I’m awake but I don’t feel alive. I knew I wouldn’t. I went to sleep knowing this is how I would feel when I woke up and that this is something I would have to struggle through before I could do anything with the day.
Today is a day where I want to stay on the couch all day. Today is a day where I wonder if this is depression rather than sadness.
It’s been over a week since I’ve had a cigarette. I wonder if that has anything to do with it. I wonder if through all this time of starting and stopping. Getting better and then getting stressed and buying a pack to get me through the hard times finally created an addiction and that part of the struggle I feel now is due to withdrawals.
It makes me think about how all emotional states are chemical changes inside the brain. I feel like I do right now because I don’t have enough dopamine. So I should do things that increase those levels. I can’t think of anything I want to do, though. A cigarette might help, but I don’t want one, which is why I haven’t smoked. I don’t want to drink either though I know that would make the pain less intense.
I want to sleep through this. I wouldn’t mind watching another show but I don’t want to put in the effort to find something else to let my mind be numbed.
It’s like I want to suffer through this, sort of like how I suffered through the cold I’m getting over. The only medications I took were cough drops and NyQuil. No decongestant. No fever reducer. Just good old fashion immune system suffering for four days.
I know this is a low and I know I’ll get through it and that once I do things will seem brighter, warmer. That is not where I am, though. Right now it feels like winter inside. It’s not the same as the darkness I felt before which is why I think it’s depression versus sadness. There’s a level of apathy. Coldness. Detachment. Logical isolation.
I keep thinking of my question from last night. “What’s the point?”
But honestly, what is the point? Why get a job to pay bills for things that we should have? I have to pay for water. Water. A basic need. I have to pay for it. I have to pay for the right to live.
I have to pay for food that’s processed and gives me cancer. I have to pay for food drenched in insecticides and poisons. It’s sad we even have to think about things like that. Our health is less important than a company making a profit.
It’s sick. Fucked up. It makes me wonder why bother? Why is it worth it? What’s the point?
And right now I still don’t have an answer. What’s the point in getting a job I most likely won’t like to buy things I don’t care about? What’s the point of being part of a system I don’t want to be a part of?
Maybe this is all because my grief is flaring again. Swelling. I think a lot of that has to do with the student loans. Thinking about them makes my eyes water. The silent tears. So maybe that is it. It hurts so much that I can’t suppress or alter the chemical reaction inside my brain. No matter how much I will them away, the tears are there, telling the truth even though I try so hard to deny it.
I want mom back. I want to keep my student loans because deep down I want the world to work like that. If I kept my debt I could keep my mom.
But that’s not how it works.
That’s not how any of this works.
I wish it were and wishing does nothing. Dreams do nothing. Dreams without action are meaningless.
Dreams are the start of a goal, though. From dreams, we can figure out action steps, to-do lists and one small action at a time we can reach milestones and eventually the pinnacle of what we had hoped to achieve.
So what is my dream? Or a dream? What’s something that I could turn into a goal?
And I think that’s the hang up in the whole process for me. In the vast emptiness, I feel right now I have no dreams. I have no goals. I have the phrase echoing, reverberating inside of my body like a heartless wind, “Mom is dead.”
Mom is dead. There is no point.
When I was at the seminar the other week, the one at the dojo for the belt testing, there was a question for the visiting sensei.
Student: “What advice would you give white belts to keep them from giving up?”
Sensei: “Suck it up and punch the clock. You’re going to have really shitty days. Suck it up.”
At the time I cringed. It felt callous. Rude. It made me mad.
Me: My mom died.
Sensei: Suck it up.
Me: Go fuck yourself.
That’s what it felt like inside my head. That was my internal reaction to his words.
Irrational Right Brain: Go fuck yourself. I’m not going to suck it up. I’m going to dig my heels in and battle you because every step forward is a step away from her. From that point in my life. From that moment where I hugged her the last time and said I love you for the last time and actually had those words said back to me through cracked lips.
Go fuck yourself if you think I’m going to just suck it up and deal with the fact that she died and that it’s not fair.
