The thing the average "happy" citizen doesn't understand about depressions is that it's not about sitting around feeling glum. It's not laziness, or lethargy, or inactivity. All of these things are merely the symptoms of the main, mental event, which is the perpetual broadcast in the noggin of the afflicted of the movie I Hate Myself. I don't know if the average person can understand the deep level of violent antipathy a depressive personality inflicts upon himself-- how much I directed toward myself. I mean, I just thought I was a walking piece of sh*t. I was a loser. A waste. Everything about me was wrong. Depressives are dirt. When the weight of this self-loathing starts to become overburdening, the sufferer may displace some of this pent up frustration by placing blame on the external world, but the twisted Milky Hate Galaxy of one's inner cosmos is the true place where the depressive lives, breathes, and breeds self-defeatist asteroids of psychological, emotional, and even physical destruction.
The exhibit of social disinterest, indifference, and apathy are really just expressions of the depressive trying to erase himself. It's like trying to Photoshop yourself out of the grand picture of humanity: "I'm not here. You can't see me." Not admitting one's presence in the world is a safety blanket. If I'm barely alive, I can't f*ck up, make a fool of myself, hurt, etc. You know what they say, "When the going gets tough, the depressive takes a nap, Rip Van Winkle style." Fine. I made that whole thing up, but that doesn't make it any less true.
At my darkest, I loved the idea of not existing anymore. I always thought it was strange and somewhat laughable, for example, how people feared death. A) In a world of followers, what could be simpler than doing that which all before us have done? It is the only concrete and reassuring certainty we have. It's kind o' nice. It's the one thing you can depend on. B) Death makes the indeterminate years between birth and The End much more tolerable. It's inevitability at least lets you know that no matter how bad things get, you won't have to put up with this garbage forever. It takes the pressure off, no? I think people think I'm exaggerating sometimes when I describe my prior outlook on things... Perhaps they think I'm trying to be funny or am merely being irreverent for the sake of irreverence. "She didn't really thing death was 'awesome.' Yeah, I did. I was that messed up.
I can back this up with a pretty profound experience that I had at the beginning of the year. My New Year's present of 2013 was finding a small lump in my breast. Hooray? So, I went to the doctor to check it out, because I mentioned it in passing to my folks and they flipped (irrationally, I thought). The doctor's response was, "It's probably nothing, but..." So, I went to get an Ultrasound, which I found particularly entertaining, as I figured that this would naturally be the only case when I would actually have one. Doctor #2 said, "It's probably nothing, but..." So, I went in for the biopsy. Now I'm thinking, "Christ. I may legitimately have cancer." This too I found hilarious, as I was but 29-years-old at the time, exercised religiously, and was pretty damn healthy. "Sure. I'm the one who gets the big C. Ooooooof course."
So, the biopsy... There's no way to describe it. It was pretty God damn terrible. It has taken the top position on my list of the loneliest, most vunerable moments of my life. I don't mind hospitals, because my family is composed of people in the medical profession, but... Man. The hallways seemed to stretch on forever. The fluorescent lights attacked me like Heaven itself was mocking me. It was like being in a tomb where time stood still. Then, the procedure began. I was numbed up pretty good in the left tit, so it didn't hurt-- not that I could feel anything at this point anyway. I was mentally numb by then. The doctor stuck this long monstrosity into me to grab samples from two different growths, and as I felt the monster penetrating me, moving within me, roughly invading my flesh like I was a piece of festering meat, all I could think was, "I'm being raped... This is rape..." I put on a brave face, but I admit that a tear or two started to trickle down as I lost my cool. Not because it hurt, but because this was the exact manifestation of my disdain for living. I remember thinking, "This is exactly why I want to die. This feeling of being terrorized, of being at the mercy of elements I can't control, of being alone. This is why I want me to end. I have wasted my life, I have accomplished nothing other than to wind up here being victimized by fate. Just tell me I have cancer so I can get out of here and die!"
