It’s no secret that for many years now I have been struggling with a very complex PTSD. Diagnosed in my early 30’s and still facing it every day in my mid 40’s, many days I don’t want to accept that this is my life. Most days I contemplate my existence on this planet, but I know I’m not alone. One thing that social media has taught me is that everyone has more than 2 faces. Just like the truth has 3 sides, people have the uncanny ability to take their shit infested lives, sprinkle some invisible unicorn dust around and twist it into something beautiful and surreal. No one has the perfect life as much as they would like us to believe something so silly. This is only one of the more valid reasons I felt a sudden and distinct urge to disengage from Facebook. It only makes sense that if one is lonely, depressed, sad, angry, vengeful, excited, happy (insert myriad of emotions here) you take it to Facebook and you vent. In the world we live in, it is also standard to sit and wait for each and every notification to chime in and validate your existence; to enable you to corroborate and check up on how the world is doing at the present with or without you in it. At any moment in time you can make the choice to occupy space on social media and there will always be someone there to help you occupy that space. It is nice to log in and see that someone has shared something funny with you. It replenishes something inside of your emotional piggy bank each time someone shares that they miss you. Whereas you were empty before you logged in, now you have billions of people to reconcile with. On the B side of that record, however, are a multitude of people who want nothing more than to bring you down to their level of misery. If they can’t force you to change your viewpoint to their own, they can at the very least, share with you some bone shattering verbage. I began to feel as if I had soaked in so much negativity not only from the interwebs, but from my own mind, that I knew I needed a break. A very real and much needed break. I could feel myself being drawn back in time and I couldn’t play the game anymore. I was too addicted to the instantaneous gratification of trying to keep up with the whole world. Back in the 70’s and 80’s there was no internet. The only phones were attached to the wall with a rotary dial. There wasn’t such a need to know back then. If you wanted to have an adventure, you simply phoned a friend before you left home then headed out into the world.
I needed to go back to a simpler time in my mind.
Que Sera, Sera.
My internet detox was going very well. I was going deeper into my yoga. Meditation became something blissful that I actually looked forward to. I could feel my mind letting go of the bitterness, resentment and guilt. I stopped my sugar intake, I quit eating meat and animal fat. I increased my vitamin and mineral intake, my daily bike rides were exhilarating. My personal life took a positive turn and for the first time in 15 years I actually looked forward to waking up in the mornings. No longer identifying as an “atheist,” I found it easy to contemplate a more spiritual side of my life and it soothed me greatly. I was learning to think more positively in a new age effort to bring about universal change in my life. Everything was going wonderfully until it all came crashing down, that is.
I learned that my youngest child, my very soul, is pregnant. She will soon give life to a new person that I will never know. I’m becoming a grandmother, but the joys of having anything to do with that honor in life will elude me. I grieved the loss of her for 15 years. Now I can grieve the loss of her child for another 15?
I never thought my life was perfect, but I once thought I knew my purpose. As a young child I just knew I would grow up with some greater destiny than the one that currently stars me as a woman who gazes into her own mirror every day speculating her justification in breathing the same oxygen as the people who made something of their lives. I failed miserably at pretty much everything I tried, but at least I tried. I’ve made some really awful life decisions and am well aware. That’s part of the joy of PTSD. Even when you try to forget, it remains steadfast by your side to remind you of your fuck ups.
Pop told me once, “I raised you right, so I know you will go out in life and make good choices.”
Why assume that because your kid isn’t on drugs and alcohol or becoming the latest teen pregnancy statistic that they are well equipped to make some very serious life altering choices? There is so much more to existing than abusing substances and sex without protection. Even though I was raised with traditional wholesomeness in church, no one ever warned me about trust. Believing in every single person I met along my path was not wise. I should have never been so naive. No one warned me about men and the difference between lust and love. The only rules in my life were “Don’t piss off Jesus.”
I didn’t get the internet when it first came out and by the time I did get online with my dial up AOL card, I became beyond strung out. I could sit in a chat room for 12 straight hours. This new ability to talk with hundreds of people in just one night became my drug of choice and it helped take me down a dark path. I lost all self control and everything took a backseat to my habit. The variety of poorly thought out resolutions I’ve made throughout my time here on earth has had severe and long lasting ripple effects in my universe. Had I known this butterfly effect phenomenon would have taken me on this most negative of journeys, I would have made better choices. Having options and freewill to do as you wish is part of the fun in life, or so I thought. Because I was brought up with some morals, I thought everything would just fall into place in my life. I believed in the fairy tale. Be a good girl, think good thoughts, smile at the people and live happily ever after. Still unsure if my position is considered “in place” although, it has a more neutral feel to it. Not quite left of center and not exactly in right field, here on the fence is my place and it is where I sit and beg one of life’s most important questions:
“Is this really as good as it gets?”
Maybe, and I have to learn how to live with that.
My vision was cloudy at times, but that’s alright. I am an imperfect creature not necessarily built for telling the future. More importantly, I am not my memories. Learning to live in the here and now, losing sight of that, becoming disillusioned with the process, then scraping up the remains of the tenacity stored up in my marrow to believe once again that goodness will prevail in my life and I can enter a season of serenity is all I have to keep me going. A gentle calming of the mind/body/spirit is really all I desire.
Serenity is a state of mind and since the body follows the mind, I would like to think that I can change my body by simply changing my mind. I had to take the time to stop and recognize that I was following old patterns again. I had to make the decision to squash my addiction to the internet. I had to want it. I had to want to change. Isn’t life worth it to take that attachment away? Kill just one more addiction, rip away the band-aid, and see that you will be forced to LIVE. I found my best results by forgetting about my phone, pressing down hard on my willpower, and resisting the urge to log back in to anything...social...
Tell yourself you just don’t care about one more cat meme or how easy it is to paint on those flawless eyebrows…
Convince yourself that you don’t care if the baby has your cheekbones...
...It doesn’t matter.
Repeat often for best results.
Life is out there, not in my phone. I’m listening to more good music. I’m reading real books for a change. I’m writing again, falling in love with yoga all over again, finding my center in nature and learning to accept that LIFE HAPPENED and it will continue to happen with or without my participation and I’m finally okay with that.
And that folks, is where I am.
I’m in the midst of the most beautiful struggle mine eyes have ever seen.