This one is personal to me.
I suppose they all are personal but this one has an exception, which I hope the reason becomes clear to you.
The truth is no one ever wants to “Feel” or “Be” alone.
Depression and fear are very real things to me. I had to learn from them. I had to learn how to interact and live instead of struggle or suffer. Above all, I had to learn how to move on.
We all feel. We all have worries and concerns. Some are more intense than others. In my case, my feelings of despair were intense, which is why I am placing this piece here in a compilation which I call “The Book of Firsts,” because this is about the first time I seriously began to journal. The intensity here is literal because this is literally how I learned to save my own life.
Before moving onward, I would like to invite you here to see where I came from but please be advised this was me then and not a representation of who I am now.
That being mentioned, please read on because like the rest of the world we all share in one simple fact, life happens to us all. Depression is real. So is anxiety and so is insomnia~
To allow myself to be defined by yesterday will only limit me to yesterday’s occurrence—
I have to stop that.
Looking back will only take away my attention from moving forward.
I need to stop that.
I need to look forward. I need to see what’s ahead of me. I need to stop regarding what happened yesterday.
I need to let my wounds heal. I need give myself permission to look away and face the daily life that comes my way. Otherwise, yesterday will just repeat itself, over and over again, consecutively. like a life sentence.
One of the most common pieces of advice is this:
Let it go.
I have divorce in my history. I have shame in my history. I have fear-based concerns and fear-based reactions in my history. I am insecure and uncomfortable. I have social anxieties and depression to live with. Like anyone else in this world, I have a list of sins in my past. I have a long list of mistakes that cannot be undone. All I can do now is improve.
First and foremost, I have to remember that I make mistakes.
Mistakes don’t make me.
I have performed and fell flat.
I have tried and reached and come up short.
But so what?
I know what it feels like to lay still in my bed. I stare at the ceiling. I look around as though I just don’t have the desire or the energy to continue.
I have had days when all is wrong
(or so it seemed).
I have had nights when I lay sleepless, watching the time tick away, praying to God that I will fall asleep as I calculate the hours before I have to be up and out of bed. I’ve had nights like this and watched the hours diminish and finally, I’ve fallen asleep just a few moments before I have to get up anyway.
Of all things I have ever wanted to be, the one thing I have always wanted to be is free. Of all things I have wanted, I have always wanted to wake up without the tension in the air. I have always wanted to wake up and my anxiety is nothing else but a memory. There is no more yesterday. There is no more past. There is nothing else but now and at this very moment, there would be no other way to feel but free.
I cannot do anything about the wreckage of my yesterdays. I cannot salvage the conversations that no longer exist. I cannot rescue my previous self from things I never saw coming. I can’t choke the old me of my past or beat the old you I wished you could have been.
And here we are again, back to that famous piece of advice.
Let it go.
The words alone are so freeing.
The idea is incredible but sometimes the action seems unthinkable.
Let it go.
No one among us escapes life or tragedy or loss. No one among us escapes mistakes. No one gets away unscathed. No one goes without scars. No one among us is anywhere close to perfect, which is perfectly true because perfection can be relative.
Let it go—
These are not words.
This is an action.
In order for me to prepare for tomorrow, I have to remove myself from my limitations of my past. I am more than my past record. I am more than my past mistakes. Even if no one else around me will allow me to overcome myself; no one can ever prevent me from bettering myself.
I have to remember this before I submit and give in (or quit).
Let it go is the advice I hear.
But no one ever explains how?
How can I let go of the loss of my loved ones? How do I let go of a loss of my child or their youth or the irretrievable times I wished I never took for granted?
How can I move passed the walls of emotion which fence me in or keep me locked up in a prison of my yesterday’s events?
Perhaps I should remember that yesterday will never be here again.
So, whether I am afraid of yesterday or not; whether I am limited by the ideas of my past, or whether I am hurt, whether I am afraid, whether I am sad, or whether my depression is so thick or my anxiety is so strict that I feel trapped and can hardly breathe; yesterday is gone. And you and me, we don’t live there anymore.
The things I took for granted and the opportunities I’ve missed have certainly left a mark. I can do only one of two things. I can look back and consider my regrets or I can move forward and learn not to make the same mistake twice.
