My beliefs about birthdays are that they are like a personal holiday in which one should celebrate oneself, what one is, what one has become, what one still aspires to be. Others should celebrate you if they are glad you're alive, happy you're in their life, appreciate you in some way. And really, the best way to celebrate that is to know that person and accept who they are and what they're made of. I guess I feel like explaining a little about myself at the moment. Not that I think there's many people listening at this point... But it's my birthday and I'll expound if I want to.
I'm genderqueer. It means that I don't really feel all the way like "a girl" or "a boy". My feelings about gender are somewhere between those two points. I think it's important that people understand that the world is not binary. People are not so easily herded into categories as our society would like to make you think. When people try to cut others into shapes like that, it hurts. We constantly slice away pieces of ourselves to fit in the holes we're pegged for. I stopped slicing years ago.
I just don't believe that society's "gender" ideas are complete. They're primitive at best and they derive from fear of the unknown. A girl who's tough enough to get out and work a farm all by herself is no less a girl. A guy who's gentle enough to fix a woman's hair is no less a guy. I think the guy from "It's Pronounced Metrosexual"
probably explains all this better than anyone.
It bothers me that the world wants to cut us into shapes and that mostly, we let it. I don't believe in letting myself be cut into shapes by other people
. I grew up with an abusive father who did that to me all the time. He didn't even just ask me to neatly trim the edges so I fit in like the rest of society. He made deep cuts, drastic changes. He left cracks and holes. And ultimately, that's caused me a lot of pain. Every year I realize more of the issues that I have stem back down to the same roots and most of them are because of something in how he treated me as a child. Verbal and mental abuse are often far more painful than physical abuse. The monster I feared didn't live under my bed.
And as per my usual birthday traditions, I tried to set up something fun to do with my family and friends and have a happy time. I tried to think about the good parts of myself and what I want to exemplify for another year. But... It's hard to feel happy with where I am and what's going on with me right now. So as per pretty usual on my birthday as well... I had a good long birthday blues breakdown. I turned 29 today at 12:05pm CST. 29... that's such a horrifying number to me. Not because it means "I'm old" or "my youth is gone"... but because it means next year I'll turn 30.
A long time ago... I set a personal goal for myself to make several certain changes by age 30. I wanted to lose my excess weight, get in shape, and have at least traveled to one of my goal destinations if not moved somewhere nicer than Alabama. I worked toward these goals so hard. I pushed myself. But every step of the way something got in the way of my progress. Health issues, financial crises, house-destroying storms... You name it. A year ago on my birthday I was crying to myself because I thought I just turned 29 and the next year was the end of my goals. I had gotten slightly offtrack on keeping up with my age somewhere in the past couple years and managed to upgrade my age by one year. I had the same kind of breakdown realizing my goals were coming to a close and one year was a horrifyingly short amount of time to attempt to salvage them. Then somehow, it magically clicked and I realized "Oh... I'm an idiot... I miscounted my birthday and I'm only 28." It was fantastic... I had magically GAINED another year! Wow? That's big right!?
But then the year I gained was quickly zapped right out from under me. The storm in March took so much from me. My schooling, my health, my home, my stability, my financial state... Everything just kinda broke all at once. I... *I* just kinda broke. And I went through some of the worst times of my life since I left my dad behind. I realized I had been slipping into a serious depression... the real kind of depression that isn't just "being super sad" but that goes so far that it turns into "feeling nothing at all". I found out I had severe anemia and it explained a lot of my exhaustion. I found out I have multiple sclerosis. I found out my weight is so difficult to budge due to health factors I can't control. My dreams... seemed so far away. And everything looked so hopeless.
I don't know what I'd have done without my Wifey and my SisterCat. They were there for me through everything and I can't count the number of backrubs, pettings, and sweet potatoes they brought me so I could go on through days when I was in serious agony, could barely move and could not eat almost anything without becoming violently ill. Those were low times... and they got even lower when my doctor prescribed me some "bad ideas" she called "medicines" which weren't good for people with MS and they caused me to start having serious anxiety and panic attacks. No one. No one. NO ONE... understands panic attacks and true anxiety until they've had it themselves. All I can say is, to all those of you who suffer with serious anxiety and panic: I'm so sorry. I hope you get better soon. I know how you feel and it sucks so much.
I went through hell, long story short. I hit rock bottom. And it felt like after that... I just turned into some kind of magically powerful drill and dug even deeper. Then things started slowly getting better. Steadily, slowly, infuriatingly slowly... I felt a little better and things got a little brighter. There's still major issues. Major, major issues in my life right now... But I'm not as bad today as I was in July. I only have sleep-denying panic attacks once every two weeks or so instead of every night. I can feel feelings, good and bad. And I'm alive and whole if not well. Things will get better.
