As you all know, I haven’t exactly been doing too well emotionally (hence my lack of posts over the past few months). Walk, stumble, fall down, get up, repeat. The mundaneness and beautiful simplicity of emotional stability is
something that so many people take for granted, yet it’s something that seems to be beyond me. It’s especially taxing because it also takes a toll on my self esteem, my job performance, and my family.
Walk, stumble, fall down, get up, repeat.
At times like these, it’s easy to overlook the good moments. And there are good moments. Plenty, in fact. It’s simply that when a person suffers from a mental illness, whether it be bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, clinical depression, or what have you, life and its little joys in general feel like experiencing the what could be the glorious sense of touch with a pair of thick and ill-fitting rubber gloves. Whether it’s attempting to scratch an itch or caressing a beloved pet, something just doesn’t feel right inside. Limited, artificial, without sensation or feeling.
In moments of darkness, one of the forms of consolation that I most frequently seek out is reading. As the great C.S. Lewis once wrote, “We read to know that we are not alone.” Truer words were never spoken. For so very many reasons, reading is one of the most powerful (and in retrospect, probably the safest) methods that I have consistently used to see me through hard times. Reading gives me a different world to find refuge in when my own is too much to bear. It gives me a companion, it gives me hope that I’m not a lost cause. In short, reading helps me to remove the metaphoric rubber gloves and to slowly begin to feel happy and grateful again, bit by bit.
As I had previously written about in a post from about a year ago, one of my favorite books of all times is the children’s classic, “Alice in Wonderland.” Good God, for so many reasons, how could I possibly begin? I not only thoroughly loved the book, but both the Disney movie as a child and the Tim Burton version as an adult.
In any case, I identify with all the zany, wacky characters, in one way or another, not only just with Alice. But I have to be honest: I am indeed rather partial to the clever, mischievously grinning Cheshire Cat.
The story for me is a gold mine. There are many, many quotes that resound with me, amongst them a particular one from Alice to the Mad Hatter:
“Have I gone mad?”
“I’m afraid so. You’re mad, bonkers, completely off your head. But I’ll tell you a secret… all the best people are.”
That’s it. Close your Bibles. Alice has spoken. Can I get an “AMEN”???
Words and a life philosophy to live by. So… after a few months of contemplation, and one afternoon of impulse, I finally found the chutzpah to take the bus this week directly after work to a local tattoo parlor in Belgrano. I had printed out some general ideas for sketches that I had had in mind, and after speaking to the artist about what I wanted (nothing too, too big, something that stood out in terms of color, and was quirky, but in a positive way), I left and came back the very next day to see what he came up with. I was quite pleased.
(Side note: As someone who has had multiple tattoos done, it is worth emphasizing though you are entrusting your body to another person, and you should specify *exactly* what you want, it is in everyone’s best interest if you trust your tattoo artist and their judgement. They know what they are doing).
So two days ago, the time had come. It was a painful two-hour-long process from the first stroke of the needle to the time when he finished. But in the end, when I saw the image in the mirror, I was even more pleased than when I had seen the initial sketch. He had really surpassed my expectations.
I did it! I got a tattoo! Yeah! I am a total badass! *Happy dance*
And here it is:
Now, of course, my emotional issues and self doubt and depression do not end here. But now I have this personal philosophy of taking pride being an eccentric misfit to fall back on helps. Knowing that it is now as indelible on my body as it is in my heart is a much-needed comfort and reminder that I am not alone, that there is nothing wrong with me. And that though the road is long and can be treacherous and scary at times, I will be okay.