It's been weeks now.
I've been feeling like I'm missing a piece of myself; like I misplaced it somewhere.
The concept is nothing new. In deep depression one loses all sense of self.
And it's a struggle, trying to grasp for things that you think might bring you closer to the person you're supposed to be instead of the ghost that wanders about haunting your life.
This is different. [Somehow, every time it's different so that just when I think I have the hang of it, I really don't.]
I'm not sure if I'm losing myself in stages or pieces are falling off or if this time I'll just lose parts and not the whole. And frankly I'm not sure what's more frightening.
So, I'm sorting through all these old photographs trying to see what part of me is missing. Maybe if I can identify what is missing I can remember when I last saw it? I'm not sure when that statement stopped sounding rational, but you have to understand that sense of missing something ~ it's like I left it in the pocket of a pair of pants that I haven't worn in a while or it's packed in some box I haven't unpacked in the two years since I moved.
The obvious answer to the part of me that I have lost is the part of me that can feel happiness and hope and love, that can look to the future and see more than darkness. I can't remember ever being happy. I'm not sure I've ever been loved. The one great relationship of my life ended with him saying, "I don't love you anymore. I'm not sure I ever loved you."
Can you even imagine HOW much I want to get him on the phone and make him take those words back? I can't even look at the photos of the two of us because I'm convinced they'll reinforce his statement. There will be something in his expression or body language in the photo that will SCREAM, I don't love this woman and I never did.
I asked my mother if she ever remembered me happy. She mentioned a number of different things but one of them clicked and now I cling to it.
It was a late weekend afternoon and I had gone for a walk in Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. It was nearly the end of a special butterfly exhibit they were have in one section of the new glass conservatory. I had been in no rush since I had gone to a similar exhibit at the Museum of National History in NYC not too long before, in fact I had planned to skip it. But after wandering through the orchid room in the conservatory, I decided to check out the butterflies. The Gardens were set to close in 5 minutes and I expected to be kicked out, but instead the garden personnel just left me alone with the plants and the millions of exotic moths and butterflies, letting me know to make sure the door was fully sealed with I left.
I can't remember the last time I had seen such beauty or was filled with such wonder. It was like being a child again and rediscovering the magic that surrounds you. Everything else, every crazy stress, left my mind and I was completely alone with the flutter of tiny colorful wings. I remember just stopping everything and sitting down on a bench and taking in all that surrounded me until tears of joy ran down my face. It was exactly the transfusion that I needed for my crazy life and my crazy job and everything else I just couldn't stop juggling.
So now as I risk losing myself to disease I hold on to what I believe is a vital part. I remember the beauty and the joy and the wonder and the happiness of that afternoon and I remind myself that I am more than capable of that.
And I sing along with my theme song....