Gust   1 comment

 

I’ve tried to learn as much as I can during this life.  That doesn’t mean I’m very educated.  It doesn’t mean that my memory is all that crisp and full of exact times, names and dates.  But I have on as many occasions as I have been able to open my mind and eyes to the wonder of a situation so that I can see things from various perspectives, challenge my own take and respect the complexities that make up the ins and outs of what is going on around me.  I do believe that the best way to know my own heart and mind is to know just what makes other people feel the way they do.  I try to listen, to debate just enough to make sure that I fully understand what you are saying, to make sure that you fully understand what you are saying.  Very rarely am I trying to convince you that I am right, because I figure that if I am you will see it for yourself if the right answer is what you are truly seeking out.

But at the end of it all, what I have been confronted with most in recent events is that people often feel the need to challenge what they are uncomfortable with and in that robust and awkward rebellion they really don’t allow themselves the bliss of being unsure.

It’s truly a remarkable experience.  To just be free of all of your assumptions and fantasies and to let go of what you’ve settled for; you need to allow for the truth and the truth is simply this: you don’t know.

I grew up with a lot of love.  I had parents who were as close to being magical and mythical as you could ever hope to find.  That doesn’t mean that they were traditional and that doesn’t imply that I had it easy.  But I see where I was blessed and lucky.  And I see where, even though I was denied and wronged, I have had an incredible opportunity to build my own magic.  Because I am able to come to you now, a 38 year old woman who worked and sacrificed to construct strong relationships with my mother and father, do not pretend to understand just how this has all come about.  You do not.  This is not a fault of yours.  But you pretending to understand, pretending to know, pretending your situation was the same is a fault because it is disrespectful.  My truth is not unknowable, but if I have not explained it to you then you do not know it.

I love my parents and I want to simply be in a positive place regarding them both now.  I was the primary caregiver to them both in their final days.  They have both passed.  I can honestly say that I was each of their best friends as they were mine the last years of their lives.  I see no reason to trash talk them.  I did the work to heal and to fix and to move on.

But this does not mean that I am at some whimsical place where I am comfortable having someone impose on me their version of my truth.  Do not tell me that my mother or father did this or that for me when you have no idea who they were or how they treated me.  Part of my mental and spiritual health comes from my journey.  And that entails me starting as a child who was not properly cared for, who was not validated or safe and who learned to fend for myself.  And then after years of struggle and self doubt, a long process of fighting demons and caring about people who left me to the wolves whenever it suited them, I found it within myself to gather strength, compassion, loyalty and self-awareness.

When I speak with love, kindness and warmth it does not mean that I have gotten over the wrong done to me.  It means that I am bigger than the wrong done to me because I have found a way to grow because of it.  I have used all of the gifts and all of the burdens to develop into the most brilliant version of me that I am currently capable of being and that is not a pursuit that I am finished realizing.  I am forever a work in progress.

I wish I understood why some people feel so compelled to dig up reasons to exploit their pasts.  Why some need to showcase their parents or others as villains and paint themselves as victims.  We all have pain and we have all been hurt and denied.  Human beings are flawed and we let each other down.  Just like you have been let down, you have let others down and yet you want to be praised and adored for what you have done well.  I find it odd how often the words vicious and cycle get placed together.  It is the nature of a cycle to be persistent.  It’s not vicious, it’s merely undeniable.

Instead of talking about how crazy you are or how abused you have been, do me a simple favor.  Make a list of all of the wonderful things you have to be truly grateful for.  Do it right now, don’t put it off.  Don’t complain, don’t compare, don’t trivialize or forget just what assets you have that you so easily forget to mention.

I’ll list mine here for you now.  I’ll list them so that you can see just how amazing my life is.  Because along with all of the sadness and hardship, I have been so incredibly fortunate and I know it.  I never let myself forget it.  And the only thing that ever takes my sights off of all that I have to be happy about are those moments when I talk to someone and they do one of two things.

  1. When I am trying to explain who I am and where I’ve been and instead of just learning about me they need to compete and tell me how rough they have had it by comparing.  It’s so sad that they waste such an intimate opportunity to get to know me by trying to play a game like this.  I’m not telling you how horrible things really were.  You don’t know the darkness I’ve lived through.  You should respect me and the life I’ve lived enough to trust that for me to be in the situation I’m in I’ve been through things you can’t imagine and just let me have my grief without trying to one up me.  (I do give a good amount of time to listening)
  2. When I am talking to someone about a third party who I know incredibly better than the 2nd party and the person I am talking to can’t let go of their preconceived notions and little fantasies long enough to trust my hard won truth.  I shouldn’t have to deconstruct someone before your very eyes.  I know this person.  You do not.  Let go of your over-romantic bullshit and consider for a moment that there is a lot you don’t know and allow me to state what I’ve stated without contention.  If you can’t allow it, then at least be respectful enough to question it as a means of seeking more information but never in a manner in which you are forcing your distorted view back onto the more knowledgeable person.

