I went to a therapist in 1999, when I first started experiencing depression. She told me I should get up each morning and draw for 25 minutes.
Get up early and draw before anything else.
She told me that – and other things.
I tried to do this for a while and failed at it. And things got a lot worse.
Not necessarily because of me stopping the drawing-routine, but I have always wondered.
Now, recently I started drawing again in the morning. I have an idea for (another) graphic novel …
But the point is that I feel really, really good about this routine.
And it wasn’t so difficult – the first week at least.
And now I can see results!
So I will go on. And see more results.
And feel more good.
I realize and remember that there is no alternative to hope.
Even if you have to wait to begin hoping for something better because your mind feels like ice.
What you can’t throw away is the awareness that there has to come a time again, when there will be a thaw. And then wait for that time.
The alternative is to wait for nothing, which is death, and that is not an alternative.
We love each other. We want to find solutions. Even if it seems dim – through the fog of anger.
But what is important to both of us, I have no doubt, is that we must also find solutions for Jay’s sake.
We simply can’t bear that he should have parted parents, much less that he should have parents who bicker and argue most of the time. It makes him feel unsafe and it hurts him. Obviously.
And we want the best for him.
So we have to find a way back to the best in ourselves, even if it has been seriously challenged this past year.
But we have to. There is not other way.
As I get older I find that I still struggle with fears, perhaps more so than before – fears that come out of nowhere.
But, I suppose, founded in reality. Or potential reality.
Fear of growing old, dying suddenly, getting ill, becoming handicapped, losing Char or Jay like that, etc.
Those and other fears. But the physical ones – about physical danger – seem more pertinent. They circle like shadows of sharks.
I have before berated myself for those fears, but as I grow older I also find that the only way to deal with them properly is to accept them completely.
And then use the rest of the time to the best of my ability, regardless whether the fears come true or not.
It is difficult but it is the only way. Otherwise you get a vicious circle with fear of … fear.
And I could say the same about a lot of other sharks.
ESK is rich. I mean seriously. She could quit her job tomorrow and live for the next five year, no prob. Travel the world. Do pretty much whatever she wants.
She has savings. She spends very little.
But she works, and works, and works.
She says she doesn’t want to get carried out. She said that this night.
And she has taken steps to insure that that will not happen. I agree. I have written as much.
But I am still concerned.
I want to see reality happen before I allow myself not to be.
So that is what I will have to do.
What if a major reason I am stuck is that I – despite my experience – have allowed other insidious thoughts to reign for too long? Those thoughts that berate?
For truly, this morning as I ate breakfast at a nearby cafe, getting ready for work, I felt … lighter. More joyful, if only ever-so-slightly. In fact, I felt a little … younger.
Just like when I was actually … that young.
I felt things were possible.
I think that has a lot to do with my resolution to do away with that inner critic on autopilot.
Maybe I can’t ever do away with it entirely and that is okay. I don’t attempt to be Jesus or Buddha here.
But I can certainly – certainly – make it better than now. I can make things different.
And that is the definition of hope.
there is so much balancing to be done, it feels more often than not like an impossible task. But I should be able to get better at it, at least, if never perfect.
That much I have to believe, and believe it in my heart and soul. Otherwise, what is the point of even trying?
Perhaps it is smarter to do as I stated above and then try to create that situation now, which I want, and then expand it gradually as best I can – like a pool spilling over into the areas outside of the pool … or something.
Instead of pretending or imagining that I am in a desert thirsting and I have to try to reach a pool somewhere in the distance?
I have to imagine I have a small pool now and focusing on making that grow and spill over.
Death reveals to us the folly of our complacency.
When we are confronted with some death or other, especially a death of someone close to us, we are stripped naked – even if only for a short while.
We are reminded of something unpleasant (not only our own physical mortality). We don’t like to be reminded. Hence we try to forget as often as possible, as quickly as possible and … ‘move on’.
I’m as guilty of that as the next man!
What we want to forget ASAP is:
That we think it is ‘all right’ to live on forever in a certain way — or at least for a very, Very, VERY long time.
That it is all right not to change.
That it is all right to always be the same.
It is not all right.
It’s one of the nice things about middle-age. About age in general – if it hasn’t killed you.
You can be the rock for someone else. In so many ways …
Who are you a rock for?
I thought about New Year’s Resolutions, but could only come up with one meaningful: To fight fear.