I used to have pictures of people in my life that mean the world to me, yet somehow, shame and the ideas of my mistakes had kept me from looking at their photographs.
There were days when I could not stand the sight of my own reflection in the mirror. I hated me. I hated what I became.
I have had my share of resentments.
I admit to this.
I have pain. I have hurtful memories.
I have pictures in my mind of facial expression from people that looked to impose upon me, which I took personally and held myself responsible for their actions.
I cannot change what happened.
All I can do is consistently and persistently move forward.
As for my wrongs and my mistakes, I can only apologize.
The rest is no longer up to me.
I used to think I had to apologize over and over again until I realized that a heartfelt apology only needs to be delivered once. Anything after becomes a method of manipulation; in which, either I am trying to manipulate them by apologizing more and more or I am trying to manipulate my emotions to keep myself from feeling shame.
How does someone “Let it go?”
My answer was simple.
I had to learn to move my body.
Physical movement creates a physiological change in the body.
When I felt at my worst, the worst thing I could do was remain still
(or be stagnant).
I had to learn to move.
I had to learn how to change the direction of my energy.
Rather than nurture my sadness, I chose to switch the direction of my energy and nurture an opposite action.
Whatever the action might have been—I had to create something. I had to do something; otherwise, all I would do is remain still and stuck in the prison of my thinking.
There was a night when I was at my worst. My wounds were fresh and I believed I was a failure. My finances were poor and my financial concerns were very real. I thought I was a failure at being a father. I thought I was a failure at being a friend. I thought I was unfixable and irredeemable. Above all, I believed (wholeheartedly) that there was no hope for me whatsoever.
I sat in an apartment with a shotgun on my lap. There were tears streaming down my face. I was done
I was considering the worst option because no matter how I tried, I could not seem to get away from me or my thinking. I could not get away from the connections of my past mistakes. I could not escape my own persecution or the whispers in my head.
I was tired. I was beaten. I believed I was helpless and hopeless. And tragically, at that moment, I was prepared to finalize my temporary problems with an ultimately permanent solution.
But wait . . .
At the time, I had this little cat. I picked her up so that my child would have something to play with when she came to Daddy’s house.
As I was crying, this little cat leapt up on the couch and then onto my lap. She climbed up to my chest. The black shotgun was across my lap. Behind me was a white wall about to be spattered.
The cat began to claw at my chest. She was playing with me. Pawing at me, in which I interpreted as, “Who will take care of me if you do this?”
The little cat kept clawing at me as if to say, “What the hell are you doing?”
Realistically speaking, the cat was probably thinking, let’s play,” or feed me, ya jerk!”
But whatever the reason the cat pawed at me, either way, this little stupid gray kitten saved my life.
I cried and I surrendered. I screamed upwards at the ceiling, begging to just feel better. I wanted this all to just go away. I hit the ground and fell to my knees. I wept openly, extending my arms out. I was so weak, so tired and so beaten.
Rather than execute my mission, I switched my plan and replaced thought with action. I went into my bedroom and turned on my computer. This was the day that I began my first real journal entry.
This was the first thing I wrote:
My redemption has nothing to do with your response.
I kept typing my thoughts onto a page on my computer screen. I let the keys I typed upon take my rage and transferred my energy.
I let all pour out.
I wrote until I was exhausted. And when I was done, I fell asleep.
I replaced thoughts with action. I placed my energy someplace else. Put simply, I made a move to save my life.
I spilled myself onto a page and above all, I learned how to “Let it go.”
There is an answer to every equation, which I get that not all answers come easily. But still, there is always an answer—and if all I do is look back at my yesterdays and my mistakes, I will never see the answers that arise ahead of me.
I get it though.
There are times when the hardest thing to do is move or get up and get out of bed. There are times when even the simplest tasks like taking a shower or brushing your teeth are too much of a task.
But trust me . . .
Laying still (or keeping stagnant) will only weaken your body more.
Your soul goes into atrophy this way; it wastes away and degenerates.
If you want to save your own life,
Move as if your life depends upon it because sometimes . . .
It really does.
Just remember though,
yesterday is gone.
You and me, we don’t live there anymore.
All we have is now.
Let’s take care of now together.