This post is not about Calculus. But it will rely on an important concept in Calculus. The inflection point. In calculus, the inflection point is where a change in curvature occurs. At the inflection point, a curve can transform from a ‘frown’ to a ‘smile’ and vice versa.
Our lives will have many of these inflection points. Ultimately, life is probably about everything that happens before and after a point of inflection: will we find ourselves smiling or frowning? Will we reach new heights or will we plummet?
In the last 24 hours, I have approached and passed an inflection point. It was intense. It was confusing. My anxious mind completely took over and I plummeted into doom and dismal.
Yesterday, I reached the final frontier of a personal battle, a battle that I have been fighting since January 2014. Yesterday, was the last formal stage of my journey with the person who tried to rob me of my humanity on New Year’s day. For over a year, I have felt like a character in a story that I was forcibly written into. I let him take authorship of my story, my life, and I was subject to the sways of his pen.
My sexual assault was an inflection point, and beyond this inflection point, I went on a downward spiral, understandably. I will never put myself down for having gone into a downward spiral. There is nothing inherently wrong with what comes after an inflection point so long as you understand why and you can accept the consequences; what you could be getting or what you could be robbing yourself of.
I lost authorship of my story. I became subject to whatever current I was submersed in. I didn’t put up too much of a fight, I just went with it. And I probably got used to the feeling of the downward current. It can happen that we achieve a sense of comfort in a bad situation, especially if you become accustomed to it. And accustomed I was.
The day before ‘the big day’ I was completely overcome with anxiety. Truthly, I had been anxious days before because I knew the big day was before me. In fact, I had started writing a post about anxiety but I couldn’t complete it.
A Tale of Anxiety: Chronicles of Chaos and Perceived Calamity
My mind is a messy place, if you knew me, you’d probably agree,
I’m stuck seeing the forest, while my comrades, only the tree.
My imagination runs wild,
Often without me.
I’ve many scenarios for a single event,
The outcomes of my playbook leave me in discontent,
I’ve tailored my demise to a disappointing extent.
On the big day, I felt everything: sad, unworthy, disappointed, powerless, failure, optionless, helpless. Because of where I am at the moment, I am confident that was my bottom. I reached the depths of depression and my anxiety violently flung me into a corner I didn’t even recognize. In those moments, I gave up on everything. Everything. If you don’t know what that feels like, feel positively blessed!
I am looking at the last sentence of my draft post: I’ve tailored my demise to a disappointing extent. I was not in a good place when I wrote that sentence. But there is something true about it. I don’t want anyone to read this and think you are responsible for your sadness or pain. I think people are on a spectrum of hard to soft. On one end, some of us are metal beings; indestructible, unfazed, unaffected. On the other extreme, some of us are like sponges; we absorb and feel everything. Nothing escapes us. We can become as overcome with happiness as we can sadness. As with everything else, it’s important to achieve a balance that is right for you–and that might not be in the exact middle and thats okay!
For me, who I am, I am too far on the sponge side. And I need to, for my own well-being and preservation, I need to make a some shifts to the left. But not so far that I lose touch with other people and their feelings because that is something I do love about myself. I don’t think that anyone should self-blame for feeling depressed or sad or whatever. Darkness finds darkness–I think that’s the only thing I can say about that draft sentence. I don’t ever want to author my demise.
And not everyone can help themselves. This idea is hammered into our heads violently. And I think it’s a really harmful thing to preach because it can make someone feel even more helpless. No one ever really is fully responsible for helping themselves out of a dark time. If you think back to a time you got through something, something or someone got you through. Whether it was God, a book, a friend, a quote, a good weather day, a dream, restful sleep, a song, a glass of cold water–SOMETHING GOT YOU THROUGH. SOMETHING PUSHED YOU TO THAT NEW INFLECTION POINT.
Mental pain is as physically painful as physical pain (watch this 1 min video). I really wish mental health had a better reputation. Few people in my family, even those whose support I rely on, would ever acknowledge that I have ever been depressed. My anxiety was always because I wasn’t doing something right. My parents said I was like that because I wasn’t eating well, or I wasn’t sleeping well, I wasn’t praying. That was the explanation their culture, religion and upbringing offered. And it didn’t help me. WHEN YOU NEED HELP, GET IT.
Anyway, I’ve digressed a little. But it was an important digression.
When I reached the bottom of my pit, after while, the darkness stopped lending comfort. It was now a scary place to be. After years of feeling optionless, I was confronted with a choice. I had to get out. Something had to get me out. And given where I was, it would have to work the first time. As I am writing, I’m a little taken with what has happened in just a two days, and possibly one day.
Change is not a pretty thing. And it doesn’t happen quickly either. My last paragraph is misleading, because this didn’t happen in two days. It was an accumulation of events, of years, of sadness, of hurt, of everything that found me dropping everything, buckled at the knees, actually begging for life.
I don’t expect everything to better or perfect now. I don’t expect things to go back to normal even. Because that won’t cut it. I have to write my new normal. It is a complete reformatting of myself. What I hope I have gained and secured is control.
I am reclaiming authorship of my story. I am writing the story I want for myself. I’ve let a story I didn’t want flourish in too many hands, hands that never wanted good for me. My imperfect hand won’t write the perfect story but it will be mine, and divinely guided.
I’ve passed my inflection point and I am looking forward to the upward slope. No doubt, I will meet new inflection points, each will be equally embraced as a growth experience because I know that I am destined for greatness.
To the people that hurt me, you are undoubtedly forgiven. And you can have YOUR story back. It is no longer a story of what happened to me, it is YOUR story of whatYOU did.
To the person that hurt me on New Years. I do not forgive you, But, soon, I will forget you.
To be fair, and hopefully help create a safer space for anyone who is in need, I think I have to share what my ‘something’ was, that thing that pushed me to the possibility of a new inflection point. My ride or die friend had recommended that I read Louise Hay’s Love your body. I was on Amazon, downloading the audio book and I saw Joel Osteen’s The Power of I am as a recommendation. I had actually seen it a few days earlier, and I am also thinking that my friend had also recommended it to me at a different time. I ended up getting a free audible download so I was like what the hell, I’ll download The Power of I am, the guy was literally staring at me. Full disclosure, I have a quantifiable dislike of TV preachers. I have always found their movement to be a business venture. And I’ve seen those masses of people in their audience to be victims of hopelessness, all inevitably, paying for happiness so someone else can travel on a private plane. Anyway, so that was my opinion of Joel Osteen too. But in the darkest corner I have ever experienced, his voice and his words pushed me out. Funny how that works. I don’t think it would outrageous to say that he saved my life yesterday.