Day 365

One year.

I have been writing every day, for one year.  The chronicles are lengthy and deep, laugh-inspiring and dangerous, loving and deadly, long-winded and diminutive.  365 steps in the direction of recovery, that’s what that means.  But perhaps not.

Yesterday, my wife had a risky yet eye-opening foray into job-people-asshole-relationships.  This foray showed us that her next steps require some sort of job search, career path.  I am on board; ultimately, I want her happiness, for her to be grateful and appreciative, above all else.  I love her and we will make it work.  Luckily it was just a warning shot though, a burnt orange instead of a bright red, one that will allow us to take the next steps – while tenuously – on our own terms.  Given how things have been articulated here, recovering herself would be a way to frame this.

As for me, I am currently stepping into a new form of self-reality (I know that self-actualization is a more proper term, but the douche factor requires a less-accurate synonym), stepping into a new understanding of myself.  I started writing because we understood its value as a recovery tool for me, because we were looking for experts on me when we were the only two true ones.  As a result, we know many more of my triggers, warning signals, agitators and alienators than we did one year ago.  We also know that when stress gets away from me and us that dire consequences ensue: judge and jury, I give you broken hand.  I also know many more of my feelings, my loves and desires, my cares and Tz’u, my purpose as Don and my hopes and faith.  I feel more comfortable being who I am after 365 days, partially because we have expanded the me version of me, but also because we have explored the me version of me, which has given us an understanding of shoulds and the parts of me that are me, not black.  As we discussed earlier in the week, my wife and I know that my next steps in recovery include rest and managing the inevitable stresses of living on the edge, of giving 100% to do good and be beautiful, amazing and loving.

Odd thing is, if I hadn’t been pushed off the edge two weekends ago, I wouldn’t have had cause to have the difficult conversation with my aunt last weekend.  And if my wife hadn’t had her encounter of the fucked up kind, I would not have gone to my aunt for counsel about college teaching (a reach out that wouldn’t have happened without the difficult conversation), she would not have seen her potential for vivid expansion and I would not have found a potential perma-support in Kind Science Work Friend.  So is this really about recovery?

Through blogging, I have learned so much.  By writing, I have faced demons with my wife, with her affair, with my family, with my brother’s illness, with my blackness.  Like our summer before life happened, writing allowed growth beyond belief.  However, I will stop blogging after today and this is my final Tale as the Recovering Recoverer.  Not because I don’t love writing – I will continue to do that as a tool.  But given the acquired understanding of the last 365 days, I now understand that this is not a path of recovery, not solely.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I am recovered by any means.  I will continue to understand that I am recovering from anxiety and hyper-vigilance, perfectionism, orthorexia and disordered eating – my personal blackness.  I understand that the potential for that blackness taking over will always be there.  I understand that we will need to face every day one day at a time, with serenity and courage and wisdom.  I understand that I and we will continue to adapt our vivid to fit the current lines and colours, to use my tools and support system and stay vigilant against the blacknesses within us.

But I understand that this is only a part of me.  I have realized that I have not been writing about a path of recovery, not solely.  This is not a story about recovering from a deficit; this is a story of growth.  No, there is not an ending here, but that’s because this is a tale of a different sort – this is 365 days of life.

Day 364

5:30PM:

Before I broke my hand, I signed on to supervise tonight’s school dance.  This was before the broken hand, before the broken spirit (thank you kindly frosty workplace, as yesterday’s slips of the tongue revealed), before the broken heart, before the broken sleep last night (and many more before that night), before the broken pain threshold (fucking hurts in the bones).  I wanted to bail.  I thought all afternoon about an out, about sixty-two outs.

And then, I thought about a model.  I thought about WWGD = What Would Gibbs Do.  He would keep his word.  Ultimately, I want to keep my word.

As has been made clear throughout this chronicle, there is a code by which I live.  These rules are fundamental parts of the ME version of me.  The best models, I have taken pieces of them.  The best ideas, I have developed elements from them.  The me version of me is a mosaic of these all.  Specific to this character though, these are the Gibbs-ean pieces of me:

Rule 1: Never screw over your partner.

Be the best of you, not the worst of them.  Treat others as you wish to be treated.  The Golden Rule.

Rule 3: Never be unreachable.

The code of the Don.  It’s why I sleep with my phone beside my pillow.

Rule 4: The best way to keep a secret? Keep it to yourself. Second best? Tell one other person – if you must. There is no third best.

I know my one.  I love my wife, my best friend, my confidant.

Rule 5: You don’t waste good.

Give your all, give your best.  Do all the good you possible can do.  Bring the love and care as best you can.  Be 100% in.  You do risk getting hurt, but the other way, you will waste good, waste life.

Rule 8: Never take anything for granted.

Look up.

Rule 10: Never get personally involved in a case.

Rule 12: Never date a co-worker.

Ok, broke those two  – but I said it was a mosaic of Gibbs and more, not a carbon copy.  And hell, he breaks the first rule constantly and as for the second, the NCIS series isn’t done yet!

Rule 14: Bend the line, don’t break it.

Don’t go so far or yell so loud that you become the problem, your message gets lost.  It does you and the cause a disservice.

Rule 15: Always work as a team.

Teamwork in family, work, marriage, even when you have to be the best of you as opposed to the worst of them.

Rule 18: It’s better to seek forgiveness than ask permission.

