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This is a small account of my personal journey. I won’t call this an “experience” or a “situation” because I’m not done. I’m still on it but I think I needed to get this out so I can get to the next station, so to speak. It’s a long read, folks.
Depression is a helluva drug. As I type this I’m crying because this is something I’ve suffered with and through for so many years. Depression comes in many ways, shapes and forms. Depression is the prison guard of my life – it tells me when to eat, when to sleep, how to act. It doesn’t care about my well-being and finds its strength in breaking me down to the point where it thinks I’ll give up.
Yet, I’m still here.
Two weekends ago, I reached out to my best friend to help me. I couldn’t stand being in my home. You see, for as long as I’ve lived on my own, I have kept my home in a state of utter shambles. It’s hard to explain this because I’ve never verbalized why though I’ve known the reason for my actions. In keeping a home unfit for guests, it allowed me to keep everyone away from me and I don’t know why this is something I desired. I felt zero guilt about never having people to home because in my mind I knew it was a disaster; saying ‘no’ was incredibly easy. In turn, I used the excuse of being at home to deny myself social interaction with these same people. “Once I’m in, I’m in,” I’ll always say. Sometimes I led them to answer their own question and nodded in agreement, “…you live so far, I totally understand not wanting to come back out.” I’d nod and smile my smile. The few times I’ve had friends over, I prayed my closets, under my bed and every cupboard I own would not burst at the seams during their time with me.
The Arianne you know, the Arianne I show, the Arianne you read and the Arianne you see – illusions. The best “razzle-dazzle” show money can buy. It’s an act, folks. A perfectly, honed skillful act. I’m someone quick-witted and self-deprecating and independent and fashion forward with a “who the hell cares” attitude that I wish were true with all my might.
The second I cross the threshold of my home, I lock the door, I slide the chain on. I dump my jacket, my bag and anything else I have on me to the floor and I retire to my bedroom. My bedroom as of two weeks was covered in clothes and tissues and shopping bags and errant shoes and broken purses and magazines I’ve never read and buttons in baggies that came on the shirts with the tags still attached. I had a quarter of my mattress that fit my body perfectly and that’s where I’d lay. That’s where you “like” or RT my funny words. That’s where I live-tweet all my favourite shows. That’s where I ate. That’s where I didn’t sleep. That’s where I cry.
We spent about 14 hours getting rid of everything our hands could touch. This was not my battle with being a hoarder, I could care less about the things going into garbage bags (except for that apple-scented body spray I JUST bought, that I wanted). We probably filled around 11 XL garbage bags of stuff. Just f*cking stuff. This is why my mind isn’t clear at night. This is why I feel completely trapped in the one place I should feel the most comfortable, the most free. That day was eye-opening. That’s the day I told myself that whatever I’ve done and am currently doing is not working. I said it out loud and surprisingly, believed myself. It’s not working at all!
My parents believe I’m okay on the surface. I suspect they know I’m not but they know me better than anyone else. They know how I’ll get if they pressure me. When I’m at my lowest points my father, with his dyam sixth sense, ALWAYS calls me. I’m the baby of the family but I feel like the eldest more often than not. I speak with conviction and common sense. I have street smarts. I know right from wrong. I’ve been on my own for years without ever having to move back home. And as long as I’ve been away from home, I can count on my fingers and toes how many times I’ve allowed my parents into my space. After awhile, they stopped trying and who wouldn’t? I’m living this busy life, right? I’m single and in my twenties/thirties, right? I don’t need my parents, right? I take care of myself, I’m assertive, I’m an adult…I’m Arianne.
Guys, I’m so tired. I’m physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted of that Arianne. Here’s the reason I don’t sleep. Here’s the reason I cry.
I do not like myself.
Now you can tell me I’m pretty. You can say I’m smart. You can list all the things I’ve done, where I’ve succeeded, whose life has been enhanced just by me being there and it’s a moot. You can read me the words I just typed in the paragraph before this describing all my great independent traits. I don’t think they’re all that great. If I don’t believe it, then why bother is my mentality. This is my logically illogical mind at its finest. Like Brad Pitt, I can see why people find him attractive but I am not attracted to him. So I can see what y’all are saying but I don’t believe in it pertaining to me. ‘Faking it until I make it’ is a lifestyle I thought would be best for me but it’s simply making me more sour.
