I wake up to nightmares some mornings. Upon awakening, the memories of where I am (at my sister’s house), who I am (a single, divorced, immigrant, with a part-time job and not much prospect), and what I have that brought me to this point (bipolar), slowly come back to life, and it’s too much to take in sometimes.
This house I wake up in every morning is three children too many. My sister is sleeping under the same roof, and we are not children any more. We have grown up. My sister is married, happily married for almost 7 years. And I am divorced, 5 years ago. I am barely out of my struggles with bipolar. I can’t really say that I am out yet. It could always come back. That’s the thing about bipolar disorder. It’s a recurring disease. It always came back.
I have my fears. What if I end up here longer than I originally planned? Would one year be too long to stay with your married sister and her family? What if my episode comes back? What if I start hearing voices again, and start to believe them? This battle with bipolar can get so lonely and frightful . It’s almost worse than living with the unpromising dream of writer’s life. It could be quite a burden sometimes.
My sister once told me about the dream she had not long ago. She doesn’t have many dreams. That’s what happens when you have three children to drain your energy and you crash on your bed obliviously every night. But, this dream she had was most extraordinary. She dreamt that she and I were walking in the field. There stood a lonely tree. A big tree. But it was dying.
Then she called mom. Mom gave us her tip.
“There should be a switch on the tree. Pull it down and the tree will open up!”, Mom said.
“Huh? There’s a switch on a tree? To open it up?”
She got confused, and we walked up to the tree together. And sure enough, there it was, the pull-down switch, like the kind you would find on the ceiling fan.
So one of us pulled it down, and the tree started to open up its branches. Then the gentle rain came down, and light started to shine on the leaves and the tree started to come back to life. Then she woke up.
Last night, in my somewhat dark mood, I was going through my check list in my brain. Loss of sleep. Check. Trouble waking up. Check. Loss of appetite. Check. Losing interests in the activities I normally enjoyed. Check.
But suddenly that image of my sister’s dream popped in my head. I was seeing that tree, under the gentle rain, bright sun light, with its branches wide open receiving the life.
And the switch.
All it took was the switch, as mom had told my sister in her dream.
If I can name only one strength that my mom had even though she had many, I would say it is her vitality. She had so much will to live no matter what she was going through. She had a hard life. But I don’t remember her giving up her fight no matter how dark the times got. She pulled us all through the darkness. She was one great captain. And though the boat we were in was not an easy ride, we had a great leader that would never give up. Giving up was not her concept. She almost defied death when she was a baby. She was dying from a chicken pox, and was left in the warmest corner of the room to die in peace. Her coffin was being made when she suddenly revitalized.
So pull down the switch.
It’s that easy.
Just change your perspective.
Your perception is one thing that you can change.
I heard mom saying that.
Or maybe it was Jesus whispering those words to me.
It could have been my own voice.
The thing about Montaigne’s essays that I like so much is his humanness in all his writings. He contradicts himself.
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
What Whitman said was so Montaigne as well. Montaigne changes his direction evert time a new way of looking at things occurs to him. He simply cannot keep his subjects still, and he mumbles his every though out loud without shame. He’s so honest, and he’s all over the place on his map of thoughts.
He’s so human and I love him and his works for it. And I find no shame in contradicting myself. The very next day after my triumphant discoveries on the similarities between me and William Wordsworth(my previous post), those very same similarities I’ve pointed out are dragging me down to the dark weight of anxiety.
Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself.
I have doubts.
I have fears.
I have weaknesses.
And, I have…
… found nothing as beautiful as being fully human on the journey to meet her God face to face.