Why I Cherish My Boring Life
I tell people all the time that my life is very boring and I suppose that compared to a lot of other people, that’s very true. I’m not complaining, just stating a fact. I don’t go out much, I don’t date, I don’t have many hobbies. I am mostly at home, online in the two Facebook communities in which I participate. I like it this way.
Before DBT, I lived a life of total chaos. Desperation. I was an adrenaline junkie, always hanging on to the edge of a cliff terrified that I would plunge over the edge and fall to my death, yet completely unable to pull myself up and walk away or look down. It wasn’t always like that, though.
When I look back on my life, I think I was a “normal” little girl. Whatever the word “normal” means and is. Even though I had been abandoned by my birth mother at a very young age, I was unaware of the way it affected me until much later in my life. My second intimate experience with abandonment happened when I was in my second year of high school and my grade school girlfriends decided one day they no longer wanted to be friends with me. This message was communicated to me as we stood outside the school building on a windy, September morning. I never saw it coming. I was utterly devastated. Six months later, I attempted suicide for the first time. Darned near succeeded. After that it was once a week to the “head shrinker” as I called her. I managed to tough that out for about four months and then I simply refused to go anymore.
I started drinking and using marijauna recreationally, my new set of girlfriends and I started heading down to the university district on Friday nights armed with our fake IDs and we’d dance the night away in the disco. It was heaven.
It didn’t take long before I started picking up guys at the disco and going back to their places or a local hotel for a quick roll in the hay. Life at home became more and more stressful as screaming fights between me and my parents happened almost weekly, then daily. I became more and more alienated from my family and soon thereafter, I made plans to flee with another friend to Washington, DC.
But, no matter where you go, there you are, right? I couldn’t outrun myself.I couldn’t escape from myself. Life became more and more chaotic as I struggled mightily to try to hold down a job. Eventually, I met and married my husband and things settle down a little bit, at least until my last child was born.
After he was born, the wheels fell off completely. I was arrested for shoplifting at a local discount store.I took a $5.00 baby shirt. It was bizarre because I had the money in my purse. My husband was away on business when this event occurred. I was able to hide it from him until I had to hire a criminal lawyer. Much to my enormous shame, the whole story came tumbling out.
Things didn’t improve much over the next few years. I continued to live in a nearly constant state of emotional chaos and having a large number of children didn’t improve things at all. A friend once said that I “lived from one crisis to the next.” It was certainly a correct statement.
After my husband died,I took the next five years to process our marriage,turning things over and over in my mind, reliving all the terrible incidents which occurred during which I would ramp up the chaos even more, I realized how dysfunctional my life had truly become. But it was important for me to do a true accounting of the marriage and myself. I wanted to see where all the bodies were buried. As I was going through this process, I made a promise to myself to try to change it. That’s when I started to really concentrate on learning about DBT. I stopped trying to please everyone who I came into contact and pledged to be more of my authentic self when I was out in public. I stopped living from crisis to crisis and began learning how to live in the moment, in other words, I began practicing mindfulness. I also adopted a strategy of practicing gratitude on a daily basis. It was the practice of both of these two things which I really attribute to calming me and thus, calming my life.
These days, I use mindfulness and my anxiety reduction techniques to calm myself. I also don't engage in certain types of behavior. For example, I NEVER attempt to resolve conflict on social media or via a platform such as email. I have learned over the years that, as tempting as it may be to try to fix a problem this way, it almost never succeeds. So, I have adopted this strategy in my everyday life and I find that this has helped reduce my sense of chaos and feeling “out of control” enormously. When I am feeling especially vulnerable, I disengage from social media entirely. When I finally got rid of my landline and decided to migrate to a cell phone I made a promise to myself to never become one of those people who is joined by her thumbs to her phone. I keep my cell phone use to an absolute minimum and, because of that, most of the people I know think my life in INCREDIBLY boring. But that’s okay. I cherish my boring life. No drama, no big excitement I can’t handle. No living from one crisis to another anymore. I like it that way.