I love the word survival, it always sounds to me like a promise.
A few weeks ago, I cried. Like, really cried.
It is a Saturday evening and I’m scrolling down my Twitter feed, distracting myself, trying not to cry. I have been dangling tears since I left my surgeon’s office. The doorbell rings, and I hear my aunt’s voice asking for me and I’m weeping as soon as the door is opened. I have navigated about two months of needles inside my mouth and my skin; of drugs being pushed into my bloodstream and my head being shoved into machines, with nothing more than a shrug and an indifferent smile. I am trying to be an easy patient. It’s a little brat-ish, complaining about how violating all this has been to people that are running around trying to save your life. But my aunt hugged me, and let me soil her wonderful dress, and nodded when I said I was tired and wasn’t sure I’d survive this. When I was calmer, she told me about her eight surgeries, and I chuckled internally as I chided myself for being so dramatic about my fourth. And as she held me, she made me believe I’d survive.
Later, texting my sister, I tell her I am living for June. Because this won’t matter in June.
About a week ago, my friend texts and asked if I’d like to hang out for a while. I reply: Yeah. Okay. Cool. A reply that certainly doesn’t capture how excited I am. It’s the most excited I’ve been in two months or more. I want to take pictures. I think of Instagram captions. It is something corny, like, I’m sitting here scared shitless, but it’s fine because, the world looks at this and sees strength. But this just reminds me that I am scared and so I have to wear red lipstick to hide it. I don’t take pictures. I do something braver. I say, “fuck it. If we die we die” and eat an entire platter of pizza by myself. This is brave because, basically, using my mouth is just an exercise in pain of late.
After all the injections, all that’s left is a tiny dot scar on my arm that I just noticed. I don’t look broken. Thank heavens we don’t look like the things we’ve survived.
So here’s to survival. But first, a little rant/recap about 2018.
I want to be excited about next year. I have however had a not so great year and my belief system doesn’t really allow for a hopeful tomorrow. I know the universe is apathetic and amoral, so who’s to say the earth will rotate in my favour next year? Moreover, I am beginning the year with an aggressive surgery, so the only thing that’s guaranteed for me is pain, anxiety and familial dysfunction, plain old familial dysfunction.
But also, I have had small wins. Small, but spectacular victories. Wins that have kept me going; wins that I know are the foundation for a future that I stubbornly believe will be phenomenal. Here’s the thing though, I’m not entirely convinced I will see this future. It is a conundrum: a conundrum that makes my daydreams possible. I get to continue dreaming, and on my good days, setting up for this future, unencumbered by the bleakness of my present state, because ultimately, dreams are just dreams. Death never got in the way of a well thought out illusion.
Depression used to feel like everlasting sadness and unsettling numbness. Now it’s just ennui and ironic coping mechanisms. I used to care, care enough to feel hurt. Now I care too much, and I wonder why, because ultimately, it won’t even matter. It’s the tedious, useless work of crafting and planning for a future I don’t really believe in, because I really can’t sit in my reality.
My imposter syndrome is debilitating. I feel simultaneously underserving of my life (of the time and space I occupy) and robbed of a better life. I am speechless and angry at the same time. And sometimes I think, if I can convince myself I belong here, then I can deal with everything else later; work my way up to a healthy balance of gratitude and ambition. I am yet to arrive to the core of my fleeting sense of belonging. I’m still trying to bulldoze my way through childhood (and ongoing) trauma and socialization. I still care too much about how people feel about me. I’m too aware of how their vehement disagreement with my life choices has led me down this path. What people think is a disagreement with one decision, I take as an invalidation and erasure of the experiences that have shaped me into the kind of person that choses one thing over the next.
Proper communication would solve this, but here is the thing, I deserve a little faith. I have spent twenty two years ignoring myself, disappearing into the wallpaper, staying out of everybody’s way while they planned my life. I have earned a little indulgence and a blind “I believe in you.” At the very least, I deserve a gentle “where is this coming from?” and an openness to my perspective and compromise. Because I refuse to fight to auction my pain for understanding and validation. And my lived experiences? They shouldn’t be up for debate. So this war continues: I ceaselessly seek acceptance and patience, I never get it from outside, as I run out of it within.
I don’t know.
So for this coming year, I hope to survive. To survive my anxiety and the occasional suicidal ideation. To survive my family and strangers on the internet. To survive pain and severed relationships. To survive my fear of the unknown and the headiness of a merry future. To survive myself.
And because I’m kind of a genius, I think I might thrive while I do it. I think I’ll thrive in small wins and you-know-what-fuck-its. To thrive in withering silences and words scattered on a page. To thrive with my head in the clouds. To thrive in the short-lived bravery it takes to mean it when I tell someone to fuck the hell off.
I say this often. I’m a coward. But I also have people who find me brave and aspirational. Naturally I shake my head and ask them to look again, to really see me. But I have been working on this, for myself, but mostly for the friends who say, “babe, you’re doing the self-doubt thing again.” I want to be easy to love. I don’t want to be the person that constantly brings people down. So I am working on seeing myself, on standing comfortably in people’s experiences of me, whilst kicking out their projections.
Again, I don’t know. I am a brave coward.
I’m going to trust myself more: my body, my craft, my intellect, my intention, my entire goddamn self. I’d be stoked if you believed in me too: words of affirmation, staying out my way, but mostly monetary compensation. Really, pay me to write.
I am going to try and have a great year. And if that blows up in my face, I will squeeze a body of work out of it.
My url is going to revert clariesramblings.wordpress.com around 5th January.
I am going to be making changes to my site(technical and creative) and I know the adult thing to do would be to do this behind the scenes and not affect your reading experience. As you may have gleaned, I have been dealing with a bit of a health issue and I haven’t been able to do much in the last few months. Not to worry though, the content will still be up. I should be back, up and running somewhere between the third week of January and second week of February.
Many thanks to my patron, @tjjullu who’s made this blog post possible. You stumbling upon my writing was among the best things to happen to me this year.
If you love my work, and would love to support me you can sign up to be my patron here. It keeps the blog up and makes sure I don’t starve, plus, you get a ton of cool stuff. If you have an expendable, 1USD a month(or more), please sign up to keep me going.
Have a great 2019 guys!