Through out my life I've had moments where I feel like I lose myself. It's not the kind of loss of self you experience when you get wrapped up in a work of art or some really great music, or an exciting project even. It's a very bad sort of loss, where I feel like I'm suffocating. Like there's a part of me missing and if I don't get it back my world is going to completely fall apart.
I had to deal with it a lot growing up. Then, it was caused by some very bad events that took place in my childhood. Now, with the wisdom that comes from years of dealing and picking up the pieces of wreckage I leave behind during those moments I see it's an almost uncontrollable safety mechanism. The loss is always triggered by something emotionally burdening and a part of me runs away with every fiber of my being, trying to hide from the pain.
While that is taking place, another part of myself steps forward and does whatever it takes to force myself through the hard times. It does it without concern of past or future consequences. Without concern for what is best or what is right. The only thing it has in mind is making sure I survive it.
This summer was another one of such moments. I had my heartbroken by someone I placed my trust in completely. My relationship with my mother was extremely strained after a very big argument we had. I had been told I wouldn't be able to attend college this year. For me, those were the most important things in my life. My family is my rock, school was my ticket to being able to help take care of my family in the future, and her, well I loved her with everything I had until I realized she never felt the same. Throw in issues with money and other smaller things that had been building up. My world had gone from stable to upside down in a matter of weeks and I couldn't handle it anymore.
It had been years since I was in such a bad place. I was floored. I saw that if I didn't find an escape soon, I wasn't going to make it. I needed an escape and it came in the form of alcohol. I didn't see a problem with it at first, all I knew was that the days and weeks were passing and I was still here, so something was working right.
After about a month, I was finally able to start pulling myself back together. I managed to dull the pain enough to be able to see what I really needed to do to get myself back on my feet. The end of the summer was fast approaching and if I was going to find a way to stay in school I needed to start immediately.
I stopped buying the alcohol and switched to smoking on occasion. I busted my ass, and found a way I could stay in school. I owe my uncle most of the credit for pushing me and not letting me give up on that.
The past month and half are a true testament to how far I have come from where I was during the summer. In an attempt to ensure that I don't slip back down to where I was, I've started this little ritual almost. I don't really smoke anymore, but the nights when I feel myself starting to get overly stressed and need that escape, I grab my iPod and go outside and have a smoke.
There's something moving about being outside at night alone. Across the street from my house is a park. I walk over and sit on the swings or the stairs to a slide and just listen to my music and look at the sky. By the time I'm done with my cigarette my mind is refreshingly clear of all the thoughts and worries that had been plaguing me earlier and I'm in state of complete relaxation.
Rarely ever do I feel a sense of pride in myself but this is one of those times. I didn't give up when I so desperately wanted to, I can make it through anything now.