August has been a difficult month for me and obviously I haven’t been posting much.
After completing the 31 Day Ultimate Blog Challenge in July, I was a bit burnt out, not because of the writing, but because of all of the things going on in my world at the same time as I tried to keep up with the writing. There are a lot of things I had thoughts to write about and even have saved drafts of topics and points of interest to follow up on (or not) sometime in the future. I was actually quite frustrated because “life” kept interfering with my ability to focus on my writing. Life happened and I managed to cope with it, but couldn’t sustain the frenetic pace of the daily posts and keep up with all the other things, for long after the end of the challenge. I guess that just makes me human, right?
A pastor I value and respect, Marc Alan Shelske, who has known me and my family, peripherally, for over 15 years, is in the process of getting an e-book ready to publish and he offered an opportunity for a few people to read, edit, and beta-test it before publishing. This offer came right after the end of the Challenge and I jumped at the chance. It’s about doing the challenging and rewarding introspective work of identifying actual core values that we are already living from the inside out in our lives. I really wanted to do a good job of editing and was looking forward to doing this work, believing that now is the time for me to finally move forward in my life processing.
He asked those of us given this opportunity to have it back in three weeks. Considering that the .pdf document is less than 60 pages, that task should have been an easy one for me. I jumped right in and started reading and figuring out how to do the editing with the limited e-tools I have. I was moving right along and then several things occurred: First, we lost our internet service. Second, we had the “crisis” with the Early Head Start Program my daughter was in, (you can read about it here and here). Third, Jerry came home a week earlier and stayed longer than planned. Finally, there was a trifecta conflux of hormonal, biochemical, and environmental triggers that combined to make the depression and fibromyalgia symptoms flare into a pitch black darkness surrounded by flaming pain.
So, I’m four days past his requested deadline and have barely gotten through editing the first ten pages of the actual text and have read a bit farther than that. I’m planning on spending my day tomorrow focusing on the editing of the text and at least get that back to him. As for beta-testing the process itself, I’m kind of stymied.
When I was meeting with the school counselor/therapist in my efforts to prepare for being home with Luna all day and we were discussing the various competing responsibilities, health issues, family issues, and life concerns that are demanding my energy and attention and how much I’m struggling to just keep my head above water and breathe each day. Then, as I was reading through and getting ready to gear up and beta test the process, it was suggested that I be able to spend some dedicated quiet and alone time delving into my personal history and identifying key moments and events and how I responded to them as part of the process of figuring out what values have already been being lived out in my life. Reading through that section, all of the “stuff” that I haven’t processed or dealt with emotionally and psychologically throughout the four + decades I’ve been alive really started bubbling up. I think this the real reason why I haven’t been able to follow through on my commitment.
I think I started having an anxiety attack and that it was facing the possibility of opening myself up to remembering that is really at the center of my absenteeism this month.
You see, I don’t really have memories. I know the sequence and order of significant life events, but I don’t have memories. I look at pictures taken from my life, and I have to look at the date, the other people in the picture, and really think hard about what job I had, what school my kids were attending, and what part of town we were living in and actively try to reconstruct what was going on in my life at that time. At the same time, deep underneath all of that is this leviathan of dark and disturbing emotion and incomprehensible subtext that has me close to tears with just about every effort to think of my past, at any point I try to think of it.
I have vague recollections of being energetic, smiling, laughing, playful, flirtatious, passionate, determined, ambitious, proud and confident. Underneath those recollections, however, is the sensory knowledge that those were my costumes, masks, and facades to get by and to try to convince myself and those in the world around me that I had value and worth, that I was someone worth being around and in relationship with. Below the brief and flickering images is the knowledge that I was frantically hiding the truth of my inner darkness, despair, and desperation as long as I’ve been aware of my self. The memories, or knowledge of my past that is easier to access, are the ones where I leave the activity and people around me, move off somewhere to hide and be alone with my tears and my fears. I still do that today.
I started to go into that some more here, but looked up and realized that this post would be close to 2,000 if I carried all the way through. So, I’ll sign off for now. The meat of the matter will be found in Memories and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.