an interlude of recollection

March 31, 2014

I’ve just cried my face off in the shower, but because it’s the shower, I can slop my face back on with goopy hands. My eyes won’t even be red.

I’m going to have a cup of tea now, and do some work for a class tomorrow. It’s odd, how fragile things feel, still. How easy it would be to lose momentum, to trip once and let everything drop, and crash, and fall to ruin. It frightens me.

I feel as if I’m constantly scrambling to pick my pieces up, trying to keep all the chunks of me that keep flaking off or coming unravelled, trying to damage-control, damage-control, damage-control. It feels like work. It feels like full-time work, and I forget sometimes how much energy it takes. The lecturer we had for our block course last week talked briefly about faithfulness (in between taking apart the books of Samuel in precise and fascinating detail), and he said that for some of his students, it would be sinful for them to get an A on his course, because they were fulltime pastors and were married and were juggling families, and to neglect those in pursuit of an A for their own self-accomplishment would be an act of unfaithfulness. But for some students, academically gifted and studying fulltime, without jobs and families, it would be a sin for them not to get an A. And he looked at me. And I looked back at him and I thought, you forgot to list mental health.

Granted, it was a small class, and he could very well have been looking at me because there’s only a few people to look at anyway, and I’m an active, responsive listener when I’m interested, and lecturers tend to respond to active, responsive listeners. But I still owe him an essay, and I think he knew it. I’m not settled on either conclusion, but it did make me think of how my lecturers might see me, and what my expectations are for myself in this, and how much time dealing with the aftereffects of simply being myself takes. Of simply existing.

Simply existing is exhausting, and somedays, even now, I think of walking into traffic. I thought of it in the shower, just now, and I wondered at how easy it is to push me back a few rungs, to overset me. To take me back a few steps in this thing we call recovery, whatever it looks like, shapeless and far too multifaceted for true names, when I thought I was well over this whole wanting to kill myself business. But at the same time, I’m not the same person I was, and I’m not in the same place, and this isn’t two steps back.

There are more options than just death for ending this, and I know it (it’s just a very familiar option that I’m sometimes very wistful about). But recovery sometimes looks like choosing not to walk into traffic, and knowing you won’t, even when you have moments of certainty that you will, that everything would be so much better.

I forget, sometimes, how cracked I am. I feel like I keep saying this, and being surprised by it; I am so much more well than I was, and yet I forget too often how damaged I still am. It’s a hard, odd place to be, between wellness and true, exorbitant, splashy damage; I’m not drowning in my own blood anymore,* but even when I forget and assume I’m sane and normal and fully functioning, there are things that still don’t work right, and reactions that other people don’t have, and coping mechanisms that aren’t at all good. And I forget, and then I stare at the sudden ruin I’ve made of my schedule and my sanity because I had those assignments due and I was working on them but what the hell happened? Why are they overdue? What just happened? and people look at me in blank incomprehension as if they just don’t understand at all why I won’t just do it, as if it were a thing simple to do, as if handing in assignments on time were a thing that were easy. And I can’t do it, no matter how hard I try. And then it becomes yet another game of damage control, and I’m running on desperation and momentum and determination, and then people talk as if I enjoy it.

It fucking sucks. It fucking sucks to be alive sometimes. Also, the rhyming is amusing me much too much.

Sometimes life feels like an endless string of things to endure, to simply suffer through, and I think back on all I’ve had to live through and all I’ve been and it feels like too much, that I have to endure more of this, that all I have to look forward to is more endless, relentless work and no rest while nothing ever really gets better and everything is broken, and remains that way. That there is no rest, that there is no end to this. And then I cry a whole lot in the shower and get really upset at God and struggle with trying to fit together the things I’ve learned about him, the things I understand and hold to be true, trying to fit it up against the things I’ve lived through and the things I’ve felt and known in my lived being. And I don’t come up with much, but there’s this: I know there’s more. There’s more. I may not see it now, but what I see is not the end of it, and the endless brokenness of myself and the world is not, is never the last word. I know there’s more; I’ve seen glimpses of it, here, studying here, and I know my own sight is imperfect, but- “now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known”.

1 Corinthians 13:12. I don’t know whether I can use it in quite this way, but whatever, I’m using it. I know there’s more than just what I see right now, I know there’s more, so I’m staying until I see it too, until that more happens. Until I see it too.

I don’t know how else to end this; it’s late, I’m tired, and I have work still to do. So I’ma go do it, and you can go back to doing what you were doing before you read this.




*A metaphor. I was never anywhere near literally drowning in my own blood. All the damage I’ve ever inflicted on myself in self-hatred or pain relief has been mental and emotional; I made that decision when I was twelve and stuck to it. I don’t know whether that’s better or worse, that I have no physical scars to show for all these years of fucking awful. Sometimes it means people treat you less seriously, when you have less physical evidence. And it does mean that I have to mop up more stupid, detangle more mess- the kind I made in my own rampage of self-destruction. It’s a wonderful life, cleaning up in the wake of abuse and depression and the effects of both. It makes me fucking pissed off at everything, sometimes. When I remember. I really don’t like remembering, but life suddenly makes more sense when I do.

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