Friday, May 14, 2010

Grief is Weird

Grief is weird. It can sneak up on you when you least expect it and come out every which way and sideways. Sometimes I hear a song and start to cry and I'm not always sure what I'm feeling sad about. Or sometimes, I fill my world with so many distractions that are so effective that I temporarily forget what I was distracting myself from. But then they stop working or I get tired of the negative consequences, and I come up for air to realize the truth: The grief was temporarily numbed but it's still there.

I've had a lot of losses. Within the last three years alone, I was diagnosed with MS, my grandfather died, I stopped driving because of my diminished eyesight, my 20-year old cat died, my ex-husband remarried, my dad died, and my boyfriend of 3 1/2 years broke up with me. I could make a much longer list of the joys I've experienced during that same time period but that's not what this post is about.

But it's not about pity either. I just know that I am not unique and that whatever I'm feeling is usually universal. So maybe there are others here who will relate to the grief I'm experiencing this week. Or maybe not. Either way, writing is one of my healthier coping mechanisms so I'm going with it.

This week, chocolate was one of my coping choices. I gave up sugar earlier this year and I quit eating dairy over a decade ago. Chocolate is definitely not good for me. Suffice it to say that there are concrete negative consequences when I eat it. So why did I do it? Because I believed the lie that I told myself. I thought "things will be different this time." They weren't.

Sometimes, I distract myself with crushes...or dating...or obsessing about people who are no longer in my life. While these distractions look different on the surface, they all share one thing in common. They are all based on the lie that my self esteem is dependent on what someone else thinks of me. It's not, by the way.

There is no way through grief but to go through it. Distractions can take me off that path but because I'm a person who tries to live in the truth, I get to a point where I can't believe the lies anymore and I end up right back on the path, in the same exact spot where I jumped off. The truth is that I'm sad sometimes. I miss people I've lost sometimes. Sometimes, I'm sad about the things that MS has taken from me. I'm lonely sometimes. Sometimes, the answer is not to Pollyanna myself through the feelings. Sometimes, I have to feel them and realize that they won't kill me. Sometimes, I have to grieve. And you know what? Loud, ugly booger cries are going to move me along that path a hell of a lot faster than chocolate or dating. And then, I can blow my nose, wipe my eyes, and go out and have fun.

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