I was startled to find that I have been on edge lately. Yes, even typing this it seems rather dumb, but since I let you in my head you should know by now on some things I can be rather obtuse. I promise it is not an act. Anywhoo.. it was an unpleasant realization. Of course, it is a no brainer; I have my reasons. The Move. Marc. The Associated Feels. You get it.
But finding myself caught in a loop that was all to familiar, I realized nope, something is wrong. We’ve been here before. The part that startles me is how sneakily stress, worry and fear can slide into your mental dms and take root. Affecting your actions and your perceptions on everything. The light in your eyes undergo a slow dimming. Your increasing concessions that your worst fears may be legit, turn your normally just anxious thoughts into seriously negative manifestations. These are the moments I think I most neglect to realize I am inviting more negativity into my life. The feeling that because something bad is happening, you have license to bask in pain runs contrary in my mind to the belief that if you think the worst, it will ultimately happen.
My struggle with this contrasts with the thought that there needs to be sensitivity to people’s pain. It is unreasonable to think someone can simply snap out of a negative thought pattern, (which may also be influenced by a mental health issue, which I am convinced we all struggle with… I know I do…) by employing happy thoughts, is not only ridiculous, but pretty callous as well. But this previously has been hard for me to articulate. Trust me I have tried and the results were not pretty.
How do you articulate that space between positive manifestation/speak life/have faith (it’s all the same thing, really) and the acknowledgement that we are all broken or…if we are fortunate, still healing in some area of our lives, without coming off as insensitive? I don’t know. I have never seemed to get this thought across successfully. I am laughing right now hoping somebody, anybody understands! But as usual, I digress.
I realized that an all too familiar feeling of non stop tension has had me in its grips. It is like a vice that tightens around you. Everytime this happens to me (because part of growth really is being able to look back and recognize your own patterns) I develop a weird quirk that I spend embarrassing amounts of time trying to hide. I want to always appear as cool as a cucumber. That’s what we are supposed to do, right? Never let them see you sweat. But ‘them’ might be exactly who needs to help your ass get over.
Once, it was an eye tic that would jump out of nowhere. A horrifically visual tell of the turmoil inside. I remember my Dad having a jumping eye tic. It makes me think of him more tenderly. Another time, it was that imaginary ball you get in your throat where you think you can’t swallow. Look, I was convinced I was dying! When I googled it, I felt better. But still. And once, I shit you not, it was nervous farting. I swear, y’all. It was horrible. HORRIBLE!!!!! At least it didn’t smell. Who knows, I tended to move quickly during the time. Sorry. May this never happen to you. Even if I don’t like you and you don’t like me, may this never ever happen to you.
This time I noticed I was clenching my teeth. It is so sneaky, man. I find myself sitting ram rod straight in the car when I drive. Everything must be cleaned and organized to an absolute tee. No clutter anywhere. Office, car, bedroom and apartment. All of it. I begin to lose sleep. It happens later and later. And when I am sleeping it is so light I may as well be awake. It sucks man, for real. I remember the first time I ever even knew this was happening to me. I was pushing it down 40 in my little white Equinox. It was a beautiful day. I was sitting up so straight it was like a stick was running straight up my ass. My jaw was locked down and the lines were locked in place on my forehead. I couldn’t even draw my damn eyebrows on in the mornings without frowning in the mirror because thats how I looked, lol. And yall didnt say shit…And I didnt notice!
But thats when I first noticed it and sadly it was a lot of years down the line from when it began. In reflection, that’s a lot of years ranging from always feeling mildly upset about something to being straight up pissed off. A constant feeling that you are fighting your way out of corners. After a while you have to be the one to determine how much of that was legit and how much of it was me feeling triggered about something someone else may or may not have known. Triggered is a word I know I didn’t have access to until recently. Previously, for me it was something I would have been unable to describe.
So as I identify this age old feeling, for the first time, I have something to compare it to. A small window of time kicked off when Shelley came down. I was euphoric. I loved being in my apartment alone. I buckled down and whipped my finances back into some semblance of responsible adulting. I valued my space and time alone. Something I realized I feared for a very long time. It was okay if there was a dish in the sink. It was cool if I didnt organize my closet for a week. I began to really excel at work. Being the crazed human that I am, I momentarily questioned even that bit of happiness and satisfaction. I said to myself, “Nah, Sis you weren’t happy, that was some kind of manic episode, you will be miserable again soon, just wait.”
How awful right? There are times that I am meaner to myself than I have ever been to anyone and anyone ever could have been to me. We really have to stop doing that to ourselves. It became even easier to downplay any sort of satisfaction in anything because I half believed an ex partner who suggested I was bi polar. That insinuation felt very insulting. But that feels very much to me like a bias or a stigma that we all need to get over, because being bi polar isnt the way movies make it look. I do know that. We throw it out as an insult, making it very hard for people to want to go to therapy or disclose that this may be their struggle. It was implied that any happiness I had would never be real. Even if I thought it was. Even though I haven’t been diagnosed as such (hey, there’s still time!) and not because I haven’t ever been to a therapist. But when you combine the awful things people are willing to say when they are hurt or angry (myself included) with your own challenges of self esteem, it is a recipe for something nasty.
This is a long one so thank you for staying with me. I decided to accept that period of happiness as exactly that. A period of being happy. A marker if you will. A place to return to and expand. That is my goal and it blooms in me stronger simply by sharing it with you. I appreciate that. I appreciate you, there somewhere. With the current edge I feel, I have embarked on a strict regimen of self care. I’m taking my time and gently feeling my way through my days. I am asking myself questions about how I am feeling. I am monitoring how I am eating and why. Nothing would be more depressing than gaining the weight back right now so…hell naw, to the naw naw naw. At least I can continue to pretend I am channeling Eartha Kitt or Josephine Baker or some other sexy, bomb ass revolutionary, do it your own way, kick ass ancestor. And there are some intriguing ass living sisters that I am watching closely who are doing really dope things. It’s inspirational.
I am saying no. I am cutting off conversation and interactions that do not affirm me or what I know to be true about myself, my experiences and how I operate. Because I know I am weak right now, I cannot allow any one to shake the hard fought confidence I am holding on to. I am more confident then ever in the integrity of my gut and the truths in my increasing wisdom. I live by “If you don’t know me by nowwwwwwww…you will never, ever know me…ooooooooh”. At least for the people that should already know me. New friends, acquaintances and readers excluded.
Because in this moment, I know better than ever who I am and who I am not and you cannot tell me that you know me better than I know myself. I don’t get psychofucked in those ways anymore. I am fighting back. I feel this. All thats happening with my life. Sharing it in words helps. But in feeling it I still hunger for my peace and I am working hard at getting there again. Because I know for sure it is available and I know for sure I will get back there soon.