I am forcing this post, sitting in what was many years ago someone’s home, but is now a cafe offering bad coffee, good wine, average food, and classic rock at just the right volume. My body is folded into an overstuffed brown leatherette chair, my computer is resting on my lap, and Stevie Nicks is singing about a woman who flies with the birds. I am here to write about radical gratitude. I felt inspired and radically grateful Saturday nite, but I was too tired to write after another 12 hour shift spent collecting, assessing , and documenting data, intervening, practicing therapeutic communicaton, and emptying palliative colostomys while trying not to gag. So I promised myself I’d save this post until Monday, my day off… and now it’s Monday afternoon, and my mind is lazy and slow, the sky is gray and teasing me with teeny raindrops that do nothing but make me want more drops, bigger, wetter, and better drops. I want the get out of life free card that rainy days bring. Just for today. Gone are the explosions of racing words and slow emotion that were flooding my mind and heart just a few days ago.
Just shut up and write……
Have you ever wanted to die? I have. Last month along with sugar, I gave up my birth control pills that I took not to control birth, but to control the crazy demon called PMDD, premenstrual dysphoric dysfunction. Do not mistake PMS for PMDD or PMDD for PMS. Premenstrual Syndrome is a skinny, wimpy, gutless, soulless PMDD wannabee. PMDD won’t just make you irritable and puffy, it will call up your darkest demons and leave you too tired to fight the relentless beasts that rob you of your joy, hope, and will. After deciding to get serious about my health, I stopped taking these little pills, since they too fed the candida in my gut. I wasn’t prepared for the hormonal drop that would leave me contemplating death and the devil. I was too exhausted to turn my head towards the light. The dark ness had its way with me for a full two weeks, and feeling weak and ripe for a possession, I let it.
Of course, I’ve been a visitor to the underworld before. In fact, I’ve been there many times. I’m a frequent visitor. I know the terrain, I know what to pack, and I also know how to get out. I’m fighting to get out the moment I realize I’m there. Usually I chant, visualize, and pray my way out. It can take some time, but it works, and eventually I am delivered back to the world above. But this time I didn’t bother packing a bag, I went as I was, I didn’t bring my mantra, my Jesus candle, my white light, or my will. This time I just went and I stayed as long as I was welcome. I didn’t want to fight, I didn’t want to hear about happiness and hope, how “this too shall pass”, I wanted to taste the blood of my own punctured soul, I didn’t care if I ever felt better, maybe this would never pass, maybe this was my new reality. I settled in for a lifetime of pain and misery, I was ready to die. Here I am. I give up.
In light of the past few months, this dip wasn’t a surprise. I had my dreams smashed by invisible fists, I was thrown back into my old life, this time with debt, I was starting over AGAIN, living an endless transition. Working so hard to regain what I had taken for granted before I left created deep resentment. I resented god, I resented my dreams, I resented my restlessness, my wanting things I didn’t really want. What a shit show. What now? Death seemed so much easier than living. I wasn’t suicidal in the active sense…I wouldn’t take my own life….but my mind went into visions of self-destruction that fascinated me. I thought of using drugs, the scary kind….I thought of drinking myself into oblivion, having sex with strange men, marrying someone I didn’t love so that I wouldn’t have to work, I thought of lighting my cottage on fire. I thought about these things, but never moved towards action. I didn’t have the strength. After savassana one morning, the teacher came up to me to introduce herself, she told me I had a lovely practice. I looked her straight in the eyes, and said, “Thanks, I wish I were dead.” I was still vibrating with the emptiness and peace of corpse pose, and her shining face didn’t match my mood, she smiled and attempted a comforting response which I poo-pooed, which caused her now uncomfortable smile to go shine elsewhere.
And then suddenly….. I felt better. After wearing beeping headphones and holding vibrating probes while re-living childhood trauma and my time in California, I felt better. Not immediately, but after my cutting edge therapy session, I hiked up Squaw Peak with a dagger in my heart, and by the time I got down I was giving thanks for the most unexpected things. I was thanking god for giving me the courage to follow my dreams, for allowing me to experience the deepest of pain, for showing me failure, for forcing me back to the desert. I was thanking god for showing me my limitations, my weaknesses, my pride, my vanity, my selfishness. Thanks. I thanked god from the bottom of my heart for all of my failed relationships. Especially the one that lasted 9 years, cause, hey, some people never get to experience that kind of love. Instead of cursing and questioning god, I thanked him for bringing my first true love to the yoga studio were I am now practicing, and reminding me of my once open innocent self, I thanked god for showing me my fear, my anger, I was suddenly grateful for the knowledge that I was still very angry at him for so many things, my heart was crying tears of gratitude for the gift of watching this man practice yoga on the mat across from mine, and seeing him with newly compassionate eyes.
I am grateful for my friends who didn’t run away when I told them I’d rather be dead. There is darkness here too. Thank you for loving it all. I am grateful for the darkness, for being able to watch it and not run away from it. I am also grateful for those who run, for those who don’t answer the door when the black night knocks…I don’t blame them, I am them.
I went to the pharmacy to ensure my next visit wont be as dramatic…I’ll still go, but not so far this time. It kind of sucked. I am a slave to chemicals. I am a chemical reaction reacting. God is a mad chemist. God is having a mad fucking chemical ball. Glad I could attend.
3 thoughts on “Radical Gratitude and Demonic Possession”
awesome Kate, your writing is powerful and unapologetic, claims itself and the world with unrepentant gaze and a strong heart
love your words, we return … but we are never the same
we are that innocence and yet we are full of the strength of mountains, inexorable rising to the calling of the sky
I just found your blog through Lauren, and wow – I read that and felt the tears prick my eyes because I’ve been there, I’ve seen those things, been to that place, faced the darkness and saw it staring right back. I don’t wish it on anyone, and as someone who also deals with a chronic condition on a daily basis, I am sad and so, so sorry you had to. I wish I could hug you up and make it okay…and I don’t even know you.
I appreciate your comment, I also appreciate the darkness, and know that it is not me….just another aspect of the jewel that reflects all sorts of experience. So, while I wouldn’t wish it on anyone….myself included….I do recognize it’s value, and respect and honor it’s power to transform. Thank you 🙂