In the two years and five months since the Wanker went to jail, I have accomplished more than in the thirty-nine years and seven months prior. So, I suppose I might have a little something to be grateful for in all that mess: it really, really changed my life. That whole what-doesn’t-kill-you-makes-you-stronger thing is horseshit in general, though. What doesn’t kill you leaves scars. In my case, what doesn’t kill me also makes me angry as fuck and being angry as fuck is a driving force to prove every stupid thing shitty people ever said about me wrong.
Since he’s been gone, I have…
Increased my credit score by almost 200 points.
Got a blank-check loan from my bank and bought a car and have made every payment on time.
Paid every bill on time for what is probably the first time I’ve been able to do that in consecutive years.
Taken multiple mini-vacations and getaways.
Gotten myself into treatment and am on appropriate medications for the first time ever.
I learned to love myself, to let myself have fun and be silly and carefree, and to protect myself from toxic people and relationships. I’ve learned how to set boundaries and that some people would consider that having high standards and I’m okay with that. I do have high standards when it comes to the quality of person I will share my love and light with. Not everyone deserves it or would appreciate it in the way I deserve. I’ve learned that I should never, ever have to beg someone to love me, that I am not hard to love at all, and that I was just not allowing myself exposure to the kind of people who would find it easy to love me.
I don’t feel stronger, though. More resilient, maybe, but handling life things is still just as challenging to me as always. I still have depression, I still have bipolar disorder, I still have ADHD and PTSD. It’s easier to deal with these things now because there’s no one standing in my way, not because I’m stronger than I was. Why is there always this expectation of strength when someone has gone through tremendous trauma? The traumas didn’t make me stronger, eliminating the people who caused them and replacing them with people who actually love me just made it easier to cope.
The traumas are still alive and well within.
I learned that having people in my life who love and support me make everything more bearable. I learned to recognize the difference between my mental illness and my often-skewed perceptions and reality. Often, when I am feeling agitated about something, the real reason I’m agitated has nothing to do with what is happening outside of me. For a long time, reality mirrored my skewed brain. I felt some horrible way about myself and there was always someone there to confirm that, yes, I was in fact a horrible person. One is my brain lying to me and the other is a person lying to me. Now I can see quite clearly when my brain is lying to me and there is not a person in my life who would work to make me believe the lies.
The lies are still there.
There aren’t as many of them these days, though. None that really get to me too often, anyway. In the right (or wrong) mood, in the wrong (or right) moment, one of those lies will hit me like a ton of bricks and knock the wind right out of me.
I wish it were all so easy as weighing it on a scale. Accomplishments vs. Traumas. Accomplishments would win, no doubt about it. But it’s not that easy and sometimes I have to take some time and really think about it, weigh it in my mind, you know? And, for some reason, today seems to be the day of weighing shit in my mind that I try not to even think about most of the time. It’s just one day after another for me, one foot in front of the other, make it through this month and then worry about next, through this week, through this day, sometimes even through the next hour.
Sometimes that what might look like strength, I suppose. Just making it through, minute by minute, day by day, and never giving up. Mostly looks like stubborn as hell to me, but I’ll take it.