A Little Dark And A Little Spark


I feel the darkness creeping in. The days are uncomfortably short since the time change and I keep the lights on in the house all day. I can also feel the familiar pull of depression on the vulnerable corners of my mind, making things pretty dreary in there. The two are connected to an extent, but for the most part they just happen to be colliding right now.

I find myself going down the path with the gargoyles, those voices that remind me of all the things I dislike about myself and the bad that will come from them. I torment over my weight, my stomach flab, my ass dimples. It’s disgusting and shameful to admit, but I beat myself up for not having the willpower to diet and exercise in an obsessive way. I feel guilt, that’s a big one for me, but I can’t quite put my finger on what it is I feel guilty for. I’m sure I must have said something wrong, made a bad joke, hurt someone’s feelings but I can’t think of what it is. It’s a nagging feeling that I am in the wrong and should be ashamed.

These things are just so sick and stupid. I mean, really? I’m ashamed that I don’t have an eating disorder? I’m feeling guilty for something I haven’t done? It’s nuts, I know it’s nuts. If a friend said these things to me I’d tell her she belonged in the loony bin. I also know that these are small manifestations of the bigger issues I have to work on in my life. Issues around my self worth, my lovability, my desire to do something bigger with my life and my need to make everyone happy with me. This stuff is here, again, asking to be worked on, again.

I’ve been muddling through, and it’s not nearly as drastic or dramatic as I’ve made it sound. I have days of running and apple eating and days of inertia and Twix bars. I know that the way to peace contains all those things. Finding fulfillment is a challenge right now and it contributes to my cloudy state of mind. I’m at a point in my life where the needs of my family trump my own desires. I’ve chosen that, and I would choose it again, no question, but it has not been an easy time. I’ve been foggy headed, mentally exhausted, and having a hard time finding my joy. I want to eat all the things in the house and then go to bed and cry but I don’t because I know that this is temporary. My kids, and my husband too, they deserve more than my muddling through. Hell, even I deserve it. My sane self talks to me and tells me this, it just doesn’t yell as loudly as the crazy self sometimes.

My struggles are, of course, very first world and banal. There are probably a million other women struggling with these same issues at this very moment. The thing I find fascinating is that I can have these gloomy moods, and these dark feelings, and at the same time KNOW that it’s crazy. I wouldn’t choose any life other than the one I have. It feels self indulgent to struggle with depression when I am fully aware of what’s happening, why, and how my own cycle works. But here I am anyway.

So I’m trying something new today, hoping that if I bring some of this nastiness out in the open I can light the spark of anger I need to fight it, and shorten the cycle. You people reading are my poor, unknowing audience. You are witnesses to my profanity laden personal pep-talk. These are the things I know to be true, in my sanest moments. This is me being a brutally honest and supportive friend to myself:

Gargoyles, I’m calling you out. This is bullshit what you put me through. I’m almost 40 years old and I’m still listening to you tell me about all the reasons I don’t deserve to relax and feel good enough? Fuck that. I know you’re doing your job, trying to keep me safe, but it’s not working. Shut the fuck up.

I love food and wine too much to ever be skinny. I will never give up the things that bring such great pleasure and happiness to my life in order to lose a few pounds. My body works well. It’s healthy and strong and has done amazing things. So, I have a belly, yes. I also have these potatoes cooked in duck fat and guess what, they win. I will buy myself some bigger pants.

Sometimes I make mistakes, sometimes I say dumb shit and hurt people’s feelings. But I never do it on purpose, and I do my best to make amends when they are called for. Feeling guilty for being imperfect is a fucking waste of time. If what is true and right for me makes other people uncomfortable that is their business and not mine.

My job in this life is not to be what everyone else wants me to be. My job is not to be good. My job is to be whole.



4 thoughts on “A Little Dark And A Little Spark

  1. Sarah sims

    Ivy. I am chuckling, no sorry laughing, not at you but because I Absolutely LOVE your complete honesty and also because you so bluntly say how I often feel lately too. Believe me. You are NOT alone. Good for you for sharing. We all should!!

    Me for instance. Woke up feeling refreshed after talking with a friend last night and by the end of the day I am feeling complete defeat by a bowl of frickin Halloween candy….but if I only eat the “fat free” pieces I’m good. Right? I have been teetering at 160! The most I’ve weighed ever, I think tthats since 3 years ago when I had the twins which is really SAD. Excersize. F*** it. Lol.

    Keep up the inspiration . you rock cousin!

  2. Chris

    You tackling this at 40 is so admirable.
    I’m embarrassed to say, on my 60th birthday, still living in Sebastopol, I went for my daily walk. Trudging up the hill, I heard SO CLEARLY the voice in my head, (actually, it always perched on my right shoulder) telling me what a loser I was. How could I STIll be living month to month wondering how I would pay the rent? How could I have chosen such an expensive place to live? How could I ever think I could make it as an artist?
    I stopped dead in my tracks and actually spoke out loud to that asshole of a voice….. “I’ve been listening to you for 60 YEARS and what you tell me has done me NOT ONE BIT of good, only damage. I don’t CARE if you came from some phony altruistic place of trying to “protect” me from making mistakes. But if you don’t lay off, I am NOT going to make it. I’ll be dead and where will YOU be then, huh?”
    I actually felt the “voice” slither off my shoulder and melt in a puddle like the Wicked Witch of the West. Really, I haven’t heard much from it since. And when I do, I’m so much quicker at stopping it cold with total focused Mother of Dragon energy.
    So you’ve got the right idea. And If your “voice” doesn’t have a better one, keep telling it to you know what! Chris

  3. Juliag

    Ditto ALL of that. Except I need you to cook me potatoes in duck fat, because I never manage to make that nowadays…but boy did I when we lived in France…like at least once a week. Yummmm!

  4. Leslie Phinney

    You are such a fantastic writer. And I related to almost every word…no every word you wrote. At 62 years old and to have the same old doubts rear their ugly heads seems even more embarrassing:) I can say that with age it seems to happen less frequently and for that I am thankful.

    Here’s an excerpt from an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert on the subject of overcoming self-loathing…

    “I always say, we all want to go out there in the world and be kind, compassionate, forgiving—all of us do, we’re all good people, we all want to try and be good people and kind people. And conveniently, there’s somebody who you live with 24 hours a day that you can practice all that on, all the time, and it’s yourself. And it’s the last person we ever think of to practice it on. But it’s such a good patient that you’ve got to work with.”

    You’ve got it right Ivy, just keep calling out those old gargoyles!


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