Thursday, September 1, 2016

On Turning 30, Twice Told

Turning 30 is kind of awful. Awful because, as I look at my life, I realize how little of it I like. I don't have a career path I feel good about, I haven't been in a romantic relationship in five years. I don't feel like I have much of anything going for me and I don't really know what to do.

And that's hard. It's just really, really hard. I had planned for things to be so different, to, at the very least, have a career I felt pretty good about and then to focus on the rest after grad school ended. But being a therapist proved too much for my trauma-addled brain and academia seems like a difficult fit at best. So I feel like I'm back to square one, without much to show for it. It's honestly kind of devastating, and I feel so incredibly overwhelmed and defeated because of it.

So that's part of where I'm at, one narrative that's really been getting me down the past few months.

But another narrative is this:

A few weeks ago, I was on facebook and saw something strange. Someone I didn't know was posting on one of my facebook friend's walls. At first, I didn't even recognize the person I was friended to. Gradually, I remembered; we'd met online years ago and we hadn't spoken in some time since. As I looked at their feed, I saw they hadn't posted anything in years. I kept looking, kept seeing all these people writing on their wall with no response from them. And then I realized: they were dead. They'd killed themselves, almost four years earlier.

They were a fellow gender warrior, a fellow tortured survivor who I'd met online and spoken with off and on for a little while. I don't know that I was surprised, necessarily. But it was sobering all the same.

I realized, then, that that could of been me. I've courted death for years, warring inside myself for most of my post-pubertal life. Ten years ago this month was when I actually made my attempt, and with every breath of cold Fall air I feel like I'm back in that awful place again. I've come so close, so many times to dying, dying, dying.

I've been hurting so much, for so long. And I'm not alone. I know so many others who hurt, who've been hurt, who have spent years healing wounds older than all of us. And there is a part of me that almost feels it's a betrayal to myself, to my fallen friend, to my fellow sufferers, if I keep on hurting myself. I don't want to keep suffering. I don't want to keep feeling alone, to keep living in a darkened past without sight of any future to come. I don't think this pain helps me. I don't think it helps anyone.

So I don't know. On the one hand, I feel so incredibly beaten. I feel like life has finally won, and it's telling me I should give in like it's been telling me to do for all this time. I feel empty, broken. Done.

But there's also something different. The glimmer of resilience, a desire to love, a desire to live long enough just to see what happens. I don't know if I'll be able to sustain it, and there are still so many times when I don't think I'm going to make it. But at least a part of me wants to. A part of me wants to live. And, at the very least, that's something.

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