Jessica Jones A.K.A. My Spirit Animal

I am Netflix binge watcher. Truth. Their latest is the second season of Jessica Jones.

She’s a kick ass antihero. She saves peoples lives and punches people who piss her off. When she goes to anger management, she gives a run down of the atrocity that is her life, all while throwing a ball at the wall. The ball and the wall break. Then, she hands a form to her group therapist to sign. He signs it, terrified of what she will do if he doesn’t. As she walks back to her apartment, she confronts another a**hole entering her building. She says something like “I just about beat up my support group. Back off!”

Oh yes, Jessica is my spirit animal.

I think there is a little bit of antihero in all of us. We long to be great, do good things. Yet, there is something completely insufferable about the world that leaves us ready to punch a whole in a Tesla (yeah, another thing she does). Okay, I might be projecting all of this onto you.

I think there is a little bit of antihero in me.

Some vicious anger at injustice combined with a benevolent spirit twists all my interactions into battles and wars. I don’t really want to fight or view it as a fight. I don’t want to be a victim, but I also don’t want to be an overcomer. Somehow being an overcomer feels too close to accepting the past as truth and the future as a reflection of its power. Why is letting go so damn hard? Why does letting go feel like a concession?

Yes, I like Jessica. She embraces that the future is fucked, but still saves the innocents so they can have the hope, the future, that she wishes she had. Does she wonder if she is a monster sometimes? If she is out-of-control? Absolutely. Every step of the way. I see her try to reason with those questions. Looking at the carnage of someone else’s crimes, she audibly says, “That’s not me. That’s not me. That’s not me.” She’s not saying it for the benefit of others. She is saying it to herself – to remember who she is and who she isn’t.

I relate. When I rage and my children see it, I look into their eyes and see the monster. Then, I say, “That’s not me. That’s not me. That’s not me.” When I hide in my room instead of playing fun games with them or we stay inside on a beautiful afternoon, I say, “That’s not me. That’s not me. That’s not me.”

Healthy me is adventurous. Healthy me loves the outdoors. Healthy me takes deep breaths before speaking. Healthy me holds the space. Healthy me…

I wish I was always healthy me.

Then, there are days where I know, deep down, that the future is fucked. I won’t be healed of a mood disorder. Depression isn’t a one and done deal. Pills don’t fix these things; they moderate them, temper their effects.

There is no cure for what I have.

I desperately want for there to be people with hopes and futures that are bright. I desperately want to give what I can’t have – to others.

Sometimes, I hide. Alone is safer for the world. I don’t want to drag other people into my abyss.

But the world needs antiheroes.

Because super heroes don’t actually exist. Only antiheroes are real. Flawed people doing good things. That is what we really have. Somehow, I think that’s actually better. When Jessica refuses to kill a guy who cheated on his girl…it’s reluctant and ugly, but still possible. When she does the right thing even though the wrong thing makes more sense, would be more cathartic. Well, that’s when we are actually inspired.

Superman might make me want to fly, but Jessica Jones makes me want to actually save the world. There is power in saving a world that doesn’t necessarily deserve it. There is power in saving ourselves, even when we don’t necessarily deserve it.

Now, who wants to be an antihero with me?

Candidly,

ASh

Pressing Pause

aThere are so many days that I come here to write and have nothing to say. At least, that is what I think to myself. Then, I come to the page (err…screen) and discover that I am not an endless void after all. Today is one of those days.

Today, I pressed pause on my routine. I woke up with a headache and sore throat. Once I had solved those problems, I started to go about my day except that in picking up the toddler, I discovered that my lower back was not well. I sat with ice on it for an hour, added pain medication. Then, the toddler went down for his nap. Still in pain, I collapsed into my bed, laying yet another ice pack under my back.

I awoke with a groan of fatigue, but no back pain. It felt like a very, very, very small victory. With no excuses left, I returned to my daily routine and felt the crashing weight of a daily rhythm four hours behind schedule. I really don’t have words for this feeling, but its something like…

Ugggh!

I think I may be a productivity fiend. What I mean is that I am sort of detrimentally obsessed with it. For instance, I am one of those people with tons of lists. I am always writing list, daily. Literally, I daily write down my quarterly goals and that is not even the start of it. I mean, there are grocery lists, Evan’s various to-do lists (foods to try, sensory items to buy, sensory items to make, applications for assistance, insurance claims to review, bills to pay, etc. Seriously, managing a special needs child’s lists…Well, it is a small military operation), business to-do lists, household cleaning lists, household maintenance lists, financial lists. I’m obsessed with lists and here is why.

I get to cross things off.

It’s a wonderful feeling, a high to which I am addicted.

Except, I also have major depression, along with a mood disorder. My life doesn’t quite flow like the average person. The morning I described above – pain, fatigue? Well, that is my morning 4-5 days a week. Incidentally, my list making obsession and productivity addiction become inner casualties to the ongoing battle of living with depression and a mood disorder.

Now, finally, I have arrived at what I actually wanted to say.

You are not your lists. You are not your struggles. You are not your depression. You are not your diagnosis. If there is something with which you measure yourself or your day, then pressing pause for rest also means pressing pause on arbitrary measures.

I know it is not easy. In fact, our brains are wired to detect abnormalities, make comparisons, decisions and judgements. In truth, the ugly thoughts I have, the judgements I make about my productivity – they never stop coming to mind. I’m  guessing, if you have read this far already, then you may understand that a bit too.

When I say to press pause on the measures and judgements, I am not actually talking about the thoughts or the comparisons. I want to let you know that you can’t actually get rid of those. You can, however, choose not to accept them. Moment by moment, I must rise up and observe those thoughts. Acknowledge that on some days they are the very thing that helps me move forward. Today? Not so much. In fact, if I let those thoughts run the show today, then I would never have sat down to write these words. I would have laid in bed bemoaning my awfulness instead, which helps absolutely no one.

So here’s to pressing pause which really means rising up and observing our thoughts for what is helpful and what is not. Stay strong, folks!

Candidly,

Ash