Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Grief and the Maiden

lunch on the stoop

So I'm done with therapy (for now) and this is what I learned. If you're just catching up now with this story 1) I was planning to retire from roller derby after IKC, but then 1b) I had a stroke so I didn't actually get to play in IKC, and then I retired. About which I was fiiiiine, where the extra Is mean maybe not as fine as I thought. So then I was getting my act together and taking it on the road, and then 2) I fell into a sinkhole--i.e., a deep but as it turned out not too wide depression. I was pretty deeply depressed for June, July, and August, climbed out in September, and Cup of Jo wrote this piece about her postpartum depression that was just like mine, except mine was summer and no baby, all the way through where she says "I woke up one Tuesday morning, and it was over." It might even have been a Tuesday for me, too. I love Tuesdays. Just like that, though. Just as if night had ended, and the sun came up like it always does.

I mean, "just." Three months of therapy and Power 30. Where I used my Power 30 for self-care: sleep, hygiene, hydration—it all started with drinking that glass of water—nutrition, movement, and meditation, all of which I hope to be writing up soon. And where I guess in therapy I learned to feel my feelings, which I feel dorky even saying, which in itself says something. I say everything now. Where everything doesn't mean literally everything, obvs. If you want to know why I say everything when I don't mean everything, here's a thousand more words about that. Fiiine, I say a lot more. Terrifying. I feel like I was saying a lot to begin with.

Very early on, like on day one, my therapist brought up that we could talk about why I felt sad about being done with roller derby, literally right after I had just said that I didn't feel sad about being done with derby, which honestly was a little triggering because what really consciously bothers me is that sometimes people don't seem to hear the words that are coming out of my mouth. But then again there I was sitting on her couch trying not (another clue) to cry, so I thought maybe I should keep an open mind. If you're really interested, you should take a break now to see Inside-Out because that will explain everything. Which she actually gently suggested to me.

Okay, so. Let's say that I was suppressing my sadness about being done with derby, what is that about. I think one of the things to remember is that emotions are there to initiate behavior, they're so closely linked that I forget they're not one and the same. I almost said "we forget" but I don't want to ass U me, even though I think it's a decent assumption that would make me feel like I had company. But, write what you know. I forget. I conflate. I think I was conflating a) feeling sad about being done with derby with not being done with derby. Which for me there could be no question of, not even because of the stroke. Because reasons, reasons why I had decided to retire in the first place. But also, I had a stroke! Therefore, no feeling sad. Then I was conflating b) feeling sad about being done with derby with doubting that being done with derby was the right decision, and I personally don't like going around doubting my decisions if I'm not going to change them—which this I wasn't— I think that's undermining to my confidence. Therefore, no feeling sad.

Essentially I was protecting myself from going back to derby and from doubting that not going back to derby was the right decision. Neither of which I was actually, ever, in any danger of.

When the actual danger I was in was, well, stupid Joy running around in my head trying to keep Sadness out of my core memories and fucking up my entire internal infrastructure in the process.

Because you can safely feel sad about c) death. Or worse, things similar to death that don't seem as inarguably final as death. I'm actually pretty decent with death, having had a decent amount of practice. Death is kind of easier, it just is what it is being that I don't believe in an afterlife. I mean, death isn't great. Death is bad enough, I want only death to be death and everything that isn't death to be not death.

But some things that aren't death, are death. A thing like that is almost harder to accept because it is what it is ...or is it. Because in some way it's up to you, which is awful.

Things that suck but that can't be fixed, they are what they are, sucky and unfixable. Or you choose not to fix them and let them suck and maybe die, because you can't save everything. That is a very sad situation, there's lots to be sad about that doesn't involve a) going back or b) doubting that not going back is the right decision. You can just feel sad because c) death is sad, because you'll never get that back now. I mean that's what's sad about it, that there's no getting it back. It is lost. It's okay to feel sad about losing something! It would have been okay just to feel bad that that's how my derby career was going to end. Ah endings, another clue. I'm a writer, I always want a pretty ending. Can I say we? There's a great thing to insert here that Athena said about hardly anybody's derby career ending how they want, it's the whole ride that matters. I mean, think about it: consider the sport. Consider the odds. So if not a pretty ending, a pretty story? It's like everything with pretty, you know? You can lose yourself trying to fix all the parts you don't think are pretty, when you can just feel sad about that part not being very pretty, accept your actual face—er, story—for what it is and what you can do with it now.

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