Grief Diary: The Voice

If things aren’t unbearably terrible in my life, I tend to leave well enough alone. I just go along with it. It’s a survival mechanism; jumping from the frying pan inevitably leads to fire, so I tend to stay crispy. I have accomplished great change, but only when I have few options. If I’m not utterly miserable, if I’m not threatened, I leave things as they are.

This is not the best way to go about life, but it’s the only way I know. For me, life is not about getting ahead at my job or buying a nice new car; it’s about survival. From the time I died as an infant in NICU all the way through child sexual abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse, prostitution, homelessness, traumatic brain injury, etc., my whole life has simply been about surviving from one day to the next, which doesn’t leave a lot of room for career goals.

As if the external world hasn’t been harsh enough, there’s the voice. There’s a voice inside of me that wants that wants me to fail. I call it Eeyore, because it never has anything positive to say, and because it hates it when I call it Eeyore. It hates when I talk about it at all. It wants to stay hidden in the shadows. It wants to be seen as a glowing-eyed demon; it hates being compared to a whiny stuffed donkey.

Everything sucks.

Everything in Eeyore’s world is bleak and pointless, and it wants me to see it that way, too. It wants me to lie down forever. There is no frying pan at all in the voice’s world; there is only fire.

The voice was silent for a good long while, or at least, I became adept at ignoring it, but since Male died, it has reemerged. It’s sabotaging me. It’s making it so the words don’t come. It’s telling me, “I told you so. I told you that if you opened up and cared about something, it would be taken from you. You never listen. You can only trust me. Curl up with me here forever…”

I’ve become complacent about the voice. I realize that now, when it was very nearly too late. In the 141 days since Male died–and with him, my dreams of a better future that maybe wasn’t full of hardship and struggle, and had, dare I say, even a bit of joy–the voice has taken over. The saddest part is that I didn’t even realize it until this week, because this week, the voice almost won. It almost got its way.

It is so tempting just to let it all go; to listen to the voice and just lie down forever. When I think about doing that, it gives me a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling. To think about not suffering or struggling anymore, to be free, to not feel anything… when I think what Eeyore wants me to, a sense of calm floods over me, calm and clarity and peace. Eeyore wants me to disappear. It wants us to disappear.

But, the voice is not very good at its job. Even if it takes me 141 days, I eventually see it for what it is. I always get wise to its tricks. I always see it for what it is, because the alternative is not what I want. I don’t want to disappear. I don’t want to be gone without a trace. I don’t want to sink into Eeyore’s world forever. The day that I don’t see it is the day that I die by my own hand.

When I catch on to Eeyore’s games, it retreats, but it will be back. It always comes back. Its retreat is strategic. It will come back in a new, subtler form that I might not recognize right away. It will be back and with it, the struggle to survive this fucked up world and my own fucked up brain that is trying to kill me.

I keep these guys on a shelf in my room as a reminder. Eeyore always changes shape. Eeyore will always come back.