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Be who you are, fuck the haters

Get busy living, or get busy dying.

Stephen King, Different Seasons

At this point, can I get busy sleeping? My sleep is still totally cracked out. I’m getting up in the middle of the night, have a hard time falling asleep, and I end up getting up early af. This has been my sleep curse for years. It comes and it goes with seemingly no rhyme or reason. Honestly, I think we need a new mattress. I want to get one of those mattresses in a box rather than spend an exorbitant amount at a mattress store. But Mike likes the current mattress, and is worried that he won’t like a bed that we can’t try out. I get it. But I still want a new bed. Ours is five years old and getting a little too worn in.

Anyway.

I got another tattoo this week. It’s the scene of the three brothers meeting Death across the bridge from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I’ve wanted a HP tattoo for years, but so much of the imagery is so common. I wanted something a little off the beaten path. We were watching the movie a few months ago and it came on and I just said YES. I love that story. You can’t evade Death forever. Be humble. There’s no magic cure for grief. Don’t be arrogant. It’s such a great story. And the illustrations that went along with it are gorgeous. So I got it tattooed on me.

(I also got my hair dyed black with a blue tint. That’s fun.)

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been shaking off people’s expectations of who they think I should be and embracing who I am and who I want to be. It’s not as easy as it sounds. People’s expectations can carry a lot of weight and after years of doing everything you can to conform to them, throwing off that mantle can be hard. It’s also scary. I mean, you’ve conditioned yourself for so long to be one thing, even if it felt unnatural. Embracing the person you really are can be difficult. Hell, first, you have to figure out who that is. You kind of have to break yourself down into pieces and see how you’re really supposed to fit together. Figure out what pieces are really you, and what pieces are other people and what they want you to be. And in doing that you really have to examine so much of your personality and beliefs and what makes you you. It’s a hard process that’s full of introspection, faith in yourself, and hard moments.

But I’m starting to like the person I am. I’ve never been happy with me, you know? And I really think that that’s because me wasn’t really me. Now that I’m moving down the road to self honesty, I feel much better about myself. I’m more confident, I’m more self-assured. I’m more comfortable in my own skin. It’s kind of nice. For the last few years I’ve been working on the inside me. I’ve made great progress on it. I’ve acknowledged what my true political beliefs are; how I feel about religion and God; identified the things that I really find to be important to me in life; cut negative people and people that add nothing to my life out; I’ve worked on a number of my own issues in therapy, out of therapy, and on this blog. Now I’m just making the outside start to match the inside. And yes, I’m a nerdy, sarcastic, emo-alternative liberal sports fan bookworm that loves fiercely in my own way and is done with the bullshit. I’m done trying to fit in, make people like me, be what I’m really not. And you know what? My mental illness doesn’t define me anymore. I’m not scared to live my life assuming that it’s all a product of my illnesses. I’ve tried to stop looking back over the last 20 years and seeing all of the things that could have gone differently if I didn’t have bipolar disorder. It’s a part of who I am, yes. But it isn’t all of me.

And that has been the most empowering thing that I’ve discovered and realized this year. So yeah. It’s time to get busy living because I’m not ready to get busy dying.

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