Who knows the whys and hows of my brain chemistry, I sure don’t. Today I didn’t leave the house at all and it’s shitty out and I’m having the nicest day. I feel pretty good.
I want to revisit yesterdays post, saying how I’ve accomplished a good relationship, and good friendships, but nothing else. I’ve accomplished a ton of other things, and although I don’t have employment, or thinness, or kids, or parties, or pets, or a social clique, or the chance to unwind with a drink, or functional serotonin levels, or constant approval, or a snazzy wardrobe, I have a lot of other things, and although they’re not touted by TV or in the internet, they’re what really counts to me. I’m not here to impress people. I’m here to find meaning and serenity in my brief existence.
MY HEALTH: 5 years ago I was covered from head to toe in bleeding, peeling, infected, painful eczema. I’ve had it since I was 3 months old, but as my alcoholism and mental illness got worse, so did my skin. Today it is 100% gone. I was freaking out a couple months ago because during the move and meds change, it came back for a while, but it disappeared over the past month or so. I hope to never see it again. 5 years ago I also felt like my legs were made up glass shards and metal, they were in such pain all the time. Thanks to self massage and yoga and walking and expressing my stress instead of stuffing it into my muscles, today they feel okay.
MY ANXIETY: I’m still on a boatload of meds but I really am better off. I’m not feeling forced to binge drink, do constant bong hits, and take so many downers at night just in attempt to forget I’m alive. The internal torture I report here is nothing compared to what I went through most of my 20s and 30s.
MY BOUNDARIES: Holy shit! I used to let my mom call me up and scream at me for hours. Now I don’t even talk to her. I used to let friends have their way with me, expect the world of me, take advantage of me, tell me what a bad friend I was being and how I let them down constantly, that my opinions and emotions were wrong and my attempts at self expression needed to stop or suit them better…now I have way fewer friends, and the ones I have don’t do any of that. Instead, I have boundaries, and I love them. I’ve swung to the other extreme and I know I am too harsh, I hurt peoples feelings, and I think people are attacking me when they’re not. But I need to take care of me, as I hash that out I’ll do better at taking care of other people. For once I’m being honest about my feelings, instead of people pleasing all day in an attempt to be loved and popular and feel less perpetually guilty and have all the approval in the world, and then at night taking all my anger out on myself, my liver, my skin.
MY FEARS: I’m seeing a head doc and therapist regularly, I apologized to some nearest and dearest about the harm I’ve caused them, I have intimacy and soul-sharing with my partner every day. 5 years ago I was way, way, way too chicken to do anything of that sort, especially without booze.
MY HOUSE: My boyfriend bought it, so I try not to take any credit. But I am contributing to chores, to keeping this super nice place from total hoarder squalor. I still have a long way to go but I live in a rather adult situation. Just one year ago I was living in a tiny place surrounded by my hoarder crap and mess that I’d only get the pizazz to clean once a week before my boyfriend came to stay the weekend. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with living in a tiny place and hoarding, mind you. But I do feel pretty good to have a cleaner house with more room to breathe and live. Also, for the first time in years I am unemployed but also not freaked out about homelessness. Although I feel crappy about not contributing equally to finances, I would feel a lot crappier about not having a place to live! Its such a huge blessing that I feel embarrassed by the prosperity of it all, and don’t talk about it as much as I feel constantly grateful for it.
MY ART: Holy shit I’ve done 27o daily comics (mostly in a row with a 5? month break). I pump out art on the reg. When I quit drinking, I didn’t draw a thing or do any art for years, I didn’t know how to without a few beers to “loosen me up.” Even the whole time I was drinking, I was somewhat productive but nothing like when I was a kid. Now I’m at kid levels of creativity and un-self-conscious expression. And I’m not afraid to share it.
It’s nothing to sneeze at. Since being a grown up, being responsible, and living in the present is really fucking hard (which is why I avoided it for 40 years) of course I’m going to feel shittier than when I dedicated my life to escapism and rationalizing and gossip and spite and insecurity overcompensation. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it.
I so quickly discount these things because my sweetie has helped me every step of the way. It’s not MY accomplishment if I couldn’t have done it without him, right? But that’s an accomplishment. Partnership, cooperation without co-dependence, sustained intimacy, helping each other achieve our dreams, its a dream come true. But since I can’t take all the credit, because I can’t capture it in a photo and show it to the internet, it doesn’t seem like an Accomplishment I can bolster myself up with when I’m home alone and feeling lesser than my friends with big families and parties and careers and fabulous lifestyle photos. Discounting the positive is a cornerstone of anxiety, and I hope to do less of it.