a pirate looks at thirty

I wish to explain my radio silence. I’ve been participating in the #NaNoWriMo and it’s proven to have been a deeply introspective month. On the bright side, I think I finally figured out the root cause of all my suffering. My whole life I’ve resisted forward progress. I dug my heels in like the stubborn ox that I am. I think the whole world should be done in retro. I still have a Windows Phone for christ’s sake. I think I just I regretted being born. Somehow I knew that there in the womb would be the last time I would ever be so comfortable or pampered and I refused to be born. My poor mother was in labor for nearly 36 hours before I finally decided to make my entrance. Only when they finally threatened bodily harm to my mother in the form of a cesarean did I come gracefully into the world. I do like to make an entrance.

I wasted much of my youth either trying too hard to be an adult or resenting things. Now that the end of my thirtieth year is approaching, I realize that this year has all been one last hurrah before handing into the unknown. I often joked that my 5 year plan after college was to fuck around until the world ended. I would tell it as a joke, but I graduated in 2007 and, at the time, the 2012 Apocalypse seemed like a good enough game plan for me. I’d had ambitions to be a mother, start a family, one day go into politics or open a business but it all seemed so impossible to the person I was that they were safe for day dreaming while I focused on the here and now. As you all know, the world didn’t end in 2012 and in fact it stubbornly has pressed on even to this very day. The world’s failure to end was a huge inconvenience for me. I awoke December 22, 2012 with no game plan, having never created a world in my mind after this day. 27 years of living and not one single day had I spent thinking about life after this moment. I could no longer hide from the fact that I still had no clue I wanted to do with my life. So I dramatically changed careers, left my boyfriend, and struck out free and unbound. But what you do, who you’re connected to doesn’t define who your are or what binds you.

On my thirtieth birthday I felt a lackluster of excitement. So what that I was turning thirty? I was getting married in less than a month and I was lucky I even noticed I had a birthday. Both the joy and the sadness I experienced on my birthday is still hard to explain. I had been looking forward to being an adult my whole life and here it was! But nothing felt different, it was the exact same as the day before. I still had all the same worries and wonders and strengths and weaknesses. I looked no different, I felt no different. I still felt like I was young and could conquer the world. As the year wore on, even more stuff refused to change because I was now an adult. Money was still earned by going to a job, food still had to be bought, prepared, and cooked, world peace was still out of my achievable grasp, and people still do not always do things my way, which is the right way. No spaceship landed to wish us off on an intergalactic adventure. God had not visited me in the form of a burning bush to dictate the greater plan to me, no matter how many bushes I set on fire. No zombies roaming the earth, no massive sun flair causing a global EMP and sending us back to before the industrial revolution. It pretty much looks like life is just going to go on as normal from here on out. And I was not prepared for normality.

 

I realized I hadn’t imagined life after thirty. I hadn’t thought you could actually get those dream jobs if you actually worked toward them. I looked upon the enormity of parenthood and I realized how unprepared I was. There was no time left to get ready! The panic manifested itself in all sorts of lovely anxieties and depressions that I’m sure has been ever so much fun. I thought I was losing my mind, descending into madness, maybe I was sick or ill. I’ve always had wildly fluctuating emotions and maybe it was time to finally seek help. One day in my meditations I realized the power I have to control my world. Yes I have a family history of depression but I also have a family history of repressed emotional expression, Catholicism, substance abuse, and unstable childhoods. Maybe it’s not so much that I was born with a bad brain, maybe I just haven’t been using it right. I’m an expressive person, I say the first thing on my mind, which is often hurtful in the wrong company. I’ve experimented with associating with only people I won’t offend, but that led to a lot of playing by myself. I experimented with saying nothing at all and there’s nothing more harmful than a subconscious full of unexpressed desires and emotions. I tried only having happy thoughts and trying to use my will to create a positive mind but, little known brain fact, willpower is exhausting. It puts a heavy load on mental resources and can often be what causes a burn out. I wasn’t about to go to a doctor, I felt it would only exacerbate the paranoid delusions that everyone is out to get me.

So I tried talking to my husband. I admitted to him that I might not be perfect. He laughed and said he knew. I admitted that sometimes I’m not the smartest person in the room. He said that’s ok, no one is. I admitted my feelings of worthlessness because I do not feel like I am a contributing member of society. He held me close and told me the rest of the world can suck a dick because I am incredibly important to the society I am a part of. I realized my feelings of disconnection and feeling like an outsider are my choice and no one else’s. I felt like I woke up and realized I was not a little girl anymore, scared of being left behind. I have as much a right on this planet to take up space as anyone else. I have no obligation to be anything other than what I choice are mine to take up. Why do I dress like someone who wants to be left alone and I act like someone who wants to be left alone if loneliness is so unbearable?

I felt awakened from some terrible nightmare where I had no control, no friends, no worth to anyone; where I had been a lie and at any moment everyone would find out I’m not who I said I am. In the dream I questioned everything, I constantly replayed moments over and over trying to analyze them and learn from them so the moment would be perfect next time. As if I was trying to escape the Groundhogs Day that I thought was my life by getting everyday perfect. No wonder I was exhausted and distracted all the time. I was holding on to every though, feeling, emotion and using them as my sensors for reality instead of actually observing the world around me. Well no wonder I wasn’t getting anywhere, like trying to drive from the back seat. My mind’s eye had been shifted to the back of my head and I was trying to see the world through reversed images and echos. I realized the only answer I needed was my own self-determinism.

Am I “better”? Heavens no. I awoke on that day and said “Not everything is perfect and that’s ok. Not every day is going to be this good and that’s ok.” Sure enough I observed myself just the other day giving in to old triggers; and that’s ok because by observing my triggers and responses I am able to learn why I think the way I do and how to address the matter. Sometimes it’s hard and I have to learn a whole new way of thinking but for the most part it’s as simple as giving others the benefit of doubt. I forgot how good I had gotten as using victimization as a way of deflecting my intimacy issues. I’m not lazy, he is. I’m not being selfish or inconsiderate, he is. When I find myself feeling victimized, I am learning to really examine the emotion. Am I a victim or am I uncomfortable with the subject being addressed? Did my husband just ignore me or did I mumble or sound uncommitted? I find that with almost 99.99% accuracy that if I remember to assume that he loves me and will do anything I ask and try again like I’d never asked in the first place, I find out that he just didn’t hear me. Amazing scientific breakthrough, I know.

That’s the key, remembering not every day is going to be the best day and that’s ok. Remembering that sometimes I need to do a double check, “did I actually say what I mean, or did I just say the first thing that came to mind and then I commited because I didn’t want to look like I didn’t know what I’m talking about even though now I definitely don’t know what I’m talking about.” Remembering that I have an extensive network of friends who do agree with my opinion and that I have a tight knit tribe of close friends and family that make up my support system. The world may or may not end or may or may not go to war and we all may or may not die horrible, violent deaths. And that’s ok. Destiny or not, the fate of humanity is not in my hands. All I can is all any of us can do. Love.

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One thought on “a pirate looks at thirty

  1. Loved reading this Grace. You may feel singular in you thoughts and feelings. But all of us feel various aspects of what you are going through throughout our lives. I think this means you are human with all the challenges we all face.

    To me you are a warm, loving, funny, fantastic person that I love being around. The most important lesson you’ve learned through this self examination is that you have the ability to see your mistakes and know you have a choice to change them.

    Love You,

    Aunt Pat

    Liked by 1 person

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