Jessie Buckley in Charlie Kaufman's I'm Thinking of Ending Things
I highly recommend checking it out if you haven't already. It's brilliant, and currently on Netflix. I still need to pick up Iain Reid's novel of the same name. It's on my "must read" list that's growing exponentially. So many books, so little time, as the story goes. And here's where my story goes south.
I wasn't going to share this, because it felt almost irresponsible. Like, maybe putting that kind of energy out into the world isn't helpful, especially in light of how heavy things are right now. That's partly why I've been steering clear of social media, for the most part. I see a lot of unhelpful, unhealthy shit being shared around and I have no intention of being a part of that. But then I thought, if sharing reaches someone who's feeling just as desperate and alone in the darkness then maybe they won't feel as much so? Whatever the case, here I am writing anyway, from a place with better lighting. And I hope that it helps.
So I was thinking of ending things. I'd been thinking about it for some time, more seriously for a matter of months. Three months to be exact. I would wade out into the ocean in my favourite vintage suede jacket and a pair of rainboots. I would face one of my biggest fears head-on, but with no intention of overcoming it. I would just be carried away. I would disappear. That's what I envisioned and it felt right. But it was wrong. First of all, how dare I ruin my beautiful vintage jacket?! And second, how could I give up on myself? I deserved better. But I kept seeing the signs.
They were all around me, but I wasn't really seeing them. I was seeing what my unbalanced mind was telling me to see--that things were coming to an end--that there was no way out. I didn't see the blue skies on the horizon, didn't feel the green grass cushioning my feet, I didn't bask in the warmth of the sun's rays. I was cold and numb. But I was trying not to be.
I would do yoga, meditate, watch birds or walk in nature, and would even find myself at the water's edge, knowing that I wasn't going in. I would just sit and be still. And I could do that for a while. Convince myself that I was ok. That everything was going to be alright.
Then I began seeing posters around the neighbourhood. A missing man. He was believed to have gone for a walk, maybe near the water. He never returned. I wondered if he was thinking the same things I'd been thinking. Sadly, we may never know.
Then something wonderful happened. The Bengals lost in the Super Bowl. I should have been over the moon with joy, and I was glad, but wasn't really happy. The Halftime Show even featured some of my favourites: Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar. Kendrick even performed the song that's kept me going through all of this. The song I've been performing in my head and singing in an effort to lift my spirits and inspire me to push on. It was a sign! But the very next night, everything came crashing down. I couldn't hold it in any longer. I broke. I cried so hard that my whole body was trembling. I had been trying so hard to hold it together and carry on with life while appearing like everything was peachy fucking keen and I just crashed. I couldn't take the pressure of having to be "on" any longer. I had actually hit rock bottom, and I'm so grateful that I did.
In the moment I wasn't, of course. I felt like I was dying. Actually, I felt like I had died. I wasn't even in my body. I was on the outside looking in and I hated everything that I saw. I said the most awful things to myself and I believed it was all true. That I was worthless and my life was never going to improve, so what was the point? Nothing mattered. I just wanted to disappear. I cried and shook for what seemed like forever until I couldn't anymore. I was exhausted. And I was exactly where I needed to be.
I had a very honest talk with James and it became clear that my situation was going to change--that it had to--and it was going to be difficult. Sometimes things have to get harder before they get better. At least that's what I'm trying to tell myself.
The next day I reached out to my therapist, and we met that week to develop a safety plan. It's a strategy for when you're feeling overwhelmed and can't see a way out. So now I have another weapon in my arsenal. That doesn't mean that I'll always be ready for the fight, but it does mean that I have something to reference when I'm not. It's a document I typed, and I'm going to print out a few copies to stash around my room. Can't hurt, right? While chatting with my therapist, it became clear as to why this depression had hit me so hard this time around. I've been exploring past trauma and, I've talked about this before, but sometimes while excavating you unearth things that you're not really sure what to do with. Those things can just stick around, and you start wearing them like a bad outfit that doesn't fit you well at all or reflect who you really are. But in time, I guess you figure out how to make alterations. I'm not sure how effective this fashion analogy is, but I've been watching tons of Drag Race, so what can I say? I guess what I mean is that you can learn to work with what you've got, without pretending to be something you're not. That rhymed and I hate it, but I'm going to leave it because I'm corny like that.
On a rainy walk today, I came across something that helped shift my perspective. I was watching some birds digging for worms. One bird, a robin, was watching me. I said hi and she began hopping away. That's when I noticed that one of her legs was broken. I felt sad and thought I should try to help. I moved towards her, but she hopped away, then started flying. That's when I realized that she didn't need me. She was fine on her own. Even amidst the struggle, she was able to get by. It all made sense to me in that moment. Nature is cool like that.
I dedicate this post to that little robin, and to all of you birds out there struggling. Maybe there are some worms out there for us after all. Keep digging.
On that note, I will leave you with my jam. The song that's been getting me through. Kendrick is such an inspiration to me. I've only recently come to love his music, and I believe that it found me at the right time. I hope you find it as inspiring as I do, and I hope it makes you dance. Dancing helps to move stagnant energy, and it's something I haven't done for a while. Ah, another realization. Alright, this cornball is gonna peace out for now. Until next time...
Take good care,
I'm finally doing it--pulling my insides out and splattering them around for all to see. Here we go!