Sometimes just when you think you’ve got things figured out life rears its ugly head and decides it doesn’t like the idea of you doing so well. As a very introspective person, I thought I had a lot of, if not most of my inner demons figured out. All it took was one crazy happenstance to throw me for a loop and show me that I don’t have anything figured out. When you struggle with anxiety, and when I say struggle, I mean struggle to maintain sanity, it amplifies your insecurities and makes you fear and worry about things way more than you should. The ugly bastard that bit my leg and pulled me under this time was fear and feelings of inadequacy. When you have a very consistent track record of almost every person you let close enough to you that you become vulnerable hurting you, it’s only a matter of time before you start wondering if you’re the only common denominator. Between family members, friends, ex girlfriends, and even just romantic interests, I have been given the short of the stick more times than should be legal. Please don’t take this as a means to complain, but to potentially help those who don’t live anxiety on their shoulders understand better those who do. And for those of you who do live with it, maybe this will help you feel less alone. When something goes off course and doesn’t happen the way we expect and you feel that immediate sense of “Oh no, what if,” and your mind immediately goes to several worst case scenarios, that’s how anxiety works. It takes that little bit of worry or fear and cranks it to eleven and then asks you why you haven’t ordered a casket yet. This is in no way something I claim to have a hold on. This is one of my largest battles and flaws in life. Then of course there are those times where you finally talk yourself out of the fear and worry but then of course one of those worst case scenarios happens and then you get knocked back several steps. You start to wonder how you’re ever going to be able to talk yourself out of anything like that again. You start to wonder if you should even try. Is the fear of the possibility worse than the let down after hope gained? Anxiety is a cruel and heartless beast. It has no mercy and no sympathy for its victims. I never understood why people self-medicated before anxiety hit me as hard as it has. To all those who deal with this as well, I can’t tell you it for sure gets better, I can’t tell you that I can help, I can’t even tell you I know how to make it any better at all, but I can say that you’re not alone. What I can suggest is to find someone else who knows anxiety personally and talk to them about it. Trying to explain the effects of anxiety to anyone who hasn’t experienced it is like trying to describe colors to a color blind person. You can be as descriptive as you want, but some things can’t be understood without experience. Stay strong my friends. Don’t let it get the best of you and never let it keep you down. Always stand up in defiance.
There’s a song by Bon Iver called “Skinny Love.” If you haven’t listened to it, you should. It’s beautiful. There’s something beautifully tragic about love. When love is lost, the ties cut, and the blood spilled, love is just as overwhelming as when it was alive and well. That’s the danger of love. It’s the most powerful thing known to man but it can be the greatest feeling you’ve experienced or the worst. It can foster life or bring death. It can and will bring you to your knees at some point in your life. Love is an absolute. It doesn’t fade or die off. Love is like a magnet. It requires two poles to pull separates together, otherwise it’s empty and grasping at nothing. Love is a dangerous and blinding force. It can make us do things we never expected and even then look back in disbelief. Love is the most wonderful and terrifying thing in the world. Having experienced it myself, I can’t say it’s always worth the risk, but that’s the thing about love, it doesn’t always give us a that choice.
The cruelest irony of all is that of the love story. The bitter truth is that the people we love the most, have the most potential to hurt us. The people that we give the most to, have the most to take from us. This is a constant and dangerous game we play in our lives. How can one truly love without being vulnerable? Yet, how can one truly love and use that vulnerability against someone? It is my humblest opinion that if one does in fact truly love another, they not only won’t, but can’t use those gifts given to them against their intended. If they at any point do, did they truly love? Were they mistaken? Was it infatuation? What causes the heart to become selfish to a level that it disregards the mental and emotional well being of someone close to it? People can sling blame and point the finger at past experiences, personal shortcomings, or a slew of other excuses but when it comes down to it, it is simply the lack of love that allows or causes pain in another. Many are not self-aware enough to even realize this but the ones who are have a responsibility to not let it happen. The most tragic part of this story is that more often than not it’s the ones who have been hurt the most who perpetuate the pain. They know the pain yet don’t take the required action or responsibility to end the cycle. This is one of the most tragic cycles of the human condition I’ve ever experienced. To the ones who have been hurt and made a decision to end the cycle I salute you. You, my friends are the lights of a world covered in shadow. This story is yet another that though I understand it, I’ll never truly comprehend it. I’m glad I don’t however, because if I found a way to understand it fully I feel like I would have to had justified it in my head. I am in no way advising that anyone should stop getting close to people or allowing themselves to love, but I urge you to be careful, as hard as that may be. I myself I’ve fallen prey to the swift fall into someone’s arms and I, better than most, understand how difficult it can be to take a step back and think when someone offers open arms and a kind heart. Learn from mine and your own experiences, though hard as it may be. Life is a series of ups and downs and then you die. The most important part of life is to make sure that no matter how much you love anyone, you make sure that your happiness is based in yourself. Once you’ve done that no one can ever take it from you. Understand the difference between happiness as a reaction to circumstances and happiness as a state of being. No matter how much anyone can offer, you have to make sure you they do not hold the key to the door that is your happiness. The happiest married couple I know once told me that as much as they loved each other and enjoyed being a part of each other’s lives, if something happened and they found themselves apart or alone, that life would go on. Tough as it may be, life would go on and they would find happiness not in another, but within themselves again. That, I believe, is one of the reasons they are the most happy, successful, and wonderfully married couple I have ever met. They know this one key element that so few others seem to. So to conclude my rant, I urge you to seek out the parts of yourself and things in life that make you happy and surround yourself mentally and physically with them.
We are all born sick. We all suffer. We all struggle. What so few people fail to realize is that it’s not what we’ve been through, or even what we are currently going through that defines us. Some people have gone through hell and back just to survive and yet most of the time you’d never know it because they don’t let it define them. Some people have had most of their life extremely easy with minor problems here and there and yet they try and use every single hardship, no matter how small, as a crutch. They lean on them and say “But you don’t know what I’ve been through,” when confronted about their actions. This difference, this decision, it is what makes us who we are. Do we sit back and try to get pity for the things that have happened to us or do we stand up and say “I’ve been hurt, betrayed, abused, lied to, and dragged through most of my life kicking and screaming but that doesn’t mean I can’t control where I step next.” We are not our problems or even our past. We are who we are, good and bad. We alone decide what is next for us. Every step, another conscious effort to move forward, stand still, or fall back. Those who have been through the most, those that are broken, yet still decide to love and keep moving forward, this are the rare gems. Those are the strongest people around. They usually never even know it, but that’s one of the things that makes them great. They just need someone around to hold their hand and remind them that their future is so much brighter than their past. Life simply isn’t about what has happened. It’s about what will happen. History only repeat itself when no one remembers it.
What is the worst kind of pain? Is it physical? Is it mental? Is it emotional? If the heart is the core of who we are and what we “feel”, then I purpose that what we feel there is the worst kind of pain. Is it the pain that hurts us? Is it the pain that weakens us? Or is it simply ourselves? Is it the pain, or our reaction to it? Why do we find ourselves compelled to carry on this sick cycle? Get and give, pain in, pain out. Why must we hurt others as a result of our own pain? Is it human nature? Is it a learned trait? Not from our parents but from society? Or is it simply easier? I have my theories on this but the facts are yet to be seen. Why would anyone turn on someone close to them, to prevent the unlikely POSSIBILITY that they MAY get hurt. The irony in all this is that people hurt others to prevent their own pain, so unfortunately, until people begin to realize this…..it will continue.