"The growth of understanding follows an ascending spiral rather than a straight line." ~Joanna Field

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Precipitous Life Changes

I mentioned in one of my last posts that I have a track record of spur of the moment life changes.
I just thought I would go more in depth on that.

First, here is a list of the more major life changes I can recall making on spur of the moment:

1.The most recent, of course, is to do Positivity Journaling.
2. Becoming vegetarian (with a focus towards veganism)
3. Stopping cutting
4. Getting my ears pierced
5. Burning a bunch of writing

The main problem with spur of the moment change is that you are acting without considering the possible ramifications of the action.

How will you feel about the change?
How will it effect others?
Is it sound financially?

None of these things get considered when you just jump head first into a decision.

However, out of those five examples I can only point to one that turned out to be a majorly bad idea.
So considering the risks, how is it I manage to make spur of the moment changes with a high success rate, and little regret?

I'll let you in on a little secret...
They weren't really spur of the moment.
In fact, the only one that really was is the only one I regret.

You see, while I make changes "cold turkey" as the saying goes, they are not unconsidered.

Except for #5 (which I will go into in a bit), all of these decisions were considered extensively... sub and semiconciously.

Let's start with #1. As stated in the same post linked above, that idea had been rattling in my head for months. The idea that I do not write about positive things.
However, in none of the conscious thoughts was there the idea of changing my bent or starting a Positivity Journal. Until the very moment I wrote the last piece of this post the thought had not crossed my mind in any recognizable form.
The reason I am having success with this change is not because I considered it for hours (because I did not). Nor is it because I am held accountable by this blog (which I obviously don't feel).
The reason I am having success is that I am ready for the change.

Let's now apply this to point #2.
When I left school, I was in a bad place.
I had just attempted suicide. I was still under the influence of an overdose, and I had barely drank or eaten anything for many days up to that point.
And yet, under this clouded judgement, I made one of the best decisions I feel I've ever made in regards to diet.
My mother took me to a restaurant and I ordered a vegetarian meal, after making a point of looking for something without meat.
When questioned I told her I wanted to become a vegetarian.
Until the precise moment those words left my mouth, I had not thought them to be true.
But the moment I said them, I knew it was.

In the weeks previous I had been looking at vegan recipes in order to cook for a friend.
I knew the recipes seemed appealing, but I continued an omnivorous diet.
But somewhere in me the pieces slowly came together.

I don't like eating most animal products.
A lot of them make me feel a bit sick, even in small amounts.
All of these recipes look and sound delicious.
Cooking this way is cheaper, and more filling.
All of these things slotted together until put in place by my sleeping-pill-addled mind to make me realise that, duh, I want this.
I was ready for the change.

Brings us to point #3, which has a slight variation.
Almost a year ago I stopped cutting.
And somehow I know I never will again.
You see, one night as I was doing it I noticed... this doesn't feel good anymore.
This doesn't make me feel better, it doesn't fix the problem, it doesn't do anything.

Which, of course, seems obvious to people who have never had an addiction, or don't realise theirs.
For me, though, this was a startling realisation.
While I had expressed a desire to stop (on many occasions!), knew that it was bad, knew it didn't help, etc., etc., I always came back to it.
Why was this? What was it giving me?
I still do not really know.

All I know is that on that night I put my knives away and could not understand it. I could not by any means wrap my head around why I had just done what I did.
It was a major change, and I would not say it was unconsidered. I considered it every day for five or more years!
But at that moment, I became (yes) ready for the change.
And that is why it is succeeding.

Onto a lighter topic for a moment to defuse some of that depressing funky smell.
#4, getting my ears pierced.
I never wanted my ears pierced. I didn't see the point of jewelry.
Still have a hard time with more than the barest idea.
But one day while we prepared for my eighth grade graduation my mum and I were in the mall, and she asked if I wanted my ears pierced.
Deciding "What the hell, why not?", I did.
I still have my ears pierced, I have not let them grow over.
I actually quite like having the option of wearing something on occasion, though I mostly do not.
And looking back on it, I can say it had crossed my mind a bit in the time up until then. I just never had a good reason to do it.
It took grad to make me ready.

Now, back to a more depressing thing.
But also the exception to my list.

Early last summer I was cleaning out my basement room to bring my things up to the (much smaller) guest bedroom.
I was in a good emotional space, I think. I was off my medication, I felt happy enough. (I've since learned that I was probably still under effects of the drug, it can take months to fully stop effecting your system!)
So when I came across all the old things I had written in the heat of my depression, my suicide notes, my rambling letters, my pages of the word "sorry" written over and over in 3mm high letters... I collected it all up. Pulled out the most important and least depressing pieces. The artier ones.
The rest?

I dumped it in the fire pit and lit a match. (actually a lighter...) To really drive the point home? That was the only time I've ever played with gasoline. I dumped about 500ml onto the flames to make sure it all died.

And as I watched it burn?

I had to do everything in my power not to stick my hands into the fire and pull it out, save whatever I could.
And I honestly wish I had, no matter the burns I would have gotten.

You see I did not consider that decision. I was not ready to let those things go.
I erased a huge part of my history, and I can never get it back.
There are many things I do not remember about those five years that would be so helpful to know, would help me understand a lot of things.
Like why I cut. I know I explained it more than once in those writings. When and why and how I started.
Like what exactly happened in the sexual abuse I went through. Flash backs only give you part of the story.
Like descriptions of the hallucinations I saw and heard.
Like the blood I spilled to write in my language.
Like the drawings I did that show things I don't fully understand anymore.

All these memories, all these important pieces of me... five years of my life consumed to ashes.
I still feel pain when I think about having done that.


The point of this post was merely to point out the whole "ready for change" concept.
Change will happen when it is, if you let it. You just have to be open to where your heart leads you.
However, at the same time, making a decision overnight is a good recipe for disaster.

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