Rise From the Ashes

Some days I wake up with an urgency to look, feel, and be different. If I'm being honest, it's actually an urgency to look, feel, and be better. Better than what I am right not. Better than what I've let myself become. As it stands, I have zero self-worth. The negative voice in my head is so judgmental and it is quickly becoming so loud that I can't drown in out with distraction. When I wake up in the morning I am forced to reckon with this version of myself, the one that I never dreamt would come to fruition. 

This version, the one that is afraid of her own shadow, the one that is climbing out of the deepest hole of a lifetime, the one that takes an antidepressant that has caused vicious weight gain that makes me hate myself. Where did this person come from? Where is the woman who had a near perfect GPA in college, who could run 10-miler races, and could juggle everything and still laugh with a light heart? I feel like an alien in my own body and I crave the ignorance of youth. I long for the days when I didn't have to carry around the literal and figurative weights that I do now. I don't want to constantly be afraid that I may lose my grip on happiness. I don't want to panic thinking "what if I get sick again and it triggers a spiral into hell?" I don't want to avoid activities because of fear. I don't want to be this, but I don't know how to break free. 

I know that I have so much work to do to get to where I want to be, physically and emotionally, but I am daunted by the task. I keep starting to get myself on a path forward, but I get overwhelmed at the slowness of my pace and the length of the road...and I come to a screeching halt. Constantly stopping makes it that much harder to start again. Reinventing oneself is never easy, but it's damn near impossible when you have an internal critic telling you that you can't do it every step of the way. 

I have been writing this narrative for a long time; the one where if I just lose some weight, or get a new job, etc. (ad nauseum) that I will finally be content with myself. But I never am. I'm always reaching for that goal post that's just out of reach. It makes me feel like I constantly miss the mark. But for all my experience with mismanaged expectations, I never learn to be reasonable or rational when gauging what I should accomplish. I always set the bar so high that I either wreck myself to reach it or fall short. Either way, there is no joy to be had in the end. 

Joy is something I really try to cultivate, but I often engage in comparison, which they say robs you of that very thing. I compare myself to others, and to previous versions of myself. I see other women who don't resemble bloated ticks, and I feel all the more like The Revolting Blob. I remember when I seemed to have my shit together, and I feel all the more in disarray. I have thought patterns that question whether other people I know have ever needed the help of an antidepressant. I know I need to accept where I am in life right now in order to grow, but acceptance is one of those buzzwords that I sincerely hate, ha. It's said so flippantly, like "practice acceptance" and "let go." That's all well and good if you can accept your circumstances, but it's altogether a horse of a different color when you struggle with it. 

I've read many times "what you resist will persist" and it makes a lot of sense, but again so much easier said than done. I really stigmatize myself for reaching a breaking point and needing help, both through medication and counseling. The fact that the medicine has caused me to gain weight like a hippopotamus creates an unholy stew of self-loathing every time I see my own reflection. I don't just see a fat lady, I see one who is medicated because she wasn't strong enough to snap out of it. I see a failure, and it's so painful to come to terms with.

I should say that these are only labels I place on myself. I actually do know many people who take antidepressants and have never once thought that they were in any way less than. Same goes for weight, I do not ever judge people for their size or shape. I rationally accept others for who they are, without a second thought. It's only myself who I rake over the coals until there is nothing left but ash. For all my fear and loathing, I do still have a small, fragile hope that, like Fawkes in Dumbledore's office (Harry Potter for those unfamiliar,) I can rise like a Phoenix from the ashes and not only accept, but forgive, and like myself again. 


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