39 and a day.
I should say it was almost easy getting here since all it took was a repetitive cycle of cheating, lying, stealing, fighting, and then drinking to forget it all. All this time enveloping my dwindling self esteem, lack of gratitude and insecurities in false bravado. Then came 2018 and ripped me a new arsehole.
When I cheated, I cheated loved ones out of time by being very selective of whom I spend time with. I cheated them of my presence by being present but not available, whiling time on my phone while they had made time to catch up with me. I cheated family and friends out of time by isolating myself, claiming fatigue and exhaustion. I cheated dear ones out of love by funneling it all in the pursuit of self gratification. I luckily even cheated death on numerous occasions, ricocheting through life in a frenzy of excessive consumption.
When I lied, I lied I was fine to my family when I was shattering inside from unresolved trauma, not knowing up from down. I lied to employers and investors that all was well because I remained embarrassed to admit to them that my mental health was in shambles – I was too embarrassed to notch another failure to my life’s rack. I lied to my loved ones that I loved them back when I had no capacity left to love myself. I lied that I had the capacity to provide as I drained myself of resources in a bid to validate myself by providing for others. To top it all, I lied to myself in this pool of toxicity about expectations from myself and others.
When I stole, I stole attention from my friends and family by exaggerating the magnitude of my success, and to my empathizers, the magnitude of my sorrows. I stole love without intending of ever reciprocating, for a quick self-esteem boost. I stole time away from work under the pretext of meetings and appointments to while away doing nothing. Worse still, I stole love away from family for fickle and one-sided relationships, which in the end resulted in me stealing love from myself.
When I fought, I fought with my loved ones because they failed to understand me, yet I made no effort to communicate what was going on in my head. I fought for time from friends because I was jealous of who gave their attention. I fought with friend and foe alike, trying to force my entitlement and ideas on them. I fought with strangers on the internet who refused to accept my views and I fought with friends who would try to make me see anything other than my perspective.
And when I drank, I drank to hide my social anxiety, I drank to cope with boredom and I drank to forget all the strife I was dealing with. I continued drinking despite uncountable days of recovery, embarrassment and in some cases even hospital visits.
I turned 39 yesterday and it brought on some deep introspection. In the last year, I have had to accept so much of my own toxicity but nothing in life ever prepared me for the painful process of forgiveness. Forgiving others was hard, yet harder still was asking for forgiveness. I am confident those that I hurt have forgiven me; and I am equally confident that those who have not, will.
In this moment of vulnerability, I admit that it kills me everyday that I find I am unable to forgive myself.
Yet I remain hopeful that all I have learned and learn will help as I hurtle towards the big 4 – 0, because from where I stand, 39 looks like a bitch ass motherfucker.
I cannot fathom the courage it will require to rebuild my battered self esteem, shed these insecurities and toxic traits, which quite honestly scares the fuck out of me. It scares me so much I want to go back to my old comfortable repetitive pattern. I am hopeful now that I am becoming aware, I will learn.
I am still learning ways of letting go that comforting familiar clutch of anxiety in favour of that unfamiliar scary release of true freedom and I can only hope I am ready for life when it begins at the proverbial 40.
For now, I am 39. Alive. Hopeful. Learning.