A few years ago, I hit what most people have referred to as “The bottom.” Looking back, it’s the place in my life where there was no where else to go but up and I had to decide then, if I even wanted to go up. It was then that I gave up a lot of things, and started to focus on things that really mattered, and getting the kids back. Saying all that now doesn’t sound like or seem like much. But knowing what I went through to get them back, and to get to where I am today – being able to look back at that time and see the accomplishments (if I can say that) I wonder. Was that really rock bottom?
It worries me. Because up until this point, I have always viewed that place, that dark hurtful place as rock bottom. And to me, then, it was. There was no other way around it, I had lost everything of importance in my life and had absolutely no reason to go on. There was nothing keeping me here, expect a decision that I needed to make. To either give up or give up. Give up on everything, or give up on the notion that this was the end. The way out was not easy, it was a fight, and really still is a fight to keep myself from slipping back. But I worry now, that maybe, just maybe…that wasn’t the bottom.
As hard as that place was, I now worry that there is “more” to it. That maybe that wasn’t what is referred to as rock bottom. As I attempt and rebuild this life, as I try to love and open up to those around me, I worry that I am in for a rude awakening…as if life is sitting there, waiting. Taunting me. Teasing me with this short stunt of happiness before bottoming out and plummeting me to depths unknown. No matter how hard I try and look the other way, the thoughts are still there.
On those days that are particularly hard, I realize that there is nothing from keeping me from bottoming out again. That there is no safety net, no guarantee, no get out of this free card. It is what it is. And I have two choices: To give up, or give up.
I have talked about it before, and have wavered back and forth on this one thought, if I could do it again, would I? I would like to think I would. But something a friend said once has stuck with me to this day. “I barely survived the first time” she said “Why would I want to do it again, why would I put my kids through it again when we barely made it out the first time?” And I wonder…
Did I bottom out? Maybe I didn’t. Maybe it is a bottomless pit that is still waiting for me. Maybe there are depths unseen down there – and maybe, I didn’t reach the bottom. I don’t want to find out, but I don’t want to blindly live thinking that I have suffered as much as I can and am untouchable.
Living life like I am living, is difficult. So many obstacles and thoughts and unpredictable depths await…and all I can do is hang on and hope that I don’t have to do it all over again. Because honestly, I don’t know that I would be able to choose the same option again. I don’t know that I would be able to do it over again. One cant be prepared for something like that. You cant prepare to loose everything. No matter how hard you try. You don’t know until you are there. In the middle of things, just what you have to do, or what you will do, to survive. And maybe even thrive.
These kids keep me going, they keep me laughing and living and seeing the bright side of life. I don’t want to constantly worry about loosing them to the bottomless pit, and knowing that there would be nothing left if something were to happen to them, is enough to keep me going…for them. And with them.
I hope to never find out if that was rock bottom. Because to me, it was the bottom I needed. I hope I never forget what I was like, and how much was done to get out. I hope I never loose the significance of it, and I hope I never take it for granted. Knowing. That if not for the bottom, I would still be going downward, and not up. It’s a long road, one that isn’t near over. But the bumps are softer, and the light is brighter. I may never know if that was all that was down there, and that is ok with me. Because to me, at that time, it was the bottom. There was no other way out.
Yet here I am.
On the other side. Living life, as best I can. To the best of my ability. With what little knowledge I have.