So I’ve been working hard on a lot of stuff lately, though, if someone asked, I’d probably say I don’t. I tutor, I’m a face and body painter, I paint objects, dog/house sit… Occasionally I try to have a social life. I know I hold up an imperfect mirror to myself and though I’m totally aware of it, and am working on breaking my relationship with it, 40+ years of experience are hard to break. Not impossible, but…
So here I am and I’m exhausted. I got my SSDI rejection letter today which is not a surprise, but a disappointment, nonetheless. They told me I can lift 50 pounds, even regularly lift 20 pounds, plus I’ve got 16 years of education (actually more), so I can work in a job that makes $1090 gross per month, so I’m not disabled. Hello, I’m mentally ill, not physically disabled, you fuckwits. Yeah yeah, I also swear too often. But, if I lift with my legs, not my back, then the bipolar will go away… Right?
So I’ve been thinking – and trying not to, depending on the day – and I’ve made so much progress from where I was 6+ years ago. I was living in a beautiful apartment in Williamsburg, Virginia, which I couldn’t afford, running out of food, regularly avoiding leaving the building, feeling utterly hopeless and beyond value (as in worthless). I had let my students and colleagues down over and over again, had a strained relationship with my family (at best), and used food, alcohol, and sex to numb the pain. I spoke to myself in a way I would never speak to another living human being.
Fast forward to 2018: I’m living with my parents in Elmira, New York. I’m stable. I have a fantastic doctor and therapist. I am working with a nutritionist on my eating disorder and trauma related there. I’m working on controlling my diabetes. My psychiatrist regularly pushes me to actually WORK on the issues that plague me – giving me homework, making me accountable… No, I’m choosing to be accountable. I’m choosing to change how I think and feel and react. I’m working so fucking hard on retraining my brain to expect and believe GOOD can happen to me and I DO deserve it simply because I exist. I do not have to earn it. Yes – it’s work. And I’m embracing it (some days more than others, you know).
And all of this to say that you can make it through, too, my friends. I believe in you and your support has helped me make it this far. I search out places for touchstones, but more often it’s people. It’s the real people who speak the truth, who show kindness, who love me and accept me as I am, while still calling me on the carpet when necessary. I’m lucky to have a few. I try to be a good friend right back.
** Photo on top from IG – reminded me to laugh and hey – that’s stability and strength!!!
Video is where I was chilling out today – Seneca Lake, Watkins Glen Marina – listening to the wind and the metal masts with their rigging ringing. 💗. Not sure it will come through.