The cost of life

I reflected on the cost of freedom the other day, and now at 2am the cost of life is needing exploration. This is what happens when I can’t shut my brain down and go to sleep. Even the dog left me and went to sleep in her own bed.

Anyway, what does it cost me to live? Not monetarily, but in terms of things like ethics and morality and action and self-care. In terms of getting from point A to point B, making decisions, and learning. What does it cost me to do the right thing instead of the wrong thing? What does it cost me to do the wrong thing instead of the right thing?

When I do the wrong thing, usually something that causes harm to someone (including myself), my energy is depleted fairly quickly. My thought are consumed by the resulting cognitive disconnect, where I am wrestling with myself to understand why I do such things. How could I do such things?

Once I have completed the self-flagellation when I’ve caused harm, I have depleted my energy even more. Wrestling with myself is not pretty, and it ultimately wears me out completely. That level of exhaustion is not necessarily physical, but that can be a product of the constant negative self-talk.

I do not talk to myself well, especially when I make mistakes. It’s a habit that emulates my mother’s treatment of me when I was a teenager and young adult. Those horrid years when the world spun off its axis, when nothing was certain. It was like being an alien deposited in the bowels of hell, as I recall. But I learned the fine art of being mean, of slinging the most hurtful diatribe possible at someone who had aroused my anger. My mother was very good at it, and I worshipped at the feet of the master.

Most of the time when I’m engaging in very negative self-talk, it’s more a reflex triggered by the stress and PTSD of that time so long ago. In retrospect, it seemed that I was rebelling in any way possible at the possibility of having my spirit broken. That’s something that remains in my repertoire – when I feel as though someone in authority is trying to control me and shut me down, I go limp and passive aggressive. I ultimately suffer rather negative consequences, but I didn’t break. That’s important to me. Still.

Here’s the rub, though – when someone I believe is a friend IS controlling me, I cooperate in my own minimalization and objectification. It’s weird. Maybe that’s people pleasing to the extreme, but that’s why I feel so incredibly enraged when someone I trusted as a friend betrays me and is shown to be just another narcissistic asshole. That’s a double negative. WTF?

That has cost me over the years. Right now, I have pretty much given up on trusting just about anyone. There are maybe five people in this world I trust with anything and just about everything. Just about. I believe there are some things that will go beyond death without ever being spoken. Perhaps that’s the appropriate paradigm for me, but I have always wanted to feel that I could be a completely open book with SOMEONE. Maybe that’s not how it works.

My mother knew more about me than anyone else in the world. She was the first person I knew, even before I came into the world. It stands to reason that I would adopt her patterns and ways. I guess at this point, however, I want to adopt my own patterns and ways, not anyone else’s. That is costly in terms of my life force, I think. It’s a risk, and that definitely has a cost.

So. What is the cost of my life? I figure it can sometimes cost my soul, if I do things I know are wrong but do them anyway. Bonus points if I cause harm. Those instances haunt me, and I involuntarily re-live them over and over and over. I find it nearly impossible to forgive myself for those periods where I was not a nice person, to myself or anyone else.

I suppose the reason I don’t forgive myself is guilt, and shame. It seems that I am hard-wired for that, because once again it’s reflex for me to feel guilty and then embarrassed for having done the wrong thing. All the wrong things. That’s part of the pattern, though. Do the wrong thing, feel guilty and ashamed of it, lose the confidence to do the rest of my life. No risks taken, no joy, no accomplishment, rampant underachieving.

As I was sitting here tonight, not being able to sleep, none of this is what was on my mind. It just came out, but I think it’s somewhat productive. What WAS on my mind, though, was paying the guitar and wishing I was a little better at it. I was working out some 12-bar blues riffs in my head but I know that’s just whistling in the dark (quite literally) because none of the mental work means a damned thing until I put my fingers on the frets. I’ll do that tomorrow.

For some odd reason, I am feeling slightly more energized about cleaning up a bit in here, reclaiming my living space. I did a load of laundry today, and moved a couple of things around in my bedroom to expose the crap under it. The sleep study is still on for Wednesday night, and while tossing and turning earlier I decided that I’m going to board the dog for the night. It was really worrying me that she might get scared and stressed when I’m gone for so long and begin barking or crying in the middle of the night. I had visions of neighbors calling the complex’s police officer to investigate, and them coming in here to see what’s going on. Boarding her will be easier on me because I will know she is safe and can’t get into trouble. It would be just my luck for her to hurt herself in some way.

I am still stressed about the sleep study, but it will be what it will be. It’s not invasive, so I don’t have to be worried about that. It’s just the nervous bladder thing causing me to fret. But that’s OK – it will be a single night, not a week, so even if it’s not a good outcome it will be over soon.

Hopefully I have gotten a little sleepy now, and will be able to catch a few winks. I don’t know where that phrase originated, because I don’t think anyone winks while sleeping. American English is a strange language at times. If it was gendered it would be next to impossible.

I am going to take my self and try for sleep. It would be nice if I dreamed. Some of my dreams are just bizarre, but when I can remember them it’s interesting to connect dots to other things in my experience. Now I am just babbling.

Recharge, restore, rebound.

Published by annzimmerman

I am Louisiana born and bred, now living in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Fortunately for me, I was already living in NC before Hurricane Katrina decimated my beloved New Orleans. An only child, I now feel that I have no personal history since the hurricane destroyed the relics and artifacts of my childhood. As I have always heard, c'est la vie. My Louisiana roots show in my love of good coffee, good food, and good music. My soggy native soil has also shown me that resilience is hard-wired in my consciousness; when the chips are down (or drowned)...bring it on.

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