Shyness is nice, but…

In the spirit of my non-belief in Too-Much-Information, and my love of sharing ridiculously personal information, I am going to tell you that today is the five-year anniversary of my first suicide attempt, and in those five years, I have never felt as content or hopeful as I have in just the last couple of months. It is strange to feel okay – better than okay – and to not expect some disaster or catastrophe lurking around the corner. I have almost never been able to accept positive feelings within myself, fearful of their impermanence. And yes, they are impermanent. Depression is a condition I am going to have forever in wildly varying degrees, and I am learning to accept that, learning to take care of myself. But if positive feelings are impermanent, so are negative feelings. And so my task now is to enjoy each moment of peace and pleasure in my days, be prepared for the times when things get much worse, and remind myself that they always get better again (and worse, and better, and on and on and on…).

Each year, I take note of this date, and declare it a self-care day. And I highly recommend doing something similar when what I’ve come to call a “bad anniversary” rolls around. I’m not doing anything out of the ordinary – I’m enjoying my morning coffee ritual, reading a good book (Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde – a classic I am just now making the time to read), writing in my diary, gazing out my windows, considering which craft project I’d like to work on next… The only difference, I suppose, from any other day, is that I am more mindful of each action, each thought, each sound, and perhaps I am feeling/being a little more careful and delicate with myself. I have learned over the years that November 13th, for me, is a date best spent alone. But that might not be true for you on your bad anniversaries. What do you do to take care of yourself when those days inevitably appear on your calendar again? What would you like to try that you haven’t yet? What are you doing to take care of yourself today?

Oh, and today I had this thought that I want to share. Shyness is something I have struggled with my entire life, and I have been thinking a lot lately of how open I am about sharing my stories and my ideas and my total awkwardness, yet I am shy about things like approaching folks to introduce myself, or telling someone I have a crush on them, or asking questions. So where I’m at now is that I want to accept my conflicting attitudes of ‘Fuck Shyness’ and ‘Embrace Shyness’, and see if they can coexist in harmony. I used to use alcohol to deal with my shyness, and now that I’ve quit, I am not sure if I can use anything in its place besides simply acceptance of it and a sense of humour about it. Like depression, I don’t think shyness is something I will ever be rid of. And I want to be okay with that.

Shyness is nice and shyness can stop you
from doing all the things in life you’d like to
So if there’s something you’d like to try
If there’s something you’d like to try
Ask me, I won’t say no, how could I?

The Smiths – Ask

Graffiti in Guelph, Ontario.

Shyly Yours,

P.S.: If you’ve benefited from my writing in any way – if my words have inspired you, helped you feel less alone, or sparked some weird feeling within you; if you’ve felt encouraged, or curious, or comforted – please consider compensating me by offering a donation of any amount. Whether you’ve been reading my writing for years, or just stumbled into me this afternoon, I invite you to help me sustain the process!

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