Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Joe Omundson

what I don't show you

Some days my life feels good. I feel supported by my community, content with my life choices, hopeful for today and the future. I'm looking forward to a life of adventure. It looks something like this.

It feels good to be in that state. I prefer it. My energy is pure and I get to offer you something positive. That's the image of myself I try to use publicly. I want to contribute happiness and warmth. I want you to feel supported by me.

But other days my life feels painful and it looks more like this.

I won't let you see me like this. I don't want you to pity me, I don't want to bring you down. So I take time alone until it passes. If I have to interact with you, I won't pretend like I'm feeling great, but I won't tell you what's really going on; of course, I can't hide my body language so it's probably obvious that I'm struggling.

I'm feeling like I don't fit in anywhere. I'm feeling violated and forgotten. I'm feeling useless. It's nothing you did wrong, which is why I don't want to burden you with it, because I respect your right to feel good and not have to deal with my baggage. I'll deal with it myself, like a cat who searches out a secret place to die.

At the same time I wish there was someone to hold me, and listen and understand. I'm strong enough to get through it on my own but my life can be a lonely experience sometimes. I don't know what to do about that.

My heart is wounded. Literally, my chest was sawed open and my heart was cut up. I was anesthetized for that experience but I don't think my body is unaware of what happened; I think it still remembers subconsciously the jigsaw splitting my sternum. Really though, that's just a symbol for the deeper emotional violations I have endured in my heart. Internal trauma invisible from the outside. Performed in the name of righteousness and love. Because there was "no other option".

My life has been like this for a long time and maybe that's why I feel so much empathy for people who struggle with life in ways that other people don't understand. That's why the music that resonates with me is often so intense and anguished. People who are truly healthy and happy are enigmas to me, fascinating magical creatures who I want to surround myself with and learn from. But I don't feel like I can play on their level and it bums me out. Something about me is broken, or maybe I just don't know how to gloss over the ugly parts of life like some people can. I feel everything freely.

If life is the same way for you, you're not alone. If you think I have my shit together, I don't. I hurt every day. If you think I'm confidently strong, I'm actually anxious and doubtful all the time. Sometimes I feel totally hopeless and depressed. It sucks, right? But it's common... the world we grew up in inflicts these kinds of wounds (and worse) all the time. Society doesn't make it easy to talk about it or get help. That's why I write about it. I want you to know your experience is valid and I'm here if you need to talk to someone about it.

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Alex Wall
December 14, 2016 at 5:43 PM delete

Sometimes I think you are too much like me. Even with the heart thing.

But, things got worse and worse for me (mostly due to my own over-analysis of myself). That you are doing what YOU think you should with your life is so encouraging to see. I hope that figures into your own self analysis--you should be very proud (in a non-hubris way) about taking the "career" direction you've chosen.

I spent my 20's to 40's doing what I thought other people expected me to do. I sought to meet their approval. But I put my trust for these expectations in the wrong people--people who were more happy to see me fail than succeed. I thought their advice to me was good intentioned. It wasn't. Still it was my fault for falling for it.

I know how down you can get. Or I can imagine, due to the depths of my own hells. You certainly do have a lot of people who greatly care about you (myself included). And, you are such an unselfish, incredibly honest person, with a wisdom well-beyond your years. I hope the fact that people like me recognise that brings you some cheer at the low points.

I have a clear, but very intuitive feeling that watching your life is going to be a vicarious way for me to feel what it's like to do it right. Anyhow, I'll look forward to every post.

Joe Omundson
December 18, 2016 at 12:28 AM delete

Thanks so much Alex. Your encouragements really do mean a lot to me. We definitely have much in common and it's reassuring to see you out there doing even crazier stuff than me. You are a role model for honesty and vulnerability. So glad we got connected - thank you.