The only thing that isn’t worthless: to live this life out truthfully and rightly. And be patient with those who don’t.
I have not been patient with myself. I can be patient with any person, but myself? A difficult task on my best days; near impossible on my worst.
When I was very young, about 10 or 11. I was angry because I did not play as well as I thought I should have in a game at Atlanta Youth Lacrosse. Kneeling at the fence by the entrance to the field, elbow pads and gloves were ripped off and tossed into my bag with fury, and when I had nothing left to throw, I balled my right hand and slammed it into the ground.
Half a second later, I was cradling my hand in my lap, and fighting back tears. I missed the soft ground that I kneeled upon. Hitting instead, the concrete slab marking the threshold between the stands and the field. Twenty years later, you can still see the pinky and ring knuckles on my right hand are compacted. A permanent reminder that lashing out in anger can have unintended consequences.
In the last three weeks, I had gotten some distressing news, had to put my cat down, and had to travel to Philadelphia for the US Lacrosse National Convention. Most years, I have enough energy to power through the convention. This year, I was drained before I ever got into my car.
I am upset that I could not enjoy the experience at convention. I am angry that I could not shake myself out of this malaise. I am beating myself up for not taking good care of myself the last few weeks.
All of this is why I am going to therapy later today. I can feel a familiar desire to retreat from people. To pull away. To hide.
I’m still grieving, and since I put Jules down, I’ve been obsessed with mortality and morality. Reading Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning is a difficult, but necessary, read, and an excellent compliment to Aurelius’ Meditations.
When a man finds that it is his destiny to suffer, he will have to accept his suffering as his task; his single and unique task. He will have to acknowledge the fact that even in suffering he is unique and alone in the universe. No one can relieve him of his suffering or suffer in his place. His unique opportunity lies in the way in which he bears his burden.
His unique opportunity lies in the way in which he bears his burden.
Writing this blog, speaking to people, sharing my suffering, is my unique opportunity.
My burden of mental illness is more easily borne when I share my perspective with others. By explaining my anxieties, my anger, and my grief, I can make better sense of my internal struggles.
I still carry the scars of my younger impulse toward self-harm. I learned how not to beat myself up physically. I am trying to be patient with the part of me that wants to beat up my psyche.
Thank you to everyone who reads these words. You help keep my mind in a more positive place.