Is Losing Yourself The Meaning Of Life?

“Feel, he told himself, feel, feel, feel. Even if what you feel is pain, only let yourself feel.”
― P.D. James, The Children of Men

This writing to you, you know, it’s helped me gather my thoughts, move forward, and hash out what’s what.

Take yesterday, ol’roger.the.dodger turned 51.

Look at me today versus’ that person I was back in those days, enuff said. Not that it was all bad with him, far from. Our marriage at one time HAD been strong, but it became overshadowed by the demons he refused to acknowledge. As if ignoring them made them go away. It just made them worse.

They haunted the halls of our life, and we had become chained to their silent presence.

the forestSo in time, we weakened, and over that decade I spent with him, well I became drained of vitality. I felt like this fat blob, devoid of value. He made me feel that way.

But I also LET him, for a while.

It took me years, Mom, to overcome those years with him. I often wondered, can depression be contagious?

Really, I don’t think he meant to, but his psychosis, his denied hurts and emotional traumas, they sucked the life out of the room. And me. He fed off my kindness and my faithfulness. He was a vampire.

That denial was a coping mechanism he’d developed. He learned to take energy from those around him when he was young, sucking off the energy of those who surrounded him, for strength. As he matured he just continued, and never learned how to generate any himself.

It was 2003 last time I saw him, and I had almost forgotten that nervous, anxious way he made me feel, almost. That suppression, those things he tried to hide, that were never hidden from me. It became a house of lies, half-truths, and suppressed emotions.

It’s been over a decade.

Not long after that last meeting, I removed myself. I escaped and spent these last few years away. At least, that’s how I see it today.

He’s married, with a child, living in suburbia. We live in different worlds. Worlds I hope never cross again.

Yet, would we even recognize each other? I’ve changed, I would imagine he has, or, at least, HOPE he has.

“I MAY HAVE ALLOWED MYSELF SOME FLICKER OF EMOTION IN THE RECENT PAST, said Death, BUT I CAN GIVE IT UP ANY TIME I LIKE.”

― Terry Pratchett, Soul Music

the forest pathI wonder, though, how simple some people become, how immovable, and unable to, or even want to attempt growth. They fear growth.

I see now, he feared growth, and change, and truth, and all those down and dirty realities. He feared big breaths of honesty, and so he missed out on all the scents of joy.

How preciously some of us hold dear our misguided notions. How intense seem those ideas of self-worth that cloud reality. I know.

Yet, he chose to remain within the confines of his white-washed day to day mind (or so it seemed).

He suppressed anger, unknowingly suppressing all the other wonderful emotions we humans share.

Did he ever defeat the dragon I wonder? Did he ever learn how to uncoil the internally tangled testament to his abuse he carried, and live with himself? Did he ever remember how it felt to feel or had he ever known that joy? Did he know that even when all feeling has been lost (or you think it is, but it never is) how to go on? I wonder.

“The Yogic sages say that all the pain of a human life is caused by words, as is all the joy. We create words to define our experience and those words bring attendant emotions that jerk us around like dogs on a leash. We get seduced by our own mantras (I’m a failure… I’m lonely… I’m a failure… I’m lonely…) and we become monuments to them. To stop talking for a while, then, is to attempt to strip away the power of words, to stop choking ourselves with words, to liberate ourselves from our suffocating mantras.”

― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

It would be a shame if he never did just once lose himself.

I suppose that feelings are not like light switches. They are all part of each other, and thus you can’t turn one-off, without dulling them all.

I think now that healing is about unraveling the intertwined damaged piece, and paint it gold, and make it a testament to one’s strength, in recognition of our own worth.

thru the woods

Tim taught me that. Well, in his own chaotic way. He showed me that to find magic, you have to be willing to get lost in the woods. You have to throw caution to the wind, and transverse the mysterious trails off the beaten way. One has to climb over old fence rows on old dirt roads, walk past no trespassing signs, and explore.

You have to take the wrong way, turn right instead of left, and only then can you find your way. Funny that, eh?

You have to get lost, to find pieces of yourself. I suppose it allows you some perspective, a way of seeing yourself from afar.

finding a meadow

Maybe all the seemingly wrong ways I took were in fact just ways, neither right nor wrong. And, what if all our mistakes, all our flaws, all our missteps, and mishaps, what if they’re all part of how we learn to accept ourselves and find joy again? What if what we think makes us ugly, in truth makes us beautiful?

Is that what it is really all about? The meaning of life?

I know Mom, you can’t say, all part of the big mystery.

Then, I suppose that also means there will no doubt be more mishaps, more wrong ways down one-way streets. No way to avoid that, if one’s goal is to live, learn, and love.

Love,
PaulaB

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