Is this the life I really want?
Christmas Day was good, but I’m glad it’s over with. My sister and my niece are part of a great family and the love is genuine and tangible. I want a return to my world of illusion where, even though it’s not perfect, I am at least somewhat familiar with the workings. That is fear talking – and anxiety, self doubt and insecurity (all of fear’s children). In the face of social situations involving family and sentiment and “feelings” I want to run away to what I know. Screw all the resolutions about losing weight, quitting smoking, or being nicer I resolve to face my fears and seek out the unknown.
I have spent years (hell, a lifetime) trying to avoid social situations and the concomitant discomfort produced. A major part of my substance use and abuse was an attempt to reduce these feelings of outsiderness and disconnectedness. Now, as before, I find myself unable to enjoy or participate in so-called ordinary social gatherings. Work parties, Recovery gratitude gatherings, family dinners, etc … I don’t fit in and that makes people uncomfortable. So, it’s better if I just do it alone. Not total isolation, but keeping the world at arms length so the people who care about me, and vice-versa, don’t have to endure uncomfortable get together.
Where does that leave me? What are my feelings on the subject? The answer: my feelings don’t matter, the object is to spare the world the discomfort of being left alone in a room with me and my insecurities, self sabotage and inane self chatter.
The truth is doubtless not quite as bleak as that, it never is. One of the things that I am consistently bad at is objectively judging the magnitude of my failures (and successes – as rare as those are). My therapist can confirm that I am prone to hyperbole regarding my own abilities and deficits as well as the impact I have on my surroundings – exaggerating in magnitude far below the actual value or vastly exceeding it.
Wanderer, wanderer, lost in the haze
void of direction, succumb to the craze.
Give ear to my madness, so deftly designed;
deception de-jour: aimed to muddle your mind.
Hocus and pocus no need for free thought,
erase your opinions, your conscious to rot.
As sugar and soda your smile decay,
a hoax and swindle, then off on your way.
Smoke and a mirror, please don’t look too close.
The truth makes one banal; drugs for the morose.
Illusion can conjure emotions untapped
a quick misdirection, now I’ve got you trapped.
You think you arrived here, quite all on your own
you’re one of a billion, another sad clone…
I’ve stolen the treasure that once made you free
brainwashed you to thinking all’s as it should be.
Gobbledygook and hyperbolized drivel
platitudes, platitudes, mentally shrivel;
accept what I tell you, and not an ounce more,
wanderer, wanderer, you’re lost evermore.
I wish that I had the ability to format content on my iPad the way I can with my laptop. The poem above looks so much better when it is divided into four-line stanzas. The same can be said for the LaTeX codes. If I type them in html, or the markup language WordPress uses, maybe I can cut & paste right into this app and keep the formatting.
I am way too critical of other people, different methods and strange paths. That is probably the biggest change I have to make next year – there are a lot of adjustments I want to make or have been recommended, but embracing acceptance, tolerance and being nonjudgmental are traits I need to learn and cultivate.
I am doing pretty good with acceptance. I don’t let the shit that happens get under my skin or elicit a reaction from me. A lot of that has to do with managing the situations I put myself in; effectively maximizing my chances for being in low stress environments. That is an example of new me being self aware – giving myself a shot at success before throwing a grenade in to implode my efforts. Progress, not perfection; right?
I can go back to my less than perfect life with my slightly unrealistic plans secure in the knowledge that I am doing what is right; for me, for everybody. The hope that keeps me moving, not towards perfection but better, is not surrender to forces greater than me, but acknowledgement that I am a finite person in an infinite universe. And that is exactly as it is supposed to be.