Short, mostly unedited: Hard to be Human
What a terrible weekend!
Sorry, I couldn't think of a better way to start.
I was sucked up into the tornado of my emotions Saturday evening, and all this week I have been trying to find my way home from this desert in which it finally dumped me.
The funny thing is that when I feel insanity coming on, there is always the unruffled voice of reason urging me quietly but relentlessly to steady on. I try to listen. I want to listen, but darn it all, my emotions are like wild beasts that threaten to eat my heart right out of me if I do not let them carry me away into their habitat of chaos.
So here I am. It's Thursday, isn't it? And I'm still not well, and on top of that, I am fantasizing about what peaceful lives cloistered nuns must be living away from the world, in their routine of quiet prayer with their unmade up faces and simple attire.
But wouldn't you know I would probably cause havoc in a convent, too. I bet I could.
My dad posted something on Facebook a while back about trying to fight with my saintly mother. It's a hard road, because she does not fight. She stands still and quiet with faith that this, too, will pass. My aunt, Dad's sister, commented that she wished she was like sweet Karen, but no! She's a fighter! My uncle said it must run in our family. It sure does, I agreed. It runs wild.
So I have this proclivity, you see, to fight and debate and be emotionally tyrannical. It's not so bad when I'm with my own kind. We duke it out. We argue. We duel. We "debate". We're not calm or even always civil about it, but in the end, we're good. That's simply how we communicate.
It's much harder when someone like me marries a calm person who is fully in control of his emotions. I always wanted a calm man. I knew I would need a calm, steady man. And I got him, but he just won't fight! I feel like I am just wearing him down, wearing him down, and how much can the poor man put up with? I can't join a convent now, especially not with four kids in tow.
So the option, as I see it, is to mortify myself. And, no, I do not mean lashing or beating myself with whips and sticks. A spirit of mortification is to deny one's own selfish, prideful inclinations. (I have plenty of those.) To mortify oneself means to smile at and listen to that person who really irritates you, to offer others the last slice of cake, to agree to help a friend when you'd rather be lazy on a Saturday afternoon, and - this one's a kicker - to not act out your petty but powerful emotions at the expense of your loved ones so "you can feel better".
Anyway, I never feel better. It's like a whirlpool once I turn the jets of my feelings on. The more I act out and talk about my feelings, the more I am getting sucked down to it's terrible center, so I try to pull as many others as I can in with me, at least to slow my progress. It never works out. It never, ever does. So I must learn to swallow my emotions like a secret agent lady who rips up the code and swallows it before a really awful secret with international implications gets out.
My secret is that I'm half crazy. I'm not all there. Yet.
I must swallow my emotions. Honestly, I'm afraid I'll overdose.
It's so hard being human. We've all got something (except for my husband). Me? Well, I'm obsessive-compulsive. I think about everything too much, methodically, not ever really making up my mind, terrified of what can be. I've broken locks by checking them repeatedly in the throes of this disorder. I've even broken my husband's patience. I have turned my car around, slowed down, and obsessively glanced in my rearview to make sure I haven't run over anyone on bumpy roads. (And let me tell you, there is not a single smooth road in this whole blasted town!) I have driven myself wild with jealousy, with imagining what is or might be or could be under certain circumstances. Everything is worse with this disorder, for though I know I am beautiful in my way, I have always struggled with vanity and with comparing myself to others, and I HATE vanity. It's a terrible vice. It's prison. I dread being vain. But woe is me! I dread being ugly, too.
Even my vivid, disturbing dreams claw at my peace. Yet my dreams show also the beauty of my mind, for while I may dream of witnessing something so devastating it stays with the conscious me for days, I also dream of landscapes so vibrant and strange that I savor them and applaud my own imagination.
Regardless, it's getting old being the unstable one.
So I have to change. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.
Passion must be expelled. I used to think passionate people like myself were the only ones who were interesting, worth knowing well or conversing with on a regular basis. Reserved, quiet people were boring, flat: all cold fish with no depth of feeling. But now? I wish to heavens I was like them! They have emotions, but they don't make a habit of wreaking others' peace with the expression of them, with the blurting out of opinions and moods. Sure, crazy is interesting, exciting, but their way is a far better way.
The thing is I have to sacrifice to change. I have to remove myself from the center of my universe. I have to let go. Not bottle up. Let Go. Maybe I have to shut myself up for a few days every quarter in the bathroom. But I have to learn to control, one way or another, these out-of-control emotions I feel periodically. I have to say no to fear, to so many fears, and really cling with my whole heart and soul to faith, hope, love.
I have to love at all times. I have to listen to that voice of reason. I have to accept grace offered. I have to pray, and not be afraid of what God might ask me to do or not to do in order to change. I have to stop ignoring his nudges in order to dig myself a deeper hole. I have to give up and raise the white flag, beg for help in climbing out of my self-erected cage.
Wish me luck.
I'm gonna need it.