Cavern Hunting with Pandora

It’s strange. I find that often if I’m quiet enough, and I listen hard enough, there are still echoes of a cavern in my soul. Of dank, cold water that soundlessly seeps into every crevice.

If you were to ask me if I was okay I would undoubtedly say yes. Because I am, and I’m doing so much better than before. But at the same time I am very much aware that there is a darkness that is yet to be lifted.

I sometimes describe myself as slightly suicidal which sounds like an insult to people on the brink of suicide. It seems like a dichotomy. You can’t be in that kind of a headspace only slightly, you’re probably thinking. It’s something that overtakes you completely.

And you’re right.

But you’re also wrong.

I’m at a place where most of the time I’m fine, happy even. The term mildly depressed no longer fits. I feel somewhat back to an equilibrium. And yet, I know I’m not one hundred percent. Like there may be demons I haven’t wrestled yet. Or worse, like because I’ve visited such dark places, I’ll never be able to fully leave them behind in my memories. Like there’s a Pandora’s box that has been opened and the potential for even denser darkness in the midst of light has been unleashed. I sense there is a kinetic reality whispering around the edges of my consciousness.

I fight these fears with, of all the lame techniques I could’ve chosen, positive thinking. Or better stated, no thinking. Distracted thinking. Since the path to the caverns are familiar, I can notice that I’m heading there more quickly and reroute myself, whether it’s with a trivial thought or an important one.

But I guess I worry that if I use this technique too often I might miss a battle that’s better to be had now rather than later. I’ve dealt with a lot of my issues in the last few years and am still dealing with them. It’s part of what contributed to getting to know my dark spaces so up close and personal. I decided it was time to climb out of the cavern, and when I was going to therapy my therapist seemed very intent on helping me put those thoughts and feelings into perspective. My emotions are valid, but they’re not as all encompassing and overwhelming as they feel. Don’t give them more importance than they deserve. If a thought’s not constructive throw it out. Simple as that. 

Only problem is sometimes it’s hard to tell the genuinely destructive ones from the ones that sting, but are building my character.

There are important things I’ve learned about managing my emotions and I know I can still continue to use them while working on my flaws, but I also can’t help wondering what secret things have slinked out of Pandora’s box that I’ve yet to have noticed. It’s hard learning how to exist in this new version of myself when I don’t actually know all my parts. Meanwhile, other parts I can’t forget and they contribute to my tendency to go cavern hunting. Unfortunately, being honest with myself includes admitting that part of me still savors the option of flicking to OFF, on account of all the beasties lurking in the dark.

Good thing hope is a flame and not an off switch.

~LDA

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Journaling for Memories

I don’t have very many childhood memories.  This sometimes leads me to believe I’m probably some kind of alien with artificially implanted memories to keep me believing I belong with humankind. Like any day now my true self will bob to the surface and loads of suppressed memories will come popping to the top of my consciousness like so many caramel apples.

 

Every now and then I’ll hear someone talking about how they remember the time they were three and their sister dunked their head in their spaghetti bowl. Or the time they were seven and they found out Lucky Charms weren’t magical, just delicious.

 

I always find myself getting a little jealous over the bubbling reservoir of memories they have to choose from. Like how do you even remember that far back? I have albums of pictures and a small library of home videos that my parents compiled that’s tells me what I looked like and what I was up to at those ages, but I don’t actually remember having done most of the things my parents (supposedly) have documentation of. Most of my childhood memories exist in my mind as a mist of latent emotions, photographs and fumbled experiences.

 

There was a point in high school when I tried to write down as many childhood memories as I could before they slipped away in the fog of adulthood.  Even then I still didn’t come up with very many. Often I found that what I thought was a memory was just a rerun of a home video I’d seen. Not something I actually remembered from the point of origin in my relatively short human timeline.

 

So these days I try really hard to keep track of what’s happening in my life on paper. Not that I keep regular journals of my every day life per se. I only do that when I have a specific dilemma I want to work through. But I do have many journals around the house which all serve different purposes. One is for quotes and/or mantras I find interesting. One is for a writing project I’m working on. One used to be a dream journal that is now complete. One is a prayer journal.  One is for Japanese study of words I’ve picked up from movies, shows, or music. One is for drawing. One is for survival skills I think are useful should my country suffer some sort of large scale cyber attack or zombie apocalypse. One is for jotting down ideas I don’t want to forget.

 

Sometimes I laugh at myself because I have the creeping feeling that all these journals are just an excuse to lie to myself that I’m not a useless wench who can’t finish a thing. Butwhen the demons quiet down I know that’s not true. At different points in time they will all become complete and be wonderfully useful in their own right. If only to look back on things I’ve learned or created. They’ll all represent a particular thought thread, a particular project, a particular moment & emotion.  In this way I’ll have immortalized different periods of my life in more than the usual day by day account format.

 

Oh, yeah. And there’s one more journal I have.  

 

The one I keep with you guys. 😘

 

~LDA