Most days I hold it together well. Some days I set fires, I put holes in things. The storms come in and just as quickly they are gone, those days are always the days I don’t want to look at myself in the eyes. My shame stands taller than me and I let that mindset run long and deep. The visions cut through my reality like a flowing river. First, they trickle in, then they fill an area. Once the water is pooling over, why not? Why not open the damn and let it go?
Soon I’m surrounded by a raging river that would rather cut a mountain in half than ever think to climb it. Everything stuck in gravity’s pull, reaching lower points after each turn.
I was face to face with a mountain and I took a descending path, I can surprise even myself.
There is an art to it, avoidance, and there’s a trick to denial.
I sought what would kill me, but I couldn’t admit it. Not ever. I would string along narratives. Connect broken pieces to resemble a whole.
Avoidance and denial stemmed from seeds I planted many years ago in my thoughts. I tucked them away and as I was busy aging, so too were those seeds growing.
The shame, anger, abuse, leftover childhood standoffs unfulfilled. I sought out the stage for these shadows to be showcased but I was never fulfilled being an actor of that sort. A child in an adult body. Seeing my children’s eyes on me, that woke me up but I'd stepped off the cliff, I was already gone. Forever. No coming back.
My actions, my past, my lowest point. I carried them all. Every morning I woke and I ignored all of it.
Until it killed me.
I made it to my thirties. I had no wits about me unless I was numb, being sarcastic, feeling aggressive or feeding the fuel source for my all-powerful ego—the ego that wasn't carrying the weight, one hundred pounds, a few bucks and some change. My ego wasn't raising my children. My ego was in a neurotic loop, constantly saving face. When I hit my bottom that face shattered. Life as I knew it was over.
It’s scary at the bottom. A person could get there having burned every bridge, having severed every tie. Even scarier, a person might get there surrounded by support but still feel isolated.
I knew one night when I was playing with my kids, that I had died.
We made up a miniature game of baseball. We play it in my front yard after I come home from work.
After two games I finally connected with the ball. The excitement was sweet. I was smelling the roses. I hit a home-run. I knew I’d died because I was in heaven.
Gradual movement. A nice forward momentum. Sometimes getting snagged on thorns. Other times, cheering with my kids, happy to finally add a mark next to my name written on my house with a blue piece of chalk. My name, touching their names, an ode to my existence. I’m here now.
I can’t say how far away I am from the place where I shattered, felt scattered, was unsure, became isolated, was dependent, the place where I had support. The place where I died. The place where I was born. But if we have nine lives, I have seven left.
This time I am grateful. So grateful.