Today I learned a lot about my reality, my world and myself. Today, the last remaining walls of my shell came down. I have lived in a bubble for nearly a decade; once my father died, I detached my moor and floated like a zeppelin off into the aether. I thought I came back whole, but it seems like one the dust settled from the event, I came back slightly twisted.
I had lived on my own for maybe a year before he died. I lived with two women, Olivia and Jessica. With my newfound independence, I started to create a bubble. I saw my family less and my friends more, as it goes when you first move out—but once he died, I shut it all out. He died in early March and our lease was up April first. My aunts are very industrious when tragedy strikes, they knew this and had found a place, and moved all of my stuff with hardly a word from myself. My solitude began to erode my personality, along with the trauma of suddenly losing my father at work (something it took years to handle), I turned sour. By Christmas I had set myself upon the path to unemployment and removed myself from the family. By February, I was completely locked away in a self-imposed exile.
Eventually, I pulled myself out of it. A job helped, and so did a new romance. I began to see Steph long distance, eventually crumbling to her arguments about moving to Edmonton. That’s where things went wrong. In hindsight, it’s clear for me to see that I was in no condition to move to Edmonton—I was fractured in my mind and would easily become anything anyone wanted me to be. I took any sort of job, unaware that the work I do highly influences my sense of self worth. I was unhappy at every job I worked in that city for that reason; I fell back on what I knew, as a lot of us do. At home, things moved in a more violent ebb and flow than seemed possible. We fought a lot, from day one. There were always issues, but nothing we couldn’t work past. The things that woman and I have been through are incredible, but the waters were rough and there is no denying that. It created a vortex of codependence that we lost ourselves in and soon enough we forgot how to be human. The bubble was fully inflated.
Today I realized that the bubble, after the double loss of employment and the near-death blow of living with your in-laws/parents, had hardened into a shell. I was forever incapable of making real friends because of how I felt in my heart: trapped. I was half a person, stealing secret moments with strangers, and forging relationships based on anxiety and timid feelings—that’s why I made a friend for life there; she came to me as I came to her and it turned out that we could grow flowers in the nervous soil between us. If it weren’t for Jen, I wouldn’t have felt any individuality in that city.
Now that I’m back in Grande Prairie, I feel my home-field advantage. Combine that with the rewarding job I’m doing and the amazing people I do it with, and I suddenly don’t know how to handle myself. I’m really good at faking it and enjoying the lovely moments that make up my day, but it was never truly clear to me the gravity of the relationships I’ve established over the past nine months.
If you’ve been following these daily posts, you probably read yesterday’s post where I talked about suicide. Depression and suicidal thoughts are something I have dealt with since the sixth grade and majorly handled it with my parents through high school. But after my dad died and things got really bad for me, because of the distance I put between my family, my true friends and I, I believed that these feelings existed in a vacuum. I’d write about them, talk about them, and it was always a benign reaction—I don’t think anyone was willfully ignoring me, or diminishing my feelings, I just don’t think I’ve ever let a group of people in so close to me that they felt it necessary to act.
When I got to work this morning, I had a conversation about the post and things became very clear to me very quickly, and then in small doses over the course of the day, that I am cared about deeply by the people around me. All day long I’ve been wondering what’s been in my way all this time, and why can’t I see what it means when people care about me. I’ve come to the conclusion that it was the remnants of that shell. The final pieces were stuck to my face, allowing only half breaths and covering my eyes. I’ve finally taken steps, empowered by the safety net that is now hugging my back, to get help. This is a sickness, and I’ve finally called the doctor—as a fail safe, I have another doctor calling me. And, because I just don’t trust myself in this realm, there is a third iron in the fire. There is no way to fail, because I see now that there is no room for failure. I can’t beat myself up for not seeing it, but I can spin on my heels as fast as possible and run back the other way until my legs go numb. It’s the only way I can force myself to do this—it’s like eating too fast. You can get a lot of food into your belly before your body realizes you’re full (especially dangerous with ice cream). Let’s see how much help I can get before I realize I’m scared and have felt incapacitated in this area for years.
Damn, I was so close to a thousand words.
See you tomorrow.
(ahahahaa! I did it. One thousand and ten words.)
Writer, performer, producer and musician from Alberta.