i'm thinking about a lot tonight. stuff that's hard to adequately put into words. stuff that makes me feel like i might be the most frustrating human being in existence sometimes. stuff that i wish sometimes i was too dumb or too shallow to even have cross my mind in the first place (yes that sounds conceited, no i do not care).
the thing is...i'm one of those people who thinks about everything. i overthink things up and down and inside-out, and just when i think i'm done with them...i unearth them from their shallow graves and overthink them some more. i think a lot about why my life has turned out to be what it's been. i think about where it will go from here, when all of this is over and i'm left with what it's made of me.
the thing is, illness and recovery aren't as simple as just that. at least, they haven't been for me. my illness coincided with the end of my marriage. it was a slow death and by the time we knew it was "over" we'd gone through the tunnel of pain and sadness and come out the other end okay. but when your marriage ends it affects your identity. suddenly things that were part of that, aren't anymore. maybe they're things you've done away with for good and maybe they're things you put in a drawer for later, but the point is that it's a big change. i knew i'd need to adjust to being a twenty-something single mormon girl whose beliefs mattered a LOT more this time around than they ever had before.
but then sickness came, and it took over everything. thoughts of living as a single person again and building that identity back were pushed aside by the basic thoughts and needs of survival. that has been largely the story of my life the past couple of years now. survival. making it from one day to the next. weeks. months. being sick became part of me the way that being married had. when it seemed there would be no end to my being sick, i tried to build my identity around it.
that identity was temporary. i knew it would be, because i have known from the beginning that i will not spend my whole life sick. but as the end has approached it's opened up a new challenge for me: take away the sickness and the survival and everything, and WHO AM I? that's the million-dollar question. that's what i spend hours and days trying to figure out. there are things that have naturally been a part of my personality for as long as i can remember, and there are new things. there are things that are ugly and things that are wonderful.
i find myself testing and pushing limits with everything, trying to establish my own boundaries as a person. am i kind? am i patient? am i dishonest or sincere? are my intentions good? are they all centered completely on ME? how much do i love the people i love, and what does that mean to me? all of these things i think about, and much much more. when all of this is over and i'm "free"...what will rise from the ashes of it?
i made a promise to myself after a dear friend visited me last winter. we hadn't seen each other in years and had just gotten back in contact shortly before she came home for christmas. it was one of the hardest times of my life and i was in a bad place. it took me awhile to admit to myself that i didn't want to see her because i was ashamed of what i'd become and how i was handling my illness and everything else. when she left, i promised myself that the next time i saw her, i wouldn't be ashamed of myself. i'd be someone i was proud to be. she loved me and still does, and i knew she could see me better than i could. when she came to visit just recently i realized that no matter how much further i still may need to come...i was no longer ashamed of myself. i'm proud of who i am.
it reminded me that even though i still have a lot to figure out when all of this is over...that i'm on the right path and in a good place, and that i will be exactly who i want to be and exactly who the people who love me know i can become. for better or worse (and i'd say better) overthinking has actually been a great blessing to me. i've been spurred on to rebuild the house that burnt down with something a million times better. and not only better, but something that will stand as long as i do. something fireproof.
strong souls don't burn.