Like I said before, I’m tired.
This attitude is affecting all aspects of my life. I have a nephew whom I would give up my life for in a heartbeat who I don’t see. That’s completely on me. He’s a major part of why I need to beat this. My parents… God, my parents! I never realized how much I absolutely love these two humans. A heart-bursting, overwhelming love for these two people…and I never see them, I never call them. Why? Because they’ll ask me how I am and then I’ll lie. They believe that lie and I bite my lip because I’m supposed to be the one that’s OK. That’s why. I can’t be the burden.
Everything’s coming to a head now: I’m unapologetically rude in a way that makes me angry at myself to people who do not deserve it. Hearing my own negativity annoys me, yet I can’t stop my mouth from spewing the garbage. I am not someone I’d like to be friends and I think that speaks volumes. Therapists be damned (been there, done that, have every single t-shirt ever manufactured). Doing the same thing repeatedly expecting a different result is pretty much the meaning of “insanity,” right? It has its benefits, but I need to find a new approach. The first step was simplifying my living space – making my “safe” zone a welcoming place, eliminating additional anxiety.
I’m happy to say my place is immaculate right now. For the last week and a bit, my body tensed when I turned the key at my front door expecting it to magically look the way it did before. But it doesn’t! I’ve dropped that baggage off at the front door, instead of all my belongings. I sit on my couch, I have a glass of wine, I look around and love where I am. This is the way it’s supposed to be.
I know my end goal: happiness. How to get there is going to be an adventure I can no longer avoid. I’m not on my way back to good, because I’ve never been to good. I’ve been living my fake, after-school special version of good but I’ve never legitimately been good in my adult years. I’ve been living in such a terrible way in hopes to keep everyone away, so how were they to know about my mess of a life? They weren’t. That was my master plan. And it worked perfectly. I have to care about me now. I need to break through my social anxieties and fear of letting people in. All jokes come from a grain of truth and my self-deprecating ways are only hurting me the longer I feed the beast.
There you have it. Arianne. THIS (everything above) is me. The real me. A ‘me’ I’m determined to transition out of. There are things I want in life. I want a better relationship with my family, I want to do the things regular friends do, I want to have a sense of community, I want to like where I live (home and city). I want romantic love to find me and stick around and I want to believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that I’m someone who is worthy of everything I just described. I will no longer say I’m worthless. I will no longer cringe (visibly) or put-down compliments given to me. I will no longer allow the toxicity of my own thoughts to infect my relationships with my loved ones.
My grandfather recently passed and in the last 10 years or so, he began calling me “Hollywood.” Every time I saw him, I’d be in my favourite hat or dressed the way I dressed and he explained I looked like “those girls” he saw on TV. And not in a bad way. It didn’t even register until after his death what he truly meant by that. He saw me as this person whose name belonged in lights. He saw me as this shining beacon of success. My grandfather could see I’m destined for something greater. He saw the person I’m supposed to be not the scared, angry and worthless girl I feel I am. His thoughts are another huge motivational factor.
I found this really great book helping me to sort out myself and my feelings. It’s allowed me to face the stories I regurgitate which simply perpetuate my miserable state of being. There are TOO many people out there who I’ve intentionally and unintentionally hurt or turned away because I simply couldn’t deal with my isht. So please take this as my apology to my mom, dad, brother, cousins, friends (old and new), co-workers, etc.: I’m deeply sorry. More sorry than I could put into words or express in my lifetime for making you feel bad. For cancelling plans without an iota of guilt. For having a chip on my shoulder and taking it out on you. For not spending the time with you that I should. For anything, big or small, where I made you feel as though you do not matter. You matter.
Maya Angelou says that courage is one of the most important qualities to develop as a woman and to not just jump into it with huge declarations. If I fail, I will not get discouraged and I’ll try something else. And if that fails, I’ll dust myself off and begin again. If anyone else I cared about were in this position, I would tell them they deserve nothing but the best. I’m nowhere near loving myself, but I’m working on finding the things I like about myself and that’s a huge step in the right direction.
To be continued…