Do I want what I want?  

The heart wants what the heart wants.

But what happens when we don’t want to want what our heart wants?

Ann and I watched a show a few nights ago that was set in the 1960s in England. Long story short, a young couple was about to go through the birth of their first child together. They had a good life and loved each other.tv

However, the young husband was arrested for indecency with another young man in a public restroom. He was given the choice of going to prison or taking hormone therapy to decrease his levels of testosterone.

His wife demanded that he take the therapy so that they could put this behind them and get on with their lives. He loved his wife and desired to be a good father. I may be naïve, but my impression was that he sincerely wanted to do what he felt was right and return to his place in his family.

But the only way he would be allowed to do so was to go through something that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. The side effects of the medication were their own prison sentence.

While discussing the show afterward, we again reiterated that for so long society has taken an all-or-nothing approach when it comes to homosexuality.

Well, actually, it takes this same approach to many things. It really wasn’t that long ago that someone with mental illness would have been sent to an “institution” and heavily medicated to keep them manageable.

hospital wardAll I can say is that I’ve been on the inside of the institution, and am SO grateful that I have found a life on the outside where I’m still bipolar, but given the chance to manage myself.

It’s what I truly want.

I think my position on stating “I have…” vs. “I am…” is evolving.

For a long time it was easier to swallow this whole bipolar thing by declaring that “I HAVE mental illness” rather than “I AM mentally ill”. Perhaps it was a desire to reflect that my identity was not swallowed up by one of these characteristics that are a part of my genetic makeup.

The truth is not that I AM mentally ill, but that I am mentally ill.

Do you see the difference?

I have heard people say that they “have” same-sex attraction, but that doesn’t really resonate with me as a true descriptor.

A person HAS cancer; we would never say that they ARE cancer.

And that is appropriate. I don’t think we would ever say that the heart wants cancer.

Cancer is the huge elephant in the room that squeezes everything else into the periphery. Everyone close becomes the best elephant hunters they can. No one fully breathes a sigh of relief until the carcass has been hauled away and the room is free of this dreaded animal.

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But my room isn’t filled with an elephant.

I am mentally ill. I am attracted to the same sex. I am a natural born gossip with a very long memory. I am inclined to vanity (although what I have to be vain about is a mystery to us all).

These simply are facts. They are part of who I am. Wishing it to be otherwise can’t change it.

I guess you could say in a way that these are things that my heart wants.

But I don’t want to want them.

mouseSo I work to reduce them to be merely mice that scurry around the room at my feet. I am aware that they are there. I must always be watchful and wary, lest one should crawl up my pant leg and bite me.

I guess I could spend all my time on setting traps and buying poison and worrying. But I’ve got other things to do.

There are things that my soul and spirit really want, and I choose to spend my time pursuing those instead.

Society and people are evolving to understand that it really isn’t an all-or-nothing option in managing many of the personal genetics which can control us if we don’t control them. You know, either you have an elephant in your room, or your room is completely infestation free.

The young man in the TV show was told that he had to kill the elephant and remove all traces of it from his life.

But that was so overwhelming that he saw suicide as the only option left.

depression4

What a tragedy, because I wonder if all he really wanted was the opportunity to avoid the mice.

The truth is that no one has a room devoid of some kind of animal life.

Some of us feed the animals, some of us just want to keep them close to pet every once in a while because it feels good, some of us spend all our time obsessing over how horrible it is to be plagued by such disgusting creatures.

But each of these options brings a prison sentence of their own.

dancing3I choose to manage myself through constant vigilance so as to not let the mice near my pant leg, while still free to dance and kick up my heels to the music that fills the room.

It’s who I AM.

See the difference?

 

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