Well, I did not have cancer, so it was no easy out for Meredith. What I had was a couple fibroadenomas. Fibroadenomae? (Whatever). Benign. Totally normal. Nothing. The only thing I left that experience with was a scar, which will remind me of the reality check I received. See, I scared myself by not being scared. The fact that death felt not only eminent but actually longed for was a bit eye-opening. The sensation of realizing the depths of my self hatred was one of the major factors that made me decide to see someone about my truly diseased organ: my brain. So, I went to the head shrinker, got some meds, and slowly observed myself metamorphosing into this naturally happy person that I always was-- or was trying to be-- before my damn biology got in the way and robbed me of my clearheadedness. (God damn molecules, and atoms, and DNA, and stuff. This is exactly why I hated science)!
Now, instead of hiding under the covers or feeling like a don't deserve the air I breathe, I just inhale/exhale without thinking about it. The truly fascinating thing about the voyage to sanity is watching yourself manifest. Asking and discovering, Who am I, really? I think I mistakenly believed at first that I was supposed to turn into this whole new person who was way awesomer than the girl I used to be. I would be like a "newborn" vampire, (just go with me, I know this analogy is stupid), who wakes up suddenly stronger, with senses heightened, and suddenly becomes very, very attractive. Well, none of that cool stuff happened. I'm still an awkward mofo (fofo?), and I definitely am not into steak tar tare. The only true difference in me is my lack of need to apologize for my "failing." I'm fleshing myself out without any condemnation. It turns out, I was me the whole time, I just had one of my own hands clamped over my mouth. Like an idiot. I once felt that I was innately incorrect, so I'd keep to myself, ignore my instincts, and succumb to the paranoid feeling that everyone would/was judging me for my abnormalities-- at least, if I showed my hand. Now, I don't give a crap. I'm reborn. I'm present. I deal with it, so you can too.
It isn't always easy, this coming to life. Society has a way of making you feel crazy for simply being who you are. If you're against the mainstream, you're a weirdo. If you're not sure, opposed to, or undecided about things that people generally consider foregone conclusions, you're a freak of nature, an eccentric, a social disgrace, or an anarchist #antichrist. All that pressure to "be normal" hasn't gone away. So, while I thought that in my recovery I would reappear as a 'normal' person, I have been struggling with the fact that I am still undeniably a weirdo as far as the world at large is concerned.
One of the manifestations of my personality that I've had to accept is the fact that I am Opposite Girl. (Seriously, that would be my hero name). I'm supposed to be this modest, home-grown, girl-next-door because I'm from the Midwest and that's the image of normalcy projected there. But I never much liked my fate being decided. I don't take comfort in patterns the way most people do. Whenever people take something for granted, are in agreement about something, are making noise about a big issue, or start behaving very cult-like in their modus operandi, I naturally cringe and step back. It's not in my make-up to jump into the fray and start screaming bloody murder or "Hell yeah!" I don't see the benefit in doing what everyone else is doing. It's not in my to fall in line and go the standard route just because it's secure, tried, tested and approved. This makes those close to or those who don't even have the first clue about me nervous or even worrisome. Clearly, I don't get life at all. One day I'll see what everyone is talking about and acclimate to the accustomed ways of commodification. Errrrr... To me, that just says "boring." And when it comes to politics and religion, forget it. I'm so cynical and suspicious of both. In summation, whenever anyone says, "I have the answer," "This is the way," "Or this is what you should do," my eyebrow naturally quirks up. I put my hands up, and back away slowly. Very slowly.
Before, I felt so shameful because I thought I wasn't performing my duties as a woman ably. I should pay more attention to what I wear instead of dressing like a frat boy. I should be more focused on romance, getting married, and having babies. I was also ashamed because I didn't have a concrete idea of what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be. I still don't. I'm just taking a blind leap in the dark every time I approach something new. This is incorrect. I should have a focused plan. I should be trying to fashion my life into the well-oiled and contributory model of security and white picket fences. I should "settle down," because "I'm not getting any younger." It was torture to be me, and equally have to stifle me by pretending to be someone else. I had to ignore every instinct I had in order to feel like a good person who was doing the right things, making the right choices, doing right by my parents, society, and most importantly, Jesus. Now, that my eyes are open, I can't see how what I do or how I do it has anything to do with anyone else. I mean, Jesus was a cool guy. I have a lot of respect for him. But, A) "We're all God's children," so I don't see why he's so damn special, and B) Like Obama, he was never able to produce a birth certificate, so why should I be unanswerable to him? Frauds, all of them. Haha. Well, I thought it was funny.
