A Post About How I (Don't) Value Myself

The beginning of September and the start of the turn of the seasons from Summer to Fall is my new year. All summer I look forward to the freshness that September will bring, and the 'new beginning' I give myself. New habits, new emotions, new outfits. A chance to re-do some things. A chance to try things differently. An opportunity to be a better me.

A year ago, this time, I enabled my manic behaviour and set on down a path of dismantling major parts of my life searching to make something, anything, feel better. I quit my job (and the full time workforce in general). I left my husband. I saw a naturopath and actively took hold of my physical self and *drastically* changed my diet.  I told one of my best friends I was in love with him. I moved 1200KM north back to Prince George.

I did all of these things because for my entire life I have carried around a handful of beliefs about myself that are complete and utter bullshit:
  1. If I was skinnier then everything would be better
  2. All of the problems I have are because I am fat & I will be fat forever and that's a problem
  3. I am lucky if anyone is willing to love me so I need to just take whoever I get and that's the rest of my life despite how shitty it gets
  4. That success and my perception of success was solely related to the things I did out in the world, rather than how I am with myself (particularly related to work)
  5. That I am an extrovert
  6. I can simply put a happy face on and work harder and everything will be better
  7. A shitty family together is better for my kid than a family not together
  8. That I can do everything and that I want to do everything
  9. That I have no inherent value as a person, unless it's explicitly related to the person I'm in a relationship with
  10. That it's my job to take care of everyone else first

I spent most of 2013 in a fog of depression, stress, and anxiety just *dealing* with the emotional fallout of everything above. I had a hard time taking care of my house, eating well, paying bills, let alone *wanting* to find employment. I cried many a day into my pillow, in the shower, in the car.  A few things saved me during this time: the kid, roller derby, my friends, my sisters, and HSH.

In July of this year, my kid went away for 5 weeks. It was the best kind of holiday I needed because I got lots of empty space to sit with my depression and my exhaustion and *really* think about what I was doing, *how* I was doing, and where I was going next (even just the next day). I slept most days until lunch time. I went out and socialized and drank too much. I cried and cried. I crushed on everyone, pursued a handful of people into dead ends, and actively decided not to take people home, or once there, not have sex with randoms (for me, casual sex was not the answer no matter what the boy-run-media-outlets tell me).

Since the beginning of this September, I have really stepped into working on my shit, inspired wholly by the changing of the seasons and knowing that it's just *time* I address this bullshit or it will carry along with me forever. I want to be the person I envisioned for myself in my 30s. For me this is an active process in reducing distractions (manic-behaviour) and taking time to slow down and be in my mind and in my body. Some of the distractions I've reduced include mainly roller derby and other extra activities/volunteering and facebook. 

Now, I see more of my friends. I am meeting new friends. I am working hard on a number of important things. I am travelling to see my family as much as possible. I am taking care of my body. I am battling my mental health demons and taking care of my mind. I am writing and having dance parties in the kitchen with the kid. I am liberating myself as much as possible from the traditional workforce. I am knitting and reading so many books and spending a lot of time alone. I am challenging myself in a new romantic process and allowing myself to be ok with falling in love again (if I want to), being vulnerable, and explicitly asking for what I want (and getting it). I am trusting magic and mysticism and the universe. I am asking for help.

So, what have I learned about myself or am I trying to re(un)LEARN? The biggest lesson is that I *do* have value and that I *do* have an impact on other people's lives. (Like, "I never ever thought he would like me if I pursued him because why the fuck would someone like me? I don't have that kind of impact!" which was a faulty belief because BOOM it's working so far!--this one also garnered a much deserved laugh from a dear dear friend). I have spent so much of my life looking up to amazing and inspiring women (like Kathleen Hannah!) and have just expected that their words and energy would be enough to carry me into the future and I would be able to achieve the things they've achieved and if I'm lucky I would just get to see and read their work! Never did I think that I had personal power of any kind to move in the world and make a similar impact (even amongst my smallest group of friends/family). I'm learning.......

Last week I had the honour of going for coffee with a (new) friend who I've adored forever and it's disappointing to know we didn't get to spend our whole lives up until this point together. I've been so honoured to connect with a few new people who are just fucking comfortable to be with (and further build other friendships into this space). Little did I know that she went home and wrote the nicest things about me! I never would have thought in a million years that I was an inspiration to her (let alone anyone), particularly because she's an inspiration to me, and the aforementioned not seeing myself as having value thing. I'm relieved to say I'm working on it. 


Kim Matheson said...

Oh my fuck. I am so glad you recognize those things as bullshit. (I completely understand where you're coming from. I have so been there. Well. Still am, sometimes. Difference now is that I know it's crap, which makes it easier to talk myself out of falling into that shit.)

Thank you. :) I just appreciate the hell out of you. I am very grateful for our Now, it's pretty amazing. Also? "Comfortable." GREAT way to describe that. I also love to be around people, like yourself, who are just comfortable. Good grief I love where I am in life, I have such amazing influences. It's indescribably awesome.

You rock. <3

yarnsalad said...

Holy crap D I had no idea you had visited the dungeons of depression this year (we must have just missed each other?) Your coffee date friend is right (I just followed here on twitter, after reading her post that you linked to). I say good for you for taking a leap of faith (or several, it sounds like) and taking the time realign/recenter yourself. Introspection is amazing and it never gets old. I'm doing that myself again, finding it necessary after I have walked away from a toxic mire I can't really talk about on the Internets. I'll write you a letter and tell you about it. Meanwhile, I applaud your courage to be the person you want to be and to realize it while you are still so young. You have a MA, you know life is about learning, and as you get older you can only get better, and that's one of the reasons I adore you. *mwah*