It’s been weeks since I left the house for anything but a doctor’s appointment, maybe three times since November. I miss the winter, even though it’s right outside my door. I miss my friends, even though they’re rarely more than a short trip away. It’s especially hard not being able to explain the distance. All I can do is hope they trust me when I don’t feel comfortable explaining, and try not to feel insecure about being so out of touch.
Sometimes, the thought of being away from my safety zone fills me with dread. Other times it’s just easier to not do anything. I barely manage the effort to wash my hair once a week, and the only reason I shave is to more easily wipe off the viscid sadness that so often visits my face. I suspect I wouldn’t even be eating if it weren’t for the fact that Heather enjoys taking care of people to fulfill her own need for security. She’s lived here a few months, and she’s already making sure the cats have their teeth brushed every day and all the bills are paid. I’ve barely known her for twice that time, and I’ve never been more dependent on anyone in my life.
It feels like I’ve taken two steps back, but I’m at this point cause it means I’m safe enough to start processing and understanding the things that led to me trying to hang myself from the railing of my staircase a year ago. I haven’t figured out what it means to keep going, when for so long I believed my life was leading up to that moment, and sticking around wasn’t a choice I made for myself. Just figuring out how to write about such a large and complex experience is often too much. I’m left broken when I simply want to understand.
I’m learning that recovery isn’t a binary process, but a journey with struggles and triumphs. I still suffer the trauma of being moments away from dying. I’m still haunted by the guilt of survival. With so many hair-triggers that lead to wholly consuming breakdowns, I can’t deny I’m not the person I used to be. Right now, it’s hard enough just trying to be okay with that.
I’ve been doing my best not to let my insecurities get the better of me. Some days I still do nothing but hurt, but it’s getting easier to accept myself during those low points. I’m fortunate to have friends who forgive me when I’ve been out of touch and out of time, even if they don’t understand why.
Deleting my Facebook account was the biggest step I’ve taken towards avoiding unhealthy media; one of those things people say they want to do, but can’t, cause it’s their only connection to some community or circle of friends. I decided the habit is too detrimental to my well-being, even if the same is true for me.
Pat and I have been playing EDH on top of our drafts, something that frequently involves him forgoing homework while I give up time to myself. The complex card interactions and unpredictability of the singleton format make playing a deck as much fun as building it. I’ve been running the Modern tournament he competes in every week, and afterwards, we head back to the warmth of the house and the company of the cats. Freezing rain becomes a reason to stay up late and crash and play more in the morning.
It makes me feel like I’m in university again, full of boyish vigour, young enough to have the freedom to act so irresponsibly, while old enough to know better. In moments between battle, I learn we’re all recycled stardust, that it’s possible for parents to accept their children despite their problems, and smoking gunpowder hash will serve for sleep.
Every now and then, Heather G stops by to leave me a small package of things like premium loose leaf tea, dark chocolate, and organic fruit; small treasures on which a shared life can be centred, and reminders that I’m never forgotten. In doing so, she’s become one of the people who provides me with the consistent reassurance I need, even though entire seasons may pass before we have a chance to connect. Her love and generosity carries me through the times we’re too busy doing the things we need to survive.
I haven’t been able to come up with a way of explaining the absence. I guess I’m still figuring out where I stand at this particular moment, and what it means to keep going. Many days were lost to the flux of ambiversion, when all I was trying to do was survive the balance of how much space I needed with how much comfort I could only get from others. Suffice it to say, I’ve learned the importance of taking the time just to feel okay, which has mostly involved enjoying the games I’ve put off playing for so long, spending time with those who make me feel wanted+needed+awesome+loved, and drafting as often as possible.
My birthday came somewhere in between, a day I got to pick all the shows, eat dirty bird, and nest with the cats on me when they weren’t in the cuddle train. It made the whole day mine, not because it was something I asked for, but because someone wanted to give that to me.
I’m slowly letting my guard down, letting myself share new songs in the dark, so the positive experiences become a permanent part of me. Making new memories is a step towards soothing my history with heartbreak. The comfort I find in our embraces carries me through the time we’re apart, but feeling safe is still very foreign. Just touching fingers is a vulnerable step, and it’s like being on a tightrope every time I put aside my insecurities to make progress. Thankfully, she hasn’t let me fall yet.
Most recently, I started working at the busiest comic book shop in the city as one of the resident Magic experts. It’s left me trying to find my balance again, even though the job is part-time and never feels like work. The position mostly involves running the tournaments, trading/selling/organizing cards, and giving people game advice; things I already love doing in my spare time. A nice bonus is the fact that a new friend happens to be one of the regulars at the Modern Constructed tourney, and I get to root for him and see how he does between matches.
Shawn even came in to say hi and give me hugs on my first day. Reminders all around that make me feel worthwhile, instead of just believing it. It’s the difference between knowing something in my head to my heart, a gap I’m starting to bridge with help from the right people.
I feel so overwhelmed by my insecurities lately. I don’t know what to think of myself anymore. I can’t tell if I’m being hard on myself, or just honest.
Sometimes, I wonder what my life would be like if I didn’t have so much baggage. How my relationships would be different. Which ones would have worked, and which ones wouldn’t have changed at all.
Love, in all it’s multi-faceted wonder, levels, and types, is never a sure thing for me. I may feel it, but feel that it’s fleeting and conditional at the same time. Other people have the luxury of taking love for granted. They assume they’re loved. How comforting it must be. For me, it’s always been a struggle for stability. “We won’t love you if you don’t do well on this test. We won’t love you if you don’t practice piano. We won’t love you if you don’t finish your dinner. No one’s going to love you if you always stay this skinny.”
It feels like I haven’t survived my childhood yet. And I arrive at this fact so many times when trying to figure out the source of my issues that it’s starting to sound like an excuse. Therapy has helped identify my issues, but it’s still taking work on my part to resolve them, along with patience on the parts of others. I’m beginning to question why people would accept and love me. I guess it’s worth it to some, but things would be so much easier if they didn’t have to deal with my insecurities.