Thursday, 6 March 2014

I Am The Master Of My Fate: Am I The Master Of My Mind?

My mind is a strange and wonderful place. It enables me to think of stories to write, filling blank pages with ink. It allows me to retain random information which I then spout out in conversation. It holds my memories, my emotional connections, my life thus far. 

But sometimes I feel my mind has a mind of it's own. I'm a worrier by nature. But there are times when my mind feeds on this; manipulating this trait. In an attempt to abate the worry, I make futile attempts to plot out the future. My logic shakes it's head at the pointlessness of it all. 

The night comes and there are times when we dance gracefully together. I am safe in it's arms and it lulls me to rest. But then there are other nights when the steps are all wrong and we clash and stomp on each other, and the music is too fast to dance to and in exhaustion, I give up and just wait for the day. 

I am both emotionally generous and limited. I will do anything for my loved ones. But with the one I love, there is a battle in my mind between head and heart. I am so used to taking care of myself that it's difficult for me to allow the boyfriend to take care of me. There are times when I feel like a deer in headlights, unable to move. He is a wonderful, wonderful man and I love him. But I feel frustrated that I can't just allow our lives to immerse together, like a woman less scarred than myself would allow. 

My Mum is doing better, but she is not... She is not without her issues. She is doing well in her recovery but in my heart, I know for her to fully recover, she needs therapeutic help and not just pharmaceutical. She would completely disagree with me. She is unable to see how the connections and transfers of past trauma have woven themselves so tightly into her psyche that they continue to effect her life.

I realised sometime ago that I have no control over this, only she does. I can only observe now as such things effect her mood and day-to-day life. I love and respect her more than I thought possible for one human heart. But I am terrified that one day, I too will find myself in her position. In her darkest moments, I observe and try to quash the thought that this could be a glimpse into my future. Other families inherit possessions; I fear that my inheritance will be madness. 

I know I have control over my path, but my control is not finite. In this respect, I feel knowledge is a hindrance for me. I am acutely aware of the genetic disposition I have towards darkness, and it is with me like a shadow that I have experienced my own. Environmental factors play a role in whether I too will develop this condition and due to previous events in my life, I tick all the boxes. If there is such a thing as a perfect candidate at future risk, it is me. And while I can do everything I can to protect myself, there are elements that are beyond my control. 

I know myself, more than most 20somethings due. It's a good and a bad thing. I know I'm strong and that I have overcome many things that could've destroyed me. While I have had moments that I thought I was damaged beyond repair, I have emerged from the despair. I'm independent and know my own mind. I'm not afraid to voice my views, to stand by my convictions. I am not afraid to be alone but I also now believe that falling in love is not a weakness. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be married someday, a thought which used to paralyse me with fear. 

I also know that I can be intense. There are times when I'm so in my head that my perspective becomes clouded. I feel that I can be difficult to love and have even greater admiration for the people who love me, with all my faults. I can descend into a bad mood, overthinking everything, with no tangible reason why and it is not a process I enjoy. I become withdrawn. It's like a switch and for those who know me, they can see that I'm not myself. I pull myself back out, I always do. But I wonder if I am running in a race that I will one day lose. 

I am obsessed with biographies and literature and have always found them a source of inspiration. There are so many women and men I admire for their tenacity and originality; Virginia Woolf, Edie Sedgwick, Marilyn Monroe, Ernest Hemingway, Hunter S Thompson, Zelda Fitzgerald, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote... It does not fail to register with me that all of these people, eventually, extinguished their life, in one way or another.

It feels as if my fate is closely connected to my mind. I know the path I want to take. But there are times when I feel as if my mind is a beast of it's own; the wheels are turning too fast, I am exhausted by the magnitude of my thoughts, fears and irrationality. 

There is a Friedrich Neitzsche quote that says "when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you". I am trying to avoid gazing at the abyss. 

The title of this post comes from a well known poem by William Ernest Henley:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul. 
I hold onto the essence of this poem like a life raft. I pray my soul is unconquerable. 

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