better

Whew.  It’s been a really good week so far–one that’s kind of opened my eyes to the things that were kinda derailing me from my path for a long while.  I’m making some big strides and having new insights that make me want to change other things I’ve been doing.

I think we’d all probably say that we want to be happy, and I’m not any different.  I’m no dummy.  I prefer to smile when I can.  I hate crying and all the associated crap that comes with it.  But, on the other hand, my life has taught me to endure some pretty awful things.  For better or for worse, I learned to do things a certain way.  I also learned to put up with things and avoid things.  We all have that story that informs our choices–and by and large–determines our overall happiness.

While my life made me super resilient, it also made me pretty nostalgic, a little melancholy, hopeful to a fault, and a touch cynical.  Also stubborn.  All of which has played a role in where I’m sitting today.  I can’t complain too much because I really am grateful for all of it and can see how those things helped or protected me.

On the other hand, I have some serious struggles that I’ve identified as not exactly helpful anymore.  These things were there for a reason and helped me through things.  But now?  Now, it’s like I’m wearing a cape made of dozens of 50 pound weights.  That heaviness often made me choose easier options instead of what was best for me. It obstructed my view or stopped me from moving forward.  It kept me stuck.  And I allowed it to.  Or I just didn’t understand how to get them off me.  Some of it I inherited, and some I picked up along the way.

A few years ago, my weight cape got as heavy as it had ever been, and my body started falling apart.  It just couldn’t do it anymore.  In my effort to lighten my load, I ended up adding on more stuff.  So that getting better was a weight in and of itself.

And pretty soon? The only thing I did was frantically shake things off only to attract it back, in different forms. Sorta like a magnet.  I was doing so much, but I wasn’t getting better. And worse? I was actually more unhappy because I was so frustrated with myself and the world that seemed to be throwing things at me all the time.

Recently, I made a big change. One that was long overdue that I came to in that same frustrated place.  It was different this time because I had more knowledge about myself and the parts of me that kept choosing self-abuse. I was surprised by some things and completely defeated by others. I cut myself some slack and gave myself some options.  I promised myself I wasn’t going to do this the way I had before.  And doors just sort of popped open.  And now, I’m here…in this very different place where I don’t have to choose others before my own needs.

Suddenly, I’m making good choices.  I’m not doing those stupid things I did before.  Mostly because, I think, I’m coming from a place of self-respect (for once).  I don’t hate anything about most of my days anymore.  I’m not sullen and angry all the time.  The person I really am seems to be coming through more and more.

I put a lot of pressure on myself to be perfect.  And I’ve always listened way too much to other people–instead of focusing on what works for me.  What’s working with this situation: I have the freedom to do what I want and need to do, but I also have support just a second away.  I’m starting from a clean slate, and I’m set-up for success.  I don’t have to be perfect.  I just have to be open to learning.

This week has been nice because–in my personal life–I’ve been outside the routine that used to be where I’m in control and I have some ground rules–but really, it’s about what works.  Not what’s perfect.  And no one else is weighing in on what’s best for me.

I need that.  So much.  Because honestly, I need to enjoy my life again.  Once you’re happy with one thing, it’s impossible to go back to the stuff that feels so heavy.

Since getting sick a few years ago, I’ve been in this cycle of toxic judging where things are black and white.  Where good and bad choices inform my self-worth.  It has to end.  Yes–there are some options that make more sense for what’s happening and what has happened.  But I know–in my heart–that my mental health related to this issue is most important.  I can’t make good decisions is the decision to be better or healthier makes me hate everything.

So, I’m going back to the ground floor.  I’m going to relearn the things I was taught as a kid.  Namely, I’m going to focus on what I love–what makes me happy–and figure out why I love it.  I’m going to focus on what I’m passionate about and focus on the basics.  Nothing more.  Once I get that covered, I can figure out what makes sense.  But no more restrictions.  No more evil.  Just love.  That’s enough.

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