What saves you

I remember a discussion I’d had many, many (my goodness) years ago, with my bestest friend, a new bestest friend (He who would remain such) and his bestest friend, a slobby highly intelligent, skyblue-eyed dude with a beautiful and psychotic mum who was like a magical fairy queen when she managed to somehow get to London to visit her son and I would go for long walks with her through those hidden windy ways that criss cross the city from top to bottom and left to right, and then she’d disappear into nowhereland. I wonder how she is now. But I digress.

It was a short but powerful discussion about the meaning of the word wilfulness. We all agreed I was wilful, and I just could not agree with them that it was a bad thing. I pointed out to them that the word itself merely indicated that I was “full of will”, which meant that I got my things done, which from a survival point of view surely couldn’t be a bad thing! The three of them, all highly intelligent people, certainly more than me, couldn’t convince me in the end (I can be stubborn). Yes I was wilful, but I’d be damned before I’d concede that it was a bad thing.

I may have no choice on you photographing me, but I WILL NOT smile.
I may have no choice on you photographing me, but I WILL NOT smile.

I was twenty at the time. The year after I would attempt suicide, but it was only because (I’m looking back 23 years ago here, mind), I couldn’t get my friends nearby when they had other things to do. As simple as that. My wilfulness would stop when it clashed against my respect for other people’s choices. I was trapped. But whereas I accept that my impulsiveness, my excessive enthusiasm and its ensuing predictable fizzling out, my recklessness and all those other nesses which will probably soon be diagnosed as manic episodes have led me into no end of trouble, my wilfulness I am sure is my rock, my safety, my saviour.

My wilfulness would intervene when I was presented with all sorts of very appealing drugs, with their promise of mindlessness which I craved, and keep me on this side of addiction. My wilfulness would take me from a place of homelessness and despair to a place of hope and tweety birds singing and helpful lovely people. It was my wilfulness that enabled me to always get out of all the crap I got myself into, alone, and against all those people who sincerely thought that telling me how stupid and irresponsible I was was the way to help me out of something. And, finally, it was wilfulness alone, after I’d decided I would produce a child to prove to the world that I could bring up a healthy child even being me, which would enable me to do so for all these years.

As I progressed through the years, I came to accept I lacked many, many socially desirable qualities: organisational skills, patience, rationality, mental order. But wilfulness would always make things right through my chaos. I would always manage to fit the squares into the round shapes and against all the odds, not only survive but even get to a better place every time.

People are not going to help you in this path, I can see this more and more clearly. You are either lucky and you have a few people who accept you and love you and even encourage you to be the better parts of you, and I am lucky to be in that position, or they will ignore you and slowly creep away from you (check) or they will downright give up on you (check) if not openly think of you as scum (check). But what they can’t do is help you.

Mental health professionals? I am about to find out. As with anything else, my faith in people and professions is total until they let me down. I could use the respite and I am getting old and I have survived so much by myself that I wouldn’t mind the help now. But if anybody can actually help I suppose they can, and the magical drugs they can prescribe, now that I am less worried about abusing them.

But in the end, what helps the most is knowledge, awareness. Knowledge of what your rights are, and ensuring you make the most of them, make sure you claim them all. Awareness of your limitations AND your unique qualities, and acting accordingly: so much I am happily avoiding because I know I can’t deal with it, including, say: a regular job with other people, driving when stressed, or likely to be stressed, answering or even hearing the phone, living in narrow-minded countries, and so on and so forth. I am so tired, that admittedly “using my qualities” is mostly when forced to look back to the past on a daily basis, I try to see the good as well as the bad of what I did , because, enough emotional challenges for me, I am retired. But once more I digress.

When I couldn’t avoid all the crap that made me mental, and had to deal with it all on a daily basis, it was wilfulness that got me through.

I believe people with a more conventional mental order may consider as qualities personality traits that work for them, fair enough. But when your mind works very differently, you will need other qualities to keep you going. A sense of responsibility, for example, is nothing, zilch, nada to me. It means absolutely nothing to me. But try and stop me if I’d made up my mind I had to get a new home for my kids, or simply get home alive for them: wilfulness may not have put me on the sensible path, but it sure as hell got me where I needed to go fast and true.

This post was inspired by this blogger (her blog is public so I think she won’t mind me linking her): I love her cutting sarcasm, it is a skill I always wanted, especially as a kid, in hindsight, but even as an adult. They keep telling her to curb it. I can’t help but feel that it’s what keeps her going, it gives her strength. And I think those who are trying to help her are being a little narrow minded in not seeing that when faced with bigger day-to-day challenges, you need bigger weapons, even those that are too pointy for other people to handle.



11 thoughts on “What saves you

  1. “People are not going to help you in this path, I can see this more and more clearly. You are either lucky and you have a few people who accept you and love you and even encourage you to be the better parts of you, and I am lucky to be in that position, or they will ignore you and slowly creep away from you (check) or they will downright give up on you (check) if not openly think of you as scum (check). But what they can’t do is help you.”

    It’s painful and mostly true. I’m very lucky to have to have made friends with people of quality over the years. But they can only do so much. In the end, it really does come down to me and my willingness to let go of the need to be perfect and always liked.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah yes, that’s a good point. That’s another thing for me to focus on, which I chose to ignore by simply reducing the people I interact with to next to nothing. I have never wanted anybody to find out what I’ve been through, and done. That’s a thought for another day :/
      I still haven’t told my father I smoke 😀 (I’m 43!)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have to be careful about isolating myself…but I get so tired of the disappointment of befriending someone only to wake up with the fangs of a narcissist in my neck. The worst damage done by my Mother was that she made me blind to people who are basically self serving and malicious…now, because I still can’t see them; I jump at the slightest sign of narcissism. And I drop people because it doesn’t seem like it’s worth the risk. If they are narcissists, I usually don’t figure it out until after they’ve done damage.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I know here if you are “willful” you are determined, and some come across as assholes and bitches because they do what they need to do to get things done. On the flip side of the coin, those people are the ones that make changes in themselves, society, the work place.
    Acknowledging what you did “wrong” in your past is a step to acceptance that you are working towards getting better, to a “stable” place-baseline as my doc says. Those who know the true us are the ones that fight with us. Those that make shitty comments are ignorant. I have a VERY small group of friends-and by that I mean my Best Friend Andrea, and my daughter’s friends’ dad. I have few “acquaintances” because it’s too much work in all honesty. I need support, not superficial friendships.
    I think being willful is a badass quality to have-because it means no matter how bad things get, WE are the ones that work the hardest to make the changes. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes! Most definitely. Thank you! And yes for the slow realisation (for me) that “semi”friendships and acquaintances are no good to anyone: they suck your energy and upset you and they are absolutely no use. I am working on getting my closest friends to understand that I will actually discuss my issues and not pretend they are not all I think about all day, what I have to fight every day. We’re getting there.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I think so too. It is interesting however, both you and Lindsay below say this, and yet most people I have spoken to over the years say “well yes, wilfulness holds a negative connotation.” Could it be a British thing? I mean it’s well known that the British value order and adherence to the rules above almost everything else… Even dictionaries seem to slightly disagree in tone.


    1. I guess from a mum’s point of view, it can be seen as “balking”. When my daughter exhibits what could be seen as wilfulness I feel that she is asserting her right to make decisions about things that concern her. I respect it. Of course it can be exasperating at times, when you are trying to get things done. But on the whole, I see it as a sign of strong individuality. As I was saying to Lbeth above, I wonder whether it might be a cultural thing.

      Liked by 2 people

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