Now I think I'm actually doing homework to keep from writing a substantive blogpost.
Substantive. That's actually what I wanted to write about. Substance.
I spent six (of my best) years once and twice a week in a psychiatrist's office talking about how insubstantial I felt.
I was a writer who wrote insubstantial copy about (at varying times) hospitals, buses, health insurance, ultrasound imaging, cardiologists, health insurance again, buses again.
And I was pretty sure I accomplished nothing with that golden prose. But the energy spent trying to convince myself that it all was worth something would have lit all the bulbs in a mid-size city.
So much energy devoted to delusion. That my marriage was worth it, that my work was worth it, that my life was worth it.
Looking back now, over the vast distance spanning who I am now and what I was then proves ... that nagging sense that none of it was worth anything ... was the truth.
I lived a shadow life. I knew it, but yet I struggled to hang onto it for so long. So long that, in the case of my marriage, my psychiatrist actually asked me, more than once, "Why? Why did you stay so long?"
Because sometimes you are so afraid of what you don't know that hanging on to what you do know means survival. And I was fighting to survive.
I'm one of the lucky ones. Whose mentality shoved her past subsistence. I could not get comfortable in life. I could not rest within my skin, until I shed that skin.
And I knew it was going to hurt plenty. And I knew it was going to be ugly. And I knew I would have to let go of everything that kept me warm, and that I would be alone, and in the cold, and alone. Alone.
I cracked. The skin shook loose. And slowly, slowly, I stepped out of it, as one would walk out of clothes you'd just discarded.
And it was cold. And I was alone. And I was terrified a great deal of the time.
But I was becoming alive again. And slowly, slowly I began to get more of a sense of my own substance, however scarred, however flawed.
And I was hurt by some, and comforted by some, and protected by some and ... eventually, loved again, by some.
Tonight, as I spill these words onto the digital page, I am more solid than I have ever been. And if you're reading these words, and you feel, or have ever felt, less than solid, please take comfort from what I am saying. You can crack, and shed, and step away and step back.
Believe me. (And I wrote this to remind myself.)
sculpture: constantin brancusi