Often, a blog of this type will start its existence with a story. It might be the moment someone decided to change their life, or they began something existence altering or affirming. For some of us, life doesn’t work like this. For people like me, every day is just a step, the way forward, chance to discover more about myself in the process of existence. I’ve often wondered if the epiphany metaphor is overused, or if some people just spend their lives never experiencing the bolt of inspiration from above as the entire Universe suddenly shifts on its axis. I can say I’ve had amazing thoughts or I’ve come to significant conclusions but at no point did I ever feel the need to drop everything and just go another way. That’s just not how this works.
At least, it wasn’t.
Then, one day, I stopped menstruating. Now I look back on what preceded this event, with amazement it is abundantly apparent that the end had been on the cards for far longer than I’d initially realised. With the benefit of hindsight, a lot of shit suddenly made sense. Now I live in a world where hormonal surges no longer dictate actions: once upon a time it would be PMS, and when that added to my depression, things would sometimes become very black indeed. Now, amazingly, my life has altered in a manner I didn’t think would be possible a year ago. It is almost as if there was a light that switched on, sudden inspiration to push myself away from the person who just survived to the individual now who wants to start to be more. Without the hormonal issues, I’m suddenly more liberated than I ever thought would be possible.
However it is so much more than simply one moment of change.
The alterations I have made, starting after the holiday to the West coast of the US in 2015, hinged around a very real need to be physically stronger than I was at the time to survive. It has been a year, and I can confidently attest that on that front, there has been significant progress made. Weight loss used to be the reason I’d exercise, now exercise has become the catalyst for so much more . I stopped being about the petty and the details and finally embraced a completely different outlook, and when my periods stopped earlier this year, a whole level of worry simply vanished. It is only then I grasped that if I’m not dictated to but direct physical change, maybe the same can be true of everything else. The key however is a vital and small sliver of understanding that happened somewhere between 2015 and here.
It all revolves around being different, yet wanting to be the same.
I’ve known I was different since I was a kid, but only now am I able to tell you why. It’s not just a simple descriptor either, there’s a lot wrapped up in the understandings I’ve come to in the last few years. Knowing you are different, it occurs to me is only helpful if you wish to use the knowledge in a particular way: perhaps you hope it will help people better understand what you are, or why you have been the way you have for so long. Certainly for key medical or psychological conditions, that’s probably the case. However, if you conclude that you don’t want anything to change except yourself because of what you now understand to be your situation? That’s gonna be interesting. My family already know how to deal with the exception. What I’ve never really considered is how that goes the other way.
How do I deal with different, to make it better?
Today, I gave it a try. In two (potentially) contentious situations with family, I threw away the rules. Instead of the normal approaches, I went another way, and in both cases, things went far better than I could have anticipated. Of course, everyone else will be calling this a triumph for them making me alter my intractable, inflexible ways, and they might well be right, but in my head there’s a re-connection of neurons that’s only been possible after I found discipline and focus via exercise. The peace that routine has instilled allowed me the opportunity to approach parts of my psyche without fear for the first time, and come to conclusions I’m betting other people have been making for years, but because they loved me they just let it pass. In the end, it’s not a bolt of lightning or a massive epiphany, it’s just time and effort finding a way. Except some things won’t change: not because I’m unbending or inflexible, but because I don’t feel the same way I did any more.
Some will tell you the only way to find salvation is to forgive and find love in your heart for those who before you hated. This is a lie. You find salvation by accepting truths, and moving on. That means I won’t start loving people again I stopped loving before, regardless of their relationship to me. That’s absolutely fine too. No problems with this at all, and life will continue regardless. The difference is I can be polite and respectful now, whereas before I’d be other emotions. That’s all gone, and the hormones make all that trauma so much easier to cope with.
If someone asks you what you’d change about yourself give the chance, normally you’ll think of something that could use improvement. I’m currently altering just about every attitude I have, in a slow and systematic fashion, and I think I’d like to keep doing this until my last day on Earth. It’s not about opening my heart either: that’s never been shut for business and continues to be broken and brilliant by turns. I’ve lied a lot over the years using words but now I just want the truth to be out there, because in the end it is far easier than living a lie. I did that, and it won’t happen again. If I don’t want to let people know stuff? I just don’t write it down.
Everything else however is fair game.