I’ve been putting off writing anything since my last entry over a month ago because I haven’t really been sure what to say. If I’m being totally honest, I’ve been deeply depressed, and I didn’t really realize it. Over the last few decades of dealing with depression, I’ve gotten reasonably good at just boxing it up, throwing it in a backpack, and carrying it around with me while I go through my daily life. So good sometimes that I don’t realize I’m carrying it.
Life has been challenging lately, which you likely know if you read this blog, follow me on social media, or talk to me IRL. And I had been keeping my shit together pretty well, keeping my head down, keeping on keeping on. Carrying the weight of everything going on within and around me. As I think I talked about in my last post, things with my mental health and trauma recovery have been… really rough lately, which is why I went back to therapy. A very good move, if I do say so myself. And pretty much everyone of any consequence in my life seems to be going through their own issues of varying degrees of severity. And, as I recently discussed with my therapist, I tend to very naturally slip into the role of being everyone else’s therapist. And it’s a role that, to some extent, I like. I’m good at it. It comes naturally. Listening, caring, supporting. But when coupled with the burden of what I already carry, secretly, quietly, it can quickly become more than I can handle. And naturally, I will always put everyone else’s wellbeing, happiness before my own. Which is… not great.
Life was more than I could handle. Work. Health. Pain. School. Relationships. Breathing. I was beginning to question if it was really worth it. If it was really sustainable. So I did the thing I always tell everyone else to do, and practiced some goddamn self care! I packed up 1 small piece of luggage and a satchel, boarded a plane, passport in hand, and went to spend a week in Belgium with my best friend. And I didn’t check my emails. And I didn’t receive text messages or phone calls. And I didn’t get on social media. And I didn’t ask anyone what they thought about any of it. I spent 6 days walking around ancient-modern cities, exploring castles and libraries, eating delicious food, strolling through parks and down side streets, waiting on the train in the rain, spending time with someone I love, and watching the sun rise and set over a place that owes me nothing and which I owed nothing in return. And it was beautiful.
Coming home was hard, for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which being feeling that sudden weight of obligation fall back on my shoulders. And it was that dramatic change that made me realize that it was killing me, slowly, but effectively. Literally. And that something had to change.
I talked to my therapist (who is amazing, by the way) about this for a long time the other day. About needing to make changes. To find ways to restore happiness and levity to my life so I can be there for those I care about without depleting my own resources. Without dying inside so others can feel a little better for a few moments. And I think, after a lot of reflection, I’m beginning to find that balance. It is way more than I can get into in a space like this, in a time like this, but suffice it to say that it involves boundaries. It involves writing. It involves speaking hard words, and beautiful ones. It means having to be brave, fearless! Kind, but not nice. Authentic WAY past the point of comfort or normalcy. Endlessly giving while simultaneously being infinitely self-loving and selfish of my time and energy. A homeostasis that has always felt like an impossible dichotomy, a paperback fiction. But I am tasting the edges of it, and it has the sweetness of a wonderous albeit totally foreign home. Home is not something I’ve ever really known, but perhaps this is why.
Perhaps home is not a place, a building, a city, a state, a country. Perhaps it is not who bought you, or whose name you have, or what blood is in your pale wrists. Perhaps it is that place within ourselves where we can safely and securely be 100% ourselves. Where we can shed the rucksack of stones everyone else has give us, that we have picked up along the way for whatever reason, and be able to breathe. The place with the coat hook where we can hang the heavy, damp garments of obligation. Where other’s expectations are just that. Maybe that’s what I’ve been looking for all these years. It’s not what others do or do not provide, or what we can or can’t have, or be. Maybe, just maybe, it’s security and peace within. It’s the place you live with yourself. In partnership with yourself. Where you greet yourself when you get home from work. Sit with yourself by the fireplace and muse over your day. Where you love yourself for who you are, encourage yourself, hold yourself as you deal with pain and anxiety and heartbreak. Where joy can reside, without guilt or judgment. Maybe that’s home.
I don’t know where my life is going. But no one does, I suppose. I know things are going to change. But life is always changing. I also know I have found, for the first time, that Serenity inside myself, and I will endeavor to never, ever let go of it. My home. For the first time, home. A place worth protecting.
And I look forward to all the people I do and will share my life with. But I also look forward to enjoying and sharing life with them in healthy ways, with healthy boundaries. Where we don’t hurt each other, but if we do, we can acknowledge it and fix it. Where toxicity and abuse isn’t permitted, and will be cut out with no second thought. Where we all can cultivate kindness together, creating beauty and joy and community, and being able to return to our respective internal homes to rest.
Maybe this is just me being a ridiculous introvert and re-discovering self care in a new way, but I don’t think so. I think we all, perhaps, need to get comfortable with Home. Learn to love ourselves honestly and healthily. To honour our own boundaries, and therefore those of others. To find peace. Belonging. Within ourselves. Something that no one can take from us.
Like I said, I held off on writing because I didn’t, and still don’t really know what to say. Just some rambles after a near mental breakdown, travel, therapy. I’ve been writing a hell of a lot lately, but most of it’s not for public consumption. Not yet. So hopefully this spiderweb of half-thoughts brings you some clarity, some joy, some brightness, or at least solidifies in your mind that I haven’t disappeared or stopped creating. I’m still here. I’m okay. And I am always and forever still writing.