How To Go From Self-Loathing To A Belief In Limitless Personal Possibility In One Short Essay, Almost
It was a relief to be woken up by the Palinode yesterday morning. I was trapped within a dream in which I had somehow fallen into unconsciousness at 35, my real present age, and awoken nineteen years later at the age of 54. My cats were dead, the Palinode had moved on, and I was left living with my aged parents and the entire arsenal of emotional baggage I had fallen asleep with all those years before.
I was in an unexpected psychological hell. The whole world had changed. Technologies had advanced, everyone I knew had nearly two decades of change behind them, and I was stuck where I had been in 2008, only in 2027. I had gone nowhere. I was still the person I am today.
The horror of my dream lay in the continuance of this person that I am right now. I was my own horror.
I am going through a difficult time both emotionally and psychologically these days. I feel as though I am in the middle of a slow reconfiguration. I am changing, I am becoming, and growth and change do not happen without at least some messiness along the way. Hands get dirty, blood is let. It is difficult and painful and so much like a dentist appointment minus the anaesthetic that it makes me want to run out with a set of bolt cutters and steal a tank of nitrous oxide.
When I first woke up, it took me an hour to get out of bed. I misconstrued the dream's meaning to be about a sudden revelation of exactly how much I hate myself, and I stewed in that lovely juice for a good while before I gave myself a metaphorical slap on the face and got my act together.
I do not hate myself. If I never changed or grew or became anything new over the many years I hopefully have left in this life, then, yes, I probably wouldn't like myself very much, but unless that miracle of a non-crippling, non-brain-damaging, decades-long coma comes along, that is not going to happen. I am a creative and dynamic human being with a powerful drive to make new things.
I realize now that the dream, rather than being about the horror of being me, was a warning against stagnation. I tend to avoid conflict like red hot pokers to the eyes, and during this time of depression and repressed creativity, what I feel I want most is to be safe and warm and fed. I feel like I want to stay pupate in a cocoon. I want each day to remain safely the same. This dream tells me that what I feel I want and what I really want are disparate things, which is a relief. It means that I still have drive, and that I value myself too much to remain the same.
And suddenly, valuing myself means being really freaking afraid on purpose, because I have to learn who I am, I have to start expressing my creativity in different ways, and I might have to start flossing every day. I hate flossing.
Hello red hot pokers! Please! Stick yourselves in my eyes!
After writing all of the above, I found this little beginning of an entry tucked away in my writing folder:
I protect myself to my own detriment. I wrap so many deflections around myself that I am no longer sure what it is that I hold dear.
I am numbed with television, long baths, alcohol-induced sleep, heavy food, and psychiatric medications. If I am experiencing these things, then I can look at them and not at the thing I use them to avoid. What is this thing I am trying to avoid? I do not even know. There is a large chunk of myself, squirreled away, some forgotten treasure that is powerful and good enough to protect against all odds, but I have lost it along the way.
I did not see a month ago that the thing I was protecting was not some small nugget of information or a specific aspect of who I am. WHO I AM is the thing I have been protecting. Way to over-complicate things, Schmutzie. If something seems complicated, it is often the case that the thing is really quite simple; over-complication is a tool that serves our selfish purpose to avoid decisive action, which bears the scary consequence of responsibility. Like my hatred of flossing and fear of dentists, it is easier to cling to a false ignorance that allows me never to have to own my failings than it is to take personal responsibility and acknowledge what I know and be who I am.
If you look at the other side of the coin, if we bravely step forward into living with personal responsibility, the opportunities for growth and expression are endless, because we can reach out and take in rather than turn inward and reject the myriad experiences this planet has to offer us over our short lifetimes.
Did I just move from self-loathing to a belief in limitless personal possibility in one short essay? Almost. I've got a headache this morning that is threatening to burst all the blood vessels in my eyes, so I am kind of more believing in heavy pain medication and wrapping my head up inside a dark blanket. I will fulfill my dream of writing award-winning novel tomorrow when it doesn't hurt so much to sit up.