When in doubt, act like you’re supposed to be there.  When that doesn’t work, barrel through (case in point, 2011 Medical Tent incident in Penticton = importance of losing a swimmer supersedes grumpy-ass nurse). 

Rule 23: Never mess with a Marine’s coffee… if you want to live.

Same goes for tea (I’m thinking of you Tim Hortons double-double instead of double milk – yes, two years later I still remember this).

Rule 42: Never accept an apology from someone who just sucker punched you.

“I’m sorry” needs to matter.

Rule 45: Clean up the mess that you make.

Take responsibility for your actions.

Rule 51: Sometimes you’re wrong.

A hard lesson for me to learn.  It took me dropping to 135lbs and spending two weeks in a Mental hospital to come to this, to grow to this.  But I wouldn’t be here, be in this now, be on this path had I not.

The Unspoken Rule (as revealed by Mike Franks): You do what you have to do for family.

‘Nuff said.

So I will be a man of (or victim to) my word, because that’s the me version of me, because that’s the person that I want to be, because that’s what Gibbs would do.

Day 363

8:45AM:

This notion of finding purpose and value in others, in this being part of my Uncarved Block, to be for and of the people, it rubs some the wrong way.  I had a politely heated conversation with Naturopath last week about it.  Its influence is reflected in yesterday’s post about “taking care of myself, so I can take care of others.”  My position is that taking care of myself for others does not devalue myself.  Finding connections with others, being loved and living with them, being hurt and harmed by them, this does not devalue myself.  Hers is that it will lead to self-destruction due to neglect; martyrdom; undue self-sacrifice; broken hands; not being of the people, only for the people

I have my purpose – love, care, Tz’u, Don – and that cannot be a bad thing (as long as it does not lead to self-destruction; martyrdom; undue self-sacrifice; broken hands; not being of the people, only for the people).  As long as it stays an imperfection and does not fall victim to the blackness and its much-too-easy, oil-slick-like slipperiness into the darkness, it cannot be a bad thing.  As long as it stays mine, my beautiful imperfection, and as long as the blackness doesn’t claim it as its own, as a flaw, it cannot be a bad thing.

How the hell does this connect to The Lorax?  The Lorax speaks for the trees.

This video I found reminds the world – nay, screams at all those who I rub the wrong way with my purpose – why I do what I do.  I speak with (not only for) the exceptional but exceptional, with the amazing but marginalized, with the “disabled”:

Day 362

12:53AM:

Take care of yourself; you’re worth it.

That is a should for me.

I find value, strength and purpose in others, in connections, in care and Tz’u, in love and Don – to be that, I need to take care of me.

Take care of myself, by using the candle a day.

Take care of myself, by limiting myself to two things a day.

Take care of myself, by having a cut-off time for work and emails.

Take care of myself, by listening to my support system (the ever-strengthened one) when they see I’m doing too much and lend a helping hand (or hug).

Take care of myself, by having food timing and systems that work for me and us.

Take care of myself, by having (and really enjoying, a forgone conclusion) sex dates.

Take care of myself, by using my anti-blackness toolbox, like happy lists, looking up and writing.

Take care of myself, by alleviating the wife-blackness-related stress, being knowledgeable of her tough hormone weeks and setting lines with her of support, for her and us.

Take care of myself, so I can be Don for others.

Day 348

2:30PM:

Tired, beat down, worn out.

Don’t want to burden the evaluation process on anyone else, don’t want to burden the sleep on my wife, don’t want to be in oblivion like this though.

Not even sure I know what tools to use right now.  The hours of solace are fuzzy, not enough, not managing the pain.

I might be stronger, braver, wiser, more full of love and care.  But when the blackness shouts, making me blurry, making the spiders scurry in my brain, caking my soul with cobwebs…  When the blackness shouts and there’s no one to hear (or listen for or remember) my screams, I need this.  I hurt, that’s why I have to use those tools.

Remember the beautiful:

“Just because an animal is large, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t want kindness; however big Tigger seems to be, remember that he wants as much kindness as Roo.”

— Roo, Pooh’s Little Instruction Book, inspired by A. A. Milne

Day 343

3PM:

Yesterday was the observance of Diwali.

The Google article that caught my eye states:

Diwali or Divali also known as Deepavali and the “festival of lights”, is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated in autumn every year. The festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair.

We shall overcome mistakes.

We will kill off the thing in our head that contextualizes what we wear, or how we act, or who we are – we will just wear, and act, and be.

We shall overcome spiral thinking, blackness-induced rage, seemingly uncontrollable racing thoughts.

Light, love, knowledge, hope, good, care, Tz’u – these things will help us overcome.

Day 342

3PM:

Fuck you.

Fuck your lack of appreciation.

Fuck your lack of care.

Fuck your forgetfulness.

Fuck your lack of Tz’u.

Fuck your blindness of heart.

Fuck your perky, obligatory, false, cursory bullshit.

I didn’t do this for you.

I didn’t do it for you.

I did it for the smile on the retiree’s face.

I did it for a colleague’s peace of mind.

I never need your satisfaction.

I never need your appreciation.

I never need your heart (with all its glitter and sparkles and cupcake sprinkles).

I never need your care.

I never need your Tz’u.

But nevertheless, fuck you.

I am tired, but I am satisfied because I care, I am the Don beyond you.

Are you satisfied?  Is a life of glittery blindness worth it?