The me I used to be was the title of a Harlequin NEXT book I read back in 2005. I don’t really remember the story or the characters much, but I do remember how the title and message resonated within me. Lately, a lot of my depressive episodes have been moments of unresolved grief over the loss of self, losing and forgetting the me I used to be.
I absolutely loved music, all kinds, but especially music that I could dance to, and for me that was most varieties. Being a teen in the 80’s and a twenty-something in 90’s, as well as a resident of the Pacific Northwest, butt rock, hair metal, and grunge/pop, along with some of the New Country/Pop crossovers, were much of what I could dance to. Thanks to my uncle and mother a lot of the classic rock and early southern rock also had a place in my heart. Epic, pop ballads of the early 80’s had their place as well. There were a good two and a half decades of my life where listening to the radio, walking around with a boom box or walkman, and “be-bopping” around were not just part of my daily routine, it was an inherent part of my being. Now I think the last time I listened to the radio or chose music that I wanted to hear was in March or April, when I was driving in a ZipCar, by myself. I haven’t been out dancing since 2006 and haven’t danced around to music in the privacy of my home for probably a year and a half.
During a recent impromptu visit from my son and his fiancee, we we talking and jumping from one topic to another, and something triggered me. I don’t know exactly what it was, but I’m pretty sure it had something to do with music and/or dancing. All I know is that I started tearing up in the middle of what I was saying. I wish I could say this was an unusual occurrence for me, but it isn’t. It seems that whenever I’m having a “real” conversation with someone, I am going to wind up with tears welling in my eyes and a choked sensation rising in my chest and throat. It was just unexpected that I would experience that sort of thing while chatting it up with my son and his fiancee. I tried to downplay it and move on, but he called me on it and basically suggested that it wouldn’t have happened if there wasn’t something I needed to pay attention to. Pretty wise for a 25-yr old, right? So, without going into much detail, I told him that I knew exactly what it was ~ unresolved grief over losing the pieces of my self that had meant I was living life and not just surviving it.
Since starting this blog, I have somehow gotten caught into the gravitational pull of Le Clown from A Clown On Fire. If you’ve never met Le Clown, The Ringmistress, The Whispering Petunia, and
Lord Evil Poppy Tiny Geek and you have an appreciation for snarky, absurd, satirical, ways of dealing with life and the world at large, give it a read. At first I wasn’t certain I “fit in” as a follower. I’d lost much of my ability to be amused by satire and snark, but there was something compelling about it. Then I began reading through the prolific comments that grew on the tail of many posts and I realized that there were friendships flourishing and growing in this arena. Interesting, creative, witty, real people with real lives and real problems were relating to each other with compassion, caring, and beautifully crafted insults and self-deprecating humour. I was especially drawn to the friendship between Le Clown and Dotty Headbanger and how their comments on each others posts showed relational connectedness in the online arena of blogging. It intrigued me and triggered a kind of longing to belong and somehow find a place within this community.
I found it difficult to figure out how to join in on the fun of responding to the posts with the witty, snarky, and well-intentioned ribbing, teasing, and insults which flowed so easily and readily through the comments. I found myself lurking and liking and only occasionally dipping my toes into the sea of comments. I felt dull and cumbersome and incapable of being fun and playful. It wasn’t until a few days ago when Le Clown’s creator, Eric, introduced himself, that I felt capable of interacting and engaging with any level of coherence and competence. I had actually been offline for several weeks and one of the first blogs I made it a point to visit was Le Clown’s. Connecting with the person behind the persona opened up an opportunity where I felt capable of interacting without being clumsy and trying too hard and being completely awkward. His gracious and good humoured reply gave me the confidence and prompted me to share a revelation about my own sense of longing:
Truth be told, I think one of the reasons I enjoy your blog, and almost more importantly the comments, because it reminds me of my community college days and the group of friends I had who were all brilliantly intelligent, creative, witty, irreverent, and exceedingly snarky on the one-upsmanship of witty and caring put-downs. The rapid fire, well intentioned insults, one-liners and multiple entendres were epic. I miss those days, those friends, and those aspects of myself that got buried over the years. Thank you.
I used to be open, witty, creative, and have relationships with people I genuinely loved and cared about in a manner similar to what I had been witnessing on his blog, and without realizing it until that moment, I had completely abandoned that part of myself with the seeming loss of those relationships.
Not only was I missing the happy, dancing, music lover, I was also missing the open, social, engaging, and creative wordsmith and verbal sparring champion I used to be. Most importantly, I missed the people and the relationships that made it so natural, simple, and easy to be those things.
I owe Le Clown/Eric and Dotty a debt of gratitude, because their blogs and relationship with each other helped me see the me I used to be and due to that I took a risk and reached out to the two key people from my past who were an inherent part of my past self. They were the first two real relationships I developed in my 20’s and I absolutely loved these people and had so many good times, as well as a few challenging times with them and the rest of our group. However, due to geographic challenges and my inability to maintain connections. ~ primarily from my ever spiraling chaos and fall into relationship addiction, depression, and the instability of not being able to sustain consistent employment and housing due to the depression, anxiety, and fibromyalgia, I abandoned these relationships. They are in town and we made arrangements to meet yesterday.
Being with them was like coming home. I felt some pieces of myself resurfacing and coming back to me. There was none of the awkwardness that had been an underlying fear of mine. I know that I will never be that twenty-something girl again, and frankly, you couldn’t pay me to go back to being her or reliving that time of my life. However, the essence of who she was and who I was created to be, are being restored along with the restoration of these important relationships. The me I used to be is informing the me I’m coming to be