Been to Hell and back. I can show you vouchers.

It’s still stupidly cold.

I’m still (stupidly) arguing on the internet. And it’s really bummed me out now. Being called names by a family member will do that to you.

I really should have let it go, but people who saw you as a raw teenager tend to always know how to push your buttons. Still, I’m a grown up and I was keeping it civil and intellectual. He was the one who made it personal, so I flipped another namaste and left.

Still a bummer though. I do try to be a good person. Not everyone will agree. Some people may look at my life as an abject failure (apparently) but I have fought to overcome a lot, and am largely satisfied with and proud of the life I have built from my ashes. I know that it doesn’t meet everyone’s model of success, but (for me) breathing is a success. When you’ve been close to death, breathing is always a success.

The weird thing is (and perhaps it’s the hour of day and the fatigue) that there was such an instant plunge into bummed-dom. Normally when people pull out the names and assumptions and stereotypes it just makes me giggle. They don’t know me, or at least I don’t expect them to know me. But of course, the proximity of people tends to make those insults cut a bit more. I’ve had work colleagues and (certainly) old friends turn on me before. I’ve had family members turn on me before. I have little time to waste thought on such people, so that’s why I am selective in the company I keep.

I wrote a couple days ago about depression and having better tools to pull oneself out of it. Keeping nasty people at arm’s length is one of my tools – something I had to learn to do, and mentally prepare myself for the fallout. The fallout is, of course, losing some of the relationships I had previously worked to foster. But it was definitely a necessary step, as today’s experience would attest. What today reminded me of was… well pretty much my entire adolescence of being repeatedly told what was wrong with me. Then the pattern of my 20s: with nasty, sour relationships and the constant struggle to change who I was to fit someone else’s needs. And the culmination of it all, with the nadir of relationships growing like a weed out of all the shit I’d had loaded on my back across many years. I completely understand how I got to that place – why it felt like the place I deserved to be at the time. The “wrong” things  were inevitably conflicting and not things I could really fix, despite years of trying. So you come to believe that you are inherently, intrinsically wrong. You are sewn together all lopsided, with your stuffing hanging out. You are the wrongest of the wrong. And that’s why you are meant to be hated… And eventually you just have to withdraw or die. And if you make it out, much much later, you start to figure out that there was never much wrong with you in the first place.

I’ve been low before. Very low. Curled up bleeding around the back of the toilet pan low. Hiding under the bed like a four-year-old low. Deliberately burning myself with a clothes iron low. And very alone in that experience. I lost the support of everyone around me – some because I had to drop them, and some because they simply didn’t know what to do. The fact that I pulled myself up and out is a testament to… well a testament to something. I asked for help. In the end, without other options, I paid for help. It was years before I got out of that debt. But if I had to do it again, I would.

For whatever (personal) reason, there actually are people around me who see that final act as a personal failing. “You should never have let it show that you were falling apart.” It’s a damned if you do and damned if you don’t kind of situation. If you don’t ask for help, then later people get pissy that you didn’t ask. Or they bury you and feel like they’re the martyrs. (Yes I know it’s very sad to lose a family member this way – no I didn’t have to add the guilt of their suffering to the already huge pile of shit I was carrying around). But then when you do ask for help…

It’s not worth dwelling on. In the end, the issue is theirs, not mine. I made the right choices for me, and I’m not answerable to anyone else when it comes to the direction that took my life. I am happy with the direction I went. I have lived where many, many others have died.

He said sorry, eventually. But I don’t actually accept apologies for stuff like that. I am no longer obliged to tape over other people’s character flaws.

However, I will turn back to someone who also understands what it is to be laid low and recover – and to lose support and then get kicked for it. I know there’s swearing, but it’s important to listen to the lyrics anyway. Because I can never be this angry, even though I am.

That’s another tool that I gained: the knowledge that anger is sometimes both necessary and productive. I’ve spent far too long not being angry. I deserve to be angry about this one.


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