It’s been a hard couple of weeks. A fortnight of restlessness that, in extreme moments, threatened my sanity. I’ve felt like a tigress prowling her cage, searching for a way out, seething at being stuck. It’s one of those phases when everywhere you turn, your worst is reflected back at you.
Conversations with friends left me depressed. My work, despite its creative, fulfilling nature, couldn’t brighten the miserable void of self-pity I’d slipped into.
I don’t need to describe what I felt victimised about. I can’t even remember the one thing it began with, but before I knew it, everything felt like a conspiracy.
I made secret notes in my head that read:
1. My whole life has been designed specifically to freak me out and push my buttons and challenge the worst parts of me. This is extremely unfair.
2. Every time I have crossed a major mountain, and rejoiced the fact, in a few months I’ve found myself at the base of an even taller, big-ass mountain.
3. I don’t want to climb any more mountains, I just want to curl up into a ball and die.
No, I’m not suicidal.
I’m just dramatic.
I was so dramatically a victim that although I knew I had to get out of this heart-space, I couldn’t seem to move my limbs and climb upwards to the light. The lament of ‘Why me? Why me? Why is it always me?’ got louder by the second.
On television, every ad break had advertisements designed to make me feel that my skin, my hair, my bra, my legs weren’t good enough, and I could really invest in X number of special products that would reveal the best in me. For someone who is dramatically such a victim – this was like masochist Disneyland! Bring on the suffering, I said. Whoopiee!!
After I had lamented till I was sick of my own lament (fortunately, I can get sick of myself pretty fast), and woke up seven mornings in a row, still very much alive (drama, drama!) I decided enough was enough. Something had to be done and since I couldn't do it, I turned to someone who could.
My loving partner stepped in. He listened to me (very patiently), and after prescribing four hours worth of good advice, he said I reminded him of the kid at the check-out counter. The one who kicks and screams and throws a tantrum because Mom said she wouldn’t buy more candy.
The one for whom the whole world comes crashing down because something tiny hasn’t yet fallen into place.
The more I carried that image in my head, the more perfect it seemed... and the more ridiculous. Within 24 hours I was laughing at myself.
Laughter is the first weapon against the Victim Queen. The second is, Gratitude.
I decided to do the opposite of what the TV ads for better bras, toned hips, wrinkle-free skin, and coloured hair told me. I decided to be grateful for what I had. My mother once reminded me (no doubt during another Victim attack I must’ve suffered) – that I should
be grateful for the simple fact that I had my eyes, nose, mouth, limbs – all in pretty much the right proportion and right place.
I pushed myself from within - cleared the fog in my head every two seconds - pasted a new smile on my face every time the old one withered. Operation Get-it-Together began.
I made (what seemed on that day as) the supreme effort to start looking at my body with new eyes of wonder. I felt the lightness, flew with it and spread it to gratitude for the home and the food, water and electricity. For the car, the shops nearby, the money to live comfortably. For the supportive family, the happy friends. For the loving and wise partner.
Before I knew it, I was reaching out to the light. My heart sighed reflexively, no longer cramped and constricted by the darkness of my own making.
The mountains looked like hillocks, maybe even mounds. Perspective returned. I was in warm, happy, familiar territory. The space where 'anything is possible' and 'everything is beautiful.'
I like this space, I said to myself. I like knowing that life is a gift. I like seeing with eyes of appreciation. I like it here.
At my feet, the Victim Queen lay vanquished, like a deflated hot air balloon.