I have a serious problem.
I mean, I’m honestly, deeply content right now. It feels strange. I wrote a friend the other morning and said, I swear, I’m about to break out into song.
She asked, What happened to my pessimistic friend? What did you do to her?
Oh, I’m still here, I said, and complained about a bunch of stuff going on. My oldest son is struggling and he is lashing out at anyone and everyone around him. The other night it took every ounce of my being to keep my sense of humor around him and even then I yelled. I have a very dear friend who is struggling right now, in enormous pain, and there is nothing to be done but to sit and be present. Hold it. We are pushing and pulling as a family, growing to a new place, all seven of us, and it is not easy.
Not to mention the election, the democrats in general, and McCain being charming on American Idol the other night. This stupid country is going to elect Johnny Prozac and I’m going to pull my hair out.
Still, I sit here, with an enormous grin on my face. I feel full for the first time in such a positive way I find myself occasionally wiping away tears that keep coming to my eyes. I feel blessed but more than that, I feel whole. I don’t have to give away my soul to get something in return anymore.
I don’t have to barter not to be hurt. I don’t have to hide in the woods.
Two summers ago, I sat and held images I honestly thought were going to kill me. I did not know I could hold so much pain and not finally succumb to the images of a loaded gun to my head.
I was reminded this morning, that I did not get here by simply blinking my eyes or twitching my nose for a secret magic spell to right the wrong. I worked at it. Over and over.
I worked at it because I loved my kids. I didn’t love myself at the time, that’s certain, but I loved them.
I did work on the memories of being an incest survivor morning, noon and night. I did not let go of it, or run and hide. I kept dragging myself to the therapy couch, again and again and again. I said the unspeakable.
I wanted to be a better parent than my mother. I wanted my kids to have a chance at life without my psychological burden, or my blown out brains holding them down.
It’s hard to go back there, even for a field trip to remember where I was and how I got here. I would rather go for the magic wand image, whoosh, and I was better.
I joked before about my wife being a pod person. I feel like a pod person. I have more energy, I laugh more often, and I feel easy about each day. Some are great, some good, some suck.
No one can hurt me. I will never be seven years old again.
In the middle of it, I had a friend say to me, Some people don’t make it. Some people end up with broken minds, in mental hospitals, forever unable to be a part of the world again.
You’re going to make it. You can do this.
I did. I did make it. I did do it.
It is important, at times, to take pause and remember the hard work. To remember the ones who did not get to the other side. To take a deep breath and appreciate the early spring greens and the flowers breaking through.
You been overdosing on your happy pills? My friend asked.
No, I laughed. No happy pills here.
I love my wife. That might sound silly but it didn’t feel silly a year ago, even six months ago. We took the 16 years of foundation our marriage rested on and ripped it out. Not because we wanted to but because we had to. I had to.
The result is stunning. 18 years into it and I love her more today than I ever did.
She expresses her feelings now. Talks about them even when I’m tired and done for the day, she’ll nudge me and say, Hey, let’s check in…
Instead of going through every day running on empty, feeling alone, and miserable, I’m full. Whole. I am able to give without having it feel like it’s taking something from my marrow.
I’ve never been this way before; I’ve never felt this good, or this complete. Oh, I know the other shoe will drop, something terrible will happen, because I am at heart a pessimist. I’m argumentative, difficult and opinionated. Not to mention stubborn. None of that has changed, as I reassured my friend. There really is only one big change.