How do I…

Let go of the guilt, the shame, the remorse, the anger, the rage, the pain, the feeling of being betrayed, the wondering what life could have been life, the fantasy of what I wish I was. It’s been harder than usual lately to look at myself in the mirror. When I do, rarely do I find something I am glad of. Rather, I find something about which to be critical, judgmental, harsh, regretful. Little things like being practically bald, having oversized pores, a furrowed brow, slightly chipped teeth, even though frequently I am complimented on my smile and the way my eyes light up. I don’t see it, though. Not in the present. Sometimes, when looking at pictures, I catch a glimpse of it. But in the here and now, it’s invisible to me.

I was talking with B. on Monday. Friday, I’d had a severe depressive episode, one where I broke out in tears spontaneously with no warning and no idea of cause. One where images of a razor to my wrist and a gun to my head run through my mind almost ceaselessly, seamlessly. One where my resting heart rate jumps way above normal and my hands start shaking, forcing me into either a crouching or fetal position. And there I was not having a clue of the origin. When we sat down to talk about it, we went back to the discussion of why I’d had some other depression/anxiety symptoms show up recently. I’ve been regressing… and in case you couldn’t figure it out, B. is my therapist, who is extremely psychodynamic in nature, which works since I do have “mommy” issues.

I’ve been angry. I wish my mom would have started showing some of this affection that’s appeared as of late earlier in life. I wish I didn’t have to wait until I was almost thirty for her to start caring, start loving, start affirming me. Unfortunately, as F. and I talked about after my session with B., when I’m angry, I don’t direct it outwards at the appropriate target. I direct it inwards, taking on personal fault for that which has gone awry. I find a way to think of myself as being to blame for the mishaps. Being so uncomfortable with anger toward others, I’d rather take on the burden alone. That’s comfortable for me.

I’ll never be able to go back and stop Mom’s car accident from happening, or from having her die in it. I’ll never be able to go back and pick a different instrument to play, or choose a sport to take interest in. To come out earlier and find the strength to be proud and have courage rather than living into the right-wing Evangelical lie of the ex-gay ministry. To stay at home in Terre Haute, go to ISU, and come out of college with significantly less debt and a different circle of friends. To tell my younger self never to open a credit card, never dye his hair, and never start smoking. I’ll never be able to go back and be less promiscuous, less self-conscious, less isolated.

The life I have now I have for a reason. My experiences, my pains, my heartaches, my joys and laughters, my physical flaws, my likes and dislikes. My past and my present. My debt. My family. Each of these is a different piece which makes up the sum of my whole. Each of them is to be honored and cherished. Without them, a void would exist. I have to learn to love me, and to see my graces, my gifts, and my fruit, as Wesley would ask. I have to keep my feet on the ground, along with the rest of me… especially my head, as it would rather be in the clouds. And one of these days, I will, effortlessly. I will gaze in the silver-backed glass and see a man of whom I am proud and who I love. I will see a man with talent, strength, courage, and tenacity. Someone who chooses to live life despite how hard it can be, who tries to be thankful for how good it is, and who takes that gratitude and turns it into a way of helping those whose lives are harder, whose self-love is lesser, and whose trials are more exhausting. I will live up to my name – who is like God.

~ by Michael O. on February 3, 2011.

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