You know when it’s 12:40 in the morning and you’ve just finished working on a project you started nearly two hours ago because it’s normal to start working at 10:46 PM. And you’re listening to an audiobook of some sub-genre of a self-help book because God knows you can’t help yourself these days but you get bored or really triggered by the book—but you can’t decide which—so you turn it off and try to listen to whatever music is trending on Spotify.
And you realize you don’t get today’s music. So you switch to 90s alt-rock or something called “Dreamy Vibes.”
Well, you might be turning 36 this month. Or, at least, I am.
If you know me, you know how deeply I love my birthday.
Here’s a truth: Those who deal, daily, with depression and anxiety feel really fucking lucky to make it to their next birthday. It’s just a fact. My new diagnosis of Treatment Resistant Depression and the subsequent med change has me feeling like April 25th is a day to shout from the rooftops that, “I AM ALIVE!”
I feel fine. Most days. I’m still very, very tired. I am fighting very hard to beat this particular side effect of my treatment. It might help if I went to bed at a normal time as my husband suggests. Repeatedly. But my body is still in some weird transition period. It will work itself out in time. It always does. The fact that I’m just exhausted and not actively thinking of ways to harm myself is a huge step forward.
But some days are hard. Some days are hard even when you’re not fighting the demons inside your own head. Life can be hard. Period. Raising two sons under my roof? Hard. Being a present and supportive birth mom even when it would be easier to hide away from the truth of what your choice meant to a large number of people? Really hard. Getting out of bed when you feel worthless? Well, that’s so hard I don’t have a word for it. But I’m doing it.
I’m doing it.
Or I’m trying to do it. Something in between the two.
Someone called me Super Woman today. I laughed because, boy, do I have the whole world fooled. Today I put on a base layer of makeup, some mascara, some clothes that hid the parts of me that I literally, viscerally hate, and I did the things that needed to be done. I carried on conversations with people who aren’t part of my inner circle. I worked really hard to get my business jobs done and my home-life jobs done. I made a healthy meal for my sons despite being on a crazy, wonky baseball season schedule. I took dogs on walks. I didn’t drive across a wide ass state and give a teenager a talking to about what is and is not appropriate to text my daughter; this was the hardest of things to do today, if you’re wondering. I learned new software. I wrote a poem because it’s both National Journaling Month and National Poetry Month and, goodness, sometimes my words make more sense when they’re written in five lines of jagged Jenna-cursive-slash-whatever-it-is-I-write in a notebook, black ink on white paper. I don’t show you those. I don’t show anyone those. Maybe someday.
I do so much.
Yet I feel like I’m worth so little.
And this is the truth of my everyday.
In three weeks, or, looking at the time again, two weeks and six days, I’ll celebrate another birthday. Despite being miles ahead of where I was two years ago at this time, I’m still struggling to just be okay. Maybe not struggling. Fighting. Fighting each step of the way because I know there’s hope on the other side of this; I know I’m going to make it through this dark night.
There’s a new tattoo in my future. And a mole removal. And some meme I saw said that if you wore those black, slip on, platform Steve Madden sandals in the 90s, it’s time for Botox. I’ve seen my wrinkles appear this year. And I literally don’t give a fuck.
Aging means I’m alive. I’m still going to dye my hair for the time being; my grandmother was completely gray at an age younger than I am now. I’m not ready, but I’m aware. I’m still getting zits, so I can’t be that old. But I refuse to subscribe to a belief that my late 30’s mean anything more than the world.
I. Am. Alive.
I am thankful.
Thank you, Amy, for all you did. May your legacy live on through those of us whose lives you touched. Our stories aren’t over yet;