Thursday, March 01, 2007

fitter, happier

I recently read something written about me in another blog, to the extent that all these good things happen to me and I am blasé and unenthused about it all. My first instinct was to roll my eyes dismissively, because people have gotten the wrong idea about me before and besides, I get excited about little things all the time. I am all kinds of animated and passionate. Then I thought about it some more, because I would hate to come across as a jaded and aloof New Yorker--or worse, someone who is ungrateful for the positive facets of their life.

To clarify, I am really loving life these days. I love my routines and independence, and the balance I have between the regimented (diet, exercise, work) and the free-form (social activity, solo time). I recognize that I am enormously lucky to have a nice apartment with a lovely roommate, a job that doesn't make me want to slit my wrists every Monday morning, a loving family, more friends than I can do a decent job of keeping in touch with, good health (namely a sturdy liver), a strong line of credit, and a certain amount of intelligence and attractiveness (the exact quantity I leave to be determined by others).

The odd thing is, most of the above was true four months ago, too, yet there were days, weeks, when life was painful, dark, pointless.

I chronicled my autumn depression here to an extent, but I never wrote about how bad it got. It got pretty bad; I don't even want to go into detail, because it saddens and frightens me to remember it. Suffice it to say, there were moments where I conclusively knew I had never been more miserable in my life and didn't know how I'd make it from one day to the next. The scariest times weren't when it hurt, but when it didn't, when I felt a profound indifference to the world around me. It was the lowest I had ever been.

It's difficult to say how much of the depression was circumstantial and how much of it might have been chemical; I do know that when I started taking better care of my body, my mental state improved (thank you, endorphins!). My mood improved even more when I started writing creatively again, when I rediscovered the ability to be inspired. Some of it was merely a concerted effort to dig myself out of the hole, to like life more and like myself more.

What I'm getting at is that I am enormously relieved and grateful to be where I am today, to not feel like that anymore, to appreciate life again.

While the focus of this blog tends to be dating- and relationship-oriented, it has been a much smaller focus of my life for the last several months. To put it in perspective, if I did a pie chart of my thoughts, I'd say 5-10% would have to do with dating, crushes, etc. I wanted to mention that since there seems to be some misconception about how carried away I'm getting with my emotions. Quite the contrary.

I'm doing a lot of rebuilding these days, and I know this new happiness may be fragile and fleeting, so I am doing everything I can to protect and sustain it. Right now, that means keeping a bit of distance between me and other people. Eventually, it might mean allowing for more closeness and vulnerability. I don't see that happening for some time, though. Which doesn't speak to a lack of joy or passion on my part, but a sense of growing awareness and caution.

It's comforting to have this emotional scaffolding around me; I need it while I continue the repairs. I like to believe that when I'm stronger, better, I'll be capable of even greater love and happiness. It won't be long.

12 comments:

Auntie Mom said...

It's funny for me to read your blog, knowing you. Sometimes I want to respond to comments with a "But you don't even know her!", but then I remember that you handle your blog like a pro and respond to comments with a grace I'd never be able to.

I think sometimes it's easy to forget that sex and dating are exactly what this blog is made for, and when you've written about other things, people get down on you about not keeping it about dating. That is just one aspect of your life and it's nice to see you getting something out there to that effect, although it's too bad you feel the need to write it. But, again, I know you and it's easy to see you as more than a caricature or personality on a page. It's probably not so easy for your readers.

Much love.

Aphexcoil said...

You disabled anonymous comments?

Dolly said...

Autie,
I think it's inevitable to be perceived as a character instead of a real person in the blog. I also know people sometimes develop annoying online personas versus their real selves. If I ever do that, I am depending on you to let me know! Love to you, too.

Aphexcoil,
I was getting too much spam.

Rascal said...

A very refreshing, down-to-earth entry! It's nice to know you have a real, vulnerable side. I regret to say that my initial impression of you was that of a somewhat shallow, love- and sex-addicted barfly. Sorry I judged so quickly. I'm glad I know better now.

My own mood struggles sound a bit paralel to yours & creative expression seems to create meaning and purpose.

I am very curious about how you found "the ability to be inspired". That's truly a gift.

Thanks for the nice writing.

Rascal

V said...

Why did you even post this? By even posting a rebuttal to whatever was written about you, it tells me you care about what others think of you.

Doesn't that counteract with what you initially sought out to do with your transformation phase?

Damsel Underdressed said...

We all have many different dynamics to us. That is why everyone is unique. Thanks for showing another one of your dynamics.

While I do enjoy reading about all of your dating adventures, I also like to hear that other people have struggles like my own. Knowing that you feel so happy with your life when six months ago you were so unhappy gives me courage that I will also regain that in my life.

When I write, I write with whatever mood strikes me at the moment...happy, sad, pensive, humorous, angry. Even sad and angry moods can be put creatively into words.

Dolly said...

Rascal,
Thank you. As for being inspired, I think some of it has to do with serendipity, but a lot of it has to do with being open and passionate and observant and really wanting that inspiration to strike. I hope you find your way through your own struggles.

V,
The main goal of my transformation was to get myself out of the depression and find some direction. What's wrong with taking a moment to reflect on how you might be perceived by others? The post wasn't a rebuttal as much as a springboard for introspection and catalyst to express my gratitude at my current situation.

Damsel,
One of the best things I ever learned about storytelling is that a good story should have periods of action followed with periods of reflection. I think that's applicable to life, too. I'm glad you are finding the courage to deal with your own dark time. When I was in the thick of it, people kept telling me that it wasn't everlasting, and it's hard to believe at the time, but it's true. Nothing is static, changes are inevitable. I'm sure you'll hit an upswing soon.

Vicious said...

...

Pargolo said...

dolly - i'm a latecomer to the party, but i wanted to give you a pat on the back and tell you to keep writing - creative stuff has always helped me when I was down or going through a difficult period. That, and going out with one's friends is also important. We are people, after all.

surfer said...

Good for you Dolly!

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