This post was meant to be written entirely differently. I was working on it, being thorough and meticulous, sticking to the point. And then something came along and lit a fire under my ass. I began re-reading what I had written, which was almost half of a l-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-n-g post, decided it was boring and ultimately worthless for my intent and purpose, and trashed the whole thing. Never in my life have I destroyed anything I have written. I may look back on it now and roll my eyes at my juvenile plots or ideas, I may dislike the subject matter, it may even be viscerally painful to read, but not because of the writing itself. So that move was completely unprecedented.
I wanted to post on the four most important things I have learned from having mental differences. Oh, FYI, don’t ever tell me I’m “mentally ill.” I’m not. I’m wired differently, and not just in clinically diagnostic, Axis I, “bad” ways that need “curing” or “treating” or even “managing.” I’m wired differently in every way, and that is what makes me so goddamned special. It’s what makes me who I am, and I wouldn’t trade that for the ability to choose for myself the qualities I like, treasure, and value most from all of the everyones in the world. I’ve already got ‘em all. Stick that up your DSM and smoke it.
The four most important things I have learned are both simple and impossible to explain to anyone who is not me: perspective, priorities, acceptance, and fighting back (original title of the post, by the way). That’s not to say that most people can’t learn them, it’s to say that they are very individualistic concepts. And while I would be willing to help anyone in teasing them out for themselves, they will be different in subtle but crucial ways for you than they are for me. And while people can help guide and direct you to certain realizations, the ones that you don’t ultimately come to on your own will never stick. And if they don’t stick, you’re going to be back in the same situation again, sooner or later (and also even I will throw out my most sacred rules of style and grammar when I want to).
I lived close to three decades standing on my principles and giving a voice to those who couldn’t speak. Who remembers the button I wore pinned to every garment I owned, every day in middle school, that professed something along the lines of, “People who wear fur are assholes and fuck you if you try to contradict me?” Of course it was shorter, less explicit, and made no mention of that last part – that part you just learned if you said anything disparaging about it or me wearing it. And even the most ignorant of my fellow students only had to learn that lesson once (I still have the button, by the way). God bless PETA. :)
At any rate, the one time in my life I caved to external pressure, I had the rug ripped from under me and I have taken nearly two years to learn to be able to balance again. But lately I feel like I could easily walk barefooted on a barbed wire tightrope. I’d like to be able to credit people and call them out by name for helping me get here. And I won’t dismiss my incredible cheering section and all the help and support and guidance they have shown me. But unless you haven’t bothered reading this post or aren’t paying attention, only one person gets the credit for me being here right now: me.
Because of my unique perspective and ability to assimilate experiences into it, my true understanding of priorities and what actually matters, my personal acceptance of certain things about my life and life in general, and my ability to fight back with all of the dirtiest and most effective tools that exist when necessary, I got myself back here. I had a great deal of help, and I hope that I always will, but I also know that people fall and walk out of your life, people wind up in their own mishigas and cannot offer you their continued focus, people promise to stand by your side until death and then leave you, people die. You’re the one you’re born with, you’re the one who’s with you always, you’re the one who is with you until you die, without fail. You can undermine and sabotage yourself much more deeply than anyone else, but you also hold the power to support and build yourself up in such a way that nothing can ever put you off of your balance for more than a brief interlude.
Moral of the story: Hooray, for me, hooray, for you, “. . .hip-hip-hooray for Winnie the Pooh! And Piglet too!”* Also, when it really matters, never trust anything on the internet or any other reference material. Go directly to the source.
Now pop open some ridiculously expensive champagne and toast me! Post number 100 and I find it perfect. :D I’d drink a whole bottle, but benzos and booze mix very poorly. They have the nasty little side effect of death, frequently.
*from the Disney film, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, song by Sherman and Sherman
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