Clenched Fists

I’ve written this post a million times. A million times. I think I keep writing it because I tell myself that if I just articulate what I’m thinking a little better, things will click and I’ll be able to change this part of myself and everything will be better. But when it comes to this one part of me, I’m stuck in a vicious cycle out of which I can’t emerge, and it makes my life infinitely more difficult.

What I’m talking about is my inability to let go of things, to brush them off of my shoulders with my head held high and keep pressing forward. My tendency to hold on, with clenched fists, to toxic memories, feelings, and beliefs, letting them paralyze me and cause me to react impulsively and with the kind of reckless emotion that often gets one into trouble.

I’ve had some pretty serious conflicts with people this past year, conflicts that have ruined friendships and burned bridges. Conflicts that have left my stomach in knots and contributed to that deep depression I wrote about in my last post. And while people like to say that time heals all wounds, right now I’m not quite sure that I believe that sentiment. Admittedly, many of the wounds to which I’m currently referring are pretty fresh–they’ve happened in the past several months, the past year. And some of that is just going to hurt for a while, without any available cure except for time and reflection and wisdom.

But what concerns me is that I tend to hold onto things, the big things and the small things, a little a lot longer than is probably healthy. I let them eat me alive and I torture myself with thoughts of all of the different ways things could have turned out if I had done something differently, or if someone else had done something differently. I let myself keep hurting and suffering, while knowing at the same time that the other parties involved are not giving the situation, or me, a second thought. And so, at the end of the day, it’s just me sitting here with my fists clenched tightly around this shit, this baggage, while everyone around me goes on like it never happened. I’d be lying if I said that knowing this fact doesn’t drive me absolutely insane. I want these people who hurt me to sit right here with me with their fists clenched around this shit, too, until everything is fixed and better and we ALL can move on.

But that’s not how these kinds of things work. Sometimes we get left behind in others’ dust, and we can either clean ourselves off and keep going, or we can stand idle and look around in bewilderment at the fact that the world is continuing to turn, even if we’re frozen in our despair.

It’s funny, in that last paragraph when I started to type the line “Sometimes we get left behind in others’ dust, and we can either clean ourselves off and keep going…” I originally had typed something like “…and we can either clean ourselves off and catch up to and surpass those people…” I caught myself when I typed that because there I go again, making all of this about other people and comparing myself to them, rather than focusing on myself and what I need and what I must do. Sometimes people shit on you and there’s nothing you can do to make the force and effect of that action any more bearable. You just have to move forward.

But that’s my problem — I have the hardest time moving forward, really moving forward, when something bad happens to me. Even the little things…I just can’t push them out of my mind, or at least a little more towards the back of it. I suspect that some of this has to do with my anxiety, and I often have to remember to forgive myself for all of this to some extent because trying to overcome difficulties is hard enough, but even harder when you have a disorder that tends to make every little bump in the road seem like the end of the world.

I just wish that I had the ability to let some of this baggage go and ease the burden that’s on my shoulders right now. I wish that I had the ability to forget the people that have hurt me so badly in this past year, the same way that they seemingly have forgotten me. I always think of that movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and wish that I could completely erase certain memories from my mind. I suppose that would take care of the letting go problem, wouldn’t it? But I also suppose that would mean losing all of the valuable life lessons I’ve gained as a result of these things that have happened. So, in short, there’s really no good answer to any of this. And here I am, over 800 words into this post, with no better solution or insight than what I had in the million other posts I’ve written on the same subject.

I wish I had an answer, though — I’d love to know what it’s like to face the world with open arms.

-T

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Comeback Kid.

Oh, hi there. I guess it’s been a while since we last spoke, huh? I’m sorry about that. Law school doesn’t allow for much blogging time, and even when I do have a few spare moments, most of them are spent trying to fit in some extra sleep, or clean up my apartment that looks like it has been abandoned, or run other errands that have been pushed to the wayside. However, I finished up the semester last week, and can finally sit down and put words on this screen without feeling guilty about having other work to do.

I know that around this time of the year, people blog about their reflections from the last 12 months, and I suppose I’m going to feed into that cliche topic for this post and talk a little bit about what this past year has been like for me.

In short, 2014 was a year of pain, incredible struggle, and redemption.

