Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Quarter of the Time

It's January and I'm feeling a fresh burst of energy. I don't think the symbolism of it being a new year has anything to do with it. I think my energy levels cycle and I happen to be in a high energy phase.

My brother suffers from bipolar disorder and my mother suffers from serious depression (hers is currently being effectively treated through medication). Sometimes the idea of cycles of mood and energy frightens me. I know I'm not depressive; if anything, I'm unipolar on the manic end of the scale. My energy levels tend to run high and, although I'm grumpy and cross with my family often, I'm of a fairly cheerful disposition, in general.

Which leads me to thinking about monthly cycles. One week out of every month I dream of living alone. All my fantasies, all my daydreams are about having my own little apartment in which I don't have to deal with other people, particularly the men I currently live with. That sounds awful, I know. I love my family. I treasure them. Truly, I do. But one week out of every month I just can't stand the noise and chaos and smell and mess of living in this home I created. One week out of each month I just want to live in quiet contemplation, listening to the music of my choosing or being in silence, reading or doing handiwork.

When I was a teenager, I was really crazy that one week each month. I had a wonderful boyfriend, Steve. He was mature, kind, thoughtful, hardworking and he loved me deeply. Most of the time, things were good between us, but that one week out of each month I would become a psycho bitch. I'd been raised in a fundamentalist household and had been taught that things were black or white, right or wrong. During that week, all the conflict over the choices I made that differed from what I'd been taught to believe would come out and I would become controlling and irrational and repentant.

Steve was a naturally "good guy". His parents were divorced, his dad an alcoholic, his mom was very unmotivated with no aspirations to better her life. Steve was not "of" his family, although he worked hard to help support his mom and siblings financially and by being the man of the family. He played drums (the first of my lifelong relationships with drummers) and liked rock and roll music. Occasionally, he would drink a beer. We had a mature, fantastic sexual relationship. And one week out of each month, all the craziness of the rift between who I was supposed to be (a pure, Godly young woman) would come into conflict with how I perceived myself (a sinner. But one who enjoyed her sin waaaay to much to give it up) and I would flip out and preach and rant about how we had to stop having sex and go to church and repent.

After a year and a half, Steve broke up with me. He broke my heart; I'd really felt emotionally wed to him. Looking back, I don't blame him. I placed the brunt of my inner chaos on him. If we'd stayed together, I would have remained chained to that dichotomy of being one thing but having to act like another. I would have been so wrapped up in rules about what's right that who knows if I would ever have been able to hear what was true in me. By breaking up with me, he freed me to discover who I needed to be.

I understand now, that I was crazy with Steve because I was living out of harmony. I had never had the opportunity to gain perspective about what I believed was right and wrong, had simply internalized the values of my church and my parents, believing they spoke for God.

I wonder what I can do now to create more harmony in my life so that the one week each month is not so anomalous to the rest of my life? I think more time alone is a start. Ah, but how do I go about getting that in a 1500 square foot house containing 5 people? Maybe I could plan a day or two each month at a retreat center. Easier said than done in a busy family and with a sometimes full-time job. I think I will begin to hold this in the Light to see what love, for myself and my family, will do.

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