a colleague and enjoying a moment of professional mirth, as I recently observed while in the hospital. And I marvel. I used to be one of those people – just doing normal things, showing up for work, dressing professionally, the usual stuff – and now “the usual” seems an impossible goal or achievement, something only the mighty and good can reach. I don’t want to be accomplished, “great,” make good money, or considered “talented” anymore – I simply want to be “average.” Plus stop hurting people, reciprocate kindnesses and, if I’m lucky, contribute a little meaning to this world. But I can’t even manage those little things.
Nonetheless I am trying to change, for real, right now, even though I’m sure it’s unapparent to those close to me. But the fact is I’m weak: The ways in which I’ve dealt with my mind and life events, for the past 20 years, prove it – and I don’t know if I have the strength, or courage, to change. I don’t know if I have the strength to sit with the reality of me and the courage to let go of the behaviors I’ve relied on to make me feel “safe” or “in control”; or the strength to stop myself from carrying through the impulsive, highly-destructive actions I’ve always resorted to when my emotions reach an intolerable boiling point.
I’ve succeeded once or twice, with the latter challenge, the past couple months. But just barely. And the failures have dwarfed the successes.
I wonder a lot lately why I’ve spent so much of the past few years being angry and blaming others, when – even if some of those feelings or beliefs are remotely justified – focusing on them is a waste of time and energy, period. The anger gets me nowhere – and it’s in actuality mostly a cover-up for hurt feelings, and sometimes denial. But you also turn people – and potential listeners or collaborators – away with anger.
The blame is even more pointless – because I’m complaining about things or issues or systemic, socio-political injustices my little voice will never, ever impact. Because let’s face it people, almost nobody reads me (although I’m grateful to those that do). But, of course, nobody in positions of power read me. So what’s the point of even trying to highlight prejudices or bad practices, or whatever thorn happens to be pricking my vulnerable side at any given moment – things which okay may play some, small role in the state of my life – but which pointing out is never going to make my life better. The only thing that’s going to do that is me. Change is on me.
So that brings me to another ingredient I realize I need for change: Acceptance. Am I – (are you) – willing to accept the world as it is, that certain disparities are always going to exist, and that I’m certainly not going to play any role in reversing them; can I not only accept these things and stop fighting them (it’s a losing battle), but also accept the state of my life? Particularly in comparison to others’? My life (your life), is what it is. Deal with it, Jeanene. A lot of people have it worse than me. Accept the fact that I have no fu–ing control.
It all seems too much right now, as I approach Oct. 23, that one-year “anniversary” of my suicide attempt: Having to not only face up to my culpability in the state of my life, and my failure to “recover,” as I’ve seen so many others do – while simultaneously attempting to cope differently with the painful psychological, existential and relational issues which have been present and growing ever-more complex and entangled for years.
Oh, and there’s one other thing I can’t comprehend learning how to do, if I’m really going to change. I don’t even know if it’s something a person can learn; it seems you have to be