Real

I dedicated the last few posts to people living with mental illness who managed to engage with the world and produce art. I don’t know of any data, but from my going through biographies, people living with a disability don’t seem to be underrepresented among people who made it in creative endeavours. So why are they underrepresented everywhere else? Rhetorical question, of course. I do think we should fight for our place in the grand scheme of things. I will probably continue this series, but now I intend to disrupt it.

I am thinking a lot about my situation lately. I can’t move because of the pandemic; I am stuck in my flat in the province. I got another severe diagnosis. But, I am constructive most of the time, I am learning new things and making sketches for my book to be. Prospects are gloomy, and I don’t have much to hope for, but I’ve been there already. Haven’t we all? Sometimes battles that can’t possibly be won are the battles that decide the history, like the battle of Thermopylae where Leonidas stopped the Persian power with a few good men. The analogy has to stop at some point, but knowing that battles you can’t win can be decisive is what keeps us hopeful, humble and real.

Perfectly healthy people can’t win against ageing and death because nobody can. It is a truism. Some try desperately to make it seem like they are slowing the process down, but there is no warrantee at all, for anything in life. Deception works on the minds of living beings, but it doesn’t work on the laws of nature. She is cruel to her children sometimes, but the least bit harsh if we align with her and listen to her beats that are present in every landscape.

That is why I feel good in this black hole of mine despite everything. I know I am using well the time I have at my hand. I am not giving up on the gift of life or seeing it as an adventure. In this pandemic, I can watch tea ceremony from Nara or attend language courses or study things in the realm of my academic interests with much more knowledgable people on all sorts of online platforms.

I don’t intend to apologize anymore for the things I couldn’t do because of my disability. Those days are over. I don’t see anyone apologizing for doing injustice to the community for their private interest which is often the case in my country and which is leaving disabled and healthy and however-they-want-to-identify people on the margins. I am not perfect, so I won’t say I did my best, but I did fight the battle I can’t win well so far.

So I am here, in this small provincial town writing about my current situation and hoping I am keeping it real, as I’d like to.

Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash

Maybe I Shouldn’t Care so Much

I have been talking to my husband in recent days about the struggles I am still having with depression.  I confessed how I often feel bad that I haven’t done something “good enough,” or that I worry if I may have inadvertently made someone else uncomfortable by something I said or didn’t say.  I often worry if contributions I make are really valued by others.  I wonder if my efforts at church and in my family and even on the blog are really helping anyone.  I get down on myself far too often.  These is one of my biggest and most persistent negative thought patterns that I often have to work through.  It isn’t always easy to remember that I am enough–even though I know it is true.  It’s a battle I seem to have to fight almost every day.

Whenever I talk to my husband about this, he always half-jokingly says that I need to not care so much–I need to be heartless, like him.  This always makes me laugh because he is the furthest thing from heartless you can get.  However, I have watched a change in him in recent years.  He went from being more like me–always worried about not doing things just right and trying to accommodate everyone’s every need–to being his own advocate.  He speaks up for himself.  If he doesn’t want to do something, he says he doesn’t want to do it.  Instead of losing himself in a sea of worry about whether or not he’s meeting his own expectations and everyone else’s, he just does what he wants and does so confidently and without worry.  I love this and want so badly to emulate it, but I’m not sure how!  And– I guess I am afraid to.

I am afraid if I’m not focusing on doing everything just right, that I might make a big mistake.  I am afraid if I’m not focusing on how everything I do affects others, that I might hurt someone.  I suppose, overall, I m trying to prevent failure.  I don’t move with confidence through life.  I carry a heavy burden of self-doubt and self reproach.  And I’m tired of it.

Maybe I shouldn’t care so much.  Maybe I shouldn’t care at all.  If I really think about it, my dream would be to move through life the way I see best, without caring or worrying about failing–without caring about the expectations of others.  I need to be my own advocate, like my husband is for himself.

As I was typing this post up, this quote came into my mind:

 

“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?”
― Erin Hanson

I desperately want to be a more confident and happy me.  I am tired of keeping myself down.  Maybe I need to stick this quote to my bathroom mirror, for starters.

As for my next step–I’ll keep you posted.  I need to tackle this one thing at a time.

Is there anyone else who has struggled with this?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and your story.