Thursday, January 19, 2006

Accomodating Your Truth Away

In effect, the cost of being who you are is that you can't possibly meet everyone's expectations, and so, there will inevitably, be external conflict to deal with- the friction of being visible. Still, the cost of not being who you are is that while you are busy pleasing everyone around you, a precious part of you is dying inside; in this case there will be internal conflict to deal with - the friction of being invisible.
-The Book of Awakenings (Mark Nepo)

When I turned 30, I had a meltdown. I don't blame the age particularly but it is a turning point in one's life where big questions rear their ugly, menacing heads. "Why haven't you settled down yet?" they taunt. "When are you going to get a real job?" they sneer. "At the rate you are going, you will never have kids!" they say, laughing in my face. I let all the expectations anyone ever had of me- and by that I mean, all the expectations I thought everyone had of me- including the mountain of impossible ones I had for myself, overwhelm me to the point of a nervous breakdown.

It wasn't a pretty time. I was locked away internally. A horrible, lonely prison of my own making. I had to face the fact that I didn't know how to ask for help or how to allow people to support me and really know me, particularly in my vulnerability. I holed up in my small cottage whenever I wasn't at work. The smallest interactions depleted me. I hardly made any plans at all because my moods were so fickle, I couldn't guarantee from one minute to the next if I would be up for socializing. People who had relied on me to be upbeat and the life of the party didn't know what to do with me. They stopped calling. Dear friends who knew my melancholy streak worried and never ceased in showing up in any way they could to show they loved me no matter what. Sometimes, they would come to the door and I would pretend I wasn't home. I couldn't face them, my face streaked with unexplainable tears. They would ask what was wrong and I had no answer except: Everything. I cried endlessly. The deep well of sorrow I had kept buried for so long had erupted like a geyser. All the hurts, the loss, the grief of not being enough, especially to myself, soaked me to my core until I was spent, withered, crumpled on the floor like a used tissue.

It took baby steps to shed the depression. Therapy helped. Believing in the love of my friends and family helped. Letting go of "friendships" that were superficial, surface, draining did wonders. Forgiving myself for how badly I had treated myself was huge. I made a vow to never accomodate my personal truth away ever again. In the months that followed, I slowly emerged- a softer version of the angry, hard, sad girl I once was. That troubled time was my chrysalis.

Now, almost 3 years later, I feel invigorated. Each day is a new opportunity to be unapologetically alive. To be authentic in who I am. There is no good verses bad. It's all me without qualifiers. Me, loving me, in all my complexity. It is always worth the risk, the discomfort, the struggle against the fear. Always.

20 comments:

Mrs. Ca said...

I'm glad to hear that you are making you happy. I think that's very important. And, although I don't really know you (just what you put on here), I think you're great just the way you are.

Mikey said...

I am very much like you. If I am not true to myself, or others I deal with a great inner strife within myself.

gronce said...

Amen.

Bob Merrick said...

Easily your best post ever. And count your blessings that you made it through your 30th meltdown in a month. Mine took me one day to fall in and 6 months to crawl out. Your quote is resonating through me this morning (especially after my last weekend) and I look forward to stealing it and hashing through it on my blog. Thank you for being you. For continuing to digest and process your journey. For continuing to question and provoke and to be learning that only you loving yourself can make you whole. Remember, the closer you get to your wholeness, the more you will be able to feel all of the love I have for you. Consider it a gift in waiting as it is boundless.

xoxo

alissa said...

I feel like I jock you pretty hard in the comments most days - but today will be the most.

You rock and I'm so glad you found your true self Sizz. Thanks for sharing it with all of us.

Nihilistic said...

You came through it well! For some reason I want to quote the movie 'A Bug's Life' when the catepillar proclaims "I'm a beautiful butterfly" in his little german accent!

Anonymous said...

Very well written. Meltdowns are bad during them but are extrenely important inflection points in one's life because they provide the foundation for personal growth and development. Once resolved, you are better for having gone through one as it makes you stronger now than before.

Keep up the good work.

