Friday, March 26, 2010
I had forgotten about depression
I spent about an hour trying to untangle some balls of yarn earlier today. What a waste of time. I wound up throwing the lot in the garbage. Surrounded by bags of trash, empty bags, bags of unfinished projects, bags of scrap fabric, bags within bags, bags of receipts, bags of things for projects never started, bags, bags, and more bags, while sitting upon a rug that hasn't been vacuumed in who knows how long, I wondered how it had come to this. I've never been a slob, yet I was sitting in piles of evidence that I've been one. Huh?
I forgot I'd been depressed. Seems ridiculous, to be sure, since depression, unhappiness, or whatever one wants to call it, has been the ball and chain that's dragged me down for years. How can one forget that so easily? Perhaps this is another reason I'm finding this packing business so difficult. I'm sitting in my own shit, every day, seeing what a mess I had made of my life, and sifting through the tangible wreckage is exhausting.
I've got piles of books I'll never have use for, and it's not because I love books (though I do). It's because I have books about medical transcription, massage, medical billing and coding (what was I thinking?). . .piles of books that evidence my flailing about trying to find a new path in life.
It's not that I feel remorse for any of it. I don't. I think of past flailing, past errors, past anything, as fodder, and I'm lucky for it. Living with regrets is a killer, and it's a soul killer that seems to haunt so many people I know.
I've had rough times, but I am grateful I don't spend much time with the "what ifs?" What a horrendous waste of time and energy they are. We can what if ourselves into true misery. For everything we do, there is always an alternative, and though It's sometimes a useful exercise to wonder about where another path might have taken us, looking back and thinking we've done the wrong thing is mostly an exercise in self-loathing.
Recently someone said to me "You should never have moved to Maine." Absurd! First off, telling anyone that they've made a mistake with nearly twenty years of their life is just plain impolite, if nothing else. Leaving that aside, I just don't believe that even the worst mistakes should be seen as "wrong." Within every thing we do there's an opportunity to learn and to grow, and for that simple reason alone, so-called mistakes can be seen as wonderful things.
I used to feel "less-than" compared to people who had one thing they'd done with their lives and done it well. Amongst my relatives, leading a linear life was held up as the ideal, and those who did otherwise were seen as fooling around. Now, I'm grateful that i've not lead a linear life and that I've tried many things.
As for Maine, in these 19 years, I've done so much. I've raised sheep, woven linen and tartans on huge 19th century looms, communed with moose and ermine and had bats, rats, squirrels, chipmunks, turkeys, goats and lambs right in my own home, grown my own food, owned a tattoo shop, learned to live without running water, electricity, indoor plumbing (and all the things of modern life), met people who had jobs I'd never dreamed of (worm diggers, for instance). . .the list of riches here is long. So, now, I've not got a big 401K plan, or a paid-off mortgage, or any of the things that a linear life would have given me, but, my goodness, I'm glad for all of it.
There's been losses, huge losses, and there's been pain, and life has been tough. But, even as I write that I think "so what?" Life has been rich and life could have been richer. It's been what it was. I'm not disowning any of it. I feel badly that people do disown vast stretches of their lives. What a terrible thing to do to oneself.
Painting note: I was going to post a Resurrection painting, but then i found this. I am more than fond of Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen's portraits, but I don't recall ever seeing this intrguing painting, "Saul and the Witch of Endor"(1565). As a kid, I used to spend many a weekend at the Museum of Metropolitan Art, spending inordinate amounts of time in the portrait galleries. Click the link to see some of my favorite work. It fascinated me then how I could feel as if I was communicating with people whose lives were inconceivable to me, and it still does. For me, a great portrait conveys a life; one can see it in the eyes. The dead do not die through this work. The afterlife? Literally, I do not believe in it, but i don't feel the need. Music and art fill that void (if indeed there is a void to fill).