Around this time last year, I was reeling from my first semester of law school and the heartache and unbearable depression that it brought. I don’t know how I survived that time, to be honest. I remember quite vividly the many days and nights I spent crying in bathrooms, my bed, my car, on the floor, etc. I remember hiding, literally, from the world as much as I could, too hurt and ashamed and depressed to face other people, to watch other people thrive as I fell with full force toward rock bottom. I remember my inability to stop my body from pouring out the seemingly never-ending stream of sorrow inside of me. I remember it all, and I have no idea how I survived it. I really don’t. There were days when I truly believed I would die from all of that pain. But I didn’t. I’m still here, and I’m still fighting, and I’m better, even when I can’t always recognize that I’m better.

The one thing I’ve realized this past year is that you have to fight for your life, as hard as you possibly can. You have to kick and scream and claw and pull your way through when things are tough, because that’s how you survive, it’s the only way you can survive when you’re falling. If you’re lucky, as I have been, then you have people along the way who help lift you and make the climb back up from the depths a little easier. But, ultimately, you have to do most of the work yourself — that’s how you gain strength and experience and wisdom — all things that will make the fight a little easier the next time around, because, of course, there will be a next time. Maybe, and hopefully, it won’t be so bad the next time, but life is full of valleys and peaks, and it is our duty to weather them both the best that we can.

And so here I am, bloodied and bruised and scarred, but finally feeling a little sunshine on my head as I rise from those terrible depths. And I’d be lying if I said that I’m not completely terrified that this feeling won’t last, that the other shoe is going to drop and I’ll be right back at the bottom again. But, interestingly enough, I feel that maybe I’ll be better equipped to deal with that day if and/or when it comes. I guess I’ve always been a fighter in that way, but have never had to test my strengths as much as I’ve had to this past year. It’s funny how life reveals those kinds of qualities about yourself to you when you need to realize them the most.

I’ve spent much of this year keeping my head down, working hard, and trying to prove to myself that I’m worthy. Worthy of what, you might wonder? Well, worthy of anything at all, I suppose. Worthy to be in law school, worthy to be loved, worthy to take up space on this earth and in the lives of others on this earth. Just…worthy. Worthy at all. And I think that I’ve proven that to myself in some ways, but not in others. I hope more than anything else right now that I can continue to reveal to myself my worthiness in this life. Because believing that you are worthy makes the fight so much easier to tackle.

2013 was a year that I was happy to say goodbye to — my attitude toward that year was, “don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out!” But this year, 2014…in some odd way I have an attitude of gratefulness. Things were revealed to me about myself that I so desperately needed to know, people were brought into my life that I believe saved me, truly saved me, and I made a comeback in some really important areas. It was not an easy year, and it was not really a happy year, but it was a year of progress, and for that I can’t be anything other than grateful.

So, here’s to 2015, and the continued progress and healing that I hope it will bring.

-T

Scrapes and Bruises

Hi, friends. (Does anyone still read this thing?) I don’t think so, but I’m going to write anyway because I haven’t in so long and I need to put something out there. For months, I haven’t been able to find my words, and I’ve recently decided that if I don’t try to make them come back to me, they’re not going to come. I’ve been keeping up with all of my favorite blogs these past few months, even though I haven’t been writing myself, and I’ve been so jealous of the creativity, the passion, that I see in other posts while I sit over here trying to figure out how to write something that doesn’t have to do with one of my law textbooks.

It feels as though all of my creativity has been zapped, but I know that if I don’t try and cultivate it and make an effort to get some of it back, this problem isn’t going to get any better. I’m not just going to wake up one morning and feel inspired to write–I have to make myself write and slowly let the creativity flow back into my veins. With that being said, I’m going to try and post more, even if my posts are very short. If you’re still reading this boring old blog of mine, please hang in there.

Anyway, things have been challenging my way as of late. School is kicking my ass, and the lack of sleep, exercise, and good eating habits has been catching up with me. I’ve been trying all semester to get myself into a groove that allows for me to have a healthy work/life balance, but here it is, almost mid-October, and I’m still flying by the seat of my pants. I’m convinced, though, that the entirety of law school consists of one flying by the seat of her pants. Good thing I have another year-and-a-half of this shit, right?

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about learning how to appreciate struggle. I spend so much of my time resentful of the fact that life has seemed like a never-ending, painful struggle the past year or so (and even before that, if we’re being honest). But I’d be lying if I said that, during this time of difficulty, I haven’t grown and learned more about myself and the kind of person I want to be. This is how we grow–by struggling through things and figuring out, for ourselves, how to come out of it all better and stronger than before. But it’s hard to see that when you’re feeling bruised and tired and as if it will never get easier. And so that is what I’m grappling with right now–trying to remain optimistic that I’m going to come out of all of this, and come out of it better than before.

