“You seem much more concerned with the image you put out there than anything else in your life. You hold what other people think of you higher even than your own happiness and self worth. This concerns me and I’m not so sure it concerns you.”
Those were the closing words my psychologist spoke to me a couple of days ago in my session with him. I was emotionless, because I knew he was right. As I left his office, I thought back on all my 33 years and realized those three sentences he spoke summed up much of my entire life. Not all of it, obviously, but a great deal of it. Always pleasing others, always craving approval, always doing what I thought was expected of me…until inevitably I cracked under the pressure, most of which was self-inflicted pressure, for lack of a better way of putting it. All of this to say that I’m very proud of the person I am, and if I had it all to do over again, I’m not sure what I’d change other than not to’ve started drinking. Because I always knew I’d have an issue with alcohol due to my chronic battle with depression, yet I started drinking anyway when I started back to school at age 30. But what’s done is done and I’m at the point now where I’m learning a lot about myself that I might’ve not learned otherwise, so that’s the way I have to look at it.
So I’m not exactly sure where I go from here. Obviously the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing, as the preacher in the church I grew up in was so fond of saying. And in this case the main thing is my sobriety. I don’t know how to un-learn 33 year’s worth of behaviour overnight, nor do I think my psychologist expects me to. Who knows if it’ll ever be unlearned; but I can continue to make strides–as I’ve done in the last two months–towards being happier and valuing myself more. Life’s funny like that, that it takes something like this for a cataclysmic change to take place in oneself. All I really wanted was to stop drinking, but it’s not as simple as that. Because the drinking was merely a symptom of deeper unhappiness. And the unhappiness stemmed from how much I devalued myself and my own self worth…it all makes sense now.
As I did last week, I’d like to share some more quotes and GIFs and memes which I’ve found helpful this past week. Please feel free to copy and paste and right click them to your heart’s content…or refer your friends here to read them firsthand! (Well, second- or thirdhand, since I myself got them all off Tumblr.)
“That is why it is so important to let certain things go. To release them. To cut loose. People need to understand that no one is playing with marked cards; sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Don’t expect to get anything back, don’t expect recognition for your efforts, don’t expect your genius to be discovered or your love to be understood. Complete the circle. Not out of pride, inability or arrogance, but simply because whatever it is no longer fits in your life. Close the door, change the record, clean the house, get rid of the dust. Stop being who you were and become who you are.”–Paulo Coehlo
“Slowly, the realisation emerges that the choice to continue what you have been doing is the choice to live in discomfort, and the choice to stop what you have been doing is the choice to breathe deeply and freely again. Once that realisation has emerged, you can either honour it or ignore it, but you can not forget it [Edit: I could forget]. What has become known cannot become unknown again.”–Gary Zukav
“Every single person you know has something in their life and past that is probably worth collapsing to the ground in an uncontrollably sobbing heap over, so be nice to each other and tell good jokes.”–Anonymous
In summation, I think I’ve done a decent job of protecting my image over the years. I may’ve failed at many other things, but I think I’ve succeeded at portraying myself in the best light possible given all the circumstances. Even when I was dealing with debilitating depression and/or drinking 6-8 drinks a day, very few people knew. To sit here and type, “I’m proud of that” is probably colossally screwed up, but I am. I’m glad no one saw me out at bars getting wasted and that I was doing all my drinking behind closed doors or at work or in my car on the downlow. (Clearly I don’t condone anyone drinking in their car or at work; that’s actually the whole point of drinking in bars, I suppose.) I’m glad that when I was 20, I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and got myself to a psychiatrist of my own accord and played musical chairs with anti-depressants until I found one which worked for me. If I had it all to do over again, I really can’t say I’d do anything differently besides the not drinking. I’ve done the best I could given all the circumstances, and I think that’s what most of us who are being genuinely honest say when it comes right down to it. We’ve done the best we could.
That’s all for this week. Monsoon season is beginning a bit early here in Vegas and rain is predicted all day today. The rain is needed to help put out the wildfires up on Mount Charleston, so I’m certainly not going to sit here and bellyache about flooded streets when I don’t have to drive on them during rush hour. Hope everyone had a great 4th and is staying cool this summer!