But... it feels like I've gone in a circle. An awful... huge... meaningless circle. Here I am. Right back to the beginning. Sitting here on my birthday feeling like I felt a year ago... just with a few more aches and pains. 29. Again. One more year until the deadline... One more year until I fail myself at this goal I set that meant so much to me. One more year is so little time to set all of this right. So little time that with all my setbacks, I feel like I've already failed. This is Anxiety-anxiety. I know all about it now. It's the same as when I started having panic attacks when I went to bed, and then the panic attacks slowly crept back to happening when I realized it was time to go to bed soon because I would have anxiety about knowing I was going to have anxiety when I laid down. Vicious cycle is vicious. I'm looking at the year ahead of me with nothing but dread because I know I can't fulfill my dreams in a year's time... and I'm going to end up right back here in a year... staring at myself and knowing... I am not what I want to be, not what I need to be, not where I need to be, not who I need to be... and really, ultimately... I'm nothing. I haven't mastered any skill or made myself great at anything. I haven't made my name, my fortune or my way. I have... done... nothing... with my life. And it tears me apart to think about how little of a mark I'd have left on this vast cosmos if that tree had hit me squarely and taken me out last March. I wouldn't even be a footnote in history. I'd vanish. I'd be forgotten. And that is horrifying.
I realize I'm morbid. It's an issue I'd work out in therapy if I could afford therapy. But it's hard not to be depressed when you feel your life amounts to next to nothing. The only thing I could say I'm completely happy with is my family. I love my Wifey so much and she's beautiful, loving, and the smartest person I know. I love my daughter so much and she's beautiful and kind and happy and that's all I could ever ask of her. I love my Sister Cat so much and she's wonderful and loving and strong in a way few will rarely ever see or appreciate. I feel so very loved by these people. They are the closest people in the world to me. And I know I should not feel so down when I have them here with me...
But really... they're the only reason I'm still alive. They're all I have. And beyond them... I have... nothing. I am nothing. I've made... nothing of lasting value. And that, I think, is part of why I'm so cripplingly horrified of losing them. If I lost them... I don't know if I could go on living at all. So I have anxiety about losing them, and anxiety-anxiety about losing them... and anxiety about dying before I've had a chance to make myself something to be remembered in this world...
And those feelings are just... strangling the joy out of my life. I wish I knew how to break this cycle. I don't. I am trying. I have tried. I just don't know how to do it. I know I need help... but there's no help here for me. I want out of this state so bad. I want to move to somewhere cooler, more progressive and liberal. I want to live somewhere I could actually feel pride in being a part of... I want to be happy with my home for once in my life. I want to feel I'm actually *home* for once in my life.
But these goals seem so far away for a crippled, wounded creature such as myself. Right now, I'll do well to just make it through each day feeling I've accomplished even half a step forward instead of a handful of steps backward. I'm running as fast as I can just to stay where I am.
So I broke down in the wee hours this morning and cried to my Wifey and Sister Cat about these things. I cried and let it all out. We uncovered another, yet another place where my father's nasty thorns have dug into me deep inside and wounded me in yet another way that I didn't realize till now. And I guess this is progress of the best kind. Because I know... so I can start to cut myself free. I guess a part of me is just so tired of cutting. So tired of struggling out of the grips of something I should never have been left to be tormented by. Careful what you say... children will listen...
What makes me a person worth the air I breathe? I've been trying to figure that out for the past year. I've been told it's my passion, or my creativity, or my loving nature. I don't know if any of that is true. I just know I want to be more than a lump of helpless flesh slowly losing motor skills due to nerve lesions and who can not sit up long enough to work through a drawing because of agonizing back pain. I just want to be more than a waste.
And it doesn't sound like so much to ask... but it feels like a mountain to climb right now just to get that far.
So what now... where do I go from here... how do I move closer to my goals? I don't know. I need money to move, to get therapy, to do just about any of the things that take me forward, and I can't do the things I know how to do to make money because I am still struggling with the issues I'd be going to therapy about if I had the money to get there. It feels like everything is like that right now. I need to do item A but in order to do Item A, I need to complete Item B first, however Item B can not be completed without Item A. ... How do I get there from here?
In other words... I'm lost.
My birthday is a day in which I'm supposed to celebrate myself. But today... I don't feel like I have anything to celebrate. I don't feel the last year has brought me any closer to being the person I want to be. I don't feel I'm any less of a ghost than I was 365 days before today. I'm still... generally... nothing.
And that's what hurts more than anything.
Being nothing. Nothing at all to celebrate.
And that's... what I hope and dream to somehow change.
One more year. Eris help me... I don't know how I could possibly do this.
One more year.