Tuesday, 1 January 2008

New leaf resolutions






















Welcome 2008 - I'm glad to see you!

The past few years of my life have been pretty challenging - they have been for all of us, everywhere. The irony is that challenge is actually what makes it a life.

I don't usually do New Year's resolutions - why wait for an arbitrary date to reassess and make changes? But this time I want to vocalise and set it out like a contract that I am sure to revisit on Jan 1 2009, and no doubt throughout the next year as homework.

The 31st of December 2007 felt like the closing of a chapter of my life. I finally feel like I am in charge and behind the wheel. As much as we ever can. I have some wonderful things to look forward to in the near future - and they seem like a perfect opportunity to cast off the skin of my past. Let go of the bitterness that plagues my head and my heart. To accept who I am, the great and the grim.
It is a simple list:

1. Watch less TV. I love it and it feeds my mind. It is a happy distraction when I am desolate and overwhelmed. But it is the thief of time. I don't drink, I don't smoke, and I don't do drugs, yet it is my soma. And I am in denial. I can't count the number of times I've said "I don't watch much TV but...". Just because it is HBO or some other high quality production, it is still a creative block.

2. Stop carrying around that chip on my shoulder. It's heavy. Even if I can just leave it at home sometimes for parties. My friends know I have had some crap cards dealt my way. I have taken active steps to protect myself from those that can hurt me. I am more resilient than I give myself credit for. Accepting my past and how it has made me who I am does not equate with playing the victim card. I have also been well enough, for long enough, to know I can actually choose to be positive.

3. Be honest about my illness. Not "Hi my name is Cate and I have depression", But take the ego out of the equation and use the doors that acceptance opens rather than bemoan the ones it closes. Announcing this on my blog is hardly keeping a secret. And I am afraid of the consequences - what if my boss decides to Google me as she has joked? Well screw it. Its true to say that the people that count, don't care, and that the people who care, don't count. Instinct tells me I am strong enough to deal with any fall out. Not to say I'm not scared of what this honesty might bring. Not enough people understand depression to release it from its stigma. Hell most days I don't understand it and I've been living with it for probably 20 years. But life experience has shown me that dishonesty not only creates conflict and unhappiness around you, it also fractures your soul. Confessing each horrible detail of my secrets: the violence, emotional and sexual abuse I have endured were diabolically painful. Each memory working its way to the surface like a splinter. But it has also been the most liberating thing. With each telling my voice gets less choked and it feels less like I am cutting myself open and exposing my my core to harm. Confessing my illness is my last secret to tell. It is part of me so why hide it? It is what makes me my best as well as my worst.

We all endeavour to present the best of ourselves in our on-line persona. Its not necessarily ego - its pragmatic. No one wants to post about having nothing to post. But it doesn't always have to be about sunshine and lollipops. The best writers, they ones we constantly return to, balance the rough with the smooth. It is this honestly that creates the personal connection, represents the whole. The perfectness of imperfection - the wabi sabi if you will.

Oh yeah...

4. Eat less junk food.

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