So, this is not about why I haven’t been writing. And this is not about depression.
Except that it is.
I started blogging almost six years ago, only half of which were actively (guess which half!). For the last couple of years I’ve been doing the blogging equivalent of “I’m fine. And you?!”. Posting sporadically and then continuing to let you talk. But, I wasn’t fine. I was far from fine. I was being turned inside out, emotionally, financially, spiritually. I chose not to write about the worst of it. My honesty would hurt too many people – my husband, my mother, my in-laws. And maybe one day my daughter.
Some days I just didn’t want the internet to see what I’d become. I wondered if there even was a place for dark thoughts anymore in blogging when it seemed the whole community had exploded into a Vegas Strip of giveaways and pithy photo captions.
Other days I thought I was too good for blogging. After all, I was back in the corporate world, managing an office in spikey heels. I didn’t have time to come up with witty repertoire about throw pillows and granola bars. Please! I was too busy moving numbers around.
So, I chose to struggle through alone. To find my way in a world where I was no longer insulated by money and faith and a perfect marriage and a perfect baby and great writing gigs. And good blog traffic.
But, I continued to write privately. And it saved me.
It’s true what they say. Pain leaves in its wake a greater capacity to love. And a greater appreciation for happiness. In moments where I’m happy now I recognize it. I stand in it. I find myself laughing with a friend and stop to think, “I’m happy right now”. And I truly appreciate it. More than I ever have.
Yesterday, I caught myself humming in the shower and was so relieved it was still possible that I almost burst into tears.
I hug my daughter more. I listen to my husband. I seek out my friends. A lightness is back. The heaviness has left. Not lifted. Left. Gone. I can sense it. Like a haunting that’s decided to move on.
The world has color again.
Because I’ve stopped trying to be her.
I spent the last two years trying desperately to feel like the old Lena. And when I realized I never will – I can’t go back - I mourned. I felt cheated. I felt like I’d been promised that things wouldn’t change. Ever. Yet, they had. And my resistance to moving forward was killing me inside.
Until I had dinner with a friend last month.
“Don’t you think I’ve changed a lot since we met seven years ago”, I asked her.
“You’re a completely different person now.”
My eyes welled up.
“I know I am”, I cried, “Don’t you miss the friend you used to have? With all that money and hair and body and laughter and a total lack of humility? Wasn’t that just so much fun?”
Tearfully I rambled on about who I used to be.
“Not for me.”
I looked at her, stunned.
“Lena, you were hurtful. You were clueless. And selfish. You are a completely different person now. I love you more now than I ever did then.”
She started to cry.
“I know you’ve been through a lot. But, I wish you could see that you’re better now.”
At that moment, it clicked.
The truth is, I’ve never been better. I’ve been completely deconstructed. I’m not the Lena I was in my 20’s. I’m not that wife, friend, mother, or daughter.
Where there once was innocence there’s experience. Where there was insecurity there’s now confidence.
Where there was fear, there’s now knowledge. And where there was judgment, there’s now compassion.
There’s something so freeing about surprising yourself. You should try it sometime.