And now for the stuff that I’m truly grateful for:

  1. I have the most loyal and passionate friends who have stayed close to me no matter how much time or distance has come between us.  They found that sacred place in my soul that was calling out to them each individually and allowed for it to reach their hearts and never have they denied that bond between us.  There are many of them and they know who they are.  My grandmother always mocked people in my family for “thinking” they had friends when she thought only family could be so close, but my mother always said to me, “I cannot believe how truly blessed you have been to have such amazing friends.  You must really be something special.”  It wasn’t until these last couple of years when we were so close and honest with each other when she really got to know me that she found herself able to say, “I see now why you have such beautiful friends, Jen.  You are one.”
  2. The last 2 and half years with my mom.  She and I laughed and cried and cuddled so much that I think I honestly don’t even feel sorrow in her passing.  I feel her love so much still that I don’t “miss” her.  I still have the warmth of her with me.
  3. Being there for my father when he was weak.  My dad was a bad ass kind of guy.  I was with him in bar fights and other shady operations and I never had to worry about my physical well-being when he was around, but in the last few months of his life he was really feeling the effects of his illness.  And even though most people would be overwhelmed with the shock or sadness of it, I found myself being really content because it was the only time in my dad’s life (at least in my lifetime) where he needed someone and he didn’t have to sacrifice his pride to be taken care of.  Earlier in his life, he was ill and he had to swallow a lot of pride because I wasn’t around and he needed other people to help him.  And when they helped him it came with a lot of bullshit.  That’s just how it happens where we come from.  And my dad had a real way of making trouble for himself too.  So in those last few months, having me there to care for him and him still being my hero and still being able to hold his head high even if he couldn’t lift it himself, it meant a lot to us both.  I get upset often about being left alone to care for him because it wasn’t fair to either of us.  But truthfully, my friends and my niece were there for me at the end and it helped me realize that family is what you make of it.  I love my dad.  With all of his flaws and with all of our problems, he helped me realize that you don’t give up on people just because it’s hard going.  But you can give up on people even when you’re related if it’s the right thing to do.  He didn’t deserve to be given up on.  I don’t either.  And I’ll always be a daddy’s girl.
  4. Words.  That’s right.  Words.  Whether its poetry, lyrics, a long rant in a blog, a passage from a book or a conversation full of whimsy or conviction, words are the magic that allows me to surf the tides of this varied life.  My own odes or those of others, they are the saints of the religion of my mind.  And with them I am capable of things left only for me to imagine.

Oh there is so much more!  But why keep listing when I can keep enjoying?  I’ll write more at another time about this.  But my main point is your life is wonderful too.  You just need to enjoy it.  Stop bitching, stop complaining.  If you can’t find the sunshine, then maybe you should stop looking for it in the night!

I am mentally ill.  I freely admit this.  It’s not self-diagnosed.  It’s not a convenient way of explaining why I’m moody or difficult.  If you can “manage” your problems, then maybe you should stop trying to convince yourself or others that you have so many of them and instead be really happy that your life is going so well!  If you don’t need therapy and medication then you shouldn’t try so hard to find ways to bring negativity into your world.

Everyone gets depressed, stressed, anxious and overwhelmed.  This doesn’t mean that you’re crazy or suffering from something.  And just because you can identify with a list of symptoms doesn’t mean you have a mental illness.  When someone who truly has a mental illness has to deal with a person who tries to compare themselves over and over again not only is it tiresome, it’s disrespectful.  It’s like you’re saying, “Yes, I have the same problems, but I don’t need the help you need and I can still do all the stuff you can’t because I’m better then you.”

Well, fuck you very much!

At the end of all of this I just want to part saying the following:

Every day is a struggle for me because I am caught in the middle between a revelation and a nightmare.  I am just inches from stepping into a shaft of pure sunlight and teetering backwards off of a cliff which has me precariously perched above a hellish concept of non reality.  I am trying to, at the very least, maintain my footing if not proceed forward.

If I find you in any way a gust of wind in the wrong direction you will cease to be a part of my landscape.

Jen Czahur

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One response to “Gust

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  1. Pingback: A Shaft Of Sunlight | Poemotherapi Shoppe

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