Saturday, December 21, 2013

Under the Weight of Living

It’s been a long year.

Actually, it’s been a long few years.

I’m tired, & some days, I don’t recognize myself for the person I seem to have become. The anxiety, the fear, the dishonesty, the unsureness, the anxiety.

I was blissfully, unfathomably happy once, the happiest I’d ever been. It wasn’t that long ago, & yet it feels like ages – a different person in a different time. Somebody else’s life.

I used to think I was the sort of person for whom happiness would never be an option – that I just didn’t have it in me. I was growing to accept it, sort of, cultivating life hacks that created an illusion of contentedness that fooled even me.

But then I stumbled into it, the sort of life I never imagined I’d make for myself, & the healing process began without my even realizing it. It was alarmingly, unexpectedly easy; I almost didn’t even have to try. Life happened around me, & the end result was that I loved it & myself in equal measure.

So how did it comes to this, the place I find myself in now? Did I get sloppy, lose focus, become complacent? Having stumbled upon it the way I did, I suppose I hadn’t realized that my positive emotional state was so fragile that it would require my careful attention & maintenance.

How do we become versions of ourselves that we never wanted to be? It can’t be an overnight process. You don’t wake up one morning, new & different & worse. It’s a slow burn, a gradual forfeit of small pieces of yourself along the way. And then one day, when you wake up, you realize that in time, all your cells have regenerated, & none of the old pieces remain.

Some days – so many days – I worry that my cells haven’t regenerated but have warped, taken over by a lecherous sort of personality cancer. Those are the days I feel like I’m going crazy again, like I used to be in the days long before I figured out how to be happy. Those are the days I worry that the pieces of me I thought I’d left deep in the past have somehow reassembled themselves & returned stronger than before, to bully the healthy, happy bits out of the way.

I want to know her again, that person I thought I’d become. That good version of myself, the one I was finally so proud to know & to be? It’s been so long, & I’m afraid she’s left me.

Yes, I used to think I was the sort of person for whom happiness would never be an option – that I just didn’t have it in me – but then I learned differently, & I can’t go back to believing otherwise anymore.

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