But if there’s one thing the people who know me well will tell you about me, it’s that I often make things harder on myself than I need to. And so while I’ve been fighting like hell to move forward and get out of this difficult period in my life, I think I’ve also been holding myself back in many ways. I spend so much time being bitter toward and about people and situations that have hurt me, and while those people have happily moved on with their lives and those situations remain unchangeable, I sit here, still stewing, and wasting so much time and energy. I guess I just don’t know how, exactly, to push those things out of my mind, but I wish that I could. I wish I could pull an Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and forget about much of this past year. Just start with a clean slate. But then I guess I wouldn’t have accumulated all of these life lessons that I now possess, huh? I guess you really can’t have your cake and eat it, too–you can’t reap the benefits of learning important things about life without also experiencing the scrapes and bruises that come along with it.

I turned 24 a few weeks ago, and it recently occurred to me that I’m probably much too exhausted and cynical for my age. This is the time when I should be happiest and most energized and most optimistic, right?! Well, that is so not the case, but maybe the better years of my life have yet to come. See, there’s a little bit of optimism deep down inside of me!

Well, my Business Organizations textbook is calling my name, so I guess I’ll close for now. And look at me–writing several hundred words my first “real” post back after a long hiatus! Until next time, here’s to the scrapes and bruises and the healing that hopefully comes with them.

 

-T

It Just Is.

“If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather.

Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.”

― Stephen Fry

“If I Ever Feel Far Away…”

Taken in Kansas City, MO.

Taken in Kansas City, MO.

I can’t live here

In my body, I mean

I can’t live in my body all the time it feels too much

So if I ever feel far away know I am not gone

I am just underneath my grief

Adjusting the dial on my radio face so I can take this life with all of it’s love and all of it’s loss

Just to be clear

I don’t want to get out

without a broken heart.

I intend to leave this life

so shattered

there’s gonna have to be

a thousand separate heavens

for all of my separate parts

From “Royal Heart,” by Andrea Gibson

 

Into the Light.

Well, I sure dropped off of the face of the Earth when it comes to this blog, huh? Sorry about that, friends.

This summer, almost every moment of my time has been devoted to summer classes at the law school or work. Truth be told, I’m absolutely exhausted, but I also feel quite accomplished (we’ll see if that feeling sticks once I get back grades from my final exams that are coming up).

My job as a law clerk this summer has been incredibly fulfilling. Being at an actual firm, doing real legal work, and getting positive feedback on that work has shown me that I really am cut out to be an attorney, even if I’m not at the top of my law school class (or anywhere near the top). I feel more confident now, doing this work, than I have at any other point in time since I first started law school. I hope that my confidence will continue to strengthen and spread to other areas of my life as well–I could really use a good boost in that respect.

I was chatting with a friend of mine earlier today and told her that I’ve been feeling kind of weird lately. I’ve spent so much of this past year being in a deep depression, and now I’m at this place where I wouldn’t say that I’m extremely happy, but I also wouldn’t say that I’m extremely sad, either. It’s this weird in-between place that I think means I might be getting better in some ways, even if I’m still struggling in others.

I explained this to my friend and she told me that the “pendulum” in my life is perfectly in the middle right now. It’s not suspended on the dark side that it seemed to be stuck on for so long, but it hasn’t yet swung completely over to the light, either. And after spending so much time immersed in the dark, I suppose that being in the middle isn’t such a bad place to be. And maybe this all means that I’m finally headed toward the light, that I won’t have to struggle or hurt as much as I have this past year or so.

But the thing about pendulums is that they always end up going back the other way, and so even as I begin to see a little light, I know that it can’t be constant. And of course we all know that we never can be in the light 100% of the time, but when you’ve spent so much time in the dark, the thought of going back to that place is terrifying. On the other hand, I guess the more optimistic way of looking at this is that at least you know you’ll always return to the light, eventually.

So, here I am, hopefully making my own return to the light and to the sense of happiness from which I have felt distant for too long. I am cautiously optimistic, which I guess fits perfectly into that “in-between” place that I’m in right now in my life.

I wonder if this is what progress feels like. I really, really hope so.

-T