Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rekindling My Romance With Words

Once upon a time I imagined myself a writer, there was no other word that I could use to describe myself creatively, words were the life breath that I used to keep going from moment to moment. Sometimes they failed me and I would steadily head down a great decline into the wasteland of non-expression.  I am older now and have learned to scatter my talents and interests and when the words are gone a photograph or painting take their places.  My first love was words, and I need to rekindle this romance.  I was dictating poetry to my mom before I could write, I was composing songs when I was 7, I filled a huge blank book with 1000 poems my senior year in high school and I still have remnants of poetry that have long outlasted a doomed marriage.  I have a book half written filled with photographs and many pages of inconsistent journaling.  I abandon webpages and blank books in hopes that a fresh start will help me find my way again on a new path, but this is where I stand, this is where I live. The title Love is an institution was born from images that I took at the State Hospital and Fairview Training Center, a statement on the binding and entrapment but also the well established traditions.  The title doesn't fit my life as well anymore and so I moved on through a series of others, but I realized that all these fresh starts aren't serving me well and so I am moving  backwards to this place where I sputtered out a couple of years ago.  This is the blog I have chosen as it is the one that has the most comments, posts, history and no depressing poetry...
And speaking of depression.  That diagnosis came when I was 15.  It was a very familiar part of my life by then and I thought it would have been the death of me years ago.  For anyone who has suffered from depression you know that it's always more than just circumstantial, it's how our brain is wired even if it is reactive, there is a vulnerability to suddenly feel a crippling pain or to suddenly lose interest in absolutely everything that may have mattered at one time or another, it is a complete and total lack of motivation and a misplaced desire to do things that matter or care for oneself adequately, yes, in short it's hell.  I remember feelings of grief so crushing that I felt like my heart was being wrenched from my chest, that it felt as though I could not possibly continue to breathe, live, risk love, but that lacking, that was always the worst.

Today my sons girlfriend said that I'm actually a really happy person, it seemed a strange thing for someone else to decide for me, and I started to protest.  I'm Shelby, I'm depressed... and then I realized that I'm NOT.  I still struggle with the emotions, the symptoms, the deficits in mood and emotion from time to time, but I'm NOT depressed... it's not who I am, it doesn't define me and I no longer let myself live in that place.  It wasn't an easy thing to understand and currently I am taking anti-depressants which I've needed off and on for most of my post-pubescent life, there was one record breaking gap of 7 years without them, but some of that was likely bad judgement on my part.  Fact of the matter is though, that I work hard at being happy.  For some people it comes naturally, but for the rest of us, it's something that you can learn and it's a good thing because there is no medicine that is a straight up miracle and will change your whole life.  You are never going to be happy for every moment of every day.  Lord knows I sometimes border on sullen or I whine a little at home, half jokingly, but I am constantly reframing things, testing out different perspectives, opening my mind to possibilities and practices.  I am a huge believer in gratitude, I practice compassion even for those I don't understand (or choose to try to understand), I force myself to exercise (oh my how it helps), spend time with people who make me laugh, inspire me, entertain me, who I can talk to.  I let a lot go... A LOT.

What can I do to be happier?  Embrace words, let them continue to heal me and aid my personal growth, immerse myself in my art and creativity, surround myself with people that I care about.  Laugh - A LOT.  And, as strange as it may seem, sometimes I just need to honor the past, it reminds me of how far I've come and also how much farther I can go for all that I have overcome.  I'm gonna try to start today...

No comments: