Today, I am celebrating the “little victories” in life. Sometimes, life can run us over, use us up, hunt us down, and, in general, leave us feeling like something the cat dragged in … ate … and, then, barfed up onto the rug. I’m not proud to say I’m all too familiar with that side of life. The past two or three years have been rough ones for me, mostly because of depression, but also because I’ve felt unmooored. Lost and wandering, with no safe place to land. It’s hard when your internal and external lives are both chaotic, leaving you feeling as if you have no way to turn — no set direction in which to go, and no way to get there, even if you did.
My creative life and, in particular, my writing, were hard hit by these emotional and mental struggles. “Hard hit” is a rather gargantuan understatement. Things pretty much ground to a halt. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t create. And I didn’t have the energy to care about any of it all that much. But, underneath, I felt myself dying a little bit more each day. A little bit of whatever it was that made me “me” slipping away with each lost word and unfinished project. I told myself it didn’t hurt. I told myself none of it mattered. I told myself writing wasn’t for me, so I was better off. I told myself … well, lots of things.
These were all lies. Were they good lies? Were they necessary lies? Were they bad lies? I don’t know. At this point, I don’t particularly care, because I feel just recognizing them as the lies that they are is a big step forward for me. Little victory number 1 — and a hard-fought battle.
Little by little, I feel my spirit and my burden becoming lighter — still there, but easier to carry. Perhaps this is because I now have a place to go, where there are loving arms that will always welcome me, and where, at last, I can see I have worth. If you’ve lived a “normal” sort of life, you probably can’t understand the power of realizing, finally, that you are a person worthy of love and respect. I can’t explain it, but, even now, just in typing these words, the power of the emotions I feel threatens to overwhelm me. For perhaps the first time in my life, I know I am real. I know I am good, even if I struggle. I know I am worthy of love and respect. Little victory number 2 … although, really, it’s an enormous, earth-shattering victory. Even so, my pedantic nature forces me to cling to the theme for this post.
All of which brings me to my final “little victory”, which happened today. After two and a half (or three? yikes!) years of begging, bribing, threatening, and sobbing in heartache, I sat down today to write … and I managed to get my character across the street and into a tavern. I know. It doesn’t sound like much, but, for me, we’re talking about the literary equivalent of swimming the Atlantic Ocean. Without floaties.
This doesn’t mean the hard times are over and done. My depression is always there, lurking around in the background, whispering to some part or other of my brain when I’m not looking. And I don’t know if I’ll always have the words I need when I need them. Tomorrow might find me pulling my hair out in frustration and weeping as I stare at the ceiling and wonder, “Why?!? Why?!?” For today, though, the words were there. And that’s good enough for me.
Little victories: I’ll take as many as I can get.