Monday 14 December 2015

Of Yule, Death & Life, and the true meaning of Christmas

Something happened to me this year.
I got better.
Something about the bees buzzing around me all summer. Everytime I'd go outside to relax and write by the water, about a dozen bees would show up, and stick around until I'd leave. They didn't disturb me, and would actually force me to make a point of being even more calm.
I watched them, busy-beeing themselves on gathering every drop of clover flower nectar they could get, and that's all they cared about. Their work. Their purpose. Getting that nectar.
Bees can be so focused.
In minding the bees, I understood the importance of focus, and work, and through that, I came to understand a lot of things about myself.
And this Self of mine changed.
Like I'd been waiting my whole life for something outside myself to make my life better. Like it was time I realized, truly and fully, that if I wanted to live, and love, and make my life what I want it to be, I'd have to do it all by myself.
So I figured out how to change, and I got better.

I recently agreed with a friend, in conversation, that Everyone's Crazy, really. We all have struggles with the way our brains work in conjunction with our hearts VS the World. There are these books that put word-labels on series of symptoms and human behaviours, words like Anxiety, Attention Deficit Disorder, Bipolarity, Manic Depression, Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissism, etc.
We're all a little crazy, and once we acknowledge that, usually, we're one step further to Getting Better. Things are always a lot easier when you understand how your brain works.

Then it becomes about what you choose to do with that understanding. You can go through life saying Oh, I'm This, that's why I need to do This, or Can't Do That, or Take This Drug, or Drink Every Night. It's easy to give a seemingly-very logical explanation to behaviors that are self-destructive, or in essence, that are not about figuring out how to take care of yourself and love yourself properly, when you just open the latest DSM, find the page with the label that fits you the most, and stare at the words going Well, that's me.
Victimization. You'll get there eventually, if you haven't already been there. Maybe you're still there. Or maybe, like me, you've finally realized how to get yourself out.

We all hold inside the Power to Get Better. It's a matter of Effort and Focus. How much energy are you willing to spend on yourself to be the Best you can Be, to evolve and keep evolving?

I had a diagnosis at 15 years old.
I started yoga at 16, and therapy at 18.
And I still meditate every night, or as much as I can, and I now see my therapist once a month. It took a while to get there. For a long time, I'd see her every week.
And I've studied archetypes, and mythologies and cultures, and I observe a lot.
And whatever's going on inside me, I can always hear loud and clear. So I listen, and I care.
Because it's always mattered to me to Get Better.
Because my 15-year struggle with chronic nihilism and recurring thoughts of suicide taught me that if I'm here now, alive and healthy, then I should do everything I can to celebrate this Life. My Life.
It took me 15 years to understand the meaning of the word "Celebrate" used in that context.

Born in 1985, I was still very young when Kurt Cobain killed himself in the name of Righteousness and Rock 'n' Roll. I do, however, remember growing up with the consciousness that there was some sort of strange glorification regarding this suicide, almost like Cobain was a Rock 'n' Roll-kamikaze.
And then, there's this weird fascination people have with artists who die of drug abuse or withdrawal. To name a few: Jim Morrisson, Janis Joplin, Hillel Slovak, Cobain, and more recently, Amy Winehouse, and even more recently, Scott Weiland.

N°4 by Stone Temple Pilots was one of the first albums I ever bought. Scott Weiland was one of the first performers to ever inspire me. I remember watching STP videos and live performances, and observing my experience of the charisma and talent of Scott Weiland. He was raw, sensual, and real -the embodiement, to me, of the Freedom to be Alive. Watching him, I knew that this energy was the one I would want to channel as a performer myself. I would, in time, learn how to draw people into my universe inside -by freeing myself through the mastery of my art as a musician, a writer, and a performer.

Scott Weiland was, and still is, in many ways, an inspiration to me, the music chick coming from the alternative rock generation. In time, of course, I came to know of the rest of Weiland's life, especially after reading his autobiography, Not Dead and Not For Sale.
I was re-reading it on Friday night, and  it was like every word weighed a thousand pounds. Weiland's story is that of slips and slides, and rollercoaster rides and rises.
I remember reading the book for the first time soon after its release, finishing it and telling myself Well, this man is an inspiration to me, and has always been, and this book is another recording of Ways to Fight the Monsters In Your Head, by a true artist.

I learned of Weiland's death in the morning of December 4th, and wasn't surprised that it was an overdose. I felt disappointment -as a fan, but also on this weird etheral level, as another human being, struggling with living alongside the monsters in my own head. And then I thought about the meaning of the word Inspiration, and realized that this artist's death inspires me to stay alive, and not give up on myself.

Reading Mary Forsberg Weiland's open letter from herself and her children opened my eyes to that strange concept I mentionned above -that of glorifying these suicides, turning them into pop-tart culture mystical tales. Tragedies like this shouldn't be glorified, they should be analyzed, and somebody somewhere, or everybody everywhere, should realize that Yes the World is Fucked Up, and It's About Time We Did Something About It.

But, as I've come to terms with recently, in order to be able to Save the World, you have to start by figuring out how to Save Yourself.

The thing is that we all hold the power inside to Get Better, and we all can achieve that, through relentless efforts, focus, and above all, the Will To Live.

If you are longing for Death, then you are not happy to be Alive. But before Death, there's an array of Ways out there to Get Better. The thing about the modern-day society is that we are conditionned to distract ourselves from thinking and evolving. It takes effort to do that, much easier to sit in front of a TV and forget. And then there's the fear we all have of facing ourselves, of realizing that we're not that great of a person, and there are things to fix about ourselves.

I once asked a former boss of mine "What does the word Love mean?"
She told me to close her office door and to sit down. Then she said "Love is when you can look in a mirror, and be completely, absolutely and utterly happy with what you see". It took me a while to be able to look at myself in a mirror, and not feel hate, or anger, or disappointment. And that's every human.

The thing is that there are resources out there -an array of them. If you're curious enough, and willing enough, you'll eventually find the ones that work for you. You'll find the ones that make sense, and that are easy to understand and that you'll be happy to get into, so as to figure out how to love yourself properly and celebrate your life.
Rehab isn't for everyone. Therapy isn't for everyone. Yoga isn't for everyone. Pills aren't for everyone. AA or NA meetings aren't for everyone.
And then there's different types of rehabs, different types of therapies, different types of yoga and pills and anonymous meetings. and whatnots.

But out there lies a resource for each and everyone of us, and each and every life that is out there deserves to live itself to its fullest, and therefore, you are worth every single ounce of energy you will put out there to make yourself better -and it starts with you taking the time to find the best resource out there for yourself.

It's December 13th, and the winter solstice is coming. Yule brings forth celebrations of Light, and Life, and for the first time, I can truly understand the meaning behind these festivities, finally choosing to truly embrace the Light inside and outside of myself.

As I end perhaps the most personal online post I've ever done, I stare at the Christmas tree in my parents' condo. Mostly, I see its pretty lights, golden and bright. I watch my step-father playing piano, and my mother and sister making dinner. I look at the computer screen showing me the words I've written that compose this editorial, and I spot my little Alex Robshaw avatar. I think of her, this naked lady on a Wurlitzer, and I think of the people around me, and know that I've locked down my understanding of the importance of Not Giving Up.

This Christmas, celebrate Life, Love, and Light, for they are all one unique, magical, wonderful gift -and we all deserve to live.

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