Did you ever keep a diary during your teenage years? A cute little hardbound book with swirls or flowers on the cover that encapsulated your biggest dreams and your worst nightmares? Or perhaps the cover was black. Black as the secrets hidden inside.
I have dug out my old journals out from time to time and flipped through them, chuckling to myself. Not because the things inside are humorous, ridiculous, or childish. On the contrary--they were very real to me. They were my reality. I vented and spewed on my darkest days, fuming and screaming at the pages that couldn't hurt me back. I gushed and swooned and danced my pen merrily across the paper, telling secrets to the silent pages that wouldn't spill the beans. When something delightful happened, I ran to write it down, hungering to record it so that I could recall the joy after the memory had faded from my own mind. No, my chuckle as I look through the pages isn't in ridicule. It's because of what is missing from the pages--the rest of my life. And one word comes to mind: UNSTABLE!
I often think that my posterity, looking through my journals after my death, may wonder if I am a little schizophrenic. Let's face it--if you read my personal history and believe that's all there is to it, my life story looks something like this: happy sad yippeeeeee! boo-hoo happy HAPPY sad miserable blissful saaad happy ... You get the idea.
But aren't our blogs like this too?
This blog isn't really a clear picture of my life and who I am as a whole. It only gives you a little piece. And I'm sure it's the same with you. When we are reading each other's stories, sometimes I feel like we are all standing in a circle staring at each other through or own huge pair of binoculars. We are focused on the trauma, the victories, the strategies, the effects, the resources surrounding this addiction. And that is awesome! For its own purpose. But I encourage each of us to remember that when we are in this underworld of blogs and forums, those binoculars are in place. I believe it was Buffalo Gal (from Kill Your Own Buffalo) who once said something to the effect of: "I wish I could meet you all in person. I am so much cooler in real life!"
Don't you ever feel like screaming:
There is so much more to me than what surrounds this addiction!
I know there is! There's more to me too.
Together, we are like a hospital. We hear each other and we heal each other. We point each other in the direction of fantastic resources. We encourage and lift one another, and we help spread the word about how to fight this pernicious plague. But remember, like a hospital, you don't have to stay forever. You can choose the length of your stay. Maybe you want to take a break and get back to "real life" for a little while. Perhaps you will come back and be a nurse or doctor for a bit. We will always be here in one form or another. (Actually, that is literally true, because even abandoned blogs continue to tell our stories!) And there is always a place for everyone.
But ... I have often felt guilty about leaving the hospital. I feel bad when I don't post for a while. I worry about my WoPA sisters when I don't see anything from them for a while. Some of us have even written apologies to this effect: "Sorry I haven't posted in so long! I've been busy working on my other blog (meaning the family blog)." My feeling is: We shouldn't feel the need to apologize to each other! We should feel free to break away and focus on and enjoy the other aspects of our lives whenever we like. In fact, that sounds pretty healthy to me!
It's easy to get stuck here. It's easy to become obsessed with the blogs and the underworld that exists here. And sometimes that's what we need. Heaven knows I've been there! When my marriage and my life fell apart, you guys were all I had. No one else really had a clue what I was going through. But now things are changing for me. I'm in and out a lot. I'm sporadic sometimes. I'm healing. I'm less dependent on the hospital. Once in a while I trigger and I come swooping in to write a "my-world-is-falling-apart" post to my underworld friends because I know you will hear me when no one else understands. But remember the binoculars when that happens! Just because I have a bad day and I vent in a post doesn't mean my life really is falling apart. It probably just means I needed a visit to the hospital that day because I broke my arm. ;) I know not everyone can relate. We are each at our own point on our journeys. But just so you know, that's where I'm at!
Life is good. I promise. Even in the darkest times, we can put down our binoculars and find at least one pretty flower on the ground next to us.
Hang in there, my peeps. And if I'm MIA, know I love you all and am thinking of you. But I'm not sorry! :) :) :)