Life In Progress Read Count : 9

Category : Poems

Sub Category : N/A

I spent my Saturday in the company of a special individual who is very dear to me. He was going through a rough patch, struggled with some dark demons. He reached out to me, wanted to talk and what he shared with me inspired me to write about it for I feel many in this world are struggling with the same demons. 


..... 


I was so young but I wanted to leave. 

Already weary. 

No fight in me. 


Have you ever felt that way? 

Weary? 

So incredibly tired of the battle that is against you? 


I have hated myself. 

Wished I could be different. 

Compared myself to others, I'm always lacking. 

Always. 


I knew that I was weak. 

That I didn't have it in me to push through. 

Didn't believe life would ever be better. 

Easier. 


I tried, you know, to leave. 

And it didn't work. 

So, I decided to live instead. 


And life did not immediately get better. 

Yet joy came. 

Not right away. 

Damn, it was hard work to live. 


Yet joy came. 


I have laid in bed trembling, so filled with fear and anxiety. 

Brain swirling with dark and scary thoughts. 

Dabbled with hopelessness. 


Every phone call made me panic. 

My body ached, my soul hurt. 

My mind would not rest. 


Do you understand any of this? 

Does it make sense to you? 

At least some of it? 


But with time I learned to trust. 

To love myself. 

To forgive myself for just being me. 


I learned to laugh without hesitation, to offer compassion and kindness. 

To myself. 


I learned to rise above. 

Slowly. 

Often falling. 

But steady. 


And joy came. 


It took years of practice, years of small steps towards wholeness. 


Yet joy came. 


I have pushed and fought and strove to prove my worth. 

To prove that I have a right to be. 


Perfectionism ruled me, an unforgiving taskmaster. 

He would not let me sleep. 

No mercy for less than the best. 

Don't even try if you can't do it, he'd sneer. 


I spilled rage onto others and all over myself. 


Who the hell did I think I was? 

Why couldn't I get it right? 

How come everyone else manages life but I can't get it together? 

Or keep it together? 


And I listened to him for so long. 

The perfectionism demon. 

The unforgiving taskmaster. 

He willed me to give up. 

Or to live under a heavy, oppressive blanket of shame and feeling not good enough. 


Unheard. 

Unloved. 

Unworthy. 


But I want you to hear me - I BURIED SHAME! 


And joy came. 


Not without tears and painful vulnerability and learning to face head on the very emotions that I tried so hard to escape. 


Yet joy came. 


I am the friend who cannot keep large amounts of Xanax or leftover medications in his home. 

The friend who lives with anxiety that one day his housemates will find them. And use them. 

I watch for signs and symptoms, praying and desperately hoping that they will not follow in my footsteps. 

That they will not turn to addiction or disorder as I did to numb away the pain. 


I am the son who learned that his own mother wanted to die. That she fought for her life like I fought for mine. 


I guess I did have fight in me after all. 

It looked like faltering steps, back and forth. 

Back and forth. 


And right now I am telling myself to keep fighting with just one step today. 

Just one. 


Because joy will come. 

Not tomorrow and probably not the next day. 


Yet joy will come. 


And I will laugh again and mean it. 

I will love and be loved. 

I can learn to love myself. 


I will learn to feel again. 

Fear. 

Pleasure. 

Anger. 

Hope. 

Disappointment. 

Peace. 

Joy. 


I will learn how to breathe. 


I will step out from under shame and perfectionism. 

From unworthiness. 


And this darkness, it is a part of my story but not the fullness of it. 

There is more yet unwritten. 

A beautiful story. 


Can I take one step? 


I will ask for help; let someone carry me. 

I have decided to live; I'll let someone know. 

I'll scream if I have to; I'll let my voice be heard. 


But I won't give up. 


I know I am not alone - I am part of many. 

And while I ache for them too, I also call them to choose life today because.... 


.... Joy will come. 

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  • Apr 28, 2019

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