This is just for me. If someone else gets something out of it too, whether it makes someone else feel less alone, or like someone can relate, that’s fantastic. If not, then fine, it’ll just be an outlet for me.
I’m struggling this week. I had a bad dream a couple of nights ago, and because I didn’t want to have any more bad dreams, I delayed going to bed last night and went to sleep late. Not too late, but I was tired today. I feel perpetually tired.
I’m struggling. I’m struggling to reconcile new me with old me and I don’t even know who new me is. I mean, I have a strong self-identity. I always have. I’m the ever so slightly emo rock chick with the black nail polish, always listening to Bring Me The Horizon or whatever my latest favourite band is, always getting obsessed with some TV show. The writer, the Buddhist, the optimist. But I have several images of myself and I don’t know which is the right one anymore. I don’t know which one I should pay attention to and stick with. My opinion changes all the time.
Some people think I’m brave. ‘Survivor’, ‘winner’. I beat it. I can do anything. That feels good to hear but I know it’s a lie. It makes me feel strong for a second but it’s difficult to grasp, it’s hard to hold onto that feeling. I can’t call upon it when I really need it.
That positive image just doesn’t match up with my experiences. I feel more like I’m broken. Yeah I survived but there are days like today when I feel emotionally defeated. Then the bad dreams I have make me feel helpless. Dreams about hospital remind me that I was a patient. A victim. What a horrible, horrible word. I’m damaged. I don’t know why, but that feeling is somehow easier to hold onto. And it’s completely unhelpful, unless I need some inspiration for writing.
And then there’s ‘advocate’. A mixture between the two: I am experienced but strong. I’ve won but I’m down to earth enough to want to help others and talk about my experiences – to campaign, even. No. I’m not strong enough for that. I can’t be that person.
So where does that leave me? What are my attributes? All of the above? None of the above? I feel like I’m on a journey of self-rediscovery. I’m trying to find myself all over again, when six years ago I thought I had it down. Am I the person I was before all of this, in 2009? Am I the same person I was in 2010 and 2011, in the hospital, recovering at home for three months after surgery, learning life with a colostomy bag only to reverse it and have yet more surgery, before being flung into the ‘new normal’, whatever that is? Am I an advocate – a new and improved me from 2011 onwards? Or am I some hybrid of all of those things? I feel so lost and sad about everything that has happened. And that’s not even with feeling bad about how it’s been over five years and I should shut up about it already. I can’t do that. Let’s not even address those feelings right now.
I guess I just miss myself. Confident, settled, carefree me. I don’t want to have any more bad dreams. I could cry right now if I thought anything would come out. But if anyone asks… I guess I’m just tired.