Sizzle said...

mrs. ca- that is so sweet of you. thanks!

mikey- mm hmm. i feel ya.

gronce- can i get a hallelujah! :)

tomato- my love for you is boundless as well dear friend. xoxo

alissa- nah, you don't jock me. or do you? do i know what that means? either way, you rock too! ;)

stacy- i love it!

anonymous- thanks. next time, don't be anonymous. :)

jeopardygirl said...

I think I went through something tellingly similar from October to, well, now. I'm just now getting over it, I think. I think. When I turned 30, I was positively ebullient, couldn't wait to get out of my 20s and be myself. Four years later, I was starting to rethink it. Used to be 40 was the time women had breakdowns, but somehow, instead of 30 being the new 20, it's become the new 40. Oh, who knows, really? We all muddle through as best we can. Best thing is to hang on to your family and your real friends.

Miss Bliss said...

Ya know I had a pretty rough 20's decade so my meltdown happened sometime in my late 20's, but in essence whenever it happens it's much the same for many of us. I had to let go of my preconceived notions about myself and life.I had to build a new foundation on which to let my life grow, however it did it, keeping myself in focus and in proper place. Something a friend of mine calls, "being right sized". I too find myself living a joyous, rich life as a result of that painful tearing down and difficult rebuilding. All worth it!
Blessings.

ocg said...

My thought:
There is no risk in loving yourself.
Me and myself are going to be together until the end, so I am going to allow myself the joy and freedom to be happy or sad when I feel 'myself' might need it.

I LOVE that you are an invigorated, authentic person living unapologetically alive.

I can't speak to who you were before, but the woman you are today makes me grateful that I call you my friend.

Maybe my best friend I never met.

Thank you for being awesome... and let's change that "never met" part.

;-)

YOU ARE AMAZING!!!!

goldmoon said...

Wonderful post. I'll make a note to remind myself to read this again next year, when I reach the big 3-0!

Moonchild said...

I had my meltdown when I was 25. I decided to become happy at age 35. And at age 38-1/2 I decided to not allow any more unwanted and unnecessary drama into my life. We all make choices. Here's to yours! Cheers.

D'Andre said...

Very well written and I am glad you are here and I have blogmet you...

We all have gone through depression, but the it's how we deal with and continue the journey that matters....

gorillabuns said...

life is continually trying to find yourself and feeling comfortable in your skin and accepting the wonderful person you are becoming. i'm so glad that you are doing just that.

Bill said...

Great post but it also made me laugh - not because it was funny but because of how relevant it is. Been there, done that, been there again ... and so on. It seems life is like Haley's comet that way - certain things return, probably because we forget.

That probably sounds like gibberish, but it makes sense to me.

Anyway ... I think one of the great and eternal truths is that if you try to be anyone other than who you are, you will be unhappy. And, if you'll excuse the language, if people don't like who you are - fuck 'em.

:-)

Gary said...

Good for you. I think there are only a few rules in life and as the song says, "You can't please everyone, you've got to please yourself".

BTW, you seem to me to be very authentic.

Jenny said...

and you emerged happier and more grounded and centered than i've ever seen you... and always an incredible soul :)

sandra said...

Alissa -- I haven't heard you use "jock" since high school. I like it. And Sizz, it was a Michigan thing...! The non-sexual version of 'hearting' someone.

In any case, good for you -- I think it's pretty amazing to get through something like that and come out feeling good that it happened in the first place. And the lesson of being you, without apologies? A great one to learn. As my friend Max -- one of the most amazing guys I've ever known -- said to me once, in reference to me feeling guilty about a decision I was making (because it was going to disappoint some people), "Sandra, be yourself and do what you want to do -- the people who love you will come to the party at the end of the day, no matter what."

Claire said...

This post really resonated with me. I think you've conveyed what it's like very well.

I confess I'm a little envious because those voices of expectation still come round to torment me. I've mostly dispatched the soul-sucking drama from my life, but it keeps me reclusive. Then again, I was never an extrovert.