Wowza... been a few weeks since I checked in.
I thought about giving you the tired excuse that I've been super busy.
But, I've been a fairly vocal advocate of people telling their stories. Of owning their shit, proverbial or otherwise. The two books we've hosted most recently for our book club were written by women telling their story.
So, I'll tell you mine. I haven't written for two weeks because I've been fighting off a serious bout of depression. The kind of depression in which I sit and stare into space and find moving through the world overwhelming.
I've often described depression like living in a cave. There is comfort in the darkness for me. And sometimes, I need that darkness. I need to shut down. It's ok to visit the cave. Take a nap. Rest. Heal. The trick is not hanging up the curtains and settling in indefinitely. And there's where I've been lately; Measuring for curtains in my depression cave. I was ready to move in for the long haul.
The only things that keeps the curtains out of the window is a healthy dose of self care and compassion. I have amazing friends here in my queendom. They listen with a caring heart while I sound out the words that define what's happening.
The book club selection, Roxane Gay's Hunger, is a beautiful book. It is powerful. She speaks her truth. I'm not quite finished with it, but it's been hard one for me to read. She went through some horrible traumas at a very young age. My heart hurts for her. She's also experienced some of what I've also experienced -- not being able to control you body, feeling like people in her life will never unconditionally accept her because of her size and always being on the lookout for self acceptance.
This has hit me in two profound ways. I have known the feelings she describes in very personal and intimate ways. While I needed to read her words, those words touch me in the very core of my being. They are heavy. I can feel empathy for her at a cellular level. In all honesty, I'm not sure I can give myself that same grace. I'm carrying the weight of her pain around with the burden of my own. The collective pain is overwhelming.
And also, I've been writing my own memoir. After years of trying to get the words out in some semblance of meaning and order, I'm getting close to seeing it in some sort of completed form. But the book already exists. Her story, in so many ways, is my story. And what's more, there are dozens of similar stories on the market right now. Women from all walks of life are describing their journey of being fat in a thin world. Is there any need to tell mine? I'm not sure anymore. It feels like it's already been said.
Now, let me be clear, I'm not looking for advice or even sympathy here. I'm telling you this to share my story. To be transparent. It's so important in this world at this time. We live in a social media driven universe where what you see may or may not be the truth. I think it's important for people to hear our stories because the truth is truly what sets us free. If we have more conversations in which we're honest and forthright with each other I think we'd find more understanding and compassion. Understanding and compassion are two things this world certainly needs right now.
When I realized I was about to hang up curtains in the depression cave, I did the hard thing. I reached out to my friends and told them I was hurting. I told my husband to handle me with extra care. I allowed myself to sit and do embroidery without guilt. The hand embroidery is meditative for me and allows me to feel productive while healing. (Feeling productive isn't always necessary but, for me, it was this time.) And then after a few days, ok...weeks, of allowing myself to feel the pain, being ok with being overwhelmed and taking care of myself, I felt like I could handle the world again. I put the curtains back in my metaphorical shopping bag and returned them to the store. The first few days were hard. I felt like I was moving through quicksand. But each step got easier.
I'll finish Hunger and look forward to the book club discussion as well. And you know what? I'll finish my book too. It probably won't be on the bestseller list, (but it might) and more importantly, it might help one other person feel okay. And that would make my heart happy.
What I'm listening to: When the Rain Comes, by SaQi
What I'm reading: Hunger by Roxane Gay
What I'm writing: a poem about fall.... unnamed so far, but it goes with some art I created yesterday and my memoir, "Letters I never sent" - My journey to self acceptance.