As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. -- Isaiah 55:10-11

Monday, April 4, 2011

I Hope You Understand--I'm Not Dead

When I deactivated my Facebook account a week or so ago, I received several emails and messages asking if I was okay. Yes, I, I wasn't. 

I was okay in that I wasn't hiding because I was miserable or buried in sadness. I was okay in that the criteria for "okay" my friend and I created last summer was still working. As long as I believed tomorrow would be better, I was alright. I do, and I am.

However, I was ready to get out of the fishbowl. There were some circumstances that offered intense motivation, but really, while the circumstances made me angry, getting out of the fishbowl was a relief.

The truth is I am tired of hearing how "I can't imagine how much pain you are in" and "where you are is so hard and so tragic and so...But just be strong. I know you might not think you'll make it but you will." If that is how you think, then you really can't imagine, and you really don't know.

No, my path through this is not like anyone else' I've known. There are so many details that I simply cannot address publicly, and honestly, it isn't public business anyway. A few very close friends are completely aware of all the details, and they aren't telling either. I think what they would tell you, though, is it really isn't as bad as people seem to imagine or "know".

Contrary to what some would say, I am not speaking out of anger or pain, and I'm not just spewing because life has been so bad people are shocked I can even get out of bed. I'm simply being honest. Honestly, I'm not broken. I'm not sad all the time. I'm not miserable all the time. I'm not drowning in pain, and I don't need or want someone to coddle me, hug me, mother me, or in any other way fix me or make me better.

Frankly, a lot of the time I spend my time trying to help others feel better or telling others I really don't need to be made to feel better. It starts with that, "How are you?" that really means, "Okay, tell me how utterly miserable and sad you are because I know you are just putting on a brave face for everyone else but I can handle the truth. I can handle the real you."

The real me isn't miserable. The real me isn't sad. The real me doesn't need a brave face. The real me doesn't need to feel better nearly as much as some folks need to make me feel better, and I've lost patience with codependent people. Frankly, if you need to do something to make me feel better so you can feel better, help us both feel better by simply not talking to me. It'll give you peace of mind. You won't feel rejected by whatever the latest thing I say is, and I won't avoid you because I get a headache trying to figure out what to say that won't get me a reprimand.

And really, I don't want to hear that you understand. If you want or need to tell me your story because you need to feel like someone can relate to your pain, I'm all ears. I totally understand how hard it is to grieve alone, and I totally understand the need for your pain or loss or life to be validated, and I am honored to be that person. However, really, dear souls with beautiful hearts, you can't understand where I am or what I've been through, and I'm okay with that. I hope you are, too.

Anna had a great description. She said, "It's like people have ridden in a one man rowboat with a leak trying to say they know what it is like to be on the Titanic."

Except that, we aren't on the Titanic. We aren't sinking. A lot of people seem to think we are, but we aren't. In fact, we've changed our sailing vessel. We are on the Avenger-class ship USS Warrior. Look it up. It's groovy.

I know you want to help. Let me tell you how.

The simple fact is I don't want to hear anymore about my being in a hard place. I don't want to hear anymore about how people can't imagine the pain or the loss or gloom, despair, and agony on me.

Yes, I have emotional days. I have exhausting days. They are perfectly normal. Do not look at my emotional/mental bruise or cut and react as though I need heart surgery. Just let me have an emotional day. Roll with it and move on. Do not assume an emotional Monday makes for a trashed Tuesday. IT'S A DAY. Just a day.

And respond differently than the average human. The average human when told a day is bad starts to commiserate with how sorry they are, how they hope things get better. They don't ask why it's bad, just accept it as it is and feeds it. On the contrary, when told a day is great, they ask why, and if it is just because it is sunny and nice and all is good in the world, the person looks at you like your a bit wacky and goes on. It's like you have to convince them it's a good day.

I'm not going to expend my energy trying to convince anyone it's a good day. Frankly, I'd just as soon deactivate my account, turn off my phone, ignore my email, and put my energy elsewhere where it'll mean something, like my writing.

As I said, I'm not mad. On the contrary, I'm blessed, and I appreciate your hearts. I appreciate your love. I just need you to be supportive in a different way. Instead of understanding how miserable and sad I am, understand that I'm not. Understand that I tired of being dead. Mom died. Rob died. I didn't die, and I'm tired of dealing with all the dead stuff.

I'm ready to focus on living.
Understand that it is time to move on, be happy, and find a new life.
Understand that hard days are JUST a day. Life is great.

THAT is where I am puttin my energy. I hope you understand.

1 comment:

Karen B. King said...

Wow! Thank you for putting into words so perfectly what I wished I could have done after a crisis in my life. All of our crises are different but boy I totally say a hearty "AMEN" to so many of your comments. So many times it's better to say nothing to a person than to open your mouth and come out with some of the things you mentioned and others I could add. People's hearts are in the right place but they sound like Job's friends unfortunately. Strange, it was Job who prayed for his friends and not the other way around. I don't mean to be cynical either, Jerri!