I’m supposed to be writing about my favorite places. That was the plan. Well, I don’t feel like writing about that this week. Sorry, I got two out of four. That’s pretty good, right?
So I’m 47, and I have spent a lot of my life just trying to find a comfortable space to exist. I’m not talking about a house or an apartment – somehow, no matter what my circumstances have been, I’ve always been cool with the places I’ve lived. I always fix them up and they are good. I’m talking about a comfortable space in my head. At the core, I have never really truly liked myself. I have never felt free. My mind has a go at me all day, every day. My mind wants me dead, I’m sure of it. It wants to get me into such a fit that I start not caring. It wants me to self-destruct. It’s obsessive, like a serial killer’s mind, except my mind is only concerned with taking me out. Similar to the torque of an engine, my mind is a twisting force that causes rotation. It's just getting that rotation to rotate for me vs. against me.
I have been plagued and dogged by self-doubt, low self-esteem, and general self-loathing my entire life. Which is combined with a disdain for my fellow man – and the perverse desire to seek their approval. See what I mean? Not a lot of space in there to feel free. My head is at war. And I am restless. Irritable and discontented.
I have tried everything to shut those wars down. Drugs, Booze, Shopping, Friends, Boyfriends, Moving, Work, Success, Fitness, Music, Attention, Meditation, NA, AA, Psychiatry - you name it, I‘ve done it. And ALL of that shit works. It ALL quiets the mind, for a time. But like anything, if you’re not vigilant with it, those wars start back up again.
So here I am. I have presented the enemy: my mind. Sounds pretty self-indulgent. Maybe so. But it’s my cross to bear and bear it I do.
For years I thought I was “depressed,” but that’s not the case. I’m not anything particularly serious, actually. I’m just extremely lazy. I like to lay around, smoke, and laugh. I enjoy meandering. I don’t want to be accountable, responsible. I like to spend money on my friends, on cars, on underwear. I like to be comfortable. I like to have a good time and I want to do what I want to do. I don’t ever want to feel bad. Well, who doesn’t want that? We all do. But the problems come when I had to go out into the world. We all have to do it. And, actually, it’s good for us. It’s healthy to work, and mingle among our fellows. It’s therapeutic to problem-solve. It's OK to feel bad sometimes. It is not good for the wars in my head to lay around “having a good time.” That’s actually exactly what they want me to be doing. Those wars don’t want balance, they want WAR. So the one thing I’ve learned to strive for - which is an extremely simple concept, but difficult for me - is balance. I must have balance, and in order to have that balance I have to be vigilant in my adjustments. Not too much of one thing or another. Generally, if I find something and I like it – I want more. It could be something as big as Love and Friendship with one person, or something as simple as Anita’s coconut milk yogurt (which, by the way, is harder to find – and more addictive -- than pure Afghani heroin.)
I’m never going to be better. This “condition” is never going away. It’s who I am. The trick for me is to figure out the daily maintenance I need to do to take care of it. And the number one thing I keep coming back to is honesty. That’s a huge one. When I am honest with you, and mostly, when I am honest with myself. When I don’t hide who I am from you in the hopes that you will accept me, then that’s one war in my head that I can shut down for the day.
So, the balance is key. When I have balance in my life, to adjust. There’s a whole list of things I can do to adjust the balance, not all at once, but I can circle back to them when I need them. It’s funny because, when I do these things, I get that same feeling I get when I’m just hanging around, laughing, having fun. I feel free. Some days, I win the war and some days I don’t. But the wars have become, over time, skirmishes and I’m OK with that. It keeps me on my toes.