Checked Baggage

by SuperDebby, Everybody’s Boy

At some point in recent history I decided to take my life back.

I can’t pinpoint when it was.  It wasn’t some epiphanial moment that I will regale young whippersnappers with in my old age.  In fact, it wasn’t a moment at all.  It was the culmination of thousands of moments, and born out of an innate desire for self-preservation.  What’s more is that I’m not “all better.”   I just am.

You have to understand that for some time now I have teetered on the precipice of  shear disaster.

It doesn’t do anyone any good for me to recount publicly the transgressions I’ve encountered in my 34 years.  I imagine I have lived a lot more than some, yet a lot less than others.  What’s important is my reality and how I’ve coped.  Which, depending on where you would rate such encountered transgressions on the “horrible, terrible” scale, is either amazingly horrible or absolutely terrible.   I’d like to believe that experience brought me growth for the most part, with a side of baggage.

Baggage like an eating disorder, an anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder…and possibly some other “disorders” remaining to be unearthed.

Experience also brought me to understand my fragility, and appreciate my strengths.

It’s true that I jump every time I hear an unexpected loud noise.  Or that after 8 years my husband cannot approach me from behind without warning (and even then I still scream bloody murder at least 70 percent of the time).   Yes, I have foods that are “safe” and foods that are “forbidden”, even though the scale said I passed “recovery” about 60 pounds ago.  I chronically apologize for my very existence, always assume that I am wrong in any situation, and have spent much of my life harming myself physically and emotionally.  My anxiety keeps me awake a night, worrying about how I might have failed any number of people, and what egregious acts I might commit in the future.  I need medication to function in this world. Sometimes I cannot find the emotional energy to keep a dinner date with an old friend or put away the laundry that my husband washed and folded and instead find myself taking long afternoon naps seeking respite in a few hours without worry.  Even then, the memories, the anxiety, the fear sneak into my dreams forcing me to reconcile whatever it might be that I’ve fought so hard to cleanly compartmentalize.

It is incredibly lonely and miserable when your mind and body revolt against you.  Especially when you can’t reconcile a purpose.  I believe, at least in part, that I must experience these things because otherwise how could I possibly understand and champion my son?

No one is without gifts, however.  In fact, our weaknesses are often the very same things that help us towards greatness.

This is the realization that I had, when I decided to take my life back.

Without those encountered transgressions I doubt I would hold this passion to save my little piece of the world.

I don’t think I’d have the empathy to embrace another’s story without judgement, the patience to raise a child with Autism in a nurturing environment, the resilience to take continuous hard knocks and keep going, or the resourcefulness to make a path for myself and others.

So there it is, I guess.  There is my non-epiphany.  There is no black and white.  There is no sick or well.  There is only me taking responsibility and control for my very own journey.

There is beauty in dysfunction.  There is dysfunction in beauty.

Whatever it is today or turns out to be;  it is mine.

I took it back.

**********

Debby is a freelance writer living with her husband and only child (Everybody’s Boy) in North Carolina.  She is active in her community as an advocate for individuals who have Autism or who are otherwise “differently-abled.”  Debby works in the nonprofit sector, providing supports to maximize inclusion for individuals and their family members with developmental disabilities.  She aspires to practice the principles of yoga, but still finds it impossible to stifle a giggle when confronted with the term “downward facing dog”.  Debby is fluent in English, Frenglish, Spanglish and International Sarcasm and her special talents include the ability to eat practically any food with chopsticks, talking her way out of overdraft charges and telling pretentious stories about when she used to live “abroad”.

This post was originally published HERE and used with permission.

3 Comments

Filed under Remembering to Breathe, Taking the next step

3 responses to “Checked Baggage

  1. Wow, Debby, this is an AMAZING post. So beautifully written. And so true. Thank you for being so honest and open. I really needed to hear this: there is beauty in dysfunction. Though I don’t think my experiences have been as heartbreaking as yours appear to have been, I feel like I have very similar issues.

  2. AndyMummy

    Loved this piece.

    And Alyssia, thank you for continuing Oxygen Mask. I often don’t have time to comment (or anything witty enough to say). But I’m one of your lurking-readers. :)

  3. This post really touched my heart. I admire you for sharing your thoughts and I wish you all the very best as you take back your life.

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