17 December, 2008

Stages.

I remember stages of my life not so much by its events or how old I was, but by how I remember feeling about things. This is probably true of a lot of people.

When I look back at past years, I don't usually think "Oh that's the year my sister was married," or, "that's the year I started high school." It's more "that's when I was really scared all the time," or "that's when I was an excited (!!!) pre-pubescent teen."

Some stages, like the ones I've just mentioned, I can remember with clarity. Others not so much.

I remember being a child; I was mostly happy, off in my own little world, and very shy. I also remember being scared of a lot of things.

I remember being in primary school; I was still mostly happy, I thought I was right most of the time. I was still very shy, and still scared of things.

I remember early high school; I was a super excited 13 year old girl. Most sentences were followed with too many exclamation marks. I still thought I was right all the time; often found it hard to get off my high horse and admit when I'd been wrong. It was around this time, when one night I was 'scared' by I-can't-remember-what, and was sick of it, that I read my bible and prayed until it stopped. I remember always wanting to help people, always putting them first.

I remember mid high school; I started to get over my excitement and enthusiasm. I had a massive creative burst; I was writing and drawing and loving it. The being scared had not come back since it stopped. But my creative and passionate burst was just that; a burst. After that it was a deserted, ugly rut. I remember being lonely, and apathetic. I remember feeling 'out of it' in social situations, I remember hating that, hating my self consciousness and hating the fact that I didn't want to help people any more. I felt so selfish. So I covered all of that up. I remember wearing a mask each and every day. And always, though I didn't want to, putting other people first (that of course was followed by guilt and shame) and pretending I was fine and happy until I was just so tired that I couldn't do it any longer.

And this is where I am today; this is a stage of depression, anxiety, cynicism, sarcasm, and fear. It is worse that being in a rut, worse than being in 'the desert'. I can feel the mask wearing away; it is so painful. I cannot bear it. I am sick of feeling out of place and 'not-together', I am sick of feeling like everyone is on some different level, or page to me, I am sick of feeling like no one feels about me the way I feel about them. I am sick of not being able to do things, and not being able to concentrate because I just can't seem to organise my mind. The smallest of things can bring me down in an instant and overwhelm me.
I wonder if the previous stages led to this place... I wonder if focusing on how I was 'stuck' forced me into this horrible place, or if it's the other way around, and I focused on it because I am in this horrible place.

It's funny, at the start of this year, I had 'visions of grandeur' of what it would be like, of what positive and impacting decisions I would make.

Not one of those expectations has been realised. Not even one.
I have no idea what I am doing. Except.
I am crying.

4 comments:

Emily said...

I'm not sure if I meant for this to sound so emo or not, but it is what it is.

Callum said...

I think certain events correspond with feelings. I'm fantastically bad at remembering without triggers, I find. I tried writing diaries but they always end up so inane I can't stand reading them.

What I can remember is being a pleasant, sincere, sensitive & safe kid, who still has never had a cast on a wrist nor any decent scars. At some point I was afraid of spiders, so I stopped going into the amazing cubby house my Dad built me in this massive garden we had up until I was 12 or so and moved.

I remember loving dolphins and wanting to be a marine biologist. I was good at drawing as a young kid and had dolphins everywhere. I remember going to a school friend's dress-up party with this foam dorsal fin on my head and a gray skivvy. The pictures are way up the back of the photo album...

I was always horrifically bad at sports but still played them, never really realizing it made me on the outer of primary school boys' social groups until I switched schools. Dad ran Auskick and helped in the cricket team. I got teased ruthlessly for about 3 years by a bunch of kids, one of which would come around after school and play cricket then turn on me in the playground the next day. I liked all my teachers and they liked me.

I did Scouts for years and was pretty good at it. I lead a...patrol?...and remember feeling pretty accomplished. Our Troop Leader was called Allen, and I always think of his as Allan Alda from M*A*S*H, though he wasn't so dry. Then a lot of kids left between year 7 & 9 in high school and I went with them, though to our own separate ways.

I never really fit in at church during primary school, but at some point, with gentle pushing from parents and youth leaders I made a way back in, and said 'the prayer'. Twice, I think; two weeks apart. I think in year 7, but it's kinda hazy. I didn't really get along with kids my age, but some of the older guys kept me going. I've never really left since.

