fucks off. It’s tension so thick you can cut it with a knife. I don’t know if we just don’t understand each other or if we are resentful of the ways we have been treated differently. The thing that I have come to accept with siblings and children is, that we will always be treated differently. There are ways in which it can be even and fair, but in all honesty, we all require such different things from our parents, because we are each unique. What works for X will not work for Y, same goes for Z. I feel like that has caused a rift in the family. Because we only see  the differences, we don’t the reasons behind it. We don’t try to see the reasons behind it. I used to think that maybe we could one day be a loving supportive family, and I’m beginning to truly see that it will not happen. I don’t believe it will happen, and if it ever does, not anytime soon. I just feel too much unspoken anger and unresolved issues for that to be reality. I’m probably being negative, but I think it’s pretty reasonable considering my feelings towards everything.  I can’t speak for everyone else. I can only use my voice, and that’s what my voice believes. We are connected because of blood and this idea that we ‘should’ be a family. Not the idea that we want to be one. The subtle snide remarks and the outbursts of emotions hurt. They truly cut deep. I know families all have those bad days, but these feel very calculated, and dis-attached. I have hurt myself enough for several lifetimes, and I have done nothing to deserve those remarks. I have committed no crime. Why do I feel like I have? I don’t know. But it’s so tiring. You make your choices and I make mine. Don’t presume to know where I am in my life. I don’t know where you are in yours.

Where do you find harmony in a situation like that?

I don’t know if you do. I know that if you want it with everyone involved it will take communication and everyone actively wanting it. But if that’s not the case, then you have it to find in YOU. It has to be a strong enough foundation that you will not sway with those winds of trouble come barreling back. It takes a lot of effort, work and strength to do it. Harmony is a life long process, it is never something that is achieved with the snap of your fingers. I wish it was that way, but it’s not.

Harmony is so worth it though.