Perception is a Bitch

This particular post is a healing post. It’s taken a couple months to write it and finally be able to push that “Publish” button. While it may not seem daunting to others, getting personal doesn’t come easy for me. So, here it is. Get ready for this one. Get comfy. Get a snack and maybe a bottle of wine because you and I... we’re gonna be here a while.

It has been quite a year. Looking back on things, I can now say that the old “hindsight is 20/20” adage is true. There are things in your life that you accept because that’s just the way they are. You don’t bother processing how you feel or even how it affects you. You go about your life just living in the lies and deception and thinking, “That’s just the way it is.” 

And maybe it is. But that doesn’t mean you have to accept it. 

I am still processing the death of my friend. Well, let me clear- the death of our friendship to be more precise. But it was ultimately caused because the friend I believed her to be was a contract with terms and conditions. I’m still upset over losing her. I’m still pissed off and hurt and angry and sad. Yet at the same time, I’m free.

I’m sure you’re wondering what the details are. Especially since I just wrote about how I would take a running jump off the proverbial bridge with her. Well, we did jump together. Except she suddenly watched me fall without even so much as trying to catch me. Instead, she changed her truth. She made ME to be the bad guy. And I’m certain if she reads this, I’ll be her topic of conversation for the next few months to come. Hey, who knows, maybe I’ll even get a few extra followers because she’ll no doubt show everyone she knows what a horrible person I am, writing about this.

So, here’s the deal: I don’t like fake people. I don’t like people who try to say one thing and be another. I ESPECIALLY don’t like when people tell me that what I feel and/or believe is “stupid” or fabricated or makes me a despicable human being. The fact that she told me the fear I have for my children and family during a time of intense racial prejudice and injustice is invalid and “you’re stupid if you believe that” should have been flag #1. But I brushed it off and didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to start an argument, and, frankly, I was shocked that she said that to me! So much so that I couldn’t respond back other than just to change the subject. Flag #2 was raised high and waving when she made a visit and focused more on comparing her ex-boyfriends and watching her iPad than with my family- that’s not the problem (I’ll gladly listen and compare and I don’t care if you want to watch a show on your iPad), it’s coming- and then tried to tell me that my husband treated her like dirt because he didn’t try to entertain her after working a 14-hour day and only sleeping 2-4 hours a night. (By the way, he didn’t. He actually spoke to her more than he spoke to me when he was at home!) But the Finish Flag lowered when she decided to put all the blame on me. It came down fast when she didn’t even TRY to fix anything; when all she wanted to do was play the blame game and tell me we needed to apologize to her but didn’t want to take accountability for anything she had said or done. She pointed finger after finger and never once said “I’m sorry I made you feel that way. I’m sorry I allowed you to feel like I abandoned you. I’m sorry I tried to invalidate your thoughts and feelings.” A friend doesn’t do that. And the whole time, I was the one begging with her “what can  I  do to fix this?” Our friendship died the day she told me that what I felt was unjustified and didn’t matter- this was about her. 

That was the beginning of a downward spiral. A 13-year old friendship just tossed into the dirt like a piece of lint you find on your clothing. Now add on the fact that I have a very honest Rheumatologist... and wow!

I have Rheumatoid Arthritis- an autoimmune disease that thinks my body is a foreign intruder and attacks itself. I was diagnosed after having my daughter in 2015, but I’ve been dealing with the pain since I was a teenager. This disease really hates my joints. Some days it hates my whole body. I’m not the type of person to not ask questions when it comes to stuff like this, so I research. A lot. I came across several articles that spoke about the fact that this disease can cause a shorter life span. In layman’s terms, I’ll probably die sooner than I’m supposed to.

I wanted to know if this was true. I don’t like surprises like this. I mean, I feel like I need to plan around this if it’s the case. But I needed facts. I was being switched to a medication called Methotrexate. It’s a low-dose chemotherapy and it sucks. I asked him about the shorter life span in conjunction with the medication. He told me the truth:

”Yes. Many people have shortened life spans. But the medication can put the disease into remission. Which means that you have a higher chance of living a normal life, though it may be shorter. In some cases, it can extend your life beyond what the disease would allow you to live. Good news though is this particular medication has a high success rate of treating the disease and sending it into remission.” So, he did his job of confirming it but giving me hope with the high-success rate addition. That still didn’t help, though.

So, it’s true and I have three possibilities. My life can either end sooner than expected while being miserable; end sooner than expected while being relatively pain-free; or, ideally, it could be a normal life with a normal finish line. 

Sigh. Insert sad emoji face here. Scratch that- insert confused, crying, angry at life, scared, and depressed emoji face here. 

Depression hit hard. And I didn’t even have a friend to talk to. I already felt like a burden to my husband and bringing this on him... I just didn’t know how to handle the sobbing-hysterically conversation of “What if I die before my kids even graduate high school?!” There were a few other things that happened between then and now that sent me further into the darkness that enveloped me... so throw those into the mix and what do you get?

You get hopelessness. You get numbness. You get uncontrollable crying and snapping at small shit and you get fucking fed up with everything and everyone- especially yourself. You get thoughts about how people telling you years ago that you’re not good enough may be true. You get thoughts about how maybe everyone’s life would just be better if you’re not there to bring their life down. You get an imagined validation that all these thoughts are what everyone else is thinking, too. And no one to talk to about it.

The darkness not only envelopes you, but it grabs hold and latches onto your back like a monstrous leech with wings that wrap around you and lock your arms to your side and your head down. It sucks you dry of any emotion and replaces it with despair. And the darkness only grows darker until that tiny speck of hope starts to fade out.

Then... you get Perspective.

Let’s talk about Perspective. Perspective is a Bitch. She is a high and mighty know-it-all, smug, self-serving, crass and crude, dominating and beautifully intimidating queen that shows up in the middle of the night to yank you out of your bed and pull you kicking and screaming by your hair, throwing you in the middle of your life whirling around you and quietly demanding with a tone that you know not to fight- “...look.” And it’s as if your eyes pop open with the force of a champagne cork being thrown out of the bottle. 

You See. You see that through all the darkness and the dank swampy thoughts you’ve been pulling yourself through just to survive, you see that what you thought you had in a friend... 

...was nothing. It was a shit show. It was a one-way road. It was a 13-year relationship of giving and when you THOUGHT you were receiving, it really wasn’t for you- it was for her.

You see that all the thoughts that you’re not good enough may be true- but that it’s finally up to you. You see you are the one that controls how you feel about you and as a result, you are the one that controls how others see you.

And you are the one that controls if a friend like that holds power over how you feel after they have shown you they don’t care enough to fight for your relationship. 

I don’t know about you, but I get mad when someone tells me what I feel and think isn’t worth the time to even consider. But now that I have a family? I fucking REFUSE to allow someone to tell me that my family doesn’t matter- that my  kids  don’t matter. I will not allow you to remain in my life. I’m not upset over losing her. I’m upset over losing the person I believed her to be .

And that goes for the Darkness too. Now that one is a bit tougher to get rid of, but I’m working on it. I’m slowly climbing and dredging out of the muddy pit while the tiny speck gets a little brighter each day. But, now , I can finally look back- and forward! Now, I have Perspective by my side pulling me as I try to climb and kick away the darkness grabbing at my feet.

Perspective is a Bitch, man. But I’ll be damned if I let her go.