I made friends alright in high school, surprisingly considering how I'd left primary. I was always a bit better than average in my studies in general, but never really pushed to excel. I think around year 9 I stopped Scouts, stopped Tae Kwon Do which I had done for about 12 months, and got a bit depressed. I found it hard to talk about but must have leeched it out somehow as I kept moving through the later years in high school.

In retrospect, being a 'moraly upright' christian kid damaged any real depth in my friendships at high school, and I don't seem those friends anymore. I still lacked a personal confidence, and remember being too uptight. They seem to see each other a lot still.

I took a year off after high school and didn't find a job. I barely remember that year or what I felt. I think I would have felt pent-up. I did guitar but was never really good at it. I helped out around church and I guess furthered my interested in Multimedia stuff, but I don't think I had some amazing drive for it. You get stuck in a strange nothing when you're not doing anything with your time. In November I covered for Luke for 10 weeks at church, which in the end got me the job in 2007.

I started University doing Multimedia and went pretty well. I think doing something with my time after a year of seemingly nothing really helped me grow in confidence. I mostly enjoyed what I was learning. I made friends in classes but they never really had any depth. I think as my church friendships grew I relied on them for social interaction over other relationships, and still do, though to a slightly lesser extent. I find that I enjoy familiarity a little too much.

In the end doing full-time Uni and working 2.something days at church wore me down, and I gave up the job at the end of the year. I also took some time off from worship band, realizing that I was in no way finding that place of worship needed to be up on stage, and to give what is asked of you. I find my loyalty to people or an idea can keep me in a place I don't want to be. I put others first when I shouldn't. In the end I recognized a great spiritual dryness and felt a bit fake. I still feel dry, or at least I don't feel the closeness I felt during high school. It took me ages but I think I gained some patience with it. Mysterious ways and all that.

First semester 2008 was really average, so I decided last minute to take some time off (which I'm still doing). It's weird, I was so set on being 'Multimedia', then I realized that continuing on was so unappealing. It took forever to admit that's what I was feeling, because it meant admitting that I didn't have any idea of what I wanted to be. But making the decision energized me where I had slipped back into a fog again.

The stages seem to repeat themselves, but I seem to gain more insight each time. I did a bunch of counseling which help immensely, leading up to deciding to take time off Uni. I still am cynical, and frustrated; prone to apathy, prone to worry, impatient. Sometimes I can't define anything as stages at all, just who I am. I think I need self-reflection as much as I need to focus outwards. I think I need direction as much as I need to be happy not knowing what the hell I'm supposed to do, or who I'm supposed to be. Because I don't, and I hate it, but it's where I am. Any steps are progress.

And for all my cynicism, and dry ironic humor, I seem to have found optimism. Which is hard to hang onto, but I think you have it. The truly hopeless don't consider stages: they make what they're feeling who they are. But you haven't. So hold fast, 'cause you're doing alright.

B.C. said...

Well this is a very late reply. I was thinking about it, then my thoughts went elsewhere and now they're back.

I'm not sure what to say about all of this. One thing that resonates with me is wanting to help people. I also know what it's like to want to help and then suddenly feel so empty that there's no way you could even look after yourself, let alone anyone else.

Something that I've come to believe is that it is awesome to want to help people, but you are in no way a help if you do not help yourself. The core behind the sort of feeling of wanting to serve is love, and I think we are most efficient in service and in love if we love ourselves first. When you do not do that, you give away more of yourself than you can afford to, and are left being no good to those you wish to help or yourself.

I like to dream, make big plans, wish for radical change etc. But above all these things, I place knowing and loving who I am and sharing love with others. These are seeminmgly little things, but like the mustard tree, from little things big things will grow. There's so many things Mother Teresa had to say on this subject. Here's a few:

1) "Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies."
2) "Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired."

and my favourite..

3) "In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love."

Much love em.

Emily said...

And now.

I remember writing this blog. At my sister Bree's house. I remember crying more and more towards the end, until it got to the point where I couldn't type.

That stage continued for a while. A long while. For about the next 3 years, in fact.

There have been a bunch of stages in between, but I won't go into that.

Right now, this stage. I'm not sure what I'm standing on, but I know that I'm standing with God, and that gives me peace.