My personal manifestation process is therefore totally dependent on my ability to embrace the fact that my thought processes and way of living are a bit adjacent to the list of standards and expectations I was always led to believe were the norm, and that's OK. Still, I am constantly brought to task by my peers for many of my still considered "crazy" ideas. Their resistance to my ever mutating belief system or their criticism of me is still bruising to my ego. I get that ol' feeling to crawl into a hole and pretend I was only kidding when I stated this or that opinion. But I'm getting better. It's really no skin off my nose if someone thinks I'm an idiot. That's my challenge isn't it? Just like it's theirs to be a judgmental, unbending, narcissistic prick. (Ooh, that felt good)! Anywho, as an experiment, I'm gonna lay out some of my oddities right here and now, unapologetically. World, meet my brain; brain, meet the world. We may not agree, but we can certainly find a way to get along:
- I'm not sold on the idea of marriage. I consider this to be an unromantic institution: a merging of corporations with contractual/fiscal obligations, and merely another invented mechanism to make people feel like they have gotten somewhere or "made it." Marriage. Baby. New House. New car. Kids' marriages. Etc. You're never gonna make it. You make it when you die. Relax.
- Weddings are terrifying. I'm all for love, monogamy, and honesty, but what does this have to do with a parade?.
- Despite popular perception, I don't sit around thinking about babies. I could die happy just being an Aunt. I cross bridges when I come to them, and I don't appreciate people telling me I am in denial when I say that I'm not at all certain about motherhood.
- I don't know what love is, but I'm fairly certain the majority member of society is all wrong about it anyway. It's not about thunderbolts. It's one human being reacting to another and listening to the things in their body telling them to rub up against someone warm who seems to shockingly understand and accept who they are. Very few men that I know ride white horses. Give up the ghost.
- I put my faith in mankind, not in imaginary heroes who will rescue me from myself. Today is the thing. We can only help each other. I think it's foolish to use faith to ignore or reprimand your fellow man or turn on him because you want to be first in line at the pearly gates. Seems to be the opposite example of a life of goodness and morality, if you ask me.
- Britney Spears is the worst entertainer of the century. Maybe the millennium. Maybe all time.
- I don't believe in burning books, but if I were ever to go Hitler, Fifty Shades would be the first one in the fire.
- I do not have a hot bod with the expected curves. I'm build like a 2x4. Sorry. (No matter. Plenty of dudes dig skinny, shapeless girls. They're called homosexuals).
- I don't take sides, because they don't exist. I refuse to make up my mind about the majority of things, because I don't believe anyone's mind should ever, ever be "made up."
- I spend my money on DVDs and not threads. I am wearing really old socks right now, and I've never really understood why Coach is better than the $5 purse I can get at Target.
- I'd rather be single than half an entity.
- The word 'security' makes me feel insecure. There is no such thing.
- Flirting is the height of condescension.
- I will not Internet date, because I don't want to be able to say that I bought my boyfriend on Amazon. Also, my life will not be rendered useless if I die alone. I lived. That's what matters.
- Democrats and Republicans: same sh*t, different outfit.
- If there is an anti-Christ, his name is Oprah.
- If there is a God, his name is Comedy.
- There is more than one portrait of happiness. I can feed my heart any way I want.
- I still think the concept of death is liberating. Life's finite nature is what makes it so precious. And I'm still not afraid to die. Because of this, I am not afraid to live, and thus do not feel compelled to abide by all the flimsy, supposedly acceptable structures of mankind.
- Questioning is the antithesis of brainwashing.
- I will never, ever stop drinking Diet Coke.
There it is. That's me, or at least a few of the pieces. They're as real as I am. I'm not vanishing. I'm not trying to get out of anything. I'm not ashamed anymore. I have embraced that shaking child inside and told her, "It's OK. You're okay. F*ck all these people who try to make you think otherwise. And tell the voice in your head that questions your own self-judgment to go to Hell." I'm still not sure what true happiness feels like, but I'm happier simply because I've allowed myself to exist. I'm excited for the first time about life and where it will take me, and I don't really give a rat's ass where that is as long as it's somewhere-- as long as I continue my own personal pilgrimage to this ever elusive 'joy' that every one's talking about my own way, on my own terms. It's still progress, even if it's in an opposing direction. I'm not crazy. I am what I am. I am manifest. I am a weirdo.