hope: the difference between rock bottom and today
Sometimes my poetry and writings startle those that know me. My writing is honest, unapologetic, raw, unfiltered, often unedited, and a personal window into my soul.
I write for me and no one else, but I choose to share that writing with anyone who wants to read. I do this because I know I am not alone, not unique, and that others may benefit from reading that they are not alone, not unique. Since my writing has become more regular over the past three years I’ve had friends and acquaintances tell me that my words have helped them in some way. That has meant so much to me. It allows me to keep sharing, knowing it’s not all entirely in vain.
A friend reached out to me the other day because some of my recent writings concerned her. I was very grateful to know that I have friends like that in my life. Her concerns are (mostly) unfounded, but I was touched nonetheless by the sentiment. We sat down together and I told her, that yes I was presently sad and there was a lot going on in my life that I am finding difficult, but that I am not hopeless. I used to be hopeless, and she knew me during that time. And maybe that scared her. But I’m not that same person anymore. I get out of bed, I function in my world, I laugh with friends, I talk to strangers, I love my daughter unconditionally. I do this all while internally struggling. Because I have hope. I know that these feelings are only temporary and that I am capable of great things and of great happiness.
I’m proud of the mental, emotional, and physical progress I’ve made over the past year+. Today is the 2-year anniversary of my mom’s stroke. My life was pretty rocky before that happened. And after… well, things just fell apart for me. I learned what rock bottom looked like. I experienced not getting out of bed, or getting out momentarily to fulfill adult responsibilities and then immediately returning. I lived the real cliche of drinking to forget and mask and dull the pain. It was all real for me. But rock bottom is called that for a reason and it looks different for everyone. For me, it was looking at my husband and daughter and seeing their own sadness of my state. Watching them live life without me. I needed to get better for them. I especially needed to get better for JoJo. And for my family and friends who were counting on me being the person they knew I truly was.
But I needed to get better for me, too. That may sound cliche, but all too often we ignore our own needs. We put others before ourselves. There’s an element of that that is healthy, but too much of that, or if it is misguided, can be destructive. Being selfish and loving others is not mutually exclusive. I learned for the first time in my life that I needed to be selfish. I knew that if I could take care of my own needs then I could better serve the needs of those that I love.
So that is how I operate at present. And I felt proud to tell my friend yesterday: yes, I am sad. I am heartbroken. But I’m hopeful. I used to let these setbacks destroy me. But I’m capable of overcoming sadness. Because I have so much deep joy for life that I can’t be anything but hopeful for these future days.
I love you, keep going.