It’s true, though. Even then I knew that though I hated the delivery, that I hated him for saying those words, the message was true. It doesn’t matter what’s going on. We all have “hard” and the only way to get past it is to keep going. If you stay where you’re at nothing will change. You have to suck it up. You have to try. You have to put in effort. Blood, sweat, tears.
I’ve put in all of that. Especially tears. I’m so sick of crying right now. It doesn’t help my congestion at all. It’s annoying constantly trying to type through blurry water filled eyes, too.
I guess I need to put in more, though, since I’m not where I feel I should be.
I feel I should be home. Sitting here in front of my computer in the apartment I own until October, I don’t feel home. I’m back to feeling lost. I’m back to thinking that family is home, so why do I feel like I don’t have family.
There was one point in Ohio, we were playing Taboo. I can’t remember the word I was trying to get Jon to guess. The clue I gave was, “We don’t have this anymore,” and his answer was, “family.”
My heart broke. Sitting in my dad’s house surrounded by “family” and Jon’s answer was we don’t have a family anymore. Without mom, there is no family.
I can’t blame him for feeling or thinking that. I feel the same way. Even with him sitting across from me I understood the shattered broken feeling he felt. My own flesh and blood brother sitting three feet from me and we both feel like we don’t have family.
Empty. Lost. Alone.
I don’t think it ever goes away. I think I’m good, or at least getting better, at coping with it, ignoring it, smoothing it over with other things. But I don’t think it will ever go away. I don’t think it’s a weed, either. I don’t think it’s something I should remove. It’s part of who I am now.
This feeling is part of my grief. I feel like it needs acceptance and understanding. A gentle touch to help shape it into something positive or at least neutral, like a fern, rather than ripping it out of my chest, leaving another gaping hole, or allowing it to take over and devour the rest of the flora around it.
I don’t know why but I feel like it’s a plant. I don’t think it will ever have flowers. I don’t think it will ever be the typical “pretty” people think of, but it’s a part of who I am. It has every right to be there. It’s part of my story. You can’t rip out a chapter in a book just because you don’t like it. You can choose not to reread that chapter, but that’s not how my brain works.
This chapter hurts. I want to reread it until I understand it. Maybe it’s because I’m a masochist. Maybe it’s because I feel we find our true selves through pain, through struggle.
A tree can’t reach into heaven if its roots do not reach into hell.
Through all of this writing and meandering through my brain, I still haven’t found a dream, but I do think I have a goal. And it’s the same as it was when I went to sleep last night only now I feel like I have the conviction to actually do it.
I will do my chores.
I will sweep, then vacuum, then mop. I will do laundry, fully, which includes putting the clothes away. I will take out the trash because it will drive me insane for it not to be done. I will wash my sheets, too. I will clean my bathroom and straighten up all of the little things out of place in my space. Maybe I’ll even go through my emails and clean my inbox.
I will have lunch at my sports bar for doing these chores. I know it’s not a lot. I need it to mean something right now. I need it to be worth acknowledgment. I need a reason to go outside and get sunlight because I know that will help combat part of this feeling. I have been inside for four days. I need fresh air and sunlight. Need, not want.
After lunch, I will assess my energy. I want to paint the baseboards in the downstairs bathroom. I want to finish the painting in the apartment.
That will be my larger goal. Finish the painting.
I have a week to finish it. Starting today.
I am accountable. I am responsible. I am ok. Mom was/is proud of me. I will make it through this moment. I have purpose. I have meaning. I have value. It’s ok to feel hurt. It’s ok to grieve. I am not broken.
I don’t want to think of things in terms of productive and unproductive. I want to think in terms of surviving.
So that’s my goal for today. My goal is to survive and those chores are how I will survive. I will make it through today because I told mom I would. I told her I would be strong so I will be.
I cannot control my grief, but I can accept it and understand it, and sometimes surviving is the pinnacle. Really, I suppose it’s the only pinnacle. The only one that really matters. As long as we survive we can try again tomorrow for something more. But surviving in and of itself is the greatest accomplishment any of us can achieve.
I will survive today, and I will acknowledge my survival up to this point because it’s worth acknowledging.