Why do I carry some nebulous shame for things I have or have not done in my life? I wish I could have a ‘no apologies’ attitude and continue brushing off the backhanded compliments or outright snubs. I am glad in who I am and enjoy the life I have created with my family. I am growing as an artist and believe in my work. I am moving forward in the process of discovery that writing offers—that life offers. But recently something was said to me that made me waver oh so slightly in those beliefs. I am writing this entry to clarify my perspective for myself and to make a statement to those others who judge me.
I am in recovery. I am recovering from abuse, breakdowns and raw grief. I have been open about my history. I have engaged in this recovery with all of my being for the sake of my children and loved ones. I know I am cherished. I cherish myself. I cherish this time I have which almost slipped from me due to illness, misdiagnosis of that illness, and the devastation of self that was the result of both.
I wondered for years about the life I could have lived if I did not have bipolar disease–if I had not fallen apart those so many times. I do not allow myself to wonder what my life would have been like without Adam. I do remind myself that at the time others were pressuring me to not have a child at such a young age. His life was a grace in mine. I learned more about love, compassion and humility through Adam’s life than I ever could have if he had not been.
I embrace the life I am living. I realize I am where I need to be to do what I desire—which is to raise my daughter to the best of my ability, do meaningful work in the world and honor the loving relationships in my life.
Since I have lived in relative stability for several years, I have come to be able to pursue the writing which brings me great joy. I took the first steps on this path in 2004 after Adam died. In dealing with my grief, writing offered a path out. Through the writing process, the creative process, I am accessing life and myself in deeper ways. I am looking within and without and creating art through myself. That activity is essential to my recovery and my peace. That I have achieved some success is uplifting beyond words, but I will try:
Each success, no matter how small, in the practice of what I love is a lightning strike against the dark.
I believed what was believed about me for too long rather than believing myself. But I won’t hold those negative beliefs any longer, not even a shred. My ambition is true and I am on fire with it. I set myself on the path and I do not allow much to divert me from it—even gross insults and arrogant snubs.
No, I don’t have a chip on my shoulder but I do recognize when I am being belittled and it will not go unanswered.