I was asked by my therapist recently who my support system is. I stared blankly at her for a good 12 seconds, not because I don’t know what a support system is but because I don’t have one. I have no family and one parent whose depth of conversation usually involves my dogs and work. I know plenty of people but have no good friends ( I had several childhood and close friends but we are no longer in contact). I’ve heard the saying we can get used to anything but hadn’t truly grasped how real that was for me. I am alone. Not out of choice but out of circumstance. Truly alone. And I’m so used to this I barely noticed it. I could say support isn’t really necessary, look how far I’ve made it. Look how strong I am but that would be false. I am in fact so without support that I am paying someone to be there for me (insert laughter, because I find humor in everything). I pride myself on being able to outlast anyone and live through anything but I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. We need support, friendships, relationships to go. To learn. When all you have is yourself you become a different kind of tough and it’s not always for the best but it’s because you have no other choice.
I’ve always felt like there was a hole inside my heart that nothing would ever fill. I knew in my bones that I was not enough for me. Nothing was enough for me. No other person could fill this never ending ocean of emptiness, no addiction, no substance. And believe me I tried. I pulled at everything thinking if I could just someone get enough of something it would drown this blackness and I’d feel whole, the way I imagined everyone else felt. I know now there is nothing that will fill this void. There is only acceptance of it. And perhaps as the old adage says, if you stare long enough into the void the void will stare back. I no longer spend time trying to pretend the hole isn’t there, I don’t go against myself trying to fill it. I accept it. I don’t try to change it. I acknowledge that maybe eventually it will go away with time but I also acknowledge that maybe it won’t.
I saw a quote on Tumblr, back when I had a blog there that read something to the effect of “do you think God ever gets sad like, ‘what do you mean you don’t love yourself, I worked so hard on you’ “. I’ve recently been changing my mindset, working on a different inner belief, less critical and self-tormenting and this quote made me almost break into tears. I’ve spent so many years hating myself, literally fluctuating between praying to God and screaming at God for how I am or how I want to be. I can only imagine the universe seeing us, tormented and self righteous with hatred thinking ‘but can’t you see how beautiful you are?’ I couldn’t see. I have days where I don’t see. After all these years though and all this pain how could you not love yourself. The cliche truth is that no one else will love you the way you love yourself. They just can’t. What we give ourselves and acknowledge in ourselves is something only our souls can do. I’ve taken the time lately during every day to stop and think on this question: what do you mean you don’t love yourself and I can always find so many reasons to love myself, so many patterns of thought to continue changing and turning around. I don’t want to be hateful and sad about who I am anymore and I certainly don’t want God to be sad about seeing me down here wasting the experience of being me.
I’ve had a lot of experience with death throughout my life. I’m familiar with the feeling of loss and being alone in an instant. I’ve become hardened, maybe a little jaded. How else would I survive, I thought. How could I not become a little cold, a little detached. Another light in my life recently went out. I sat with him as his heart stopped beating and instead of turning away I looked straight into the moment. Because that’s what this all is, just a moment. One long or short moment, one moment here or there. It’s all just a moment. Seemingly insignificant because all it is is meaningful. We are all so fragile. So breakable despite being so solid and real. The moment is so easy to extinguish but so much harder to construct. Life takes. It takes time. It takes work. This one moment of death somehow touched me. It shook me. It broke me. It wasn’t just an idea, a formula. It was real. It was a whole moment of nothing at all. It was knowing that someone else’s moment was gone. We do a lot of things to deal with death but being in the moment with it usually isn’t one of them. I realized in that moment what was lost, what was gone. It’s funny how seeing a moment pass by reminds you to be more in the one right now. Don’t try to escape it, wish or think your way out. Don’t waste your moment because it’s all you have.
This post may stray from my normal reflections and advice but I felt I needed to put it down in words. Two days ago I had to euthanize one of my two dogs. His name was Sterling. He lived every day purely in love with life his best friend Ronan and me. No matter what I did or said he loved me. We went through tremendous ups and downs while I had him. He taught me about intentions. He taught me about never regretting. He taught me about letting go. He taught me I should be better, kinder and more patient and I wish I had been. Putting him to rest was one of the hardest and most painful decisions I’ve ever made and although it was the right decision I do not think a part of that will ever leave me although I hope to let go of my regrets. I am heartbroken without this amazing little being who changed my life and made me feel less alone every day. I know he is finally at peace and for that I am grateful. I wish his time in this world had been different, better and more what he deserved but I walk away from this knowing I did the best I could and although I feel I let him down I try to move on the way he did-with love and joy living entirely in the moment. We should all be so lucky to be around an animal who forgives our weaknesses and faults and loves us unconditionally. If enlightenment means living only for the moment with an open heart and forgetting all else then dogs are the enlightened beings. I took his little heart for granted and realized I take so much for granted on a daily basis. We truly are here and then we are gone and no one really will notice that void so we need to do something, make something count while we inhabit this space and time. If you want a paradigm for how to live your life, live it like a dog does. Live it with nothing but honesty, gratefulness, happiness forgetting all your yesterdays and thinking today is all your tomorrows.
Lately, I’ve been reflecting on the difference between being critical of oneself, actions or changes that need to be made and being judgemental. I believe for growth and betterment of ourselves we need to be critical. We need to think about how our thoughts, actions and goals affect our future, and how we are connecting these things with changes we need to make. Too often however we judge ourselves from an emotional bias and become angry, stressed, upset and or give up. Learning to distinguish between these two can create a much less stressful process of growth and change. Be critical. Think critically. Act critically. Do not however attach emotional judgements and labels or put yourself down when trying to change a behavior or process. Accepting our shortcomings and failures while seeing their value is being critical of how we change them in the future. This the difference between staying in the same self defeating loop and breaking free to a new path.
Bad ideas are something I’ve been afraid of my whole life. Not only having them but worse, wondering if the world knows I have them or putting them out for the world to see. The thing about bad ideas is we need them. I often find myself doing nothing or stalling out because I’m scared of having a bad idea, bad project, or failure. Realistically, of course, I know not everything I have is a winner or even good but the pressure to always be on your best game, your best idea is constant and pernicious. Even on this blog, I fight the urge to not post, not ship an idea every week or multiple times a week because I think I have nothing to say or what I will say will be wrong. Create your bad ideas, compound on them, learn them inside and out-why do you think they’re bad? What would you have to change for them to be “good”? Bad ideas are what create habits. Pushing through and creating despite them or in spite of them is what forces us to have a routine. So make your bad ideas and then make something better.