I didn’t publish much last week. There are a few reasons for my slacking off. First, I wrote a 1,400 word post responding to the Ray Rice situation about why I stayed in an abusive relationship. When I went to publish it, my WordPress had some sort of seizure and ate my post. Disgusted and disappointed, I couldn’t rewrite it. For the rest of the week, between taking painkillers for my bum knee which is angry at me for walking 17 miles and rabid insomnia I just couldn’t glue myself to my keyboard.
But something did occur to me this past week that I felt it was worth writing about. Last week was the anniversary of September 11, 2001. For me, every anniversary hits hard. I was on the east coast back then and I remember the terror and horror and fear. But I don’t want to talk about my 9/11 story. I was with Mini-me on Thursday and it occurred to me that he’ll only ever know about 9/11 in a textbook way. While I was thinking about this, probably because I have ADHD, I noticed that he has very tiny ears. He’s a small child so you would expect small ears but his are smaller. They’re tiny compared to the size of his head (which is normal). While I was reliving 9/11 his tiny ears sparked hope in me. Hope.
There is a reason. I have particularly tiny ears. It’s been an amusement, wonder, and annoyance for me, my lovers, and my friends over the years. My ears are so small that I can’t wear ear buds as headphones, even the ones that come with the tiny nubs. I’m relegated to wearing old school headphones which make me look super hip but like a dork when I go running and uncomfortable wearing to bed. The point is that my baby has my ears. He already looks just like me, glasses and all, which spawned the nickname Mini-me. But that he even has my ears gave me pause. Undeniably he is my child no matter what other influences would tell him. That makes me proud and hopeful.
Hope is immensely important when you fight mental illness on a daily basis. It’s when people lose hope that suicide becomes an option. I know that for sure because I’ve been there and thankfully made it back. I’m committed to doing my part to see that no one else gets to that dark place where they can no longer find hope. Hope exists for everyone in different forms. For me, it’s my son’s ears. For others it’s a beautiful sunrise or their child’s laughter. At one time, a particular song kept me going. Here it is:
I even have certain tattoos to remind me where my hope is hiding. On my left foot I have a heart with an infinity symbol through it. I got it after I met the bearded gentleman. He has shown me every single day that unconditional love exists. That’s something that I’ve never experienced before. It gives me hope not just for me but for the people I see struggling who are only finding conditional love (Meaning: If you do this, I’ll love you). It reminds me that I can be a beacon of unconditional love too. I have a tattoo on my left arm of a dandelion with bits flying into the air and becoming birds. It reads “Soar”. I put it over the place where I would cut and had delicate scars from years of cutting. The idea is that eventually, after treading water long enough I will take off. When I got the tattoo it was something to look forward to. I needed to be reminded it was possible. I believe I’m experiencing the start of that takeoff now.
When I started this blog and outed myself as a person living with multiple mental illnesses, I knew there could be backlash in a couple forms. I knew there are people out there who could and would use these musings against me as a parent. But also I knew there were people who would “poor baby” me. The former I can handle. Or, I suppose, an attorney could. But the “poor baby” response is particularly hard to handle. On one hand, I want to reassure these people and tell them that it’s okay. I’m fine. Please don’t worry about me. But that would be dishonest and a disservice to their feelings, which are genuine and caring. It would be a disservice to the fight. But I also can’t tell them the whole truth, because they care and they would worry themselves into oblivion. Most people who have had “normal” lives cannot relate to the toxic soup that is in my head and that fuels my actions, like cutting, when I am sick. They can’t relate so it worries them to an unhealthy level. So, I think from now on what I’m going to say is “Please don’t worry. I have hope”.
Here is the hope I have for myself. I hope that I can be an honest, empathetic mom to Mini-me. I hope that I can be a supportive, fun partner to the bearded gentleman. I hope that someday I will be worthy for him to make me an honest woman. I hope that I can go back to work and earn money to help my household. I hope to go back to school someday to get my PhD in counseling psychology. I hope that I can help someone who is in a dark place feel not alone. I hope that if I hold your hand and listen to your story, it will not only change how I see the world but help you get through your day. I hope to help myself by helping others.
I hope that if you know me in the real world you know that I am a strong fighter and that even though I am fighting, I am never going to give up and give in. Suicide is no longer an option for me. I have a son who thinks I am more precious than a star (his words) and he needs this star in his life. I hope that he will see me as his star for a long time, or at least until he becomes a teenager.
What is your hope today?