Zombies Are Real & I’m Not Dead Yet!
I had a conversation with someone today which lead to another annoyingly obvious realization: Zombies are real.
Not the bitey, staggery, decomposing kind of zombie, but a metaphorical kind of zombie.
During today’s conversation I, as I often do when talking about emotion, made the joke that I’m dead inside. Obviously, I’m not dead inside, I’m not a Manitoba Maple (literally the only person who got that joke is probably my Mum. HI MUM), but I do try not to let too much affect me. During this conversation, I was reminded of the reason I tried not to let too much affect me: It’s a defense thing.
It comes back, as it always does, to bullying. Now, I know on this blog, I talk a lot about bullying and how it’s affected me personally, but I want to be clear: I am not saying that who I am or the choices I’ve made can be blamed on bullying.
As much as those who bullied me are responsible for their shitty behaviour and the pain that they caused, I am responsible for how I let it change me and how I internalize it. Is that fair? Absolutely not, but it is how life works.
You can’t just let people live your life or direct how you live your life. That’s a choice you make. You’re not always going to be lucky enough to have easy or pleasant choices to make but you’re always going to have the power to decide what you do next, even if those choices are limited.
Enough about the power of self, though, back to the zombies.
So, thinking about all of this, I realized that when you’re made to feel inadequate, when someone makes you feel like you don’t have worth, that slowly kills a part of you and if you let it, you can become this person who walks around but isn’t really living. It’s like they’re a walking corpse that bit you and now you’re slowly becoming one of them.
Your definition of living might differ from mine, but I tend to think that if you aren’t feeling the life you’re living, you aren’t living it.
I’m fully aware that is a privileged position to take, but even when things are hard, there are moments when you can find yourself connected to the time passing. Sometimes it’s as simple as a sunny day after a hard winter, where you find yourself feeling lighter and smiling for no real reason other than you’re happy to see the sunshine. Sometimes it’s something more complicated, like mourning the loss of a loved one and reminiscing about the time you had together and how lucky you were to have known them at all.
It’s important to make sure you don’t let outside sources or anxieties eat away at those moments. It’s vital you keep a look out for those moments and cherish them when they’re happening. If you don’t, you truly do die on the inside.
Something I’ve started doing recently is a kind of mental health check.
I know there are things I shut myself off to as a defense mechanism and I’m working on those. If you’ve read my previous blog postings, you’ve probably heard me talk a lot about how I still find it hard to trust and believe that I am wanted by my own friends, how I still doubt myself a lot.
So, knowing where I fall down and what I want to work on, I try to take a moment to take stock of what I’m feeling and let myself feel it without immediately dismissing the idea I have feelings. It’s not easy.
Sometimes I have to acknowledge feelings I don’t like, sometimes I don’t know what to do about a problem I’ve identified, but you know what I’ve noticed? It’s a lot easier to feel more connected when you start feeling feelings.
The past couple of years have been a roller coaster ride of events. I went from living abroad and loving my life, to starting an adult life from scratch while scrabbling for work, to flipping burgers and fighting a mental battle with myself as I panicked over the light I couldn’t see at the end of the tunnel, to having a big girl job only to discover it was a sinking ship and leaving for a position that ended early and left me unemployed for a grueling four months, before I somehow fell into the best job I’ve ever had.
I started trying to be the person I wanted to be the year I moved to Ireland and it was that year I really started to learn to love myself. Coming home, I felt like I lost that person in the mess that was me trying to start over. In the past year, I feel like I’ve finally found her again.
There are still things I’m working on, there are still things I don’t let myself feel or a shut myself off from, but through this blog, the conversations I have with friends and family, and the results of all this absurd and occasionally pretentious introspection, I feel like something that was once almost dead, is coming back to life.
I’m not quite dead.I think I’ll go for a walk.