This Thing

We recently had family night at my kids’ school. There were games and activities. The main event in the art room was a self portrait in the theme of Wonder. Draw a U shape for your face. Draw one eye. Two ears. Add some features. Your hair. Your mouth. Do you wear glasses? Do you have freckles? Then in the background, use words that describe yourself. Who are you?

I think I got more out of it than the kids…

I stopped to think about myself for a moment. Who I am. Who I tell myself I am. Who other people tell me I am.

I’ve had a very traumatic series of weeks. I want to talk about the triggering event, but I won’t. I laughed at first. Heartily. The whole thing is so silly, really. But then I got frustrated. And then I got confused. And then I got worried. I’ve been surrounded by gas-lighters my whole life. People that, whether they know it or not, blame me for things, challenge my sanity and keep me in a reduced state of presence. I believed them. I’ve done a lot of work to rise above that. But this thing. This big scary thing took me back there and tried to tell me I’m the villain.

I stopped to think about myself for a moment. Who I am. Who I tell myself I am. Who other people tell me I am.

And then I got depressed. I closed up. I wasn’t laughing. I wasn’t smiling. I wasn’t talking. I hadn’t sat in my delicious tub in so long it started to collect dust. I stopped responding to texts. Calls. I stopped writing. I hid. From others and myself. I stopped dreaming. I stopped recording podcasts. I started chain smoking. I gained 15lbs. I cried. A lot. I slept a lot. I avoided the world. My prayers became wordless sobs. Soul-wails of agony. WHY ME? Haven’t I been through enough?

I even told my kids, “Mommy’s brain is sick right now — if I don’t seem like myself, be patient with me, ok?”

“Ok, mama,” they said.

I started antidepressants for the first time in my life. Five days later, I stopped them — I was forgetting words mid-phrase. I forgot how to spell my children’s names. I felt like these pills were inducing dementia. I’d rather cope with my own chemistry than be thrown into a worse state.

But this painting… I saw myself. I looked into my own eyes and could finally say, “Octavia, you’re stronger than this.”

I am.

I’m a warrior. This thing that is happening to me is happening because I’m strong. It’s happening because I’m intimidating. It’s happening because I’m powerful enough to not just stand up but also to fight back. Sure, I had to feel the lows — and I’m grateful for that pain — but I don’t have to stay there.

Despite the days when I’ve had to pull over my car just to scream at the top of my lungs and let the tears flow; despite the hours I’ve buried my face in my pillow and wept myself to sleep; despite rolling over every morning and feeling as lonely as the last person on earth, I am surrounded by friends that straighten my crown and lift up my chin. I am protected by a Spirit that can’t be defeated. I have been graced with a team of soldiers I could never repay. I am loved by people that celebrate every win, no matter how minuscule.

If my battle protects others, bring it on. If this war I’m in brings peace and healing to future victims, I’m here for it. If this attack is the plot twist in my narrative, fine. I’m on a mission that can’t be stopped. I have a calling that can’t be blocked. I have a voice that will not be silenced. I’m back.

Let what is for me come to me. Let what is against me be removed from my path.

Let it be.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: