Life offers you a thousand chances…all you have to do is take one.
~ Frances Mayes, Under the Tuscan Sun
Avid readers, authors, and academics tend to have very negative reviews of the romantic-self discoveries of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love and Frances Mayes’s Under the Tuscan Sun. While I agree both are a bit idealistic, they are also candid and interesting. Each work illustrates the struggle of a successful woman, willingly falling from grace to an unknown rock bottom, only to come back stronger, happier, and open to discover an exiting new life abroad with a new understanding of what it truly means to live.
I could always relate to these flawed female protagonists on many fronts. Firstly, they are strong, imperfect women who’s passion and wit are rivaled only by their depression. Second, each of them is willing to risk all success, relationships, and sanity to uncover a world of authentic happiness abroad ( especially in my Prozac of nations, Italy.) Finally, they realize you must sacrifice and work everyday to achieve happiness, and if you do, you can find it in the least likely of places.
I’m choosing happiness over suffering. I know I am. I’m making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises.
~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love
Today I took a page out of Gilbert and Mayes’s books and said
goodbye to my job. The choice was two fold.
One. I need some time to get healthy. There is no sugar coating, misdiagnosing, or denying, I have bipolar 2 and I need to make life changes. It is in fact a disease that will kill me if I do not get a handle on it in the immediate future. For months I haven’t slept; for months I forgot how to experience prolonged joy; and for months I’ve lived in a purgatory between heaven and hell that no amount of prescription drugs could fix. I was already part dead…until I decided to start living again. I had to make the choice for myself, not because anyone else wanted me to. I had to come to terms with my perfectionist self that those “perfect” tendencies has their own dirty little secrets. I made the choice to be patient with myself. There is a very scary reality I may not find work in the near future, but I take solace in the fact that I need to rest and have family supporting me.
Bipolar 2 is a gift and a curse, like the arm on any great young pitcher, if you can get it under control, it’s unstoppable. It is a gift you must nurture. Great minds, CEOs, Artists, Poets have suffered from Bipolar 2, aka, manic depression. We experience long-term bouts of debilitating depression followed by long-term mania, a state of creative genius and academic prowess that some people only dream of (then you do it over and over again.) When you can harness the good you create the Sistine Chapel, Starry Night, and Chicago. But when you let the dark in, you lose control, ending up a recluse like van Gogh or as dead as Poe.
I need this time to get my mind in line.
You are after all what you think. Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.
I need time to fix both my emotions and thoughts. It’s time to recharge my batteries.
Two. It’s time to transition from a job to a career. I have been so lucky to have worked with some amazing people past couple years, but what do you do when those individuals aren’t there? You can only work for someone for so long. Eventually you must start working for yourself; for a job you love. You aren’t going to love work everyday, but you also can’t loather it. When the passion dies and the misery creeps in, it is time to get serious about finding your calling and start exploring the options. I am so fortunate to have gone through this journey so young because unfortunately most people don’t get diagnosed or find their meaning in life til it’s too late. I know now. And I am doing something about it, now.
I am starting my journey. Whether It takes me to Italy, NYC, South Asia, or maybe back to my home town, I will find my way to the place where I belong. First Eat. Get healthy, which represents not only a great diet and fitness regime, but positive body image and rest. Pray. Go to therapy. Sleep. and actually pray. Let the big guy upstairs go to work and help me through this. And finally the greatest of these, Love. Learn to love myself, my environment, my friends, my family. Learn to find love in my life and find passion in the life I love.
Although he’s slight he has that sort of wiry strength that seems to come
more from will than muscle.
I found the strength in me, a strength only discovered due to the good graces of my support system. People will judge me, think I am faking it, dramatizing it, but the ride-or-die folk, they get me. They are the ones who see my curse as the gift. They see my kindness and goodness even when I don’t. Your support system will do the same for you if you let them in. They will uncover for you a world you have never known. Your beauty. Your brilliance. Your heart.
No more talk. No more hypocritical writings without follow up action. Today was in fact step
fucking one to rewrite my course in life, and realizing I can actually be anything I wanna be, and you too can make your dreams come true.