Drowning in the in·ev·i·ta·bil·i·ty of Change
“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”
-William Arthur Ward
When I was younger, I believed, like all children, that I was invincible. I played, lived, and existed as if nothing mattered. Just me, the petulant center of my own universe. As the years passed, I learned to love, hate, and feel pain and sadness. I taught myself to become numb to large emotional swings, be them happy or sad. I made myself change. Over the years, people would ask me if I was “happy” because I didn’t react as I “should have” with an outward expression that was typical for the situation. I was happy, but I didn’t show it like other people. My face didn’t glow with happiness. I didn’t exclaim or cheer at Christmas. I was just there. I tried to focus my emotions to remain at “0.” It felt safe. Never tipping my hand or showing excessive emotional responses and trying to remain at “0” protected me and insulated me from pain. The pain of sadness and the pain that remains when happiness diminishes.
In hindsight, I can see that when a kid or adult’s response to a Christmas filled with gifts, family, and all the food they love is more blasé than excited it could be…off putting to most people. So, yeah, my attitude was often seen as “bad” or “unthankful” and it did cause stress and disappointment to the people around me. When I would feel that disappointment with me, it only strengthened my resolve to be as inoculated as I could from feeling it. Putting yourself into a willing form of isolation doesn’t feel like isolation. The walls I built around myself were constantly reinforced and made taller in order to withstand the persistent tide of the things that bring enviable pain. You lose perspective and don’t know how tall and think those walls are becoming until they aren’t keeping things away from you, but keeping you away from things.
Now, I have no choice but to accept that the invincibility I have believed in for so long and the emotional shield of being at “0” have
ultimately been a detriment to my life. At 45, I am breaking down. I am breaking down in an emotionless prison I built over time. No one can tell I am suffering. No one can tell I am not “ok.”
I am no longer able to heal adequately. I have chronic pain every day. I am crumbling emotionally. Coping is a skill I do not have. Deflection and prevention are no longer viable options for me. The forces of life are cresting over my walls and I can not build as fast as I once could.
I am suffering from the delayed onset of change, or its more commonly known term, age. I am aging, but I am unprepared to age. I am not able to accept something that I have attempted to protect myself from, but now have no choice but to literally suffer through each day and watch in imperceptible fear whatever comes over my walls next as it rains down over me. I am just sitting here cowering inside my own fortress of “0” -waiting for what I now see as the inevitable denoument of my existance – nothingness.