Thursday, August 31, 2006

the up side of having been suicidal...

Okay, so maybe that's a no-brainer. The upside is you're no longer suicidal - pretty much everything is up from that point. But the thing I'm referring to is the lessened fears.

I had become so fearful, so holed-up, with my depression and desire to die that I was afraid to do the littlest things.

I've always been shy so my littlest things are miniscule to other people; and with some of them I still have some work to do. For example, don't expect me to feel comfortable ordering in a deli... it's nuts (no, really, it is) but I have a horrible time working up the nerve to order over a deli counter. There's something so intimidating about all that glass... or maybe it's just that I'm short. Not sure. But that one is still problematic. And party-phobia. That's just something I can't seem to control, sometimes I'm fine: most times, not so much. Parties and Delis... hey, we all have our quirks.

But the bigger things, THOSE I'm much better about. For instance I had never traveled alone prior to my first trip to Mexico 6 months ago. Sure I've 'traveled' alone, but I've never actually been on an entire trip alone start to finish. I'd either meet up with someone or go visit someone or some such thing. That first Mexico trip was HUGE for me. Not only was it my first trip alone, I was going to a Spanish-speaking country. I took French in High School. My knowledge of Spanish began with "si" and ended with "gracias". Seriously. But I went any way. And it was, hands down, the very best vacation I have EVER taken. I came back to New York and immediately signed up for a Spanish class. After 4 months of classes I still have a HORRIBLE accent, but I can read and understand what people are saying (I love Mexican soap operas) and that's a helluva lot better than "si and gracias".

If I'd gone ahead with my check-0ut plans, I would never have seen Mexico - easily the most beautiful place on earth. I would not have learned Spanish (some would argue I have STILL not learned Spanish but I ignore them). I would not have had the chance to act again, I would not have gotten a second tattoo, I ... okay, let's just say I've done a lot of things I could never have even dreamed up when I was planning my suicide. And I cannot express how astounded I am at all I would have missed.

Every day since the day I decided NOT to die has been pure gravy. Even the crappy days have been great. Seriously great. If I were to die tomorrow I would still be so happy that I had this time where I truly appreciated being alive, I'd be pissed it was so short, but I'd still appreciate what I'd had. Because had I done what I'd intended... there would have been none of it. What an awful waste, to have missed so much. And there is SO much out there.

It's hard, really hard, to see this side of things when you're sick. Your world becomes very small, very tight and wrapped around your pain and your fears. It's an isolation that allows nothing beautiful in, nothing delights, nothing feels good. Everything is ashey and empty and tasteless and dull. So much so that you can completely forget what it ever felt like to even laugh for real. That was one of the worst things for me. Losing laughter.

Not that anyone knew it. Hell, I laughed all the time. It was what people expected. Funny girl, laugh clown laugh and all that shit. I remember hearing my own laughter and thinking how insanely fake it sounded. It was like watching a badly dubbed movie. And I remember the first real, honest "oh my GOD I'm REALLY LAUGHING and not fake-smiling" moment that I'd had in years. And I know exactly when and where it happened and I will never be able to thank enough the man who gave me my laugh back. Laughter really is powerful medicine. Real laughter any way. And that's hard to find when you're sick.

I know, it sounds all preachy-happy and maybe even a little nauseating. God I hope it doesn't... though I know my cynical self, I'd poo-poo it all for sure. Except that I experience it every day now, and I'm still a bit cynical, but you can be cynical and still be THRILLED to be alive. It seems odd, but ... well... I'm a little odd.

I'm going to Mexico again in two weeks. If you've read this blog before you know that already. This time I'm not even a little nervous. I did set up a reservation for a Dolphin swim. This is a big deal, because I do not swim. I'm a dog-paddler at best and that water had best not be more than 4 feet deep. So this is one of those I'm afraid but doing it any way things. My guess is that it will be incredible and I'll wonder why I never got over my fear of water and learned to swim. But while I'm worrying about drowning (not that I think Flipper would let anyone drown) and making a big fool of myself I'm also going to remember that there's actually nothing to fear: it's all just gravy after all. And what's scary about gravy? Nothing. It's delicious!

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